(Re)Discover France with a breath of fresh air

Celebrated author and activist Helen Keller once famously said that smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.

In 2020, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours will give you a chance to capture that moment with a sensory journey through the majestic waterways of France that’s lush with the fragrances of lavender, truffles, decadent cuisine and more.

This is your opportunity to (re)discover France through an all-inclusive luxury river cruising experience that will excite the senses and create lasting vivid memories.

Imagine cruising through the south of France along the legendary Rhône en route to visiting the lavender fields in Provence – among the best in the world. Breathe in the calming scent of the region’s picturesque lavender fields on a custom Scenic Freechoice activity.

And while there, visit the aromatic Lavender Museum in Viviers, enjoy a glass of lavender lemonade and learn how lavender is harvested and how it is used in the region.

Or how about a trip down the celebrated Saône River with an opportunity to partake in a truffle hunt with highly trained hounds in a quaint village near Tournus? Enjoy the hypnotic and earthy aroma of truffles and sample this gastronomic delicacy. Truffles are grown only in specific types of soils, such as that found in the Burgundy region.

And what’s a trip through the south of France without a stop in Lyon, the food capital of France. There, you will breathe in the bouquets of delicacies that have made the city famous, before sampling them first-hand – including a visit to the exclusive culinary school of Paul Bocuse for a cooking demonstration.

In the breathtaking Bordeaux region, you will have an opportunity to tour the eclectic city of Bergerac, and even enjoy the tempting aromas of foie gras during a tasting at a charming local farm.

Or you might want to spend a full day exploring the nearby fortified town of Cognac, renowned for the tantalizing scents and tastes of its world-famous fine brandy. Afterwards, enjoy a tasting at the acclaimed property of Rémy Martin.

And in Normandy, join a guided cycling tour along the Seine River to the beautiful 19th century botanical gardens that boast the intoxicating fragrances of its exotic and rare plants.

After a long day of exploring, relax in the opulent amenities of your floating hotel. Embrace the tantalizing scents from locally inspired dishes as they’re being prepared, ranging from seafood specialties to authentic French dining.

The next morning, start your day with a stretching class on board the Sun Deck as wafts of an indulgent buffet breakfast await. Or simply enjoy a leisurely morning as you take in the picturesque riverside panoramas and the purified French river air.

Later, smell, sample and savour the delectable varieties of local cheese from Scenic’s cheese cellar found on board your Space-Ship. Enjoy the enticing scent of a perfectly ripened brie, the sharp and tangy Roquefort, the pungent aroma of raclette and a variety of other French cheeses. 

Visit scenic.ca to start planning your next adventure. For an ultimate getaway, combine two river cruises or a river cruise with an escorted land tour in Spain, Portugal or Italy.

Truffles in Tournus, brandy in Bordeaux, pastries in Paris – your palates are set to come alive.

In 2020, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours is launching a series of eight- to 12-day all-inclusive luxury river cruises and tours through France that will be a feast for the senses and a chance to (re)discover a country brimming with wonders waiting to be explored.

From Lyon to Marseille and Paris to Bordeaux, French cuisine will be a main course that will tantalize your taste buds. In the south of France, sip lavender lemonade in the Lavender Museum in Ardèche, tour a local farm in Les Andelys to sample cider, the region’s speciality, or stop in at the hilltop village of Les Baux before touring a charming family-run olive farm.

You might even want to join a cooking demonstration at the esteemed Paul Bocuse culinary school in Lyon, considered the gastronomic heart of France.

A guided walk of Tain l’Hermitage in Tournon, meanwhile, includes a tasting at the world-famous Valrhona Chocolates. Valrhona has been producing the world’s finest chocolate since 1922. Enjoy the flavor of rare cocoa beans, grown on land masterfully selected for its terroir.

During your journey through the beguiling Bordeaux region, you will have ample opportunity to taste several of Grand Cru Classé wines that trace their linage back to standards set by Emperor Napoleon III in the mid-1800s. Explore the sunlit Châteauneuf-du-Pape at a Côtes du Rhône vineyard, or enjoy a tasting amid the vines at the estate of Château Meursault in Chalon-sur-Saône.

Back on board your Scenic Space-Ship, embrace French cooking through the Scenic Culinaire exclusive cooking school. Available on the South of France and Bordeaux trips, you will have a chance to immerse yourself in the delights of French gastronomy under the tutelage of expert chefs. Each Scenic Culinaire class is tailored to the region and catered to only 10 guests at a time for a truly personalized experience.

In select locations, you can also visit local markets with a Scenic chef to pick out the freshest local produce, and then watch as they prepare it back on board. Visit a local food market in World Heritage-listed Bordeaux and marvel at the gastronomic delights that surround you. Relish the chance to shop with a chef and taste the best produce.

The wines on board, meanwhile, are hand selected by Scenic’s sommelier from the finest regional varieties and are available throughout the day. Relax in L’Amour Restaurant and enjoy a five-course menu paired with wines from the region’s best wineries. A special treat awaits in Rouen where a local pâtissier will come on board with a selection of their finest desserts to sample from.