France River Cruises

River cruising through France

A France 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.

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.

With 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.

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

Discover the sensations and gastronomic heartbeat of France

No two journeys on a France river cruise are the same, with each region possessing its own special charm.

Explore the heritage towns and picturesque scenery of France as you cruise effortlessly along the beautiful Saône or Rhône Rivers through the breathtaking Provence and Burgundy regions.

Stopping at a different port of call almost every day of your France river cruise, you can enjoy a series of inspiring days ashore.

Our Emerald Waterways excursions are led by experienced, knowledgeable guides and to ensure you don't miss a second of the tour, we will provide all of our guests with a personal headset.

house in field in france


The EmeraldPLUS experience takes you right to the heart of the culture of each destination.

Whether you indulge in a cheese and olive tasting, or regional wine tasting on board your ship or enjoy a Provençal dinner on board hosted by a popular local chef, these authentic adventures will provide you with an experience unlike any other.


Our range of EmeraldACTIVE experiences are available for the more active and outgoing guests and are completely optional.

Why not take a guided bike tour to Glun or a guided hike tour through vineyards of Tain l'Hermitage. You can even take part in a yoga lesson on board - a great way to unwind.


Request your FREE brochure

Discover Europe's magnificent waterways on a boutique river cruise with Emerald Waterways.  Request your free 2020 Europe River Cruising brochure to start planning your unforgettable European holiday.

Explore the Ship

In 2017, we proudly welcomed the Emerald Liberté Star-Ship to the Emerald Waterways fleet – custom-built for river cruising in France.

Sailing our Sensations of Lyon and 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 of this enchanting part of the world.

The Emerald Liberté features a wonderful dining venue, The Terrace, which is the perfect spot for al fresco dining and 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 region of France.

The Rhône River

Journey south along the Saône and Rhône takes you on a trip through France’s charming 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.

Sail the romantic Rhône on our Sensations of Lyon and Provence river cruise. Romantic landscapes and spectacular historical landmarks are yours to discover on this magical river cruise through France's pastoral south.