Rhone ~ Viviers~ Avignon ~ Arles ~ Rhone-Sete Canal ~ Aigues-Mortes
To the north, the River Rhone rises in the Swiss Alps and is joined by the Saone at Lyon becoming one of Europe’s major waterways, heading due South through Provence for the Mediterranean Sea. Voyagers along the river pass by the vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape, visiting memorable and famous towns such as Valence, Viviers (a beautiful hilltop medieval village overlooking the river), Avignon (the Bridge and the Pope’s Palace) and finally Arles (where Van Gogh created his most iconic sun-drenched paintings). To the east, these lands of Provence are devoid of navigable waterways but provide the enduring vistas of lavender fields surrounding the ancient towns of Orange and Nyons.
In the south, the Petit Rhone branch leaves the Rhone at Arles, part of the Camargue area that is Europe’s largest river delta; between the land and the sea the reed marshes are teeming with wildlife – including over 350 species of waterbirds, flamingos, storks, egrets, wild black bulls and the famous white Camargue horses. Not to be missed, is the fortified crusader town of Aigues Mortes, founded by the French King Saint Louis in 1242.
Heading west from Aigues-Mortes, just metres from the Mediterranean and alongside glorious sandy beaches and passing by the fabulous small city of Montpellier, runs the lock-free Rhone-Sete Canal arriving at France’s own Venetian-style seaport, Sete, and the Etang de Thau large inland lagoon, where waterborne visitors may live like kings on fresh moules marinières and bouziegues oysters, washed down with Muscat wines and Noilly Prat vermouth.
Wonderful Camargue-Mediterranean Places
– [below] In the region: Sete, Mediterranean, Camargue, Van Gogh/Arles, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Aigues-Mortes –
Cruising Provence – the options
You can cruise the canals of Camargue and the Mediterranean coast piloting your own Self-drive Hire boat,
being pampered in fine style aboard a luxury Hotel Barge,
or as a guest cruising the river Rhone aboard an impressive de-luxe Riverboat.
Go your own way. Explore the pleasures and treasures of the Camargue canals.
Lie back and let the skipper and crew take care of everything. Great food. Fine wine. Unique.
Cruise sedately along the Rhone. Moor in the centre of historic Lyon and Avignon.
Getting to Southern France
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed hotel. French international airports are located at Toulouse and Paris-Charles de Gaulle and there are European-flight airports at Carcassonne, Montpellier and Lyon. There are also TGV express train stations at Avignon, Montpellier and Toulouse; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.