Thursday, July 7, 2016

France: Impressions of River Cruising on the Rhône

The Rhône River arises in the Swiss Alps as an effluent of the Rhône Glacier, enters Lac Léman then exits as an outflow at Geneva. The Rhône travels a total of 812 km to the Mediterranean Sea, meeting its largest tributary, the Saône at Lyon.The river boat we boarded in Lyon travelled 282 km to Arles, passing through 12 locks and past 5 nuclear power plants through the northern Rhône and Southern Rhône wine regions. Some familiar names....Cotes du Rhône, Cotes du Rhône Villages, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Hermitage AOC. 

We passed many, many vineyards, and the wonderful small, but ancient towns of Vienne, Tournon, Viviers, Avignon and Arles. We made bus excursions to the towns of Oingt, Grignan, and Les Baux de Provence as well as to Pont du Gard, a truffle farm and an olive orchard. It was all heavenly!!

Bow above, stern below. The large glass windows on the stern were where the Chef's Table, a small restaurant for about 25 people was located and we had the opportunity to eat here with a reservation.

The Amadagio in Viennes

There was a large deck on the upper level with this putting green and a hot tub. 

The structures on the top deck were all collapsible for travelling under low bridges. Even the Pilot House, shown here, had to collapse quite often into the space below. The Captain then used controls mounted on the sides of the boat.

Below: The Pilot House collapsed. Captain is sticking his head out an opening in the ceiling to see out while steering. He had to duck his head down going under the bridge. 

Here are the captain and assistant captain steering through a lock, using the starboard control box. The locks were very long, narrow and deep. 40 ft. or so.

The flattened back half of the boat coming under a bridge

The boat was fitted out very sumptuously, with comfortable common areas and always coffee/tea and snacks available. There were macarons at every meal :)

Our stateroom, small but adequate with a good view of the strong current of the Rhône

France has so many beautiful bridges!

The Musée des Confluences in Lyon coming up on the right

Its architecture, by an Austrian company, is inspired by the swirling waters of the rivers coming together on either side.

We spent a very pleasant afternoon on the top deck enjoying the fabulous views

Cotes du Rhône vineyards

Numerous swan sightings

Many ruins in the distance

Beautiful countryside and glorious weather: pleasant cruising

One night on the cruise the crew surprised us with a 50th-anniversary cake.


And lots of best wishes from all the kind fellow travellers

I love surprises (no)

The Happy Couple ;)