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Saone River Cruises 2024/2025

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Saone Travel Guide

Set sail along the Saône River, and you're in for a treat. This cruise takes you through the heart of France, where every turn in the river offers a new discovery. The Saône is your serene gateway to quaint villages, rolling vineyards, and some of the country's best culinary hotspots. It's a place where history isn't just in the books — it's etched into the very stones of the ancient towns, and Roman ruins along the banks. What makes the Saône special? It's the river's gentle pace giving you ample time to soak up the sun on deck or to wander through historic streets. And let's not forget the food — this region is famed for its rich gastronomy, and paired with local wines, your taste buds are in for a vacation as well. So, if you're keen on combining relaxation with cultural richness, a Saône River cruise might just be your next great adventure. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your Saone river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.

Saone Travel Guide
Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

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Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

Sail Date Operator Ship Departs Returns Length Price
Apr 21, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIParisNice12$5,047
Apr 21, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIParisArles10$4,298
Apr 21, 2024UniworldSS CatherineLyonArles8$3,299
Apr 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIChalon-Sur-SaoneNice10$4,098
Apr 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIChalon-Sur-SaoneArles8$3,349
Apr 25, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaCelloArlesDijon8$4,399
Apr 27, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteLyonNice8$9,890
Apr 27, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteLyonNice11$11,080
Apr 27, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteLyonMarseille8$9,890
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysTapestry IINiceParis17$8,927
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IINiceParis12$5,077
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IINiceChalon-Sur-Saone10$4,128
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IINiceParis17$8,927
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysTapestry IINiceLondon20$10,321
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IINiceLondon20$10,321
Apr 28, 2024UniworldSS CatherineArlesLyon8$4,799
Apr 28, 2024UniworldSS CatherineArlesParis15$9,399
Apr 28, 2024UniworldSS Joie de VivreParisArles15$9,399
Apr 28, 2024UniworldSS Joie de VivreArlesParis15$9,399
Apr 28, 2024UniworldSS CatherineParisArles15$9,399
Apr 28, 2024ScenicScenic SapphireLyonMarseille8$14,390
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIParisMarseille15$8,248
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIParisNice17$8,997
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIMarseilleParis15$8,248
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIArlesChalon-Sur-Saone8$3,449
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysTapestry IIParisMarseille15$8,248
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIArlesParis10$4,398
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysTapestry IIArlesLondon18$9,642
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysTapestry IIMarseilleParis15$8,248
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIMarseilleLondon18$9,642
Apr 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysTapestry IIParisNice17$8,997
May 02, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaCelloDijonLyon8$4,499
May 04, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteNiceLyon8$8,490
May 04, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteNiceParis10$9,390
May 04, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteMarseilleLyon8$8,490
May 04, 2024EmeraldEmerald LiberteMarseilleParis10$9,390
May 05, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIParisNice12$5,497
May 05, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IIParisArles10$4,748
May 05, 2024UniworldSS CatherineLyonArles8$5,299
May 05, 2024ScenicScenic SapphireMarseilleLyon8$11,990

Saone Travel Guide

Saone River Cruises Highlights

  • Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (Lyon): Perched on a hill, this basilica offers panoramic views of Lyon and a stunning interior adorned with mosaics and stained glass.
  • Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon: A historical hospital now hosting a museum and shopping area, this site is famous for its baroque architecture and the grand dome.
  • The Hospices de Beaune (Beaune): An iconic example of Burgundian-Flemish architecture, this former hospital is now a museum showcasing the region's art and history.
  • Cluny Abbey (Cluny): Once the seat of the largest medieval monastic order in the West, the remains of the abbey still impress with their size and historical importance.
  • Brancion (Tournus): A preserved medieval village that offers a journey back in time with its castle, market hall, and Romanesque church.
  • La Voie Bleue (Various Locations): This cycling route runs alongside the Saône, offering a peaceful way to take in the river's natural surroundings and nearby towns.
  • Château de Cormatin (Cormatin): A 17th-century castle with ornate gardens, a moat, and lavishly decorated interiors reflecting the grandeur of the French nobility.
  • Solutré Rock (Mâcon): A limestone escarpment rising dramatically from the vineyards, this prehistoric site offers stunning views and archaeological significance.

