Save 10 per cent off 2024 sailings with Riviera Travel. Credit: Riviera Travel

Immerse yourself in the ‘joie de vivre’ with a French river cruise

Author: Savannah Bowles

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From small seaside towns to iconic wine-making cities, this selection of French Riviera Travel itineraries will leave you wanting more with their abundance of unforgettable tours…

Wave au revoir to England and float along the French Rhône, Seine and crystal-clear waters of Provence next spring and autumn. With powder Normandy beaches, classic French architecture and vineyard visits, you don’t have to travel far to encounter world-famous charms.

Can’t wait? With France being a neighbouring friend of the UK and departure dates on offer this year too, there’s no reason not to book one at the click of the button and take a break from the daily mundane sooner…

Here are three of our top picks from Riviera Travel’s collection so that you can live the French dream.

The Gorges de l'Ardèche is hailed as the Grand Canyon of Europe. Credit: Shutterstock

This 11-day escape sails aboard the stylish MS Lord Byron ship to some of southern France’s most picturesque regions – all from a modest price of £2,399 per person.

Riviera Travel’s Lyon, Provençal Rhône & the Camargue itinerary also gives you the choice of different sailings in 2023. From April, witness the famous natural arches from the Ardèche Gorges with surrounding grasslands in full flowering mode. Or, wait until October for transforming autumnal river views and warmly lit-up streets around Orange, Beaune, Lyon, Avignon and more.

Plus, whether a sweet rosé or a rich glass of red tickles your fancy, wine aficionados’ cravings won’t be bottled up as you cheers to wine tasting experiences in the French gems of Mâcon and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Enjoy an array of wines ‘grape’ for every taste as you swirl, sniff and sip your vino, gazing out onto sweeping vineyard landscapes.

This magical cruise also guides you through an Olive Oil farm in the Les Baux-de-Provence, and takes you to the Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau where you can spy on bright pink flamingos and herons wading through the pools of this natural attraction.

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From your dive into the fast-paced city of romantic Paris, the River Seine winds around beautiful cities such as Medieval Rouen with the ethereal ruins of Jumièges Abbey and Honfleur – home to a serene waterfront.

From just £1299 per person, join MS Jane Austen onboard for eight-extraordinary days on this Seine, Paris and Normandy river cruise, sailing from September to October this year, or from April to October in 2023.

This itinerary is perfect for anyone who wants a big slice of France’s famous Normandy region too where you can take advantage of some fascinating and unique included excursions.

This encompasses a visit to the one and only Claude Monet House in Giverny where you can venture to this French impressionist’s expansive farmhouse and studio. It’s a feast for the eyes, particularly in springtime when his famous flower garden is in full bloom!

More of a history buff? This route explores a whole lot of France’s past too – just you wait for your trip to the Bayeux tapestry. This distinctive, 11th-century artefact depicts the turbulent story of the Norman conquest of England – all through an embroidered illustration stretched over a linen canvas. Don’t forget your camera!

If you want to feed your love for artistic and historical creations further, you can personalise your time away with an excursion to the Louvre when in Paris. As the world’s largest museum with one of the most remarkable art collections throughout history, you’re in for a worthwhile treat.

Falling in love with Lake Geneva is easy. Credit: Shutterstock

Unveil the must-see Popes’ Palace in Avignon. Indulge in a wine sampling session in Beaune. Gawp at the ancient Roman Pont du Gard bridge glowing in the evening sun, stretching across the River Gardon. Experience all of this and more in one alluring Riviera Travel cruise.

To be or not to be aboard MS William Shakespeare, or if not on MS Lord Byron, this trip has completely different visits in store for you over the course of eight days. Again with versatile departure dates from September to October in 2022, and from April to October in 2023, look forward to Burgundy, the River Rhône and Provence all from just £1,399 per person.

More of a long-haul traveller? Extend your time in France and add on an extra four days with a bed and breakfast hotel stay in Geneva with this unmissable cruise line's Pass Extension.

As well as a three course-lunch along the glistening Lake Geneva, these additional days will allow you to journey on the Golden Pass Panoramic train from Gstaad to Montreux, reward you with a guided visit to Chillon Castle and take you up to the highest peak of the Vaudois Alps by cable car.

Oh, and did we mention the included return flights and transfers from your hotel? So, what are you waiting for?

Accommodation onboard Riviera Travel's fleet of ships elates.
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