Top 10 Reasons to Take a River Cruise
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A Fabulous France river cruise for all things wine and food.


A Rhône River Cruise in Provence, France was the inspiration that caused the Beatles to immortalize the phrase, “Lavender fields are forever.” John Lennon wrote those poetic and life-changing words about his trip to Provence. The two rivers, the Saône and the Rhône, respectively, combine to create your liquid highway through the very heart of France’s majestic Burgundy and Provence culinary and wine regions.

The most demanded French river cruise itineraries allow you to glide from Chalon-sur-Saône, located on the Saône, a small and charming medieval town in the middle of the Burgundy region, to the provincial capital of Provence, Arles, over 2500 years old. Arles with its wealth of Roman ruins is positioned on the Rhône just before it reaches the Mediterranean Sea.

A French river cruise in Provence is the perfect combination of... well, everything!
Nature, historical and cultural wonders, the wine, cuisine, the people... all are a delight to the senses (particularly the taste buds). Your French river cruise program will take you past sweeping vistas of vineyard clad rolling hills and medieval villages dripping with charm. This is a cruise for anyone of any age, but you must enjoy walking to get the most out of this itinerary as many of your “included” shore excursions as well as some of your personal wandering around the many incredible places will require comfortable walking shoes and your favorite camera.

The river cruise on the Saône and Rhône will require a bit of gastronomic control before — Yes, before you go! — We suggest eating wisely before you arrive, so that you can take full advantage of being at and around what many gastronomic’s call the food capitol of the world, Lyon. As noted above, this cruise appeals to all ages and it does that better than almost any other river cruise vacation, as this itinerary offers unimaginable wine tasting and culinary opportunities as well as history back to the time of the Romans, the art of Van Gogh and Cézanne and of course, those extraordinary French cities of Beaune, Tournon, Viviers, Avignon and Arles to mention but a few.

This area of Provence is steeped in history and rich culinary traditions due in no small way to the worldwide success of its most noted chef, Paul Bocuse (some river cruises dine at one of his restaurants). It is also known for its incredible architectural landmarks, medieval villages, and yes wines. It is afterall one of the most well known wine growing regions in the world, Beaujolais in the north, and the Côtes du Rhone varietal wines in the South. Your river cruise will provide ample opportunities to sample them, both on and off the ship. It's also one of our favorite place is the world for sausage lovers and you must sample the local saucisson de Lyon — they are dynamite!

The Saône is only 80 miles or so, but what an 80 miles! You'll journey through the beautiful Burgundy landscape, leisurely cruising towards the city known and loved by gourmands everywhere, Lyon. It is here that the Saône merges with the longer and better known Rhône River which continues south for close to 200 miles, passing through Provence, with its numerous Greek and Roman settlements, and the Rhône Valley, abounding with vineyards and such famous wine towns as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. During this stretch of the trip you’ll want to have your camera or iPhone very handy.

The crown jewel on any cruise through this region is without a doubt the city of Lyon. This beautiful city, founded by the Romans, sits at the confluence of the two rivers. Its most imposing feature is the stark white and imposing Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière, built on the highest hill with views overlooking the city that should not be missed. Lyon has so much history that much of it, including the Basilica, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now, if you have the time, better yet, make the time, and do at least one of the following: lunch or dine at a “Bouchon,” a traditional restaurant serving Lyonnais cuisine; tour the “traboules”, narrow passages linking streets and buildings in the old city. Many traboules were used by the French resistance during World War II.



While there are a multitude of exceptional places of interest as you sail down the river, my favorite place has to be the Pont du Gard, the ancient Roman aqueduct and bridge built in the 1st-century AD. Standing close to this immense monument to Rome’s engineering prowess you realize just how incredible a task it was to construct this highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges. Not only is this a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is among the top five most popular tourist draws in all of France.

In fact, a river cruise down the Rhône is a showcase for a veritable cornucopia of roman history – from the wonderfully preserved arena in Arles, still used for musical concerts, to the outstanding amphitheater in Orange, the most impressive still existing in Europe and the site of the world famous Chorégies d’Orange, a summer opera festival. And both sites are — you guessed it, UNESCO World Heritage Sites!


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TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Unless otherwise noted, prices and offers are in USD, cruise only per person, based on double occupancy and do not include airfare, taxes or fees. The displayed prices are based on minimum category riverview window stateroom and applicable only to the sailing date(s) shown. Prices for other dates may vary based on the date and stateroom selected. Other than “Hot Deal” offers, price does not reflect any cruise line or Premier savings. Where Premier includes “prepaid tips” in an offer, it applies only to the cruise portion of the trip and not any land portion or shore excursions. To obtain the best price, please use the "Get Quote" button or call one of our river cruise and small ship cruise specialists. Certain discounts or prices may require full payment at the time of booking in order to be eligible. We urge you to book early as river and small ship cruises sell out almost a year in advance. Prices and availability may change without notice and are not guaranteed until a deposit is received and applied to your reservation. Call 1-855-255-1200, for complete details. We reserve the right to correct any informational or typographical errors. ©2010-2023 Premier River Cruises, LLC, a Travel of America Company. All rights reserved worldwide. CST #1015320-40.

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