viking longships river cruises

On Location – River Cruising in France

Posted August 13th, 2015

Famous for its champagne, high-end fashion, and of course, its wine and cheese, France is the quintessential European destination. It has a rich history, culture by the bucket loads, and enough natural beauty running throughout its borders to make it one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s also home to five historically important waterways – the Rhône, Saône, Seine, Gironde and Garonne – that snake their way through old medieval towns, romantic chateaux, gorgeous green hills and sprawling vineyards, as well as major French cities such as Paris and Lyon.

As with the rest of Europe, French civilisation sprung from the banks of these mighty rivers, and exploring the country through these ancient thoroughfares gives the visitor the chance to discover the cultural delights of this magnificent country just as travellers did in centuries past. Want to know what to expect? Below you will find a brief guide to river cruising in France, including where you can go and what you can do.


Few cities around the world manage to capture visitors’ attention as Paris does. France’s capital city is built on the banks of the River Seine and is a veritable smorgasbord of architectural charm, history and cultural dynamism. Check out the world-class Musée de Louvre, visit the 12th century Notre Dame Cathedral and take the obligatory photo with the iconic Eiffel Tower, before finishing the day with a glass of red wine along the River Seine. If you have a little more time up your sleeves, make a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Château de Versailles and wander around this majestic palace complex and magnificent landscaped gardens.


Sitting at the confluence of the River Garonne and the Gironde estuary in sunny south-west France, Bordeaux is a picturesque city located smack-bang in the middle of France’s premier wine producing region. Half of the city is a bona fide UNESCO World Heritage Site with scores of neoclassical mansions and examples of fine architecture, including the imposing Cathédrale St-André and the grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. Before making your arrival in the city, cruise through undulating hills layered with vineyards and peppered with wineries, stopping off along the way for a glass (or two) of the local white wine and a helping of oysters.


Known as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon is a modern city with a dynamic cultural scene built at the intersection of the Rhône and Saône River. It’s also a historic city with roots stretching back to the times of Julius Caesar over 2,000 years ago – ruins of a well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre testify to this fact. After sampling the finest French cuisine at one of Lyon’s many Michelin-starred restaurants, or snacking on gourmet delights at the famous Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse indoor food market, work off those calories by taking a walk through the cobblestone streets and alleyways of Vieux Lyon – the old town district – and marvel at excellent examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Make sure you pass through at least one traboules too – these 4th century covered walkways are unique to Lyon.

If there’s one destination that’s worth exploring on a cruise, it’s France. A truly unique way of discovering the country, a French river cruise is bound to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Call one of our expert cruise consultants on 1300 954 661 today and let us help you get there.


Cruise Specialist

  Absolutely nobody in Australia knows more about cruising than Cruiseabout. With close to 30,000 nights on ships all across the globe, our consultants’ extensive experience and passion for cruising is unequaled. We're here to share the joys of cruising holidays with more Australians and invite them into our world - because we love cruising!

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