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


While the Beatles immortalized the phrase, “Lavender fields are forever,” they were inspired to write those poetic and life-changing words by a trip to Provence — maybe they even took a river cruise on the Saone River. These 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 regions.

This very popular French river cruise sails smoothly from Chalon-sur-Saône, a really cool, small medieval town pefectly situated within the heart of what is known as Burgundy. From here you Saone River cruise co-mingles with the Rhone as you enter 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 cruise down the Saône and Rhône is a delightful blend of all things France.
Exciting touring and historical stops, the French cultural and traditions, and of course the food, wine and art are all a delight to the senses. Your river cruise in France though Provence will allow you to leisurely enjoy France as you float past incredible photographic opportunities of vine clad hills and extraordianry French medieval villages around almost every bend in the river. It's hard to put into words the beauty that one experiences on a French river cruise through Provence - especially the beauty that is found in their fine food and wines. This French river cruise works for anyone, irrespective of how old the calendar says you are. It's an easy, slow paced cruise for those who enjoy walking. And we have to tell you, there may be no finer place in all the world than the Provence region of France to be a wanderlust. Have an extra slot card for your camera and get ready for one of the best river cruises in the world, a French river cruise in Provence.

A 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. These cruises appeal 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.

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!

For those interested in the French masters, this cruise will provide you with an ample opportunity to explore the lush vineyards, fields of flowers and lavender that inspired Van Gogh and Cézanne in and around Arles. You’ll also have complete access to the Avignon’s spectacular Palace of the Popes, the former summer home for the Papacy.


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