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Italian & French Gardens in Spring with Seine River Cruise

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Botanical highlights of Italy and France.

Visit the romantic Chateau Chenonceau on your garden tour of France with Botanica World Discoveries.

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23 Days including a 7 night cruise along the Seine River to Normandy. Discover the highlights of Italy and France and their gardens in spring with a Botanical Guide. Take in the countryside of the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, the Côte d’Azur, Provence, Dordogne and the Loire Valley regions. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTIFS23
Duration: 23 days
Accommodation: Luxury River Ship & Comfortable Hotels
Journey: Rome to Paris
Meals included: 46

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Rome

On arrival, be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. This evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel at 6.30pm.
Stay: Rome, Hotel Quirinale or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Villa d'Este and Ninfa Garden

Today you will tour the exquisite Villa d'Este garden, with its impressive fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music. Afterwards visit Ninfa, a garden described as 'the most romantic in Europe' set in medieval village ruins.
Stay: Three Nights, Naples, Grand Hotel Oriente
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 3. La Mortella and Ischia Island

Cruise to the island of Ischia where you will visit the fabulous La Mortella garden, a wonderful garden designed by renowned architect Russell Page for Lord and Lady William Walton.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 4. Amalfi Coast

Sightsee the beautifully scenic Amalfi Coast including a visit to the picturesque village of Ravello to visit the gardens of Villas Rufolo and Cimbrone.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 5. Villa Lante

Travel to see the gardens at Villa Lante at Bagnaia, with its cascades to fountains and dripping grottoes. Arrive this evening in the countryside near Florence.
Stay: Two Nights, Florence countryside, Villa Olmi or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Villa Gamberaia, Florence

Villa Gamberaia, constructed in the early 1600s is famed for its magnificent gardens located in an exceptional position overlooking the Arno Valley. It has been celebrated by garden designers throughout the centuries. This afternoon enjoy time at leisure to explore the sights of Florence, the beautiful city that was at the centre of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 7. Giardino Torrigiani

Visit Europe's largest privately owned green space in an historic area, Giardino Torrigiani. Tour this magnificent garden and see how the privileged Florentine's lived before travelling on to the coastal town Viareggio.
Stay: Viareggio, Grand Hotel Principe Di Piemonte
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 8. Cinque Terre and French Riviera

Today you will board a train to discover the famous fishing villages Vernazza and Monte Rosso of Cinque Terre. Arrive this evening in the French Riviera town of Cannes, famous for its beaches and film festival.
Stay: Two Nights, Cannes, Pullman Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 9. Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and the Côte d’Azur

Visit what is sure to be a highlight, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. This garden offers breathtaking views with its plaza-style pink villa and French creole style gardens. Later explore the French Riviera on a sightseeing tour including the famous artist Auguste Renoir's inspiring house and garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 10. Provence Garden

We enjoy the scenery as we drive through Provence countryside to visit the garden of La Louve created by one of Hermes designers. This exquisite garden has featured on Monty Don's French Gardens series.
Stay: Two Nights, Avignon, Grand Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 11. Avignon Gardens. Tour Saint Andre Abbey and gardens

Also visit Brantes Castle, a contemporary garden with a Tuscan influence with its magnificent mirror pools, lanes of boxwood, plane tree forest and one of the oldest grandiflora magnolias in Europe - approximately 200 years old.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 12. Dordogne Region

Travel to the Dordogne region of France to Sarlat-la-Canéda, the capital of French cuisine with its honey coloured buildings.
Stay: Two Nights, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Au Grand Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 13. Jardins de Marqueyssac and Eyrignac Gardens

Visit the fairytale garden of de Marqueyssac with 150,000 boxwood trees pruned to resemble the rolling hills.Afterwards visit the delightful Eyrignac Gardens with flowing garden rooms.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 14. Loire Valley

Travel to the picturesque Loire Valley region filled with grand chateau gardens.
Stay: Two Nights, Loire Valley, Domaine de la Tortiniere
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 15. Villa Villandry and Chaumont Garden Festival

A visit to Villandry one of the most famous gardens of the Loire Valley today followed by a visit to Chaumont Garden Festival with superb displays and garden rooms all set in the grounds of Chaumont Chateau.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 16. Arrive Paris, Embark ship

Visit the private garden of Jardin de Bois Richeux with its collection of medieval plants today. Board your river ship the MS AmaLyra, moored close to the city centre of Paris. Tonight meet your fellow cruise guests at a Welcome Dinner on board at 6.30pm.
Stay: Seven Nights, aboard the river ship MS AmaLyra
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 17. Les Andelys and Normandy Gardens

