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Rolling On The Rhone River With Viking Cruises

September of this year saw me fulfilling a long-standing dream of taking a European River Cruise. From Provence in the south to Lyon in the  northern Rhone region of France, I spent seven days on board the Viking longship Buri.

Rolling on the Rhone River with Viking Cruises

The Viking Buri, docked in Lyon, France

During the week long cruise, we stopped at six ports along the Rhone River. Each port was a mini history and culture lesson. Often the food and wine of a particular area was a special treat at dinner, as when we arrived in Tournon Sur Rhone, where just across the river are the famous Hermitage AOC Vineyards. That evening, we drank a local Syrah.  Food, wine, art, and architecture – all the things I love about Europe – were part of the cruise experience, which Viking does so well.

Photo Essay Provence to Lyon Viking River Cruise

My first view of the Rhone River and Provence!

This was my first time in France, and I was not disappointed. Many of my readers know that I’m a big Italophile, but this year I went to France instead of Italy. Who knew that France has almost as many Roman ruins as Italy? Everywhere we went, we saw magnificent monuments and remains of what was once the mighty Roman Empire.

One of the nicest features of taking a river cruise is that at each port you have the option to take a guided walking tour. The guides are always local and extremely knowledgeable. I went on every walking tour offered, trying to soak in as much as I could…and take photos along the way.

There were also additional day tours at most ports that allowed travelers the opportunity to dig deeper into the culture. I’ll write more about the tours I took and what you can see and do in each port in future articles.

After most trips, I like to begin sharing my experiences with photographic stories that I hope will stimulate your curiosity and inspire you to come back and learn more – and take a journey yourself!

Are you ready to Roll on the Rhone River with Viking River Cruises ?

Embarkation port: Avignon

photos essay from a river cruise provence to lyon

The beautiful city of the Popes, Avignon

The cruise began in Avignon with a tour of the Palace of the Popes or Palais des Papes. It is the largest gothic building in Europe and was the home of the Popes during the 14th century. Once both a palace and a fortress, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the historical center of Avignon.

Arles, Provence @PennySadler 2016

The Roman Colosseum in Arles, France

Arles is a dream of a town, with much architectural and historical interest. Though it was once the capital of the Kingdom of Arles and an important river port, it is perhaps best known for the outstanding Roman amphitheater, seen in this photo and as the home of the painter Vincent Van Gogh. Arles has also been designated a UNESCO World  Heritage Site. I’ll be writing more about Arles and the Roman ruins.

Rolling Rhone River Viking Cruises

Who wouldn’t like to while away a few hours here?

Tournon Sur Rhone

Rolling on the Rhone With Viking Cruises @PennySadler 2016

The Marc Seguin Bridge, Tournon Sur Rhone

We arrived in Tournon after dinner, but early enough for a walk. The bridge in the photo connects Tournon with the famous Tain L’ Hermitage AOC vineyards.

Rolling on the Rhone River with Viking Cruises

A view of the Rhone towards the south from Vienne.

Vienne, a stunning city with wonderful Roman ruins, founded under the administration of Pontius Pilate. Our group arrived in Vienne after disembarking in Tournon, boarding a bus, and meeting the boat in Vienne. But first we had a tour of the city and got the lay of the land. That night we went back out after dinner to wander through the ruins in the dark. A special experience we shall always remember.

Rolling on the Rhone River with Viking Cruises

A mix of architectural styles from different centuries in Vienne – medieval architecture adjacent to Roman ruins.

Last port of call: Lyon

Rolling on the Rhone River with Viking Cruises

Beautiful Lyon, France, view from Fourviére Hill

Lyon is France’s second largest city, yet the pace does not feel frantic or big city at all. Lyon is known first and foremost as a food city, so be sure to try some local dishes like Salad Lyonnaise, and glass of rosé. My favorite part of the city was the Vieux Lyon, or the old town. I spent all my free time in Lyon there, walking the cobblestone streets or sitting at a cafe enjoying a local wine. There is much to see and do in Lyon so I will be writing about it in detail in future articles.

If you have any questions for me about any of the ports or what it’s like to take a river cruise you can email me, leave a comment, or stay tuned!

Rolling on the Rhone by Adventures of a Carry-on

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Sadly, Lyon was the last stop on our Rhone odyssey. My appreciation to Viking Cruises for sponsorship of the river cruise portion of this trip.

11 Comments
  1. I’ve only ever done a Nile cruise, and that was by felucca rather than cruise ship. This looks rather lovely!

  2. Have heard so much about Vikings River Cruises, and they sounds like an incredible way to explore European destinations. So glad that you had the chance to visit France – especially as a wine lover – some fantastic regions here to explore! We loved Lyon 🙂

    • Thanks Megan. I really wan to go back to France. And yes, Lyon is one of my favorite cities now.

  3. Ahh… the more I read about Viking River Cruises, the more I want to try them out. That image of strolling the cobblestone streets of Lyon and sipping at the cafes is seduction at its finest!

  4. Penny,
    I’m having second thoughts about this trip. Are you docked in cities or do you have to take buses? I like to get off the ship and explore. I read one review that said skip this cruise and take the Germany one because you get off in cities. I have taken Paris to Normandy and loved it but we were supposed to be docked in Paris. didn’t happen. Constantly on a schedule.

    • Hi Marilee,
      thank you for your question and comments. At most of the ports but NOT ALL of the ports you need to take a bus into the city. Ports where you are docked within walking distance include: Avignon, Vivier, Vienne and Lyon. However, be advised that to arrive in Vienne you will travel by bus from the port in Tournon. Then the boat is docked in Vienne overnight. There is time to go out and explore. We did so after dinner. Lyon you can chose to go explore on your own or take the tour with the Viking guide. Same in Avignon. I have not taken the Germany trip yet but I would like to. Let me know what you decide.

  5. I would have been delighted to have poured your wine for you at every stop on that trip, madame. Perhaps next time…

    • Ha! if only I’d known I would have invited you for sure!

  6. Penny, just saw this one—I’m jealous! Beautiful images and what sounds like many pleasures.

    • Did we not talk about France? You should have gone with me! You are so kind – Thanks Tom.

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