Saone River Cruises Travel Tips

  • Always double check your travel documents, making sure they have the correct details. Doing so can prevent interruptions during your river cruise trip.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are essential for cobblestone streets and historic sites.
  • If you do not know French, take a quick beginning course covering the basic phrases. While English is spoken on river cruise ships, it is nice to know some basic French phrases when meeting passengers or ordering wines and cuisine.
  • Only bring the clothing you need. Never pack too much in your travel bag. You should only travel with a carry-on and one other bag when taking a longer river cruise. You only need a carryon if your holiday will be brief.
  • Make sure you can access your travel documentation at a moment's notice. It should be easily accessed from a jacket or your carryon.
  • The Euro is the currency, and while cards are widely accepted, carrying some cash is wise for smaller towns or markets along the river.
  • Don't forget a plug adapter for European sockets to keep devices charged.

Saone River Cruises Things To Do

  • Paris, France
    Paris, France

    Paris is often considered an extension to a Saone and Rhone river cruise trip, with Scenic Tours or Tauck Tours offering the best options along these lines. Whether you begin in Paris or end in the City of Light, Paris always proves to be a nice complement to a Saone river cruise holiday. See the Eiffel Tower from your hotel or shop along the Champs-Elysees.

    Best Time To Visit

    According to U.S. News Travel, the best time to see Paris is normally during the summer months, or in September and October. Average summer highs are in the upper 70s on the Fahrenheit scale. 


    You Should Know

    The Eiffel Tower is the most popular site in Paris and regularly draws about 6.9 million people to experience the city view from the tower's observation points. Another prominent Paris landmark, the Arc de Triomphe, sits on the western end of the broad boulevard of the Champs-Elysees. The residence of Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles stood as the residence of the French royals until the start of the French revolution in 1789. Les Deux Magots features classic French fare. If you want to enjoy French cuisine and wine at a slow and relaxed pace, make a reservation here.
  • Tournus, France
    Tournus, France

    Located in Burgundy on the north side of the Saone River, Tournus makes a Saone River cruise memorable and active. Some of the more elite cruise lines that offer all-inclusive packages allow you to participate in activities, such as gourmet cooking and truffle hunting trips. If you can take advantage of these types of shore excursions, you won't want to leave Tournus off your travel bucket list.  

    Best Time To Visit

    The best time to see Tournus is during the spring and summer months. Be prepared for some showers during the spring.


    You Should Know

    You cannot see Tournus without visiting the Abbey of St. Philibert. The medieval church once was a Benedictine abbey. The Chateau de Cormatin is a castle built during the 1600s. Its gardens draw thousands of visitors in the summer months.
  • Chalon-sur-Saone

    Located in southern Burgundy, Chalon-sur-Saone lies in the heart of the wine region of Cote Chalonnaise. Chalon-sur-Saone is close enough to Tournus that you can bike there to sample the white Moconnais wines and stay overnight at one of the Tournus campgrounds.

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit Chalon-sur-Saone during the summer when you can experience drier and sunnier weather.


    You Should Know

    One of the loveliest places to walk next to the Saone River is the Quai des Messageries. Located on the Saone River's right bank, this quay is situated west of Pont Saint-Laurent. The plane trees and benches along the broad sidewalk provide visitors with a place to sit and relax on lazy summer days. The Quai des Messageries is also an embarkation location for all kinds of Saone river cruises. Many of the ships exit and enter here daily. While some ships provide short day trips, others lead you to 8 to 14-day adventures. Birds, such as cormorants, kingfishers, and herons make their homes here.
  • Beaune

    Another popular Saone river cruise destination is Beaune, located in the heart of Burgundy. The walled town lies in the center of the Cote d'Or vineyards and is known for its yearly wine auction, which is held at the Hotel-Dieu. This historic city makes any Saone River cruise all that more exciting.

    Best Time To Visit

    You will find the weather the most delightful from June to September when most weather forecasts call for sunny weather.


    You Should Know

    Beaune is the capital of the Burgundy wine region. Wear comfortable footwear, as the streets in Beaune are cobbled. During the night in the summer, Beaune features the Pathways of Light. This colorful light show displays the Hotel-Dieu and wine museum in vibrant and illuminated hues. Besides the summer, the show also takes place during the town's Crime Film Festival, at year-end events, and during the wine action. The Hotel-Dieu museum showcases works, such as an altarpiece by Van der Weyden, which depicts "The Last Judgment."
  • Trevoux

    If you want a grand view of the little town of Trevoux, you will need to visit the tower of the town's 14th-century castle. Once the capital of the principality of Dombes, Trevoux features some interesting heritage buildings built in the 1600s and 1700s. Some of the buildings include the Dombes Parliament building and private mansions.