This morning, enjoy cruising to Les Andelys. Stroll along the river which offers beautiful views of the Seine Valley's dramatic white cliffs, centuries-old half-timbered houses, and the hilltop ruins of Château Gaillard, the former stronghold of Richard the Lionheart. Athletically-inclined guests may like to hike up to witness the ruins. Then this afternoon travel towards the coast of Normandy, visiting two gardens of major importance at Varengeville -sur-Mer, near Dieppe. Le Vasterival is an expansive woodland garden filled with rare plants and created by Princess Greta Sturdza of Norway and her husband Prince Georges Sturdza of Moldavia in the mid-20th century. Our next garden, Les Bois des Moutiers, is an Arts and Crafts inspired house with the garden created as a collaboration between the home's architect and English Landscape Designer, Miss Gertrude Jekyll.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 18. Normandy, Freedom of Choice

Today you have the choice to visit Honfleur, a historic and picturesque port with pastel-colored houses that was a favourite subject of artists such as Courbet, Boudin and Monet. Alternatively you may choose to visit rural Normandy which includes a visit to the Pays d'Auge and 'Routes du Cidre' which translates as 'the Cider Road'.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 19. Normandy, Bayeaux Tapestry and Chateau de Brecy Garden

Today enjoy a visit to Bayeaux, for a gardens and culture tour including a visit to the remarkably preserved Bayeaux tapestry created soon after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Take time at the museum to learn more about the tapestry or enjoy time at leisure to explore the charming village. Afterwards visit the garden of Chateau de Brecy, considered the most beautiful garden in Lower Normandy.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 20. Rouen Sightseeing and Le Jardin Plume Garden

Enjoy a morning visit to the private garden Le Jardin Plume. This contemporary take on traditional French gardens sees many wildflower, grasses and perennial plantings. This afternoon perhaps walk or cycle through the medieval city of Rouen and see the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral, painted numerous times by Monet, and the square where Joan of Arc was martyred. Afterwards, you will have free time to explore Rouen.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 21. Vernon, Monet’s Garden

Spend the morning enjoying the scenery along the Seine as you cruise to Vernon. Explore the town at leisure. Later visit Giverny and the home and gardens of French Impressionist Claude Monet. The artist lived here for more than four decades and immortalised his ponds and flower gardens in some of his paintings.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 22. Malmaison

Visit Château Malmaison, former home of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine. Josephine was known to be a collector of roses and wanted every species of rose known at that time to be planted at Malmaison. These gardens were probably the most important factor in establishing the popularity of the rose in the 19th century. Depart this afternoon for Paris, arriving in the evening.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 23. Paris, Disembark Ship

Disembark your ship after breakfast this morning.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • Learn about the history of Italy and France from your Tour Manager
  • Visit gardens portrayed in Monty Don’s television series
  • Discover Villa d’Este, Villa Lante, Ninfa and Gamberaia Gardens
  • Cruise to La Mortella Garden
  • See Villa Rufolo and Cimbrone gardens
  • Enjoy the Tuscan, Provence and Dordogne countryside
  • Explore spectacular and colourful Cinque Terre villages
  • Visit the French Riviera and Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
  • Tour Europe’s largest privately owned green space, Giardino Torrigiani
  • Visit Renoir’s House and Garden
  • See the Saint Andre Abbey and Brantes Castle Gardens
  • View Jardins de Marqueyssac and Eyrignac
  • Explore Chaumont Garden Festival and Loire Valley
  • Explore Monet’s Garden at Giverny
  • Visit the private garden, Le Jardin Plume
  • Visit the impressive Bayeaux Tapestry
  • Go inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s Chateau Malmaison
  • Enjoy Normandy private gardens

Map

Included Experiences

  • Tour Manager and Botanical Guide
  • Airport transfers on first and last day, tipping and porterage
  • Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned coach with plenty of room to spread out
  • Stay in good quality 4-5 star hotels
  • Seven nights on the MS AmaLyra river ship
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner on board your cruise
  • 46 Meals - 22 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches and 17 Dinners

Ship Floor and Deck Plan

MS AmaLyra

Cruise the Seine River from Paris to Normandy in comfort, style and luxury on this APT Aria Class river ship.

 

See the deck plans for MS AmaLyra here

Botanical Guide

Botanical Guide - Teena Crawford

  • Teena Crawford, a third-generation nursery woman, studied horticulture at Burnley in Melbourne. She is the long term manager of well-known nursery, Smith & Gordon, suppliers to the landscaping industry throughout Australia. Teena is also a gardening journalist and was a co-presenter of a radio program and has judged flower shows around the world.

Additional Information

Fitness Level

  • Medium – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two-night stays in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries. A good degree of mobility is required.

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • This is an APT Aria Class ship. This cruise is in partnership with our sister company
  • This tour can be combined with: Chelsea Flower Show - Private Gardens of London and Sussex (BTCFSS5R) or Chelsea Flower Show, Cotswolds and Welsh Gardens in Spring (BTCW9)  Savings apply. Enquire for details.
  • Group Size - 15 to 25 guests on land touring.
  • Small Ship - approx 100 guests
  • Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included.

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