- Cagliari (Sardinia)
- Catania (Sicily)
- Florence/Pisa (Livorno)
- La Spezia (Cinque Terre)
- Messina (Sicily)
- Olbia (Sardinia)
- Portoferraio (Elba Island)
- Rome (Civitavecchia)
- Taormina (Sicily)
- Trapani (Sicily)
- Umbria (Ancona)
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Cruise the serene Erdre River as it flows through downtown Nantes before emptying into the famed Loire River, a carefree journey with endless panoramic vistas.
After departing from the pier, you will soon arrive at a quay beneath the Motte-Rouge Bridge on the Erdre River, a tributary of the Loire River. In the 1500s, King Francis I considered the Erdre the most beautiful river in France, and it is still enchanting as it flows south into the more renowned Loire.
You will spend nearly two hours cruising the Erdre and the water should be as smooth as glass. Although the origin of the name is Celtic for “small river,” the Erdre is anything but diminutive. Curiously, the farther upstream you cruise, the wider the river will become.
Along the way, you will pass beautiful manor houses, ornate mansions and verdant parks. To provide you with an historical perspective of the surroundings, your guide will point out the landmarks while recounting stories of Nantes’ past.
In the Middle Ages, the city was part of Brittany. During the French Revolution, the cruel radical Jean-Baptiste Carrier drowned his enemies here en masse because he thought guillotine executions were too slow. In World War II, the Germans occupied Nantes.
Over the centuries, the city’s prosperity has ebbed and flowed. Today, Nantes is experiencing yet another renaissance, especially along the Erdre and in charming districts such as Saint Anne, which you will see during a panoramic driving tour back to the pier.
Please note: This tour is primarily panoramic in nature with limited walking. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and river boat (1 step), and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence and timings may vary.
Stroll the labyrinthine streets of the walled, medieval village of Guerande and then visit the nearby marshes where some of the world’s most prized salt is harvested.
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a leisurely and wonderfully picturesque 90 minute drive along the edge of the Brière Regional Natural Park before reaching Guerande. This quaint medieval village is entirely surrounded by ramparts with four heavily fortified gates.
Once inside the walls, you will enjoy a guided tour through the maze of pedestrian-only, cobblestone streets, stopping at landmarks that include the 15th-century Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin. Now a National Historical Monument, the church features extraordinary stained-glass windows, gargoyles and a rare outdoor pulpit.
You will also enjoy a bit of time to explore Guerande on your own. You might linger over a glass of wine or shop for woolen goods, creamy chocolates and merchandise made with locally harvested sea salt, such as bath and beauty products.
Not far from Guerande, you will visit the marshes that produce this coveted salt. Incredibly, the harvesting is still done by hand using techniques unchanged since the 9th century.
The salt workers rely on the tides and different configurations of the ponds to capture the salt, which has earned the world’s most rigorous certification for its quality. They produce two kinds of salt—grayish coarse sea salt and snow-white “flower of salt,” which chefs use to enhance flavors.
Following your visit at the salt marshes, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90 minutes of moderate walking/standing that covers just over 1 mile. There will be steps, uneven and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with walking difficulties or other mobility concerns. Weather appropriate casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence and timings may vary.
Explore the highlights of Clisson and then sample several Muscadets at a winery in the Loire Valley, a cultural landscape that UNESCO has deemed a World Heritage Site.
After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a scenic drive inland through deep valleys and fertile farmland toward Clisson, a lovely city at the confluence of the Sévre and Moine rivers. It’s named for a 14th-French military commander that served during the Hundred Years’ War.
During the walking tour that follows, you will learn about Clisson’s turbulent history and the ruins of the castle that still lords over the city. Continuing on to the park at La Garenne Lemot estate, you will stroll the winding paths of the gardens that sculptor Frédéric Lemot designed in the early 19th century. It’s a romantic setting punctuated with statues, columns and temples. Lemot is buried in Clisson’s nearby Temple of Friendship.
Then following free time to explore the Old Town of Clisson, you will rejoin your coach and drive to the Domain Chereau Carré, which produces outstanding Muscadet wines from Melon de Bourgogne grapes grown on its four properties. These light-bodied white wines are typically paired with shellfish, and Domain Chereau Carré produces nearly a dozen of them.
During your tour of the winery, a vintner will explain the unique techniques used to produce the Muscadets and then offer a tasting in the cellar. You might also sample wines made in smaller quantities such as Chardonnay, Rosé or Folle Blanche. Weather permitting; you might also be treated to a short visit in the vineyard. Afterwards, you will transfer back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3 hours of moderate to strenuous walking/standing that covers approximately 2 miles. There will be steps and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate as well as uneven and hilly terrain. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with walking difficulties or other mobility concerns. Weather appropriate casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The minimum age to participate is 2 years old and guests should be at least 18 years of age to take part in the wine tasting. The tour sequence and timings may vary.
Enjoy a comprehensive walking tour of Nantes, visiting landmarks that reveal the city’s intriguing and controversial past, starting in the Middle Ages when the city was part of Brittany.
From the pier it’s a short drive to the heart of Nantes, an engaging city on the Loire estuary. The longest river in France and Europe’s last wild river, the Loire is influenced by tides, a natural occurrence that you may notice while downtown.
Leaving your coach behind, you will commence your walking tour and soon discover that Nantes is full of architectural jewels such as Saint Pierre Cathedral, one of the last Gothic cathedrals to be built in France. During your visit, be sure to notice how the light limestone interior walls contrast with the bold stained-glass windows, so they look even more dramatic. The vaults soar more than 120 feet high, even higher than those in Paris’ famed Notre Dame.
You will also visit the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, another landmark that offers insight into Nantes’ history. Built in the late Middle Ages when Nantes was part of Brittany, the massive fortress contains a 32-room museum with hundreds of artifacts.
Nearby you will find Feydeau, a former island in one of the Loire’s tributaries that is now connected to the mainland. Dotted with one fabulous mansion after another, Feydeau has an ignominious past—its 18th-century residents made their fortunes in the slave trade.
Finally, you will enjoy free time in Nantes before returning to the pier along a panoramic route through the charming district of Saint Anne.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 3 hours of moderate walking/standing that covers approximately 2 miles. There will be steps, uneven and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with walking difficulties or other mobility concerns. Weather appropriate casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence and timings may vary.