Information about the 310km long river Rhône from Lyon to the Mediterranean


The Rhône has been fully ‘tamed’ or engineered with dams and locks over a total distance of 310km from its confluence with the Saône at Lyons-La Mulatière to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. From here the Mediterranean is reached through a short canal, the Canal Maritime Saint-Louis. The bar formed by the river where it enters the sea, 6km further downstream, is impassable.
The vast programme of works put in hand by the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône in 1933 (pursuant to an Act passed in 1921) was completed in 1980. Navigation alternates between wide deep river sections and 11 diversion canals, and bears no resemblance to that immortalised by Bernard Clavel in Lord of the River.

At Lyon the Rhône is joined by the Saône, which connects it with all the waterways of central and eastern France. Upstream of the confluence the Upper Rhône has also now been partly developed by the CNR, and although the river in practice remains un-navigable over a certain length, the entire route from Lyon to Lake Bourget is covered under the separate entry which follows for the Upper Rhône.

The system of connections made by the Rhône downstream of Avignon was completely altered by the canalisation works. The Canal du Rhône à Sète is inaccessible at Beaucaire, since the entrance lock was rendered unusable by the lowering of the Rhône downstream of the Vallabrègues scheme. Instead, the Petit Rhône, formerly a semi-navigable channel of the delta, was improved for large-scale navigation (as part of the Palier d’Arles dredging scheme) over a distance of about 20km from Fourques, where it leaves the Rhône, to Saint-Gilles. Here a short length of canal with one lock connects with the Canal du Rhône à Sète.

Similarly, on the left bank, the Canal d’Arles à Fos (formerly the Canal de Marseille au Rhône) has lost its former rôle as the through route to the Gulf of Fos and the Marseille region. Large commercial vessels now reach the port of Fos through the high-capacity Canal du Rhône à Fos, entered from the Rhône just upstream of Barcarin ferry, but this route is not open to boats, which continue to use the existing link through Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. This route is preferable in any case, with the numerous facilities offered by this small town.

The kilometre markers along the Rhône correspond to the original length of the river, from a point 0.7km upstream of the confluence with the Saône at Lyon to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The route description gives these distances, since they are visible on the banks. At the end of each diversion canal we give the difference between the apparent distance and the actual kilometres covered (since the diversion canals are shorter).

History – The Rhône was a key communications route already in the Roman period, but throughout the ages was a difficult and dangerous navigation. Channel improvement works between 1885 and 1905 increased the low-water navigable draught to 1.60m, but the upstream hauls were still challenging for boatmen. The Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) was set up in 1933 to develop the river for navigation, hydropower and irrigation. The 12 hydroelectric plants and locks were built between 1964 and 1980. With a total head of 162m, they produce 13 GWh of electricity annually, or 16% of the country’s total hydroelectric production (20% if the Upper Rhône schemes are added), and there have been significant benefits for agriculture throughout the Rhône valley. The landscape of the diversion canals is often bleak and austere, but efforts are being made to improve the environment of the river and its banks, especially in the main towns. The Rhône is a river of stunning contrasts, and boaters should take their time to explore the valley’s many attractions.

Note : The kilometre markers along the Rhône correspond to the original length of the river, from a point 0.7km upstream of the confluence with the Saône at Lyon to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The distance table gives the actual distances, allowing for the shorter diversion canals.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 12m
  • Max Height: 7m
  • Max Draught: 3.20m


Under normal conditions, when the river is not in flood and the mistral is not blowing, the Rhône is not the daunting demon it once was. It has been tamed by the big dams and their accompanying diversion canals. The river’s power is harnessed at each dam to produce hydroelectricity; the valley also has nuclear power plants and wind farms. Navigation thus alternates between the bed of the Rhône, 300 to 500m wide, in which short steep waves may be generated by southerly winds, and 11 diversion canals, in which the locks are generally located towards the downstream end. The mistral (northerly wind) can make lock entry difficult from upstream. The current does not exceed 7km/h, but when combined with the effect of the mistral, it can make progress upstream laborious for low-powered boats. The channel is marked in places by red-and-white buoys or stakes on the right-bank side and (more rarely) by black-and-white markers on the left-bank side.