    Best Time To Visit

    Schedule your shore excursion at this little town during the summer or early fall. Sunny weather and pleasant temperatures also ignite local events, such as wine festivals and summer gatherings.


    You Should Know

    The previous palace of the Dombes Parliament features a courtroom that displays a beautiful painted ceiling. Enjoy a panoramic view of Beaujolais, Monts d'Or, Dombes, and the Saone Valley from the town's castle tower with an octagonal keep. Visit the old apothecary of Montpensier Hosptial, which displays a collection of ceramic pots, made during the 1700s. Stroll over the town's footbridge to take a nice picture of Trevoux.
  • Beaujolais

    When you go to Beaujolais, you will do so to visit the wineries, walk, or bike. The province and pastoral landscape attract outdoor adventurers - people who love good food and fine wine. The countryside, which is marked by winding roads and tidy villages, looks surreal at the evening time. The sunset's orange-pink colors seem to soften in the mist.

    Best Time To Visit

    Bike, hike and enjoy the food and wine in Beaujolais in the summer when the days are longer and the skies are sunnier.


    You Should Know

    An oenophile's paradise, Beaujolais is a place where fruity red wines regularly make debuts and vineyards stretch across the right bank of the Saone. Some of the wine-producing villages include Fleurie, Villie-Morgon, Brouilly, St.-Amour Bellevue, and Moulin-a-Vent. If you want to do some wine-tasting, Beaujolais is the ideal place to participate in the activity.
  • Macon, France
    Macon, France

    Another Burgundy wine town on a Saone River cruise, Macon provides wine lovers with plenty to love as well historical buffs with interesting sites and attractions. Your time in Macon will give you a solid appreciation of French wines and cuisine. 

    Best Time To Visit

    Choose June to August to visit Macon, when the weather is sunny and drier.


    You Should Know

    La Maison de Bois, a house that is centuries old, is unique, as it displays statues of masked characters and monkeys. Some of the premium chardonnays come from Macon. The Romanesque church, Eglise Saint-Pierre, showcases twin steeples. The church was built in the 1800s.
  • Lyon, France
    Lyon, France

    Lyon is unique, as it does not exhibit large gothic cathedrals or massive estates. However, it only ranks behind Paris as one of France's most-visited cities. The main draw, it seems, is the city's reputation of being the gourmet capital of France. You can also travel to Paris easily from Lyon, which has a well-used rail system.

    Best Time To Visit

    September and October make visiting Lyon a delight, as most of the tourists have cleared the area and the trees have come to life with rose and gold tones. 


    You Should Know

    Check out the astronomic clock that is featured in the gothic Cathedral St. John. The close and narrow alleys in the city-run along the river, making it possible for you to see the city up-close and admire the scenery. One of the favorite eateries is the Arvine Restaurant, which is both small and elegant. For anyone who wants to splurge a little, who is on a budget, this restaurant provides a lovely and affordable way to enjoy French cuisine.

Saone River Cruise Packages

  • Getting There

    Setting Sail on a Saône River cruise is straightforward. The river flows through eastern France, joining the Rhône in Lyon, a city easily reached by plane or train from various parts of Europe. Your journey might start or end in this vibrant city, where cruise ships dock right at the heart of the action, near historical sites and bustling city life. Access to the port is a breeze, with clear signage and helpful locals guiding you to your vessel. Once aboard, you'll cast off and cruise northward, where medieval towns, lush landscapes, and the essence of French country living await. With everything taken care of from the moment you arrive, all you need to do is relax and watch the landscape unfold.

  • Immerse Yourself in French Culture

    Local customs, language, and cuisine. Engage with the culture by greeting shopkeepers with "Bonjour" and always saying "Au revoir" upon leaving. Cultural etiquette is important; politeness is valued, and meals are often leisurely affairs.

    Festivals are a cornerstone of French life, with each region showcasing its own. You might stumble upon a wine harvest fest in Burgundy or a traditional dance celebration in a small village. During these events, streets come alive with music, parades, and local fare, offering a glimpse into the French joie de vivre.

    Art and history are ever-present, from grand museums to open-air markets and street performances, ensuring that your cruise is as culturally enriching as it is relaxing. Engaging with the local culture is effortless and rewarding, adding depth to the beautiful scenery that unfolds along the Saône.

  • Experience the Flavors of France

    Sailing along the Saône takes you through some of France's most esteemed culinary regions. You'll have the chance to taste dishes that are the heart of French gastronomy. In Lyon, often hailed as the food capital, you must try "quenelles," a light, creamy fish dumpling, and "tarte aux pralines," a sweet tart made with pink sugared almonds. As you move through Burgundy, the "coq au vin" — chicken braised in red wine — is a classic not to be missed, as are the region's world-famous Dijon mustard and escargots.

