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    Beaujolais country
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    Camargue horses
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    The bridge at Avignon
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    The town square, Arles
River Cruise
River Cruise

Gateway to Provence

Gateway to Provence

French Waterways

  • A glass of wine All Inclusive

Cruise the Saône and Rhône, exploring Mâcon, Lyon, Avignon and Arles along the way

Enjoy the riverscapes of the Saône and Rhône on this seven-night cruise, which visits historic Mâcon, UNESCO-listed Lyon, the papal seat of Avignon and Van Gogh’s Arles…


17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners


  • Tour of the Beaujolais vineyards
  • Guided tour of Avignon

†Free bar includes beer, wine, sparkling wine, cocktails, spirits and soft drinks

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Lyon

Chalon-sur-Saone, France

Fly to Lyon and transfer to the historic town of Chalon-sur-Saône to board your ship, MS Van Gogh. This evening, enjoy a welcome drink and dinner on board.

Lyon Rhone France Europe

Day 2 Chalon-sur-Saône to Mâcon to Lyon

City of Mâcon with Saône River, France

Today your ship sets sail on the River Saône bound for Mâcon, which enjoys a beautiful setting in the south of Burgundy. The city is known for both its wines and its pastel-painted buildings. Perhaps take the opportunity to see the cathedral, church and the 'Wooden House', recognisable by a multitude of statuettes before joining an included tour of the Beaujolais vineyards. These world-famous vineyards are sprawled across the hills, valleys and villages of the Beaujolais region in a landscape reminiscent of Tuscany.

This evening MS Van Gogh will cruise through Lyon, where the city sights will be lit up against the night sky. Your ship will moor in Lyon overnight.

Lyon Rhone France Europe

Day 3 Lyon to Tain-L’Hermitage

The old town of Lyon, France

This morning, you’ll enjoy exploring Lyon, the culinary heart of France and the capital of silk weaving. Whether you discover the attractions during an optional guided walking tour, an optional guided bike tour or at your own leisure you’re sure to be impressed by this historic UNESCO-listed city.

Spend a relaxing afternoon cruising along the Rhône towards Tain-L’Hermitage, arriving in the evening for an overnight mooring. Tain-L’Hermitage is an epicurian’s dream as it is both home to Hermitage and Croze Hermitage wines and world-famous Valrhona chocolate.

Tain-l'Hermitage Rhone France Europe

Day 4 Tain-L’Hermitage-Avignon

Pont d'Arc, a natural Arch in Ardèche, France

Admire the riverscapes of the Rhône as MS Van Gogh spends the morning sailing towards Avignon. Along the way your ship will pause in Ardèche, providing the perfect opportunity to join an optional afternoon excursion to the Pont d’Arc Cavern, an artificial cave replicating the nearby Chauvet Cave, which is home to some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world.

Your ship moors overnight in Avignon.

Avignon Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur France Europe

Day 5 Avignon to Arles

Ancient Popes Palace, Avignon

This morning we invite you on an included tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon and a visit to the Palais de Papes (Palace of the Popes) – the seat of western Christianity throughout the 14th century.

Set within its own great walls, the medieval city of Avignon was once the centre of the Papal court. During your tour, see Avignon’s renowned 12th-century Pont St Bénézet, the bridge which features in the French nursery song Sur le Pont d'Avignon, but which now stops halfway across the river! The Place de l’Horloge in the city centre is a typical Provencal town square with open-air cafes and plane trees. From here you continue on foot to the magnificent Palace of the Popes, built on a rock above the city. Please note that visiting the palace involves climbing approximately 150 stone steps.

This afternoon MS Van Gogh sets sail for Arles, founded by Roman legionnaires on the banks of the Rhone. Enjoy free time to explore the city, which has some fine examples of Roman architecture, watermill and aqueduct. Van Gogh spent a year painting in the city and created over 300 works that have immortalised some sites in the city, including the Langlois Bridge and The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum. A collection of his work is housed at the Foundation Vincent Van Gogh, which also exhibits photography from the annual photo festival of Arles.

Arles Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur France Europe

Day 6 Arles to Martigues

White Camargue Horses, Camargue National Park

This morning perhaps join an optional excursion to Camargue Nature Park, a magnificent reserve, home to some 400 species of bird including flamingos. 

Spend a relaxing afternoon on the water as MS Van Gogh cruises to Martigues, known for its colourful flowers and gardens. The town is set beside the Etang de Berre lake and is linked to the Mediterranean Sea by the Caronte channel.

Later, enjoy the Captain’s gala dinner to celebrate your final night on board.

Martigues Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur France Europe

Day 7 Martigues to UK

Old town of Martigues in the south of France

After breakfast, disembark MS Van Gogh and travel to Marseille airport for your return flight to the UK.

Martigues Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur France Europe

Some of the highlights may only be seen by exploring independently.

Gateway to Provence

French Waterways