> Rhône weather and currents information <

The maximum permitted speed is 35km/h. Life-jackets must be worn in locks – this sensible rule is rigorously enforced.
The phenomenal engineering works detract only slightly from the beauty of the valley, which runs between the foothills of the Massif Central and the Alps. On the other hand, the navigator can now take his time on the Rhône, visiting numerous towns and sites of historic interest, instead of making a non-stop dash for the Mediterranean, worrying about the dangers of the free-flowing river with its threatening groynes.

Locks – There are 12 locks built by CNR to the European waterway standard, 195 by 12m. All except Vaugris are situated on diversion canals, and are adjacent to the hydropower plants. The layout is such that the entrance is in many cases not clearly visible until the last few hundred metres. Enter only when a green light is showing. The fall varies between 6.70m (Vaugris) and 22m (Donzère-Mondragon). All locks are fitted with floating bollards. Single boats are locked through if no commercial traffic or other boat appears within 20 minutes of arrival at the lock. The sea lock at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône is 160m long and 22m wide.

Draught – The minimum depth is 3.20m (guaranteed 20m from the channel marker buoys or the diversion canal banks). The minimum depth over the sill at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône is 5.50m.

Headroom – The minimum air draught is 7m above the highest navigable water level, subject to variations dictated by the operating requirements of the power stations. Relatively low bridges have red and white gauges on the piers, the same indication being given by stakes situated a short distance upstream and downstream of the bridges.

Authority – VNF – Direction interrégionale Saône-Rhône Méditerranée Subdivision Rhône et Alpes:

– 3 place Antonin-Perrin, 69007 Lyon (PK 0-116)

Subdivision Grand Delta:

– 1 quai de la Gare, 13200 Arles (PK 116-310)

Click to enlarge

Route description

PK 0.7    Lyon-La Mulatière, confluence with Saône (tip of peninsula, roughly level with former lock of La Mulatière, r/b)

The Musée des Confluences is a massive landmark building sprawling across the neck of land at the confluence.

PK 3.3    Port of Lyon-Édouard Herriot basins, l/b
PK 3.9    Entrance to Pierre-Bénite diversion canal, l/b
PK 4.1    Pierre-Bénite lock (lift 9.25m) VHF 19, and power station, pontoons u/s and d/s, bridge

Coming from Lyon it can be tricky to spot exactly where the écluse channel actually is – basically, keep over to the left/east. The diversion canal down to Givors (PK 14) is narrower than the more recent canals, and has a fast current. Usually quite a lot of commercial traffic. Petrochemical refineries. It can be a slow grind upstream.

PK 5.0    Motorway bridge (A7)
PK 7.2    Feyzin oil refinery
PK 8.1    Bridge
PK 11.0    Bridge, coal unloading quay d/s l/b
PK 15.0    End of diversion canal
PK 17.2    Arboras railway viaduct
PK 17.9    Motorway bridge (A47), oil terminal u/s
PK 18.3    Confluence of Giers, r/b
PK 18.4     Givors port de plaisance pontoons r/b, 9 berths, water €6, electricity €6

Halte Fluviale on the west bank between the two bridges, managed by the adjacent Tourist Office.

PK 18.9    Suspension bridge (Chasse)
PK 19.7    Fertiliser factory, l/b
PK 21.0    Water intake for power station, r/b
PK 22.0    Entrance to coal unloading basin for Loire-sur-Rhône power station
PK 26.4    Motorway bridge (A7)
PK 26.5    Port de plaisance in backwater r/b, 3 berths, water, electricity, slipway opposite, mooring free (limited depth), restaurant

Vienne – There are various pontoons and quays between the two bridges. The photo shows a new pontoon on the west bank, just downstream of the footbridge, opposite Vienne, with a history dating back 2000 years.

PK 28.6    Bridge (de Lattre de Tassigny)
PK 29.0    Suspension bridge (Sainte Colombe)
PK 29.3    Mooring l/b to vertical quay, trip boat mooring
PK 32.7    Motorway bridge (A7)
PK 34.0    Vaugris lock (lift 6.70m), bridge, VHF 22, and power station
PK 35.4    Château d’Arenc, r/b
PK 35.6    Ampuis pontoon moorings r/b

Good long pontoon, close to Vaugris écluse, but the water and electricity points are not connected. Possibly wise to moor on the inside against the piles (but depth not checked). Passenger boats may occupy the outside. Charming village. The through route railway is on the opposite bank.

