The Rhone is one of Europe’s major waterways, flowing for more than 500 miles from its source in Switzerland across southwestern France. Before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea on the beautiful French Riviera, the river splits into two smaller waterways – known as the Great Rhone and Little Rhone – at the city of Arles.
This wonderful French waterway has been an important trade route and important cultural icon for centuries, used by the people of France since the days of ancient Rome. The river flows through many historically significant and fascinating towns and cities on its way from Switzerland to the Mediterranean Sea and river cruises along this stunning waterway can take travellers to a wonderful collection of historic towns, quaint wine producing regions and bustling cosmopolitan cities both along the famous French Riviera and further inland.
As one the largest cities on the banks of the Rhone, Lyon is regularly featured on itineraries sailing along this beautiful river. This famous city has a history stretching back for millennia – a fact that can be observed across the region and is reflected in the many ancient landmarks to be found here.
After disembarking in Lyon, the city offers plenty of opportunity for exploration and discovery, perfect for history buffs and those with an interest in France’s fascinating heritage. Lyon’s stunning collection of historic religious buildings includes Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste and Basilque Notre Dame de Fourviere, to which visitors can catch the marvellous funicular railway. Travellers should also sample some of the local French cuisine whilst in the Lyon, especially throughout the heart of the city, where a range of excellent restaurants and dining venues can be found.
Located on the Rhone in the French region of Provence, Avignon is a hub of culture and heritage, home to an abundance of intriguing landmarks and fabulous sightseeing opportunities. One of the city’s most illustrious sites is the incredible Palace of the Popes, which was the papal seat for many years and is nowadays a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Avignon is also famous for its exciting cultural festival, so if you are an arts enthusiast, timing your arrival to coincide with the city’s festival will be an event to savour. Avignon is also well-known for its authentic local cuisine, so be sure to sample some Quiche Lorraine or fish-based meals in a local restaurant.
Arles is a one of the most sought-after destinations for travellers sailing along the Rhone. Situated near to the French Riviera and close the Mediterranean Sea, the city boasts a warm climate and offers a scenic setting for exploration.
Several of Arles’ most historic landmarks have earned the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their illustrious history. One of these amazing sites is the captivating Roman arena of Les Arenes, which is still is use to this day, offering seating for up to 20,000 guests. Elsewhere, a trip just outside of the city to the ancient Roman mausoleum of Les Alyscamps is also rewarding, especially for anyone with an interest in Roman history.