    Wine lovers will be in heaven, with opportunities to sip on Burgundy's famed Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Don't overlook the local markets, which are a feast for the senses, offering everything from fresh cheeses to charcuterie. Many cruises also offer onboard wine tastings and culinary classes for a deeper dive into French cuisine.

    For an unforgettable experience, dine at a riverside bistro in a small town, where the food is matched only by the charm of the setting. With each port offering its own flavor, a Saône River cruise is truly a journey for the palate.

  • The Perfect Time for a Saône River Cruise

    A Saône River cruise in France is a delightful experience, with the timing of your journey playing a significant role in how you experience this beautiful region. The prime time for a river cruise along the Saône is from late spring to early autumn, approximately May through September. During these months, the weather is typically warm and pleasant, boasting ample sunshine that enhances the river cruising experience. This period is ideal for lounging on the deck and participating in on-shore excursions, with temperatures usually ranging from a comfortable 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). The warm weather is perfect for exploring the charming towns and vineyards dotting the Saône River's banks.

    However, it's worth noting that July and August represent the peak tourist season for river cruising on the Saône. These summer months offer vibrant local festivals and a lively atmosphere, but they also bring larger crowds. For those seeking a more tranquil river cruising experience, May or September are excellent choices. These months see fewer tourists, yet the scenery along the Saône remains just as captivating. Additionally, opting for a river cruise during these off-peak times often results in better deals and a more relaxed pace of travel. When packing for a Saône River cruise, it's advisable to include layers for the evenings and some rain gear, as showers can occur at any time of the year. Each season along the Saône River offers its unique charm, allowing for a diverse range of river cruising experiences.

  • Why Book a Saône River Cruise?

    Booking a Saône River cruise is the perfect way to see  France from a different angle. Cruises offer excellent value as they cover accommodation, transport, and meals all in one, allowing you to budget easily and avoid the stress of planning. With a cruise, you're treated to a floating hotel that delivers you right to the heart of charming towns and cities, bypassing the need for car rentals or train schedules. Plus, there's a unique calmness to viewing the countryside from the river, giving you a chance to see the landscapes and architecture unfold before you in a way that roads and rails don't offer. Cruises often provide special access to vineyards, historical sites, and cultural experiences that might be difficult to arrange independently. The convenience of having a range of activities organized for you, the luxury of returning to the same room each night, and the exclusive excursions available only to cruise guests make a Saône River cruise a compelling choice for exploring this beautiful region of France.

  • Ready to Book Your Saône River Cruise?

    A Saône River cruise is an enchanting voyage through the soul of France. As you drift along its calm waters, you'll pass through landscapes dotted with vineyards, historical towns, and culinary strongholds. Each day presents a new opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of French life, from the bustling markets of Lyon to the tranquil vineyards of Burgundy. It's a travel experience that offers both relaxation and adventure, blending scenic river views with immersive cultural encounters. So, if you're looking for a vacation that combines the ease of all-inclusive travel with the thrill of discovery, a Saône River cruise is waiting for you. Book now and prepare to be swept away by the charm and elegance of this timeless French journey.

Saone River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is a Saone River Cruise?

    Most Saone River cruises last 8 to 14 days and combine itineraries with the Savon and Seine river cruise schedules. If you want to extend your cruise trip, you can add Paris as your starting point or as the final port city on your Saone river cruise. 

  • What’s Included on Saone River Cruises?

    Premium river cruise ship hosts offer all-inclusive travel on Saone River cruises, including transfers during arrival and departure, deluxe onboard staterooms, daily excursions, and three daily meals, beginning with dinner on the first day, and ending with breakfast on the last day of the river cruise. You can also add the airfare in some river cruise packages.

  • What’s the Best Cruise for Saone River Cruise?

    The best cruise for a Saone river cruise cannot be based primarily on prices and reviews. You also have to factor in the length of the trip, how much you want to pay, and what type of activities are featured onboard and during excursions. Two of the best cruise lines that offer Saone river cruises include Viking Tours and Scenic Tours. Avalon Waterways offers a number of options with respect to accommodations.

  • How Much Do Saone River Cruises Cost?

    Your cost for a Saone River cruise will be based on when you go on the river cruise and how long you plan to sail. For example, you will pay more for a Saone River cruise if you go during the peak season, or during June, July, and August. 

Learn More About Saone Cruises

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