Luxury River Cruises in France

Cruise along the beautiful rivers and canals in France onboard a luxury barge and discover the best of French food and wine.

At Wine Paths, we create unforgettable experiences for our discerning clients, and make wine tasting as luxurious and immersive as possible. Take in the wonderful river views, visit sophisticated French towns along the way, and discover the country’s high culture in the most stunning surroundings.

From rolling vineyards and exclusive wineries with vast outdoor space to museums and local attractions, there’s plenty to see and do on a river cruise in France. We have a number of route options, including the waterways of beautiful Burgundy or charming Champagne.

Our luxury river cruises are suitable for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike. In fact, the French consider food and drink as bedfellows, and no experience is complete without both. Onboard your cruise, you will get a chance to sample artisan cheeses or enjoy truffle tasting as well as savour rare vintages and organic wines. Dining aboard is truly indulgent, with dedicated chefs creating fine dining feasts from fresh, local products sourced from the markets en-route.

Guests will also get to dine alfresco and enjoy extensive wine menus in the sunshine when the weather allows. Whether you’re here for the food, here for the wine, or here for the sights, a French river cruise is the perfect way to travel in style.

Exploring the rivers of France

The rivers of this fabulous nation are ideal for cruising. Boasting some of Western Europe’s most famous waterways, and rivers and canals that criss cross the entire expanse of the country, there’s no better place for a holiday on the water.

The country’s five main rivers are the Loire, the Rhine, the Rhone, the Seine, and the Garonne. These waterways are the largest in France, and then there are countless smaller waterways such as canals, forming a wide and beautiful network of incredible places to cruise.

The Loire is the longest river flowing completely in France, beginning in the Ardeche and winding through the lovely cities of Nantes, Tours and Orleans at 625 miles long. The Seine is perhaps the most famous for its route through the capital and providing the setting for top historic sites in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The Garonne is just as well-recognized by food and wine enthusiasts, as it runs through the foodie region of Bordeaux. Then connecting the Garonne to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean is the Canal du Midi, one of our favourite cruising destinations.

Another popular cruising waterway for unbelievable food and wine is the River Marne and Canal Lateral de Marne, taking guests through the stunning Champagne region, with the most indulgent dining and tasting opportunities.

Where to go

When it comes to cruising in France, there are so many incredible destinations to explore. Many people immediately think of Paris when they consider a cruising holiday, and it’s easy to see why with all the well-known historic landmarks.

Saone-Rhone river cruises take in some of the most prolific winemaking regions such as Beaujolais, Burgundy and Cotes du Rhone, with stops at wonderful wine meccas, fine gastronomy and stunning scenery. For something a little more off the beaten track, we highly recommend the Belmond Lilas Afloat in France cruising experience blends tranquil relaxation with cultural and culinary discovery. For 3 to 6 nights you can glide through serene waterways in sumptuous king-size or double cabins, with stops in Montmerle, Abbaye de Cluny, Beaune, Chateau de Rully, St Jean de Losne, and Dijon.

Or hop on the Belmond Pivoine and immerse yourself in the land of French sparkling wines, savoring every moment in Champagne. Route options include Couvrot to Epernay, Epernay to Couvrot, Chalons to Chateau Thierry, or Chateau Thierry to Chalons.

Things to see and do

A river cruise in France can be as relaxed or action-packed as you desire. Activities on our cruises include everything from hot air ballooning and watersports to authentic market tours and truffle hunting. And let’s not forget about the amazing winery visits, vineyard tours and wine tasting.

In the Champagne region, ultra-premium sparkling varietals will be more accessible than water, and Burgundy is the ultimate destination for sampling pure Pinot Noir.

Aboard your cruise, you’ll have plenty of time to wind down in your own private space. When you’re finished basking in the sun on deck, you can retreat to your luxurious room. Some of the Belmond cruisers feature rooms with high-end embroidered Parisian bed covers and marble en-suites. So you’ll have all the opulence you need for a special trip or romantic getaway.

Tips for river cruising

At Wine Paths, we arrange cruises for discerning clients who enjoy fine dining, great wine and great weather. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re a wine expert or cheese aficionado or a total beginner – we can help you have an unforgettable holiday. Here are some tips for making the most of your trip:

  • Research the destinations beforehand

A little research about the wines and grape varieties or local cuisine will help you appreciate every tasting or dining experience.

  • Bring comfortable footwear

There will be a number of stops with plenty of time to explore on foot, so bring suitable shoes for walking around.

  • Ask for recommendations

When it comes to ordering food or trying new wine varietals, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter for recommendations.



Q: Are children welcome?

Children are usually only allowed when the cruise is booked as a private hire. Get in touch with Wine Paths and we can help you arrange this.

Q: Is there a luggage allowance for cruising?

Suitcases are stored inside your cabin, so you will need to ensure that your cabin has enough room for your luggage.

Q: When is the best time for a French river cruise?

Cruising is popular during the summer months due to the warm weather, but shoulder seasons can also be a good time to go.

Why book with Wine Paths?