Add an extension to your Rhone River cruise by visiting Paris. After all, a Rhone river cruise trip primarily covers French ports, so adding Paris to your itinerary makes perfect sense. Most trips to Paris include stayovers of about two days. As soon as you check into your Paris hotel, you can explore this city of treasures, one that features the renowned Eiffel Tower, the grand boulevard, Champs-Elysees, and the Jardins des Tuileries.
Best Time To Visit According to U.S. News Travel, the best time to see Paris is typically from June to August or September and October. Average highs in the summer are in the high 70s with long days of sun, making a trip at that time both pleasant and comfortable.
You Should Know Named for Gustave Eiffel, who contributed to the tower's design, the Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument worldwide. Almost 7 million people ascended the tower in 2015. The tower, which is the tallest structure in Paris, is a little taller than an 80-story building. Standing on the west end of the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile was built to honor the people who fought and died for France during the Napoleonic Wars and French Revolution. The Palace of Versailles was the main royal residence of French royalty, and was the home of Louis XIV, in 1682. It had this distinction until 1789, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
This charming town in Burgundy is located north on the Saone River and is often added to Rhone River cruise adventures originating out of Paris. You can choose from a variety of interesting experiences on this stop, from learning the craft of Tonnellerie (barrel-making) or taking a cooking class.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Tournus is during the spring and summer months, although it rains more frequently during the spring.
You Should Know A must-see – the Abbey of St. Philibert represents Romanesque art and design, and plays a central role in the heart of Tournus. Visit the gilded rooms of the Chateau de Cormatin, a castle built during the 17th century. During the summer, you can stroll through the castle's lovely gardens. Truffle hunting expeditions are featured near Tournus as well. See if you can participate in one of the adventures in a nearby village.
Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage
You will return down the Rhone River when you stop off at Tournon. Schedule a walking tour of the town's "twin city" of Tain-l'Hermitage, which sits on the other side of the Rhone. Valrhona, a gourmet chocolate maker, is based in Tain-l'Hermitage, thereby making this destination a must-see for anyone who loves chocolate.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Tournon-sur-Rhone is from April to October, according to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
You Should Know Hermitage Hill provides a place for hiking as well as sampling wines. At the end of your hike, sample some of the local wines, especially the red varieties for which the area is famous. Biking is a popular activity in spring and summer, so you may want to plan the activity during your visit.
Emerging at a bend of the River Rhone, Avignon reveals its fairy tale charm and welcoming atmosphere immediately. While it is primarily known for being the papal capital in the 1300s, the Provencal town also attracts a youthful vibe, allowing river cruise-goers to enjoy people-watching in its squares and savor its charming sights and sounds.
Best Time To Visit Located close to the Mediterranean coast of France, Avignon features hospitable temperatures year-round. However, the best time for Avignon is in the summer when the lavender blooms appear.
You Should Know The seat of the Catholic Church in the 1300s, Avignon's Pope Palace is the largest Gothic medieval palace worldwide. To enjoy a panoramic view of Avignon, the Rhone River valley, and Avignon's St Benezet Bridge, hike up to Parc de Rochers des Doms. The St. Benezet Bridge was one of three major bridges used to cross the Rhone and was made popular in a French nursery rhyme.
Located in central Provence, Arles displays a distinctive and historic character along with a treasure trove of cultural sites. Steeped in history, Arles was one of the most important cities of ancient Gaul, founded in 46 B.C. by Julius Caesar.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Arles is usually the spring and summer months, especially when the town holds its popular festivals.
You Should Know The major attraction to see in Arles is the Roman Amphitheater, also referred to as the Amphitheatre d'Arenes. The stone structure, which can hold 21,000 spectators, dates back to the first century A.D. It still is used today for bullfights and other events. Alyscamps or the Elysian Fields is a large ancient necropolis in Arles that was mentioned in Dante's work, Inferno.
A walled city in southern France, Viviers is the ideal Rhone River destination, as the medieval port provides plenty of attractions to keep travelers busy during their river cruise holiday. Just make sure you wear comfortable footwear, as you will need to navigate over cobblestones while strolling through the alleyways and town squares.
Best Time To Visit The best time to sightsee in Viviers is in the summer months, or June to August. The driest month is July while the dampest month is October. If you don't like rainy weather, cancel any travel plans in October.
You Should Know If you can find an English tour guide, have them take you on a walking tour of Old Town, especially to see St. Vincent's Cathedral, the smallest cathedral still in use in France. The cathedral features Handel organ recitals and displays a marble altar. A stroll through Old Town, when on a walking tour or on your own, will reveal a number of interesting discoveries, including St. Michael's Clock Tower.
A Burgundy wine town, Macon is a popular port-of-call for lovers of beautiful scenery and fine varietals. If you love wine and want to see the wine country of France, you will love visiting Macon on a Rhone River holiday. Anyone who savors gourmet offerings will want to add this port on their Rhone river cruise trip.
Best Time To Visit Choose June to August to visit Macon, as the weather may be warm, but is tolerable, and you are less likely to experience the mistral wind or heavy rains.
You Should Know Surrounding vineyards are lush and green in summer, which makes a trip to vineyards most pleasant, especially for sampling local vintages. Many of the best chardonnays come from this part of the Burgundy region of France.
Noted as being the second-most visited city in France, just behind Paris, Lyon does not boast major tourist sites, such as grand cathedrals. However, it reputedly is known as the gourmet capital of France, which makes Lyon a favorite city among anyone who appreciates fine wine and cuisine. The city also makes rail travel accessible, which makes it easy to travel between Lyon and Paris.
Best Time To Visit According to U.S. News Travel, the best time to see Lyon is during September and October, when the summer travelers exit and leave the crisp fall air and vibrant foliage in their wake. If you are budget-conscious, the colder and darker months of November or April will enable you to find the best deals on river cruise travel.
You Should Know Traboules add to the atmosphere of the historic city – the narrow alleyways, from the Renaissance period, run perpendicular along the river. Cathedral St. Jean, a medieval Gothic-styled cathedral, is known for its astronomic clock.
While the mistral wind blows in the winter months, it can also strike during the spring. Therefore, play it safe, if you go during the spring, and carry a windbreaker. Also, be forewarned – snowmelt in the Alps can lead to flooding, which may affect Rhone bridges and locks.