Before gracing UK televisions, James Martin travelled throughout France working in the kitchens of French châteaux. At 21, he opened the Hotel and Bistro du Vin in Winchester as Head Chef, where he changed the menu daily. James' TV shows have included James Martin: Home Comforts, British favourite Saturday Kitchen and James Martin's French Adventure. He can be found at James Martin Manchester and The Kitchen at Chewton Glen.
Enjoy the flavours of France with James Martin and Susy Atkins
France is "the food destination that has it all" - and that's
according to the hugely popular chef and TV presenter James Martin,
who will join readers on this special river cruise along the Rhône.
On this unique eight-day itinerary, James will share his expertise
in French cuisine and infectious enthusiasm with those on
Your itinerary begins in Arles and takes you to the centre of Burgundy's wine region, as well as to wonderful destinations including Tournon, Avignon, Viviers and Lyon. You'll have the chance to walk along Lyon's secret lanes and learn why it's the country's gastronomic heart, visit the vineyards of Tournon, enjoy an on-board wine lecture, and immerse yourself in Avignon's Celtic history.
Your Star-Ship, Emerald Liberté is custom-built to navigate the Rhône and Saône rivers. You can relax in the on-board heated pool with retractable roof and in the evening, enjoy it as a cinema. Plus, there are plenty of fine dining options such as the refined Reflections Restaurant. James Martin will give a live on-board cooking demonstration, offering expert hints and tips as he and his sous-chef create some of his favourite French recipes. He'll also give an informal talk about his career, followed by a private Q&A session.
"I spent some of my early years in France and they were magical times. In a way, I owe it all to France. It was those early trips that set the course of my career - from the unforgettable taste of my first croissant to seeing a steak cooked 'blue', not burnt to a cinder. I am thrilled to be going back next year, and I hope you can join me as we cruise towards Lyon, one of the world's great gastronomic cities."
Flexible booking policy
Emerald Cruises' Deposit Protection Plan and Flexible Booking Policy allows guests to change travel dates or itinerary up to 60 days before departure at no cost.
Reasons to book
Q&A with James Martin
James Martin cooking demonstration
Susy Atkins' wine pairings
Your Star-Ship facilities
Your expert guides
An award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author, Susy Atkins has travelled the world writing, tasting and educating about wine for more than 25 years. Susy's credits include being a wine expert and presenter on BBC1's Saturday Kitchen, the resident wine expert on Channel 4's Richard & Judy, a regular contributor to Radio 4 and the author of 11 popular books, including Wine Wisdom, How to Choose Wine and How to Make Your Own Drinks.
- Return flight from up to 16 regional airports
- Cookery demonstration and Q&A with James Martin
- Seven nights' accommodation on an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship
- All excursions as detailed in the itinerary
- Private wine tastings and talk with Susy Atkins
- All meals and wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board, plus a gala dinner cooked by James Martin and his sous-chef
- All tips, port charges, airport taxes and ship transfers
- Complimentary book signed by James Martin (one per booking)
Day1Travel to ArlesArles, France
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the lush surrounds of your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception on board.
Sail into Arles where you will join your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city in particular the 2000-year-old Roman Amphitheatre still in use today, which was originally built to hold 20,000 spectators in the style of the Colosseum in Rome. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax on board and explore Arles further.
Today you will dock in one of the great cities of Provence: Avignon. With Celtic beginnings, time as the Papal residence, and a history rich in both culture and conflict, this is one of the most enthralling cities in the region. Your guided walk will take you through the historic centre - including a glimpse of the medieval Pont d'Avignon. Enjoy a Provençale dinner expertly prepared by Top Chef finalist Fabien Morreale.
Arrive in Viviers, home to one of the oldest cathedrals in France and numerous listed monuments. Take a guided walking tour exploring the architectural heritage of the town.
Day5TournonTournon-sur-Rhône , France
Join a local guide for a walking tour of Tournon, which is dominated by the 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. The area has a long tradition in winemaking, including the renowned wine growing centre of Tain l'Hermitage across the river. Return to the ship for a cheese and olive tasting on board.
Today you will join a local expert for a guided tour of the third largest city in France. Alternatively, you can explore the city by bike. Later, James Martin will join you for an exclusive book signing and then you will hear all about his career during an informal talk and a private Q&A session.
Today you stop at Chalon-sur-Saône, known as the centre of Burgundy's wine region. You will travel overland to Beaune to visit the Hospices de Beaune, one of the finest examples of 15th-century French architecture. It was once a hospital for the poor and is now home to one of Burgundy's most popular wine auctions.
Later, join Susy Atkins for a wine masterclass and tasting and attend a cooking demonstration with James Martin as he prepares some of his favourite dishes. The menu for this evening's gala dinner has been specially created by James with wine pairings by Susy.
Day8Return homeLyon, France
After breakfast on the ship, disembark for your journey home.
One of the most impressive river cruise ships of the Emerald Cruises fleet
Making her maiden voyage in 2017, Emerald Liberté provides a luxurious and relaxing passage through the southern stretches of France.
Proving the journey is every bit as important as the destination, Emerald Liberté is blessed with an incredible selection of amenities and features. Designed to ensure every moment spent navigating the rivers of Europe and Asia with Emerald Cruises is incredibly comfortable, relaxing and enjoyable; the ship's features and flourishes have been selected to perfectly complement the journey.
From luxury restaurants and bar areas to health-giving spa and fitness facilities; our award-winning Star-Ships are designed to complement the journeys and lifestyles of our guests. Determined to ensure our guests never feel restricted during their time with Emerald Cruises, all staterooms, suites and public areas of the ship have been designed to maximise comfort.
The Sun Deck aboard Emerald Liberte always proves to be hugely popular during the summer months, with the delicate river breeze perfectly complementing the stunning panoramas provided by the world's most beautiful waterways.
This open-air top deck consists of a dining area adjacent to leisure and relaxation features; perfect whether you fancy a gourmet meal with new friends, or soak up the sun from the pool.
And it's not just the public area of the Emerald Cruises' Star-Ships which have been lovingly devised to maximise comfort and enjoyment, our ships are blessed with the most stylish cabins. Ensuring restful nights and comfortable days, they are endowed with all the facilities and features you'd expect from an upmarket boutique hotel.
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