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From its rising point in Switzerland, the Rhone moves east into France where it meets up with the Saone at Lyon. The Rhone then flows south towards the Mediterranean Sea, travelling past Tournon, Viviers, and Avignon. The Saone is only navigable for just over half its length, stopping at Chalon-sur-Saone or Beaune, before you either turn back to Lyon, or take a train to Paris to cruise on the Seine.


The Saone’s source at Viomenil in the Vosges Mountains makes the river a total of 300 miles long but is only navigable for 230 miles from Corre to Lyon. At St-Jean-de-Losne the Ouche river and the de Bourgogne and du Rhone au Rhine canals connect to the Saone. Moving south, the Saone reaches the more navigable area at Chalon-sur-Saone where it flows down past Tournus, the vineyards of Maconnais and the town of Macon and joins with the Rhone.


The Rhone stretches 500 miles (810km) from the Swiss Lake Geneva to Lyon and then south to the Mediterranean Sea. On the way south, the river offers towns such as Vienne, Tournun, Viviers, Chateauneuf du Pape and Avignon. At Arles, the river splits into Grand and Petit Rhone moving southeast and southwest respectively. This land in between the split has become marshland, a region known as Camargue.


Formed by the divide in the Rhone, this wetland in southeastern France covers 300 sq. miles as the Rhone’s delta and is left wild and unpopulated because of its thick marshes. You can however find large flocks of birds such as flamingos and ibises along with herds of white Arabian horses. The region has a number of lagoons which are now nature reserves.  

Weather & When to Go

The cruise season extends from March to December. Spring offers mild temperatures around 16°C and rising to warmer summer temperatures of 24°C in June, 27°C in August and 22°C in September. The climate cools to 17°C in autumn and 2°C to 8°C in winter.
Where will my cruise start?
Rhone itineraries are usually 7 night cruises from Lyon to Arles, where most cruises extend onto the Saone up to Macon and Chalon-sur-Saone for an additional couple of nights.

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