A river cruise through France is a relaxing and leisurely way to see this beautiful country from a new perspective. With its shady forests and stunning beaches along the coastline, and mountains in the south and east, France is rich in natural beauty, and home to the Seine and Rhône rivers.
All of Avalon’s French river cruise itineraries either begin or end with Paris sightseeing; where you’ll visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum and the striking Notre-Dame Cathedral. Further along the Seine River is Rouen, where in the 15th century Joan of Arc lived, was imprisoned, and met her end. Not far from Rouen are the famous Normandy Landing beaches, surrounded by thousands of graves, countless bunkers and other remnants of D-Day.
From Lyon’s local delicacies and abundance of museums to Avignon’s Palace of the Popes and the famous wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you’ll discover a country that is blessed with a rich heritage and cultural spice of life.
from £1,980 per person
This Christmas river cruise begins in Switzerland and takes you down the Rhine River to France and Germany, with beautiful passing landscapes and quaint villages festively lit and decorated—a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the season! Board your ship in Basel, Switzerland, then stop in Breisach, considered the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest. An area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. There is no better setting than at this time of year when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Strasbourg, France, located on the border with Germany, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries. The city is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe—dating back to the 16th century. Take in the aromas of mulled wine, spice cakes, and biscuits. Bask in the holiday atmosphere as you visit Strasbourg Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece made of red sandstone, and containing ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. You’ll go on an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany, to visit the fascinating ruins of Heidelberg Castle, towering magnificently over the city. This time of year, an ice rink can be found at the foot of the castle and the Christmas market is spread over five town squares. Delight in the holiday cheer with Glühwein (hot mulled wine), bratwursts, and other regional delicacies. There’s plenty of time to find just the right Christmas present amongst the array of crafts, Christmas decorations, and gifts before this magical European river cruise ends in Wiesbaden, Germany.
from £2,162 per person
Your Active Discovery cruise on the Rhône River begins in Lyon, the culinary capital of France. With Avalon Choice included excursions, you’ll find a variety of ways to explore each port you visit. Choose from included Active, Classic and Discovery excursions that interest you—from casual and leisurely to cultural and active. Admire the lovely scenery of the French countryside, join a culinary walk to discover architecture and local specialities, or take a cooking class in Lyon. Embark on a canoe excursion or simply linger in a sidewalk cafe; stroll Avignon’s papal palace or attend a wine tasting in an underground cave. With so many included choices, you’ll find the perfect way to spend your day—from a ghost tour in Viviers to a guided bike ride through the birthplace of rosé wines; to a chocolate factory tour and a visit to a French museum of perfumes. In addition to classic sightseeing and relaxed free time, you can visit an oyster farm, bike through Camargue Regional Nature Park to spot flamingos, or take a painting workshop in Arles—in the style of Van Gogh. You’ll have the classic sightseeing and relaxing activities in each destination, along with your choice of included arts, culture, and cuisine excursions. Our Active Discovery Rhône River cruise with Avalon Choice includes activities and excursions to experience the Rhône River at your pace in every place along the way. It’s a holiday in France made just for you.
from £2,290 per person
Your Active Discovery Cruise is waiting to take you on a French river cruise like never before. You’ll enjoy the magnificent and romantic scenery and sights, but you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy activities that speak to your passions and interests, as well. Take a guided hike through Camargue Regional Nature Park and marshland, or join a guided bike ride through the park, keeping an eye out for more than 400 bird species, including pink flamingos. You may otherwise pay a visit to a local oyster farm for an oyster tasting, and learn about oyster farming. Current Journeys Club members and new Avalon Waterways cruisers are welcome to travel on this special departure and take advantage of the added extras we’ve included just for this sailing! Choose from exclusive excursions only being offered for this date including a painting class, hiking, and sightseeing to Etretat. Plus all optional excursions are included at no extra charge, including Versailles and a chance to ascend the Eiffel Tower. We’ve even added an extra port and are sailing all the way to LeHavre on the shores of the English Channel. And, to make it a true celebration, we’ll host a gala dinner on board. Last but not least, there is even an exclusive extension to Mont St. Michel and the Loire Valley offered only on this sailing. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate you, our loyal travelers!Enjoy a day in Arles to select from Active, Discovery, or Classic tours or activities. You may like to join a guided hike, or take a painting workshop in the style and technique of Vincent van Gogh—whose many paintings captured the light and landscapes of Provence and Arles. Visit the Musée des Arômes et du Parfum, or a take a guided sightseeing tour of Avignon’s sights, including the 14th-century Palace of the Popes. Take a canoe trip on the canyons of the Rhône—the stunning Gorges de l'Ardèche. You might choose a hike through the Natural Reserve of Circque d’Estre, or an unusual excursion for an underground wine tasting with a wine-making expert and cave specialist.Sail to Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France, and take an evening drive for premiere photo opportunities from the hills above the city. During your stay in Lyon, hike the trails, take a culinary walk, or learn to make your own Saucisson brioche in a cooking class par excellence.You’ll experience the remarkable sights, scenery, and flavours along the Rhône with the Active Discovery included activities and tours that suit you best.
from £2,567 per person
One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this exciting journey along the Rhine River, which begins in Switzerland and stops in France, Germany, and Holland! Board your vessel in Basel, Switzerland, then head for Breisach, Germany, located at the foot of the Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border. Here you’ll find the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, an area of unrivalled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. Continue your river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where you’ll be amazed by the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and the fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, and stop in Mainz for a guided walk and a visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Next up is the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and a visit to the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum to see the impressive collection of historical self-playing instruments. You’ll pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge - the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Last stop in Germany is Cologne - a 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral. As an exclamation point to this wonderful Rhine river cruise, you’ll spend time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. There is much to do with the world-famous museums and abundance of restaurants amongst the classic architecture and charming canals. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”
from £2,598 per person
This fabulous river cruise combines time in France’s unparalleled capital of Paris with beautiful scenery along the Seine River and the picturesque and historical region of Normandy. Embark on your adventure in Paris and sail to Vernon, where you’ll choose between two exciting guided visits—Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or the remarkable Bizy Castle, known as “Normandy’s Versailles.” You may choose to go on an excursion to the historic Normandy Landing beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. In Rouen, best known as the home of Joan of Arc, you’ll go on a guided walk through the medieval quarter and visit the Gothic Rouen Cathedral—once the tallest building in the world. From Conflans, go on an excursion to the quaint and inspiring town of Auvers-Sur-Oise—associated with several famous artists, including Vincent van Gogh—or visit Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. On this French river cruise, you’ll enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery along the Seine River, and stops in charming and historical parts of France, but your adventure would not be complete without some time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The “City of Light” has Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A guided walk through the historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets, and Île de la Cité where medieval Paris was founded, will be a delight.
Pont du Gard, France
Omaha Beach, Normandy, France
Roman Ampitheatre, Arles, France
Claude Monet Gardens, Giverny, France
Château de Malmaison, Conflans, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Vineyard, Burgundy, France
Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Normandy Landing Beaches, France
Notre Dame and the Seine, Paris, France
The Côte d’Azur