PK 39.5     Meander cut-off (former channel dammed, l/b)
PK 40.7    Les Roches-de-Condrieu port de plaisance l/b, in a sheltered backwater r/b, 220 berths, night €18, fuel, water, electricity, showers, crane on request, slipway, restaurant

This port is neatly tucked into an enclosed backwater on the river’s former route. There are plans to extend the marina further into the branch. It is already extensive, and well used, but is also showing signs of wear and tear. The outside pontoons (along the river) have few electricity or water points that work, possibly because they are very vulnerable to boats colliding with them, carried by wind and current. These are significant factors, to be taken account of when berthing or entering the marina and there are back eddies to the left of the entrance, when coming in. The capitainerie is very friendly and there are good showers, fuel and a repair yard. The village has a small supermarket, a boulangerie and a post office.


PK 40.7    Condrieu suspension bridge
PK 42.9    Saint-Clair-du-Rhône industrial complex, potash unloading quay, l/b
PK 46.5    Chavanay, r/b, pontoon mooring beside former bridge abutment

A new pontoon by the old suspension bridge support. An idyllic spot.

PK 47.1    Chavanay bridge
PK 47.7    Saint-Alban nuclear power station, l/b
PK 50.0    Entrance to Le Péage-de-Roussillon diversion canal, l/b
PK 55.5    Bridge and public quay, l/b (Serrières, 2000m)
PK 58.5    Bridge (d1082)
PK 59.5    Sablons lock (lift 14.50m), bridge, VHF 20, and power station
PK 60.1    Railway viaduct (Peyraud)
PK 63.3    End of diversion canal

Below Sablons the river can have a strong current and there are short breakwaters that project out from the banks – below the waterline – at frequent intervals to slow the flow. Keep to the marked channel.

PK 64.5    Champagne, r/b, former ferry, dangerous groyne
PK 68.8    Suspension bridge (Andance), Andance r/b, Andancette l/b, quay d/s r/b, slipway, pontoon mooring u/s l/b, water, electricity

A small pontoon at Andancette (east bank) by the bridge over to the very pretty village of Andance.

PK 60.8    Sarrasinière tower (ruin, r/b)
PK 73.1    Confluence of Cance, r/b
PK 74.8    Confluence of Ay, r/b
PK 75.5    Saint-Vallier bridge, town l/b

New pontoon on piles above the bridge, east bank. Choice of several boulangeries within walking distance, and a big Intermarché supermarket, if you turn left off the pontoon and walk for about 1 kilometre. A variety of shops. Convenient mooring, perhaps a little exposed for mooring overnight.

PK 76.3    Confluence of Galaure, l/b
PK 78.1    Quay (Olanet) l/b, slipway
PK 81.9    Serves castle, l/b, and Arras tower, r/b
PK 82.7    Entrance to Saint-Vallier diversion canal, l/b
PK 86.1    Gervans lock (lift 10.75m), bridge, VHF 19, and power station
PK 86.5    End of diversion canal
PK 89.1    Table du Roy rock in mid-channel (pass r/b side)
PK 90.1    Confluence of Doux, r/b
PK 90.8    Tournon port de plaisance r/b, 10 berths, limited depth, night €12.50, water, electricity, showers, slipway, pump-out

Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage (on the east bank) are interesting large villages, well worth visiting. The harbour on the Tournon side of the river just above the suspension footbridge is quite restricted and shallow, and features concrete jetties. Larger/deeper craft may not get in, or exit easily. It is also subject to wash from the commercial vessels that pass by, since the harbour wall is not a solid barrier. It is quite feasible to moor alongside the quay behind the wall and not venture in as far as the jetties. Depths must be watched.

