River Cruising in the South of France | A river cruise is a romantic way to explore a new place and create lasting memories.

River Cruising in the South of France

France is the quintessential destination for good reason. Whether you visit romantic Northern France, stunning Bordeaux, or charming Burgundy & Provence, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the best wines and cuisines the world has to offer. Come for the famous Chateau wineries of Bordeaux and cultural landmarks of Paris, then leave reminiscing about your stroll through Monet’s Giverny gardens and your kayak ride under the Pont-du-Guard.

Why go on A Riverboat Cruise In France?

River cruise ships are modest in size compared with ocean-going cruise ships, accommodating around 100 – 200 guests rather than thousands of passengers. They offer close, friendly and personal hospitality reflected in the fact that the ships themselves can moor in the heart of France’s world-famous historic towns and cities and cruise sedately through the sunny countryside. Nine highly experienced river cruise companies offer an extensive choice of river cruises on France’s five major rivers, the Seine, Rhine, Saône/Rhône, Bordeaux/Garonne and the Loire.

Highlights of a Luxury Riverboat Cruise In France

Every day your river cruise brings fresh delights to savour – local culture, cuisine, wine, architecture and immersion in the unique pavement-café bustle of French life. Add the opportunity to visit local places of interest – chateaux, vineyards, markets and historic or artistic sights – and you’ve got the best of everything.

Each small ship has its own personality, providing excellent accommodation in light, airy and spacious surroundings. They feature superb dining rooms, bars and sitting areas – and of course, a sun-deck complete with parasols and loungers. Stateroom cabin bedrooms have en-suite shower rooms, TVs and modern services and, very importantly, each will have a large window or private balcony from which to enjoy the rich panorama of countryside, scenery and architecture as it passes just a short distance away.

Choose your favourite type of cruise

  • River Cruises for Singles and Solo Travellers
  • Romantic and Honeymoon River Cruises
  • Family River Cruises

Where can I cruise in France aboard a river cruise ship?

These ships are large and therefore can’t enter France’s intricate canal system but must remain on the major rivers – on the Seine, from Paris to the coast; from the Saone river and down the Rhone river to Marseille on the Mediterranean; on the Rhine skirting France but including Strasbourg, and the Gironde estuary around Bordeaux. France is about the size of Texas and its wealth of rivers provide fascinating, peaceful cruises through countryside, ancient villages and important cities.

This will be our first river cruise. What are they like compared to sea cruises?

River cruise ships carry around 100-120 passengers, nowhere near as many as a sea going cruise ship able to accommodate thousands, so it is a more personal experience, but naturally with fewer social areas, amenities and entertainments on board. You are also close to land at all times so there are no days of endless sea vistas, no waves and no chance of feeling sea-sick. All the suites are outward facing, some with very spacious penthouse-style balconies, and all provide quality fittings and furnishings. There are many grades of luxury, however, according to the cruise company you choose. River ships stop along their routes for daily excursions and offer plenty of free-time as well guided tours.

Are River Cruises All Inclusive?

All meals and most drinks are included in the price; some cruises have specific dining places for passengers fixed for the whole week, others offer free choice inn the dining room. A programme of optional activities takes place on board each day and evening which can include keep-fit, quizzes, dancing, an entertainer and a show put on by the crew.

Some cruise lines will pick you up from your home (UK) and/or include flights. Some include excursions in the price whilst for others you may have to book and pay for excursions separately and/or in advance – they can sell out, too.

What is the Best Month for a European River Cruise?

The summer months are naturally the most popular time but the best month for a European river cruise varies a little depending on your exact destination and how hot you like the weather. June and July are peak season for river cruising in France. A Seine river cruise in Paris in spring is a delight as the city bursts into bloom. A Bordeaux river cruise in September or October will capture harvest time in this richly fruit laden corner of southwest France. If you enjoy the heat, a Provence cruise between June and August will ensure you see the lavender in full bloom. Although the temperate climate of southern France makes Rhône and Saône river cruises a good choice all year round, the light is perhaps most striking in early autumn and days exploring Arles and Avignon less intense on cooler days. A late spring or early summer river cruise through Burgundy will catch the vineyards in all their glory and food festivals aplenty. Alsace river cruises that sweep through the ancient and modern architecture of Strasbourg can be enjoyed all year round but Christmas market river cruises are particularly spectacular.

What is the most Picturesque River Cruise in Europe?

Will it be the gleaming sunflowers and purple lavender haze of southern France that make for the most picturesque river cruise in Europe? Or will you swoon instead over the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux? Or will you be enraptured by the ancient architecture of Bastide towns and Roman amphitheatres? Or will the Eiffel Tower and lush gardens of Paris sweep you off your feet? There is quite literally something for all tastes and imaginations on a French river cruise and plentiful picturesque sights to enrich your excursions ashore.

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