French River Cruises

Romantic landscapes and spectacular historical landmarks are yours to discover  through France's pastoral south.

Few countries inspire travellers quite like France. It is a land of elegant culture and fine cuisine, set against a dramatic backdrop of rolling countryside, rustic villages and chic cities. It’s no surprise that France has inspired some of Europe’s most famous artists, sculptors, fashion designers and more.
Few countries inspire travellers quite like France. It is a land of elegant culture and fine cuisine, set against a dramatic backdrop of rolling countryside, rustic villages and chic cities. It’s no surprise that France has inspired some of Europe’s most famous artists, sculptors, fashion designers and more.

On our French river cruises, you'll go beyond the destinations, travelling in style on board our Star-Ships.

Relax as you venture deep into the wondrous cultural surroundings of Paris, or indulge in world-class dining as you take in the sights and scenery of Nice and the French Rivera on the Cote-D’Azur. Explore ancient Roman influence and architecture, experience world-renowned vineyards and exquisite restaurants on our French river cruises.

A culinary heritage few can match, a capital synonymous with romance, and a history packed with intrigue, it is little wonder that France welcomes more international visitors every year than anywhere else on Earth.

A river cruise is the perfect way to explore the culture, history and beauty of this incredible part of the world, transporting you through the nation’s unspoiled beauty spots and culture-rich cities. An Emerald Waterways river cruise will take you to the very heart of France, via the Rhône and Saône rivers.

  • Feast in Lyon, the culinary capital of France
  • Take a journey through time and visit the ancient walled city of Avignon
  • Explore the towns which inspired many of van Gogh’s finest works

The rivers of France, explored by Emerald Waterways:

  • Rhône River
  • Saône River

Explore Gallic History and France’s Incredible Past

Journeying south along the Saône and Rhône takes you on a trip through France’s charming and ever-interesting past. Roman ruins, the sites of the French Revolution and the former papal residency all contribute to the region’s enigmatic history.

Cutting a dramatic course through mountain ranges and winemaking regions, the Rhône is dotted with 16th-century castles and Roman ruins – offering an insight into the incredible past of this part of the world. The fortified city of Avignon is awash with historical intrigue, boasting the remnants of Celtic beginnings, Roman invasions and a 68-year period when the city was the centre of the Catholic church.

The Palais des Papes is a highlight of the Sensations of Lyon & Provence river cruise, the medieval gothic palace which served as the seat of the papacy from 1309 to 1377. Sat atop ancient Avignon, the Palais des Papes looks protectively over the beautiful old city, which still boasts fortified ramparts, ancient city walls and a medieval old town centre. 

Explore the Rhône on-board Emerald Liberté

Built specifically for our Sensations of Southern France river cruise, Emerald Liberté skilfully navigate the rivers Rhône & Saône. Mirroring the effortless sophistication and beauty of the French countryside she navigates, Emerald Liberté offers an authentic experiences throughout the heart of France.

Emerald Liberté offers an authentic experience throughout

In 2017, we proudly welcomed the Emerald Liberté Star-Ship to the Emerald Waterways fleet – custom-built for river cruising in France. Completing our Sensations of Lyon & Provence river cruise itinerary on the Rhône and Saône, the Emerald Liberté boasts an open-air Sun Deck, providing the perfect setting for guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery and Mediterranean climes of this enchanting part of the world.

On-board Emerald Liberté The Terrace is the perfect spot for enjoying a light bite or drinks with friends as the southern stretches of France pass you by.

The intimate Emerald Liberté calls in at some of Southern France’s most delightful cities, towns and villages. From Lyon, recognised as one of the world’s great culinary cities, to Arles, van Gogh’s peaceful retreat and inspiration for many of his most famous works of art, the Rhône and Saône set a course through an amazing, intoxicating stretch of France.

Featured Cruises