PK 91.0    Tournon suspension footbridge (Marc Séguin), Tain-l’Hermitage l/b
PK 88.8    Tournon suspension bridge (Gustave Toursier)
PK 95.6    Auberge de Frais Matin, quay for clients, l/b
PK 98.2    Entrance to Bourg-lès-Valence diversion canal, l/b, pontoon mooring (La Roche de Glun) in bypassed Rhône, l/b

Pontoon located in the wide expanse of water at the entrance to the diversion canal, where there is plenty of depth. A very peaceful spot, by the village park and with the village of La Roche de Glun itself nearby. A few shops and boulangeries. The immediately neighbouring hamlet of Glun (15-20mins walk across the barrage) is highly picturesque. This once active place, the haunt of 14C river pirates, has now been sent to sleep, bypassed by the modern waterway.

PK 98.9    Bridge
PK 101.9    Canal enters river Isère
PK 103.0    Canal leaves river Isère (outlet weir, r/b)
PK 105.6    Bourg-lès-Valence lock (lift 11.70m), bridge, VHF 22, and power station
PK 107.8    End of diversion canal (difference = 1.5 km)
PK 109.2    Bassin de Joutes l/b

Potential informal mooring in this ‘water-jousting’ basin

PK 109.8    Valence bridge (Frédéric Mistral)

PK 110.0    Valence, public quay l/b, below autoroute

It is feasible are opportunities to moor at the town quayside at PK110 but looks unattractive and very noisy (right next to the motorway) to us.

PK 111.9    Valence l’Épervière marina, l/b, VHF 9, capacity 420 berths, night €21, fuel, water, electricity, showers, crane 30t (max 18 m), slipway, pump-out, repairs, restaurant, supermarket 500m

The fully equipped 420-berth port de plaisance has a boatyard with travel-lift, fuel, etc. The port is surrounded by parkland south of Valence. Shops, supermarkets and bricos within a fairly short walk from the marina, although along a busy road. Route into the marina from the river is marked with buoys.

PK 112.6    Main road bridge (D96/D534n)
PK 114.8    Soyons, r/b, leaning tower (ruin)
PK 116.3    Portes-lès-Valence quay (commercial) and VNF office, l/b
PK 119.5    Charmes r/b, entrance to Beauchastel diversion canal, r/b, bridge (d11/D111a)

La Voulte quay Rhone
Hotel barge moored to the sloping quay wall at La Voulte

PK 119.7    Boat club moorings, r/b
PK 123.8    Beauchastel lock (lift 12.65m), bridge, VHF 20, power station, village 500m r/b
PK 125.4    End of diversion canal (difference = 0.7km, 2.2km total from Lyon)
PK 126.4    Confluence of Eyrieux, r/b
PK 128.0    La Voulte suspension bridge, mooring and town centre r/b

Sloping quay with bollards. Large fenders necessary.

PK 128.7    La Voulte railway viaduct
PK 131.6    Confluence of Drôme, l/b
PK 133.2    Le Pouzin bridge, village r/b, commercial quay u/s r/b (very high, not recommended)
PK 133.5    Confluence of Ouvèze, r/b
PK 135.3    Entrance to Baix-Le-Logis-Neuf diversion canal, l/b
PK 142.6    Logis-Neuf lock (lift 13.00m), bridge, VHF 19, power station
PK 144.0    End of diversion canal
PK 144.9    Cruas, quay, r/b, port de plaisance, 42 berths, night €11, water, electricity, shower, slipway, village 500m

Rhone Viviers Entrance
It is critical to enter between the two marks just off the end of the ‘harbour’ wall along which cruise ships moor. To the south of the entrance runs a hidden breakwater.

The recently-established port de plaisance (we took part in the planning studies) gets good reports but is somewhat isolated. It is important to follow the marked entrance channel – there are rocks and shallows elsewhere. Welcoming Capitainerie. The town is prosperous thanks to the EdF nuclear power station and Lafarge quarries. Both have contributed significantly to the amenities and upkeep of the town, with its lavish sports ground and playing fields. The town is inland of the railway line. Cruas also has an SNCF station. The church dates back to 804AD. The oldest part of the town is on the hillside and is being rebuilt; one or two houses are already in occupation. In short; a good port for a welcome break with marina power, water and town facilities including a small supermarché.

PK 148.0    Cruas-Meysse nuclear power station, r/b
PK 148.0    Island, main channel on r/b side, boatyard on l/b side (access from d/s)

Opposite the power station is a péniche repair yard, almost hidden by several islets.

