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France River Cruises

France represents an excellent choice for would-be river cruisers as it boasts a number of different waterways on which you can travel during a voyage, each of which offers its own distinct blend of history, culture and stunning scenery. The most well-known is certainly the Seine in the north of France, not least because it offers river cruisers the opportunity to explore France’s legendary capital Paris. The Rhone is a great way to experience the south of France and the celebrated beauty – and indeed wine – that it is famous for and also provides the chance to briefly sample another French river – one of its tributaries the Saone. The Moselle offers another opportunity to experience the country’s capital before you set sail. From awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites to lush wine-growing valleys, you can experience the best that France has to offer with a river cruise.

France Ports

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Arles

Arles is a popular port of call on cruises which travel along one of France’s most famous rivers, the Rhone. Located in the south of the country and close to the ocean, it’s ...

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Avignon

Not just one the most historic cities you’ll visit on a Rhone River cruise but also one of the most historic in the whole of France, Avignon is a fascinating and fantastic port ...

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Blaye

If you’re taking a river cruise which explores France’s beautiful Bordeaux region, then there’s every chance you’ll visit Blaye on your travels. Blaye sits on the Gironde River on the right ...

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Bordeaux

The word 'Bordeaux' is of course synonymous with French wine and indeed, a visit to this beautiful port and world wine capital on the banks of the Garonne River will offer you plenty of opportunity ...

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Conflans

Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is both a town and a suburb of Paris, lying to the north west of the city centre within easy reach of major public transport facilities. It is located on the north bank of ...

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Giverny

Giverny is located 50 miles from Paris and sits on the right bank of the River Seine at the point where the waterway meets the River Epte. The settlement dates back to Neolithic times and Gallo-Roman ...

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Les Andelys

Les Andelys lies by the River Seine in the Upper Normandy region of northern France, about 20 miles northeast of Evreux and 20 miles southeast of Rouen. The town is nestled in verdant countryside below a ...

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Libourne

Libourne lies just 18 miles east of Bordeaux on the River Dordogne in the southwest of France. It sits three miles from the vineyards of Pomerol and five miles from Saint-Emilion, and is known as the ...

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Lyon

Situated close to where the Rhone River meets its tributary the Saone, Lyon is a popular destination for river cruises exploring either or both of these famous French rivers. With around 2,000 years of history to ...

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Paris

France’s legendary capital is one of the world’s most iconic and most-visited cities and is as rich in famous landmarks as it is in unique cultural atmosphere. Its location on the ...

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Rouen

Rouen sits on the River Seine within the French region of Upper Normandy. This ancient city is the picturesque capital of the French region of Upper Normandy and has a long and dramatic history, spanning ...

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Saint-Émilion

Saint-Émilion is situated in the Gironde region of Aquitaine in south-western France. The village is around 35km north east of Bordeaux, sitting on top of a hill which overlooks the beautiful Dordogne Valley. ...

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Strasbourg

Perhaps best known for being the seat of the European Parliament, Strasbourg is located in the east of France, close to the border with Germany, meaning that it’s a city influenced by the ...

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Vernon

Vernon is situated within the area of Eure in the Haute-Normandie region of northern France. The village lies amongst picturesque scenery on the banks of the River Seine, between the cities of Paris and Rouen. ...

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Vienne

Vienne is located in the Isère department of south eastern France and lies on the banks of the Rhône River around 30km south of Lyon. The French township of Vienne is an idyllic ...

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Villefranche

Villefranche is actually a name which many destinations in France share but when it comes to river cruises, the name refers to Villefranche-sur-Saone, which is, as you may have perhaps guessed, a port of call ...

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Viviers

Viviers is a commune situated in the Ardèche region of southern France and which lies on the banks of the River Rhône, several kilometres south of Montelimar. The town has managed to retain ...

Rivers flowing through France

The Seine 

Though the river begins its journey in the east of the country close to Dijon, river cruises along the Seine tend to be round-trips from the country’s capital, presenting river cruisers with plenty of opportunities to explore Paris’ many sights . Legendary landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral are all yours to experience, either before you embark or upon your return. During your Seine cruise, you’ll likely dock at Vernon, whereby you’ll be able to take a trip to Giverny and the former home of one of the country’s most revered artistic sons, Claude Monet. Rouen in the Normandy region is another popular port of call. It’s the city where Joan of Arc was martyred, offering some captivating architecture and a wealth of medieval history to explore. On Seine cruises, you may also visit Les Andelys, famous for its Chateau Gaillard and Conflans, which offers a charming river trade heritage and also the opportunity for a trip to the opulent Palace of Versailles, where none other than Louis XIV once resided.

The Rhone and Saone 

The Rhone is your ticket to the beauty of southern France and a journey along it can take you from the centre of the country to its beautiful, clement coast. Chalon-sur-Saone is a small town which offers plenty of charm and acts as a starting point for many a Rhone and Saone cruise, providing you with a taste of the Saone before you join the larger Rhone to continue your journey. Lyon lies just south of the point at which the Rhone and Saone Rivers meet and is a key port of call for many cruises along the rivers. This 2,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a wealth of architectural treasures, such as the Basilica of Notre Dame and the St Jean Cathedral. Vienne meanwhile delivers a very different taste of southern France with a strong Roman heritage – don’t miss the temple of Augustus & Livia and the amphitheatre. Tournon is your opportunity to sample some of the region’s celebrated red wine, while Viviers offers a pleasing mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Arles boasts more Roman architectural treasures to discover, while Avignon is one of the nation’s most historically important cities, as the historic home of seven different popes in the 1300s.

The Moselle 

The Moselle is, in fact, a tributary of the Rhine and though, like its mother river, it flows through Germany, it actually begins its journey in France’s Voges Mountains. This means that a number of Moselle itineraries begin in Paris, which doesn’t lie on the river but is close enough to warrant transfers to where your Moselle cruise begins in Trier, Germany. This offers the chance to experience more countries during your Moselle voyage and also lets you see Paris’ numerous iconic landmarks .

Garonne, Gironde and Dordogne

A select number of French river cruise itineraries also explore this beautiful tidal river system, which gives river cruisers the opportunity to explore the famous Bordeaux wine-growing region. Bordeaux itself is located on the Garonne and boasts a wealth of stunning 18th-century architecture, while other key stops include Blaye, famous for its 17th-century citadel and Cadillac, from where many river cruise operators offer wine-tasting excursions.

France river cruise travel tips

  • The currency in France is the Euro
  • Even if you only know a little French, locals will appreciate your attempts to speak it
  • In larger tourist-centric cities, you’ll find English in wider use
  • In Northern France, you can expect similar temperatures to the UK but Southern France enjoys a warmer climate

France Itineraries

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Paris

The Seine Valley

23 Oct 2020 - 7 Nights

From Paris, France to Paris on board MS Seine Princess

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Paris to Honfleur

24 Sep 2019 - 6 Nights

From Paris, France to Honfleur on board MS Renoir

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Bordeaux to Bordeaux

27 Jun 2019 - 6 Nights

From Bordeaux, France to Bordeaux on board MS Cyrano de Bergerac

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