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Published on :   10/07/2016

Provence on a cruise: a feast for the senses

A cruise through Provence on the Rhone river is a feast for the senses. Breathtaking views, sun-drenched lavender fields and sumptuous local cuisine are what's in store on a peaceful journey along tranquil waters. Let's discover the charms of a Provence cruise without further delay!

The Rhone river's natural assets

The Rhone river rises in the Saint-Gotthard massif in the Swiss Alps. It owes its unbridled character to its alpine origins. The 812 kilometer long river ends in the Mediterranean Sea, having travelled through the Camargue Delta. It also replenishes Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Western Europe shared by Switzerland and France.

Inherently Mediterranean, the Rhone takes us back to our Roman roots. Complemented by the Saone river in the northern part of its course, it takes us on a pilgrimage tour through the most famous Burgundy vineyards flourishing along its banks.

A taste of France

The Rhone sums up all the treasures of France's multi-faceted regions: the precious culinary traditions with the Beaujolais region enclosed between Lyon and Mâcon; Côtes du Rhône near Tain L'Hermitage; the sumptuous and breathtaking vistas of the Ardeche Gorge; the picture perfect symbolic imagery of Provence with its fierce and cold wind, Le Mistral; and finally Camargue, nesting between the delta where the Rhone, now considerably calmer, meanders through the rare and protected environment of black bulls with their u-shaped horns, wild pink flamingos and beautiful white horses.

A tour of Europe's Roman history

Two civilisations have shaped the history of the Rhone Valley: Ancient Rome and Christianity.

This intriguing combination of cultural heritages left its legacy in towns across the South East of France. An exploration of the city of Lyon will reveal that it was once the capital of the Gauls, a tribe of Celtic peoples inhabiting the Gaul territory covering parts of Europe including modern-day France, Belgium, Southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic, during the Iron Age and the Roman period. Other locations are also well worth a visit, including: the town of Saint Vallier, Diane de Poitiers home town; Viviers, a small town with a population of 3,500 which is like an open-air museum, where every stone contains a page of history; Avignon, with its Pope's Palace, classed as a world heritage site by UNESCO; Arles, with its two thousand years of history and exceptionally well-preserved monuments including the Roman Amphitheatre (the "Arènes") and the Ancient Roman Theatre; Aix, the first roman settlement; and Saintes Maries de la Mer, home to the Saint Sarah, patron saint of the Romani people.


The Camargue: emblem of the region

On 1st April 2015, the MS Camargue was christened on the Rhone river in Lyon. It was designed in the same style as the MS Lafayette, launched in 2014. The 5-anchor, 2-deck ship offers its 104 passengers modern, stylish surroundings. It sails from April to November alongside the MS Mistral and Ms Van Gogh, offering 5 to 8-day cruises from Lyon with stopovers in Macon, Vienne, Avignon, Viviers and Tournon.

Find all our Rhone cruises.