PK 152.6    Entrance to Montélimar diversion canal, l/b
PK 154.0    Ancône mooring to dolphins l/b, exposed to wind, village 400m
PK 154.8    Bridge (d11)
PK 157.2    Bridge (N102)
PK 157.7    Crossing of river Roubion
PK 159.4    Gournier suspension bridge and chapel
PK 159.5    Montélimar harbour (inconvenient mooring)

It would be possible to moor along this commercial quay. At the southernmost end the ship level quay steps down for a roll-on roll-off ramp.

PK 163.0    Châteauneuf lock, lift 18.5m, bridge, VHF 22, pontoons u/s and d/s, power station (village 2000m)
PK 165.8    End of diversion canal (Rhône navigable 4km u/s to Lafarge cement works) (difference = 0.2km, 2.4km total from Lyon), Viviers port de plaisance, 400m upstream on Rhône r/b, had 16 berths, but heavy siltation has made the sheltered harbour unusable.

Viviers is one of France’s hidden gems. An unspoilt walled medieval hilltop town with France’s smallest cathedral at the top (Gobelin tapestries). Narrow twisty streets, little courtyards, Provence-style tiled roofs, gargoyles, sculpted façades and faded painted signs. The general character of the village beyond the walls is also charming, with the plane trees, the renaissance bishop’s residence… Walking out of Viviers heading
north-west (turn right at the tourist office), you will come to a river bed (it joins the
Rhone just above the port de plaisance) upstream of which is a completely intact Roman bridge. Viviers is magic. Hopefully the port de plaisance will be dredged and reopened in the near future, for it is sorely missed by plaisanciers. It is possible to cruise for a 4km distance along the by-passed river upstream from Viviers but you will reach an enormous and very dusty Lafarge cement lime quarry, at Lafarge.

PK 166.8    Viviers suspension bridge, entrance to Donzère gorge

The spectacular défilé de Donzère is the narrowest natural gorge on the Rhone.

PK 169.5    Donzère bridge (Pont du Robinet)
PK 170.7    Entrance to Donzère-Mondragon diversion canal, l/b
PK 170.8    Bridge with flood gate, quay r/b

Boats enter the 30km diversion canal through the eastern (l/b), not the central pass.

PK 174.2    Railway viaduct (through route Lyon-Marseille)
PK 174.3    Bridge (N7)
PK 178.4    Bridge (d358)
PK 179.2    Skew railway bridge (TGV Méditerrannée), l/b abutment
PK 180.3    Bridge (d59)
PK 182.8    Pierrelatte atomic energy centre r/b
PK 184.3    Tricastin nuclear power station r/b
PK 185.0    Bridge (d204)
PK 186.1    Lock approach channel, l/b, commercial quay r/b
PK 187.1    Bollène lock (22.00m) VHF 20, pontoons u/s and d/s, André Blondel power station, bridge

Was the deepest lock in Europe, possibly the world’s best known. Amazingly big to be inside, at the bottom, like a concrete cathedral with the roof off. Very smooth and very easy. Quite an experience for a small boat.

PK 189.4    Bridge (d994), Bollène 1000m l/b
PK 192.5    Railway viaduct (through route Lyon-Marseille)
PK 193.2    Bridge (N7)
PK 194.4    Bridge (d44), Mondragon 500m
PK 197.6    End of diversion canal (difference =  2.9km, 5.1km total from Lyon)

Where the river rejoins on r/b there is a commercial (sand and gravel) quay at the tip and a new TGV bowstring span rail bridge. Opposite the quay, toward the flat bridge span, there is a small inlet that looks like a good anchoring spot (check depths, naturally).

PK 202.2    Railway bridge (TGV Méditerrannée)
PK 203.5    Saint-Étienne-des-Sorts pontoon moorings r/b, 10 berths, water, electricity, slipway, former boatman’s village

A pretty, wine-oriented, village. Quayside (high) with mooring rings, but also a relatively new pontoon – probably room for no more than 2 boats.

