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

Aerial view of the banks of Lyon


Lyon River Cruises

About 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 draw upon, France’s third largest city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with good reason. The former capital of Gaul, it started off life as the location of a Roman colony. Lyon came under French control in the 14th century, played a significant role in the French Revolution, emerged as silk trade power during the Renaissance and was a stronghold for the resistance during the Second World War. As one of France’s most historically diverse cities, it provides an excellent overview of the many stages in the country’s past to thousands of visiting river cruisers.

Exploring Lyon

The city is home to many historic religious buildings, but visiting one of its most famous ones allows you to experience some of its other attractions, too. In existence since 1900, the Funicular railway line which scales Fourviere Hill is a truly historic way to travel to the Basilque Notre Dame de Fourviere, which is home to a number of stunning stained glass installations, mosaics and stone carvings. Another beautiful church to visit is the Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste, where an astronomical clock performs a fascinating five-minute show on the hour.

Unique to the city and a true journey back in time are the Traboules. Hidden away in the old town, they are a network of old passageways which link buildings and streets and a number of the properties are still populated by some of the city’s citizens. Make sure you travel with a guide to get the most out of your visit, as if you explore on your own, you’re unlikely to be able to find some of the doors.

Lyon is a city of neighbourhoods, each of which offers a journey through a different period of its history. The slopes of Croix-Rousse silk district, the Presquile District, which has buildings which date back to the 12th century, and the Renaissance district Vieux Lyon are all worth exploring if you have the time. Not so much a neighbourhood but a compelling look at one of the city’s most ancient chapters, the Theatres Romains de Fourviere are the ruins of two Roman amphitheatres, each over 2,000 years old and utterly compelling. They’re also conveniently accessible by way of the funicular railway.

For an excellent overview of the city’s past if you don’t have as much time to explore, a trip to one of its museums is certainly a good option. The subject of the Museum of Gall-Roman Civilisation speaks for itself but there are some fascinating artefacts on display. Lyon also boasts a number specialist museums, including the family home of the Lumiere brothers, famed inventors of the Cinematograph and the Beaux Arts Museum which contains a wealth of  works and which is located in a truly beautiful setting.

Lyon tips

France is famed for its cuisine and Lyon certainly offers a rewarding culinary experience in any one of its traditional bouchons, where you won’t pay over the odds. Typical local dishes include Lyonnaise Salad and saucisson chaud. 

Customers recently booked

The ancient city walls of Avignon, France
Lyon & Provence
Lyon to Avignon
Viking Cruises
02 Jul 2017 - 7 nights
Secure your 2018 cruise now with HUGE early booking savings of up to £2,000 per couple
112 sailing dates
The ancient city walls of Avignon, France
Lyon & Provence
Avignon to Lyon
Viking Cruises
23 Jul 2017 - 7 nights
Secure your 2018 cruise now with HUGE early booking savings of up to £2,000 per couple
112 sailing dates

You may be interested in

Barcelona - National Museum in Barcelona,Placa De Espanya,Spain
Provence & Spain
Lyon to Arles
10 Aug 2017 - 7 nights
Last chance to book for 2017 - don't miss out!
35 sailing dates
Lyon - The Saone river in Lyon city at evening, France
Burgundy & Provence
Cote D’Azur, France to Paris
Avalon Waterways
06 Oct 2017 - 10 nights
Secure your 2017 cruise now before it's too late!
66 sailing dates
Burgundy and Provence river cruise with Uniworld
Burgundy & Provence
Avignon to Lyon
Uniworld River Cruises
29 Jul 2018 - 7 nights
Includes FREE stateroom upgrade, FREE flights from the UK and FREE chauffeur driven transfers on selected 2017 sailings
58 sailing dates
The ancient city walls of Avignon, France
Sensations of Southern France
Lyon to Arles
Emerald Waterways
13 Oct 2018 - 7 nights
2018 cruises at 2017 prices! Early booking savings of up to £1,000 per couple plus up to €200 FREE to spend on-board per couple
46 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.