Rhône River Cruise
Of all the French rivers, the Rhône has the largest water flow due to its Alpine characteristics. See France at its scenic best on a charming Rhône river cruise. Sail from Chalon-sur-Saône and visit the towns of Tournus, Mâcon, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as medieval Tournon, charming Viviers, Avignon, and Arles.
See the highlights of Tournus, tucked away in the south-east corner of Burgundy. The town is one of the oldest and most important monastic centers in the region, with a superb abbey, St. Philibert, part of which dates back to the 10th century. Mâcon, a city with a rich history that plays an important role in the wine trade is the next stop, with an option to visit a winery.
Lyon is France’s second-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Founded by the Romans in 43 BC, the city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial, and banking activities. Roman remains, many excellent museums, and much renaissance architecture can be found here. Explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways or visit the local produce markets or sip Beaujolais, the wine of the region.
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. Tournon, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins, is one of France’s oldest medieval cities. Another charming town, Viviers, was developed around its Romanesque cathedral and the old town has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.
The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region, the most picturesque part of Provence. Also referred to as the “City of Popes,” it was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century, and the city landscape is dominated by the grandiose Palace of the Popes.
On the northern tip of the Camargue, Arles was once known as the “Little Rome of Gaul.” Vincent van Gogh was inspired by the special light of Provence and spent a very productive year in Arles.
Add a visit to Paris and a stay in the French Riviera on either end of this weeklong cruise. Cruises also run the reverse route.