Barge river cruises in France

Experience of a lifetime! Book a luxury barge river cruise in France

Blog post of 2019-11-05, updated 2019-11-05

What to Expect from a French River Cruise?

If you are looking for a holiday with a difference, and don’t want to do the same city breaks or beach resort trips that everyone does, have you given much thought to a French river cruise? One of the best and most unique ways to experience the culturally important and beautiful European country of France is via a boat on a river cruise. As well as many of the most famous cities and the sights, like Paris and the stunning Eiffel Tower, you can also enjoy the food and drink that the country is renowned and respected for producing and so much more.

So, what can you expect from the average French river cruise? In this post we look at the most important aspects in more detail to give you a better idea.

What Kind of Boats and Vessels Are Used?

Generally, you will find that most of the boats that are used for French river cruises are the same as those used for river cruises in other parts of continental Europe too. They are usually designed to accommodate between 150 and 200 people.

Having said that, because of the various narrow waterways and canals found around France, barge cruising is very popular using either conventional working barges that have been converted or purpose-built hotel-style barges. These normally accommodate smaller numbers of between 6 and 24 people.

Despite there being differences in the sizes, the way the different boats operate will be very similar. Each day on these cruises tends to be organised around the mealtimes, which generally consists of buffets for breakfast and then set times for lunch and also dinner. You will find that most barge river cruises offer sofas, beer and appropriately, wine with their melas as well as coffees and teas over the course of each day.

What’s in the Itinerary?

The rivers and ports that form part of the itinerary for the cruise will depend on the type of cruise you are looking for, whether you want to travel along the more mainstream rivers or a more intimate barge experience. There are, though, four main river cruise areas in and around France.

The Saone and Rhone

– which run through the heart of gastronomic France, and include the South, Provence and Burgundy.


– The Seine rises in Burgundy and continues to stretch through to Paris. You will find that all French river cruises make a stop for at least one night in Paris along the Seine. One of the key things that makes the Seine stand out is that it’s still crucial in its use as a commercial waterway.


– Stretching for a distance of 629 miles, the River Loire is the longest in the country and passes through western and central. Points of interest include the Loire Valley which is referred to as The Garden of France and it’s the biggest French UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dordogne and Garonne

– If you are looking to enjoy Bordeaux and some of the best vineyards in the world, then a cruise along the Gironde and Garonne in the south west of the country is a must.

Where do Most River Cruises Port?

This depends obviously on the cruise you book and where, but you can expect to port at Paris, and other interesting places like Lyon, Dijon and many others.

Interested in booking a river cruise? Book a river cruise

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