PK 208.2    Marcoule nuclear power station, r/b
PK 212.5    Entrance to Caderousse diversion canal, l/b
PK 215.0    Caderousse lock (9.00m) VHF 19, pontoons u/s and d/s, bridge, power plant
PK 217.3    End of diversion canal Rhône navigable 5km upstream to L’Ardoise port de plaisance (Port 2), 50 berths, night €15, fuel on request, water €2, electricity €1.50, showers €2, crane 10t on request, pump-out, repairs Avignon Junction Plan Rhone

This harbour may not suit everyone, but it has all basic services and is secure and safe. It is very peaceful, despite some background noise from the cement plant nearby. Well suited for a night’s stay, a month or for long-term berthing. A mixture of industry and rurality, and good walks. Small supermarket and boulangerie in the village, about 10-15mins walk. Buses to Avignon and Pont-Saint-Esprit, which has an exceptional long ancient river bridge. Stations at both, although the one for Pont-Saint-Esprit is a 15min walk away at La Croisière.

PK 221.0    Montfaucon castle, r/b
PK 221.7    Railway bridge (TGV Méditerrannée)
PK 221.9    Motorway bridge (A9)
PK 222.0    Suspension bridge (d976)
PK 225.0    Roquemaure quay r/b, exposed to wind, castle, Tour de l’Hers tower on l/b

This is a piles-and-platform combination, for péniches and cruise ships, but there is also a separate small plaisance pontoon – or possibly, the village quayside. Opposite the romantic Château de l’Hers, a ruined castle set atop a rocky outcrop. The river is very wide here; the current may be lessened but the potential for winds is increased.

PK 230.2    Entrance to Villeneuve-les-Avignon diversion canal, r/b
PK 232.3    Villeneuve dam, r/b, and bridge
PK 233.2    Crossing of former Villeneuve arm of Rhône
PK 234.5    Avignon lock (10.50m) VHF 22, bridge, power plant
PK 235.1    End of diversion canal
PK 237.8    Villeneuve-lès-Avignon bridge (Pont du Royaume)
PK 238.6    Express road bridge (N100, Pont de l’Europe)
PK 239.1    Overhead power line
PK 239.4    Junction with Avignon arm of Rhône (difference = 4.6km, 14.1km total from Lyon)

Take the eastwards river arm past the big, long, river cruise ships and past (not through!) the remains of Pont Saint-Bénézet. Just beyond you will find the capitainerie barge (showers, etc.) and this is where the port de plaisance once was – it was swept away during the winter of 2002/3 and has not been reinstated. Even in summer the strong downstream current here has to be respected. Moor to the public quayside (Quai de la Ligne), water and electricity in most places. It can get crowded and it may feel unsafe.
The bridge was once extremely long with many arches, and reached from Avignon a kilometre to the Tour Philippe le Bel at what is now Villeneuve. Only a few arches are left. The song is about dancing on the isthmus ‘island’ across the river from Avignon, under (sous) the bridge not on (sur) le pont. Also at Villeneuve, Saint-André is an outstanding example of medieval fortification. The Pope was obliged to flee Rome in 1309 and established his relocated court and palace at Avignon – the result is a soaring architectural masterpiece. Besides the palace, the town itself shelters a maze of streets behind massive defensive walls. Villeneuve was the location for 15 cardinals’ palaces. It all lasted 70 years, then the Pope went back to Rome, although a series of quasi-Popes then continued to operate from Avignon.

PK 244.0    Railway viaduct (headroom 6m)
PK 246.0    Railway viaducts (Les Angles), TGV Méditerranée
PK 247.7    Confluence of Durance l/b, former boat club on r/b (abandoned)
PK 252.3    Aramon bridge
PK 254.5    Aramon relais fluvial ‘Les Estères’ r/b, capacity for 30 boats up to 15m

Pontoon mooring opened in 2014. Do not pass between the marker buoys outside, which identify a submerged training wall; enter from upstream or downstream. Depth on the bank side of the pontoon goes down to 1.50m. Capacity for 30 boats up to 15m, with possibility of accommodating 38m barges breasted up outside. Water, 16-amp electric supply, wifi, black and grey water pump out, tanker fuel delivery (48 hours notice), free car parking, bread and croissant daily delivery, secure mooring and pontoon security with the port capitain living on site. Capitainerie with facilities and bikes for hire. The facility is run by former fighter pilot Olivier Pallier, who is helpful and friendly. Aramon village is 350 m away, has shops, is charming and has several restaurants, a good Asian take-away and two bars. Buses to Avignon, Uzès and the Pont du Gard.Rhone Aramon

PK 256.4     Aramon oil-fired power station and quay for tanker barges, r/b
PK 261.2    Vallabrègues port de plaisance l/b, 20 berths, night €22.60, water, electricity, slipways, village with restaurant 1000m

This facility is managed by the capitainerie at Beaucaire. All normal services, pontoons on the river. The village was a well-known centre of basket-making.

