Join our mailing list and get
all the latest cruise
deals direct to your inbox


Sign up today and we'll
send you the latest
edition of our
cruise concierge

A view of Paris from the air An ancient ruin at Viviers Rhine rhone


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, meanwhile 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.

French rivers

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 travel tips

The currency in France is the Euro and 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 thanks to its proximity to Spain.

Customers recently booked

Koblenz skyline reflecting in river Moselle, Rhineland-Palatinat e, Germany
Romantic Rhine
Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Avalon Waterways
17 Sep 2017 - 7 nights
Secure your 2017 cruise now before it's too late!
161 sailing dates
Strasbourg - House tanners, Petite France district. Strasbourg, France
The Enchanting Rhine
Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands
26 Oct 2017 - 7 nights
Last chance to book for 2017 - don't miss out!
125 sailing dates

You may be interested in

Koblenz skyline reflecting in river Moselle, Rhineland-Palatinat e, Germany
Romantic Rhine
Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland
Avalon Waterways
23 Jun 2018 - 7 nights
Secure your 2018 cruise now with LOW £75pp deposits and FREE VIP chauffeur home pick-up service
161 sailing dates
The ancient city walls of Avignon, France
Lyon & Provence
Lyon to Avignon
Viking Cruises
27 Jun 2018 - 7 nights
Includes HUGE early booking savings of up to £2,000 per couple
97 sailing dates
Relaxing rural setting of Bordeaux
Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
Bordeaux to Bordeaux
Viking Cruises
04 Aug 2018 - 7 nights
Includes HUGE early booking savings of up to £2,000 per couple
52 sailing dates
Lyon - The Saone river in Lyon city at evening, France
Burgundy & Provence
Cote D’Azur, France to Paris
Avalon Waterways
10 Aug 2018 - 10 nights
Secure your 2018 cruise now with LOW £75pp deposits and FREE VIP chauffeur home pick-up service
53 sailing dates

For the best prices call us free on:

0800 197 0854
Thank-you for signing up
RiverVoyages acts as a retail agent to you and also as a disclosed agent of the holiday provider. Many of the flight inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking terms and conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here
Call 0800 197 0854 (free phone). 9am - 9pm.