Our Viking River cruise started in Chalon-sur-Saone. We flew into Lyon a couple of days early to allow our internal clocks to adjust to the time zone. A beautiful city, important in French Cuisine (the home of Les Halles de Lyon) made famous by Paul Bocuse. The city is an important location. Two major rivers (the Saone and the Rhone) meet at the confluence.
This is a must visit for any "'foodie''. We did not put our travel connections in the hands of Viking. This allowed us to find our way to Chalon-sur-Saone where our river ship Hermod was docked. We caught the train from Lyon and a taxi to the boat.
Our cruise to Avignon included city tours of Beaune, Tournus and Macon (where the Hotel de Ville was invaded one evening by three tourists having fun). One cannot underestimate the importance of the wines and food from these areas. This wine region is Burgandy. The Maconnaise white grapes (Pinot, Chardonnay) give Macon Blanc and the Pouillys (especially Pouilly-Fuisse) the characteristic nutty flavour. The black Gamay grape along the Saone produce the soft, fruity wine best drunk young and fresh. Beaujolais and the Beaujolais Nouveau, which the world awaits, is released on the third Thursday of November each year. A fresh wine that belies the quality "cru"' wines in the northern "terroir " of this appellation.