Provence Lavender
Lavender Fields of Provence

 

Provence River Cruises

 

The Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe and has twice the average discharge of the Loire (which is the longest French river), rising in the Rhone Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the far eastern end of the Swiss canton of Valais, passing through Lake Geneva and running through southeastern France. The Rhone is the only major river to flow into the Mediterranean sea. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone (French: Le Grand Rhone) and the Little Rhone (Le Petit Rhone).

The Rhone River is 505 miles long and features 12 locks between Lyon and Arles.These "Floating Hotels" cruise by beautiful cities, villages, castles and vineyards. On the Rhone, ships sail round-trip from Lyon, France to the Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions and the Mediterranean style cities of Avignon and Arles as well as one-way between Lyon and Avignon or Arles. 

The cruise itineraries includes stops in Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh lived near the end of his life. From Arles, you cruise to Avignon, continue to Viviers and Tournon, and Vienne, then ending in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France.  Some of our cruises stop at alternative ports.

Arles best known for it's Roman arena - Les Arenes dating back to the 1st century, has a very rich history going back to 6th century BC.  There are several museums that offer a look at artificats that give a glimpse of the history of the area - Museum of Christian Art, the Museum of Pagan Art and the Museon Arlaten (incorporating an excavated basilica).  The Cathedral of St Trophime is also well worth the visit. Arles is also famous for the many painting that Vincent van Gogh painted there toward the end of his life.  He painted over 187 paintings of the area.  A popular excursion from Arles is to the Carmague region of flamingos and wild white horses.

Avignon is one of the major cities of Provence, in Southern France. It is the main city of the département of Vaucluse, and is on the banks of the Rhône river. Avignon was one of the European Cities of Culture in 2000.
The Pope's Palace 'Le Palais des Papes' and 'Pont St Bénezet'. The first one is an example of impressive architecture and the works of art displayed inside are simply amazing. Many of the rooms in this Palace were destroyed by fire and now there is only one room fully furnished in its original state. The Pope's Palace has a Gothic structure and is well known for its size, being the largest Gothic Palace in Europe. The Palace was built 1335–1364 on a natural spur of rock, rendering it all but impregnable to attack.  

The other attraction of Avignon is the famous bridge. History says that this bridge was once used for carrying St Bénezet to Villeneuve. It had 22 wonderful arches of which only three remain. Anyway, they are so majestic you could easily imagine how wonderful they must have looked alongside the other arches.  

Viviers is located in the Southern Ardeche. The area has numerous caves in the area, such as the Grottes des Madeleines, which has no less than 25 subterranean halls, or the Grotte Chauvet, home to the oldest cave paintings in the world. There are also many lavender producers in the area and June and July are the best times to see the lavender fields in bloom.

Tournon is a lovely town located right on the banks of the Rhone River.  Across the river is the town of Tain ' Hermitage - home of the famous Valrhona chocolate.  In the hills behind Tournon, there are vineyards of white and red grapes.  Historical sites are the Lycee Gabriel-Faure school - opened in 1536, The Collegiate Church of St Julian and Tournon's Castle.

The city of  Vienne, is  located between the Rhône River and the hills, is France's City of Art and History. It has a rich  heritage, including monuments dating back to ancient times: the Temple of Augustus and Livia built in 1BC;the 1st-century AD Théâtre Antique, one of the largest theatres in Roman Gaul; and the Garden of Cybele with its Gallo-Roman archaeological remains.  The city also boasts beautiful medieval heritage that you can discover by strolling through the old, narrow lanes and visiting the many listed buildings, including the Romanesque Saint-André-le-Bas Church with its superb cloisters decorated with carved capitals, and the Romanesque Gothic Saint-Maurice Cathedral, built from the 12th to 16th centuries, which has a breathtaking western facade with three Flamboyant-style carved portals depicting the holy history. Its luminous and harmonious interior features a long nave with three side aisles, Romanesque capitals and, displayed around the choir, Flemish tapestries portraying the life and martyrdom of St Maurice.

Lyon an historic city is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It lies between the rivers Rhone and Saône, and on the steep western bank of the Saône. The old city has an architectural and cultural heritage spanning over two thousand years. The Musée des Beaux Arts (Fine Arts museum) has a large and varied collection, from Ancient Egyptian artefacts to modern masterpieces, including works by Tintoretto, Reubens, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.

North of Lyon are several additional cruise ports - Macon, Tournus and Chalon-sur-Saone.  These ports are actually located on the Saone river. 

Provence River cruises are very popular as wine themed cruise itineraries.  You cruise through some of France’s premier wine regions while enjoying the comforts of a deluxe river cruise vessel.      You can indulge in the world-renowned Burgundy wines along France’s Rhone River, sip great Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône wines, and explore the wine region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  

River cruises in comparison to barge cruises are different in that they cruise the rivers of Europe rather than the small canals.  The ships are larger and hold from 80 to 200+ passengers.  You will often find a swimming pool, beauty salon, gift shop, dancing and entertainment on board where you will not on the barge cruises.

In contrast, where the smaller barges include shore excursions, have bicycles for guests and often have open bar, the river cruises do not have an open bar policy, only a few have bicycles, and most do not include shore excursions.

Key Benefits

How to use this chart:

  • Column 1 is the ship name - click on the name to get ship details and pictures
  • Column 2 is the itinerary - click on itinerary and you will be taken to a chart listing a week by week detail of where the ship cruises.
  • Column 3 is the rates

 

 

Ship Itineraries Inclusions
AMA 
AmaDagio
8 days
123 pax

Cruising Provence and Spain
Lyon to Arles

With pre and post land extensions available in Paris and Barcelona

Dining on AmaWaterways



Rate includes:  all sightseeing,  meals, wine with dinner, free internet, use of bicycles on board

Luftner

Amadeus Provence
8 days

Treasures of Burgundy and Provence
Lyon round trip

Dining on Amadeus


Rate includes:  port taxes, meals, wine with dinner and, use of bicycles on board
Arosa Stella
6-8 days
174 pax

Rhone
Lyon, Macon, Chalon-sur-Saone, Viviers, Avignon, Arles, Lyon

Arosa Video

Dining on Arosa

Arosa Stella Video

**Please note that this is a bi-lingual ship with information provided in both English and German, and an international cruise host on board.**

Regular priced cruises between April and October, include a beverage package and FREE Wi-Fi.

Sightseeing excursions are additional.


 
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