Romans on the Rhône & Saône
Realising the importance of this region in their ambitions for Gaul, the Romans conquered the Rhône valley in 121 BC, and under Julius Caesar continued north into Burgundy during his Gallic War, 58-51 BC. Join us in Burgundy, the gorgeous French region served by the conjoining Rhône and Saône. Amidst its rolling green hills, we find cobbled Medieval streets, glorious Gallo-Roman and Celtic antiquity and some of the most important Western churches and monasteries of the Middle Ages. Aside from its historical pedigree, this is a region where two great French passions collide: wine and food. Examine Burgundy’s centuries-old history of viticulture during a relaxed vineyard visit and tasting session.
- Gain new understanding of the siege of Alesia during a special presentation from a renowned local archaeologist during our tour
- Explore beautiful Lyon and the wonderful collections of the Musee Gallo-Romain
- View the temple of Augustus and Livia at Vienne: the best preserved Roman temple in France
- Historic Churches
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Lyon and transfer to our hotel in Dijon.
We visit Châtillon-sur-Seine this morning to see the astonishing Vix krater, a 6th-century BC Greek bronze vessel found in an Iron Age aristocrat’s grave. We continue to Alésia, site of Caesar’s final Gallic victory, and its museum. We also view the Vercingetorix statue and then on to the Archéopark museum and reconstructions.
We spend the morning in Autun, one of the wealthiest towns in Roman Gaul. We will visit the Musée Rolin, the theatre, town walls and gates, together with fascinating remains of a large Romano-Celtic temple. This afternoon, we continue to Bibracte, one of Gaul’s largest and most important hillforts.
We begin the day at Dijon Museum, with its display of wooden Gallo-Roman statues from Sources-de-la-Seine. Leaving the city, we travel through wide, green expanses of Burgundy vineyard, passing Clos de Vougeot, a historic Grand Cru vineyard, and the smallest commune in the Cote d’Or. Once in Nuits-St-Georges, we visit the Roman town and Mithraic temple site, as well as the historical and Archaeological Museum.
We head on to Lyon today, travelling via the communes of Chalon-sur-Saône and Cluny. At Chalon, once a busy Roman port, we visit the Musée Denon, rich with historical and prehistorical finds recovered from the River Saône. Continuing on to Cluny, we step into the medieval world, paying a visit to the impressive remains of the town’s Abbey, mother house of the Cluniac Order.
We begin the day in Lyon, France’s third-largest city. Discover the capital of the Three Gauls in the Gallo-Roman Museum. We continue to Vienne, visiting the near complete Temple of Augustus and Livia, the theatre and other remains of this wealthy Roman town on the banks of the river Rhône. In the afternoon, we cross the river in to the small village of St Romain-en-Gal, a suburb of Vienne that has seen extensive excavation. It has a rich display of houses and the new Gallo-Roman museum boasts a magnificent collection of mosaics.
Our day is spent exploring Lyon in more detail. We visit the Theatre, Odeon, Early Christian Churches and the Cathedral Baptistery which gives us an insight into the importance of Lugdunum in late Roman times. This afternoon we discover the aqueducts of this city, unique in the Western Roman Empire for their sheer complexity and advanced engineering.
We enjoy some free time in Lyon on the morning of our final day, before transferring to the airport for our flight home or onward travel.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
4 nights in an elegant 19th century hotel in Dijon, featuring refined, contemporary interiors, and just a short walk from Dijon Cathedral
3 nights in a to-be-confirmed hotel in Lyon, France’s third-largest city, situated at the junction of the Rhône and Saône
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