31202French River Cruises: 3 Great Waterways in France

French river cruises provide the perfect space in which to discover the country’s beating heart. Travelling along three of its most famous rivers will give you an insight into the rich history, culture and lifestyle of modern France, while also echoing back to a time in the past in which travel was leisurely and moved at nature’s pace.

Three of my favourite waterways in this beautiful country can be found in the north, creating a network of discovery which stretches from Paris and through Burgundy to the vineyards of Champagne; they are the Marne, the Seine and the Yonne. Take one of the many French river cruises down any of these great waterways and you will discover a hidden France seen only from its riverbanks.

The Marne

Flowing across the Langres Plateau in the north, the Marne is relatively short at just 326 miles but runs through some of the country’s most picturesque countryside. Passing the towns of Chaumont, Châlons-sure-Marne and Épernay it travels through the famous wine-growing landscape of Champagne before joining the Seine to the east of Paris.

For those wishing to explore this wonderful waterway, join one of the French river cruises which travel from Paris to Épernay, the route will take you someway down this beautiful stretch of water.

The Seine

Probably one of France’s most famous rivers, thanks to its progression through the heart of Paris, dividing the city into the famous Left and Right banks, the Seine has much more to offer curious travellers than just the marvellous City of Light.The waterway passes no fewer than six UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including the Palace of Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, the Palace of Fontainebleau and Le Havre) on its 485-mile journey through Burgundy to the coast of Normandy.

Join a cruise from Paris to Auxerre to take in the wonderful sights of the Seine.

The Yonne

The Yonne is the shortest of the major tributaries of the Seine feeding the Paris basin. From its source at the foot of Mont Preneley in the Morvan Natural Park to where it joins with the Seine at Montereau, the passage is only 182 miles long. The home of the ancient Gauls who presided over the area from their fortified city of Bibracte, the Morvan Forest is a fascinating echo back to France’s earliest history and a wonderful place to explore on a cruise. Making its way through Clamecy and the Yonne area, the river then joins the Cure above Auxerre and travels another 70 miles downstream from the famous city to pass through Joigny and Sens.

To see the sights of the Yonne and travel its deep woodland gorges and undulating hills of vineyards, take a cruise from Auxerre to Chevroches in the Burgundy region.

French river cruises offer travellers a unique opportunity to see France from the peace and seclusion of its ancient waterways. You’ll enjoy meandering your way past picturesque rural scenes, historic towns and cities and past the country’s most famous vineyards, discovering the true essence of the place from its tranquil waters.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury river cruises and barge holidays throughout Europe. If you're looking for the most exciting French river cruises European Waterways is an ideal choice. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

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