France River Cruises

Sail the Rhone and Saone rivers of Southern France

Explore Gallic History and France’s Incredible Past

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.
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 Southern France 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. 

Emerald Liberté offers an authentic experience on the Rhône

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.
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 Southern France 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.

The Emerald Liberté boasts 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, intoxicating stretch of France. 

EmeraldDISCOVERY Experiences in France

You will have the opportunity to enjoy an EmeraldEXCURSION almost every day of your river cruise, from guided tours of Lyon and Arles to a visit to a Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine estate, all handpicked by our Journey Designers.
Whether you are in the ‘gastronomic capital of the world’, Lyon, wine-tasting your way through Burgundy, or savouring cheese and olives on board your Star-Ship, our EmeraldPLUS experiences in France are perfect for foodies and wine-lovers alike. 
See the destinations we visit in a different light with our guided bicycles tours and take part in a morning yoga class on the Sun Deck with our Activity Managers, before a guided hike through vineyards in Tournon or embark on a canoeing experience in Avignon – all part of our EmeraldACTIVE program.
An undoubted highlight of our French river cruises is an extra-special Provençal dinner hosted by Top Chef finalist, Fabian Morreale. Watch our video to hear all about this extra-special event.

Featured Videos

France River Cruises

Our collection of France river cruises starts with our signature 8-day France itinerary with the option to customize your vacation the way you like with a selection of exciting city stay add-ons. Choose from Nice, Paris, and Aix-en-Provence or add on an extended adventure through Spain or Portugal.

Looking to Explore the World a different way? Join us in 2022 on board our all-new super yacht, Emerald Azzurra, to explore France and the West Mediterranean.