French River Cruise 2024
Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, Lyon, Paris
Sailing Aug 22 - Sep 1, 2024 aboard the AMA Kristina
In keeping with the tradition of exploring the world with Friends, Blue World Travel has been invited to charter one of AMA Waterways exclusive “A Soulful Epicurean Experience” River Cruises. This program is a unique opportunity to sail through beautiful towns of France and experience the history of African and African American culture along the way.
We begin our journey in Arles, following the footsteps of legendary Black artists such as Josephine Baker, Claude McKay, and Alexander Dumas as we explore Marseille, the oldest city in France. In Avignon, we’ll visit Jean-Paul Blachere’s foundation and stroll among the sculptures, paintings and photographs all created by visionary artists thousands of miles away in Africa.
Our next stop, Viviers, is a charming commune that sidles up to the right bank of the Rhone river. From Viviers, we’ll travel to the magnificent hilltop village, Grignan. After visiting this enchanting Provençal town, you can go in search of the highly prized “Black Diamond” truffles with a farmer and his trustworthy canine companion. In Tournon, take a steam train ride past magnificent landscape carved along the Gorge du Doux, stopping at the charming little station of Colombier le Vieux-Saint Barthélemy le Plain, where the train maneuvers in preparation for its return journey. Later, your ship will depart for Vienne, where you will snap your fingers along to an exciting jazz show performed by local musicians.
Finally, we’ll disembark in Lyon and travel by train to Paris! The City of Light awaits us with centuries worth of Black history as we venture to several sites in and around the city. You will see the iconic Arc de Triomphe and the Monument to the Abolition of Slavery as your guide shares the history of the Code noir, a decree passed by King Louis XIV in 1685 defining the conditions of slavery. From there, you will drive past Montmartre, learning about the cabarets and famous jazz musicians who made their mark here before walking through the African district, renowned for its African food and street vendors, and visiting Little Africa, a gallery space and cultural initiative in La Goutte d’or district.
Throughout our cruise we will be treated to jazz concerts, wine and food tastings.
Of course, our Friends of Festival staff will be there to bring our own unique style of “Cruising with an African American Twist” that we have done for over 25 years all over the world! Our DJ Al “Your Pal” will bet there getting the party started along with our dance instructor, Wilbert McZeal as we sail and party into the night!
In Vienne, we’ll be treated to a special morning jazz concert accompanied by a tasting of three regional wines: Condrieu, Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. Back on the ship there’ll be a fascinating lecture on board about the history of France and the colonies, including the abolition of slavery, prisons, Catholic missionaries from Lyon in Africa and more.
Next, we’ll sail to Lyon, the “Culinary Capital of France.” Indulge in a distinctive tasting tour specially curated for this unique itinerary at the legendary Les Halles Market. Delight in special delicacies brought to the city from North Africa such as stuffed peppers, regional pastries, hummus and more.