River cruises in France

Cruising past Avignon (Photo courtesy of Scenic Cruises)
Cruising past Avignon

Cruising the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Loire, and other rivers of France

The original highways of Europe were its rivers—haven't you ever wondered why nearly all its great cities and even many small towns are sited on a major river , or a bay on the coast?

For centuries before the invention of leisure travel, the standard way for someone to fulfill their wanderlust was to sign on aboard an ocean-going vessel and sail the seas as a member of the crew (somehow, the scurvy and rampant piracy were left out of the brochures).

These days, it's come full circle and Europe's ancient, watery routes of commerce—its  rivers and canals—share their thoroughfares with pleasure craft.

River cruising offers a unique way to see the countryside at a relaxing pace. Also: you only have to unpack once, yet get to visit lots of cities and small towns. 

There are actually two kinds of river cruises in France.

On the larger rivers, (typically the Rhine, the Rhône, and the Seine) you generally sail in larger river ships (Think: those Viking River Cruises commercials).

For smaller rivers and canals, you can take a guided barge tour on a smaller vessel. (Which brings up another option: Rent a self-drive barge and do it on your own.)

River cruises links
Barging tours links
 

Related

Barging along the Saone River in Burgundy (Photo courtesy of Locaboat.com)

Barge cruises and barge rentals to cruise the rivers, canals, and inland waterways of France