PK 262.4    Entrance to Vallabrègues diversion canal, l/b
PK 265.0    Beaucaire lock (12.15m) VHF 20, pontoons u/s and d/s, bridge, power plant
PK 267.4    Tarascon bridge, town l/b but no moorings (Beaucaire r/b)
PK 267.8    Railway viaduct
PK 269.1    End of diversion canal (Rhône not navigable, entrance to Canal du Rhône à Sète closed, connection made via Petit Rhône d/s)
PK 269.2    Commercial port of Beaucaire, r/b, high quay wall
PK 269.4    New bridge (Beaucaire and Tarascon bypass)
PK 277.3    Intake of Philippe Lamour irrigation canal, r/b
PK 279.1    Junction with Petit Rhône r/b, and turning basin
PK 281.9    Arles quay with slipways, pontoon moorings r/b
PK 282.5    Trinquetaille bridge, VNF office d/s r/b, mooring possible on quay
PK 283.0    Main road bridge (N113/N572)
PK 283.6    Junction with Canal d’Arles à Fos, l/b

See under that canal. Advance notice to be given to use the lock to access the canal basin and boatyard in Arles.

PK 293.2    Terrin shoals, fast current
PK 316.4    Junction with Canal du Rhône à Fos, l/b

This route east to the port of Fos is forbidden to plaisanciers.

PK 316.7    Barcarin car ferry
PK 317.3    Private rail ferry servi ng Salin de Giraud salt marshes
PK 319.1    Port de l’Esquineau, quay, r/b
PK 322.2    Small sheltered basin l/b (no services)
PK 323.2    Junction with Canal maritime Saint-Louis, end of navigation in the Rhône

Canal maritime Saint-Louis
PK 0.0    Junction with Rhône u/s of lock, mooring pontoon
PK 0.3    Lock (Port Saint-Louis-du-Rhône), VHF 12
PK 0.4    Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, port de plaisance, 25 visitors’ berths, night €27, fuel (on request), water, electricity, showers, wifi, small town and restaurants
PK 3.1    Les Tellines commercial quay north bank
PK 4.3    Outlet in Gulf of Fos (navigation extended into the gulf by a dredged channel protected by a break­water over a further length of 2 km.

Avignon arm
PK 0.0    Junction with Villeneuve arm of Rhône (PK 239.4)
PK 0.8    Road bridge (N100, Pont de l’Europe)
PK 1.6     Villeneuve bridge (pont Édouard Daladier)
PK 2.0    Saint-Bénézet bridge (the famous ‘Pont d’Avignon’)
PK 2.2    Avignon port de plaisance, near town centre, harbourmaster’s office and reception barge, 400m-long quay (quai de la Ligne) l/b, night €18, fuel, water, electricity, showers, crane on request, slipway, VHF call on channels 9/16, restaurants
PK 7.8     Le Pontet, quay, l/b
PK 8.4     Overhead power line
PK 9.0     Limit of navigation, turning basin


Cruises, holidays and vacations on the Rhone

hotel barges france


Hotel barges are elegant and supremely comfortable, converted from traditional vessels or created as cruising boutique hotels from new. You’ll experience the smoothest of relaxing week-long vacations in high style looked after by an expert captain, professional masterchef, knowledgeable local excursions guide and attentive English-speaking cabin staff.

River cruises France


With a complement of just 100-200 guests on board, river cruise ships (or ‘riverboats’) offer close, friendly and personal hospitality. Their modest size means that they can moor up right in the heart of France’s world-famous historic towns and cities and cruise sedately through the sunny heart of France itself. Eight, highly experienced, river cruise companies offer an extensive choice of river cruises on France’s four major rivers.