There is no need to travel many miles to discover magnificent landscapes. France and its 8,000 kilometres of waterways offer a multitude of possibilities for trips from one village to another one and from one lock to another one. Between the Canal du Midi, the Canal du Nivernais, the Canal de Nantes à Brest, the Charente... Why not choosing a cruise on the Saône river, one of the most beautiful rivers in France? This magnificent river, which originates in the Vosges region and flows into the Rhone in Lyon, is divided into three sections: Haute, Petite and Grande Saône. Your will experience a wonderful trip in this region! In this article you will find out the best stops that will make your stay a unique moment.
Mâcon, a city of history
Set sail in the midst of breathtaking nature hiring a riverboat in Mâcon, one of the oldest cities in France! The city invites you to visit its museums, historical and archaeological sites to immerse yourself in the history of the city. Don't forget to visit the majestic church of Saint-Pierre, its two elegant bell towers and its three works classified as "Historical Monuments". If you love castles, you can visit the castles of Brancion, Vinzelles or Corcelle. Mâcon also offers many pleasant green spaces to relax or have a picnic with the family. After this nice stop, continue your cruise on the Saône towards Pontailler-sur-Saona and the little Saône.
Port-sur-Saône, the green city
If you choose to hire a riverboat in Port-sur-Saône, you will discover a picturesque and welcoming city. Here, the two dominant colours are the blue of the water of Saône, and the green of more than 500 hectares of lush forests, home to a unique biodiversity. Before continuing your trip by houseboat, you can take the numerous hiking trails, the various cycle paths and for animal lovers, enjoy the park of La Maladière located on the banks of the Saône and which houses fallow deer and llamas. Port-sur-Saône is an ideal starting point to discover the wooded landscapes and small villages typical of the Vosges, along the Petite Saône.
Gray, following the rhythm of Saône river
Located between the cities of Besançon and Dijon, the city of Gray is one of the most important cities in Haute-Saône. If you choose to visit with riverboat hire in Gray, you will discover a city that distinguishes for its nature and its rich historical heritage. During your stay, you will enjoy this city and its remarkable architectural heritage. You will discover many places to visit: the 15th century basilica of Notre-Dame, the town hall with its enamelled roof tiles, the Italian theatre and the Saint-Pierre Fourier tower. Don't forget to have a walk along the quays and the beautiful bourgeois residences that testimony the intense port activity developed by the city of Gray over the centuries.
Ray-sur-Saône and its postcard decoration
Getting by houseboat in the charming village of Ray-sur-Saône, you will be dazzled by the view: a real postcard landscape! By the sea, in fact, you can admire the church with its typical bell tower and the majestic medieval fortified castle, all surrounded by a green environment. The castle of Ray-sur-Saône is worth a visit!
Natural and wild, the Saône offers a magnificent cruise in a region of unspoilt nature. In fact, with a cruise on the Saône you will enjoy the calm and peaceful water of this river, in the middle of an authentic green setting. If this is your first river cruise, Saône is an ideal destination! For fishing lovers, the Saône is a river rich in fish and a real paradise for fishermen who can find different species of fish.