See why this city stands out above all others as you stroll along elaborate mosaic sidewalks and pass by the Monument to the Discoveries. A quick trolley ride transports you to the cobblestone district of Baixa. Or be lured away and pampered in the resort cities of Cascais and Estoril.
This storied capital with a history that extends back before the Roman Empire is only 1 of 2 cities in Portugal designated as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group. Once one of the world’s great naval and shipping powers, modern day Lisbon is an important hub of finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, and tourism.
Take a wonderful tour through Lisbon and you’ll discover Graca, the beautifully restored old area of the city, filled with old tiled buildings and mansions and Chiado, Lisbon’s arts district, for a different air of sophistication with its many boutiques, galleries and theatres. And, of course, a cruise to Lisbon is not complete without sampling a nice bottle of Port wine; the fortified red wine that can be found throughout the country.
The Rhône Valley had been the route of choice for marauding armies and peaceful traders for centuries, and Lyon’s current site, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers, cried out to be fortified. In 43 BC the Romans founded the city, which subsequently grew in importance; Emperor Claudius, conqueror of Britain, was born here.
There are many Roman remains to see, but it was the production of silk that brought Lyon to prominence during the Middle Ages, and throughout the city you can see signs of the wealth that poured in – Renaissance buildings, imposing churches and Europe’s largest pedestrian square, Place Bellecour, with a statue of Louis XIV as its focus.
The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is crammed with antique shops and intriguing traboules – narrow covered passageways enabling silk merchants to transport their wares to the river without getting wet – that today are a joy to amble through. As well as its glorious architecture, Lyon is generally acknowledged as France’s (and to locals, the world’s) gastronomic capital.
In fairness it has much to commend it: nouvelle cuisine was invented near here and the city boasts a huge array of speciality food shops and eateries, including 20 restaurants with one or more Michelin stars and countless little places to eat.
It’s your final afternoon in which you are free to explore Lyon further or perhaps though, return to the sumptuous surroundings of your ship, head up on to the Sun Deck and just contemplate the wondrous places you have seen and experienced over a quiet cup of tea.
This evening enjoy the sumptuous Captain’s Dinner, with the chef serving specialities of the regions you’ve visited during your voyage of discovery. After dinner, sit back and relax to the sounds of a talented local pianist who’ll entertain you with French songs on board.