France River Cruises

River cruising through picturesque France

A France river cruise is the perfect way to explore the culture, history and beauty of this incredible part of the world, transporting you through the nation’s unspoiled beauty spots and culture-rich cities.

Discover the splendour of France with Emerald Waterways European river cruises. Your deluxe river cruise along the Saône and Rhône Rivers is the ideal way to explore the delightful French scenery, culture, history, cuisine and world-renowned wines. When you cruise through France with Emerald Waterways you get peace of mind that your European river cruise is affordable and luxurious. Since 2014 we’ve consistently won awards for being the “best river line for value”. Say goodbye to a high speed tour on a bus or train, your European river cruise with Emerald Waterways is a serene journey through world renowned French cities and towns.

Your trip of a lifetime France river cruise is the best way to explore the chic cities, rustic villages and undulating countryside. From culinary delights, artistic wonders and delightful art and architectural wonders. A France River cruise with Emerald Waterways is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the history and culture and world-renowned cuisine and wine. An Emerald Waterways European River cruise journeys via the Rhône and Saône Rivers to the very heart of France.

Discover the sensations and gastronomic heartbeat of France

No two journeys on a France river cruise are the same, with each region possessing its own special charm.

You’ll understand why France has a reputation for being the gastronomic centre of the world when you board Emerald Waterways’ France river cruise. With a different port of call to explore and immerse yourself in everyday, your knowledgeable and experienced local guides will give you insights into the wonders of France.

France is world renowned for being the largest wine producer in the world. Fine wines and champagne production can be traced back to the 6th century BC with some of France’s winemaking regions dating back to Roman times. The fine wines produced in France are famous because of the terroir (the climate, soils and aspect that affect the wine taste) and the Appellation d’origine controlee (protected destination of origin) which was superseded by the Appellation d'Origin Protégée (AOP) in 2012. 

During your Emerald Waterways river cruise through France you’ll also get the opportunity to see and explore the Eiffel Tower. Constructed between 1887 to 1889, the Eiffel Tower was the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. Once criticised for its design, the Eiffel Tower is now a world-renowned cultural icon of France. At the same height as an 81-storey building, the Eiffel Tower is still the tallest structure in Paris.



The EmeraldPLUS experience takes you right to the heart of the culture of each destination.

Whether you indulge in a cheese and olive tasting, or regional wine tasting on board your ship or enjoy a Provençal dinner on board hosted by a popular local chef, these authentic adventures will provide you with an experience unlike any other.


Our range of EmeraldACTIVE experiences are available for the more active and outgoing guests and are completely optional.

Why not take a guided bike tour to Glun or a guided hike tour through vineyards of Tain l'Hermitage. You can even take part in a yoga lesson on board - a great way to unwind.

ERC 2022 Brochure

Explore the Ship

In 2017, we proudly welcomed the Emerald Liberté Star-Ship to the Emerald Waterways fleet – custom-built for river cruising in France.
In 2017, we proudly welcomed the Emerald Liberté Star-Ship to the Emerald Waterways fleet – custom-built for river cruising in France.)

Emerald Waterways launched their custom-built Emerald Liberté Star-Ship to its river cruising fleet in 2017. With an open air Sun Deck, comfortable suites with premium linen and towels, a delightful dining venue you also get inclusions like all tips and gratuities, meals onboard with complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks at lunch and dinner and free Wi-Fi. From Provence to the gastronomic capital of the world Lyon. Our French river cruises are an affordable and leisurely way to explore the Rhône River and the Saône River as you take in the inspiring artistic delights of Van Gogh’s peaceful retreat in Arles.

Emerald Waterways’ European river cruises also travel south through France’s exquisite historical Roman ruins, the formal papal residency and the sites of the enigmatic French Revolution. From the fortified city of Avignon with Celtic remnants, Roman invasions and a 68-year period when it was the epicentre of the Catholic church. 

Every Emerald Waterways France river cruise gives you an immersive experience into the romantic landscapes, historic landmarks, delectable cuisines and fine wines through France’s southern regions.

The Rhône River

Journey south along the Saône and Rhône takes you on a trip through France’s charming past. Roman ruins, the sites of the French Revolution and the former papal residency all contribute to the region’s enigmatic history.

Cutting a dramatic course through mountain ranges and winemaking regions, the Rhône is dotted with 16th-century castles and Roman ruins – offering an insight into the incredible past of this part of the world.

The fortified city of Avignon is awash with historical intrigue, boasting the remnants of Celtic beginnings, Roman invasions and a 68-year period when the city was the centre of the Catholic church.

Sail the romantic Rhône on our Sensations of Lyon and Provence river cruise. Romantic landscapes and spectacular historical landmarks are yours to discover on this magical river cruise through France's pastoral south.


Which is the best France river cruise?

For the trip of your lifetime on a France river cruise, you can’t go past Emerald Waterways’ river cruises. When you’re considering which river cruise company to book your journey with, we recommend you look at the inclusions, the value and the price. We believe you don’t have to break the bank to embark on the best France river cruise. All our European river cruises have been custom designed to give you the best experiences at the best value. Since 2014 we’ve been recognised as being the “best river line for value” and are consistently winning river cruising awards.

What to know before taking a river cruise in France?

Before you take the trip of your lifetime on a river cruise in France, you should make sure the river cruise has stops along the way that have historic, cultural and gastronomic significance. Emerald Waterways’ itineraries have been crafted so you can immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and culture of cities including Paris and Lyon. Our experienced local guides ensure every onshore tour is a delight. From wine tasting experiences and cathedral visits, to walking along cobblestoned streets as you soak up the local ambience.

How good are France river cruises?

We understand that it takes a leap of faith when you book your European river cruise. Which is why we’ve worked hard to ensure our France river cruises are affordable and deluxe. For the trip of your lifetime, you want the best scenery, best onboard facilities and best on shore excursions. When you travel with Emerald Waterways for your France river cruise, you get peace of mind that you won’t be unexpectedly out of pocket. We include airport transfers to and from your Star-Ship, all tipping, gratuities, port taxes and charges, and all meals with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner when onboard. With premium facilities onboard and in your suite or stateroom, it’s a no-brainer to choose Emerald Waterways.

Why choose Emerald Waterways for France river cruises?

Emerald Waterway’s France river cruises have developed a reputation for being the best value, luxury European river cruises. When you book a 2021/2022 France river cruise today, you get peace of mind that your trip of a lifetime will be affordable and deluxe. With our special offers, early payment discounts and solo traveller deals, it’s easy to see why Emerald Waterways are the best value France river cruises.