The pre-cruise Paris option worked out very well: met at CDG baggage exit by the Viking rep who took our bags to the waiting SUV; met at the Meridien by the Viking host with keys, ample information and valet to handle our baggage; the Paris tour next morning by coach and walking was very informative and comfortable; plenty of free time the next day to visit the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre; as well as evening people watching over good wines followed by wonderful dinners. Another full day would have been even better!
Rather than see the lengthy motor coach transfer to Chalon as an arduous venture as indicated by other contributors, we chose to call it a tour with comfort stops...which it was! Lunch and a walking tour of Dijon was great fun. The countryside viewing along the way, if a bit long, was enjoyable. Be ready for the trip, and it won't disappoint.
Easily the finest Program Director and Hotel Manager that we've ever experienced in river cruising: Christine and David, met us at the Buri gangway with a warm greeting. Keys and a welcome drink as we boarded; bags in our room in three minutes; a delicious buffet waiting. All of the tour guides in the various towns were excellent...the contents of the tours are well described in the Viking booklet mailed to us in advance, so we won't expand here; only to suggest that southern France is inhabited by the friendliest of people! At every turn, they were most welcoming!