insights from the ultimate cruising team

Floating in Fabulous France

Floating in Fabulous France

Known for fabulous food and wine, France draws people from all over the world every year to cruise the waterways in a fantastically chilled-out holiday filled with new sights and experiences.

Typically the French rivers and canals don’t flow as fast as other rivers in Europe so the pace is set for a wonderfully relaxing cruise, soaking up the scenery and enjoying gourmet food and some sensational wines. River cruising in France means endless landscapes of vineyards, gorgeous villages and beautiful rolling hills. Whilst other river cruises will take in larger cities like Vienna, Budapest or Amsterdam, river cruising in France is more about discovering local villages and markets, and exploring with a local tour guide.

There are several options for a French river cruise – from small, charter-your-own barges through to luxurious river cruises where pretty much everything is included. There are benefits for both. With your own charter, you can travel at your own pace and stop where you like, but you have the added responsibility of the boat and navigating your itinerary. With river cruises, you have the benefit of the crew taking care of everything for you: from meals through to excursions and they have the advantage of experience, so they know what is worth seeing along the way. You also get to just relax along the way.

River cruises in France generally operate from early spring to late fall – so, end of March through to November. Generally speaking the voyages at the beginning and end are slightly cheaper. This can be a good option as summer in France (especially the south) can be very hot in July and August so before or after those months can often be more enjoyable.


When choosing a river cruise in France, there are a few rivers and routes to choose from. If you want to explore Paris and the beaches of Normandy, the Seine River is for you. If you love wine and vineyards, the Rhone River snaking through Burgundy and Provence is a good option. Or for grand chateaus and champagne, consider the Loire River.

River cruising in France is a great option for solo travellers too. Many cruise lines offer excellent deals for solos, including waiving single supplement rates or specific cruises for solo travellers.

For more information on river cruising in France, speak to one of our Ultimate Cruising experts or have a look at our packages for a sample of what is on offer.