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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

To appreciate Lyon’s glorious riverbanks and architecture at a wonderfully relaxed pace, embark on a river cruise. The city is bisected by two rivers that join in the city itself – the Saone and the Rhone.

There are two tour options. The shorter one (on simpler boats) focuses on the romantic Saone, travelling up to the historic Barbe Island. The longer one (on more luxurious craft) takes you along a central stretch of the Rhone, providing lunch or dinner. With the longer tour, you take in a greater number of Lyon’s great monuments and quarters and get a fuller commentary.

Logistics

Price from: £15
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: +
When: All year around
Duration: 1-3 hours

Getting there & doing it

For shorter trips, arrive at the Quai des Celestins (nearest metro Vieux Lyon or Bellecour) 15 minutes before departure. For the longer restaurant boat tour head to Quai Claude Bernard (accessible via the tram stop of the same name).

Tickets can be bought without prior reservation at the quay itself, though booking in advance is recommended for the dining tours.

Lunch and dinner are prepared onboard by a Toque Blanche chef from Lyon. On the normal tour boats, light refreshments are available.

When to do it

Riverboats tours run in the afternoon all year, with morning/night tours too in summer. Restaurant boat tours run March to January for lunch and dinner. Check website for exact departure times.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with

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Lyon City Boat

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

This well-established company has been providing Lyon river cruises for many years. Its boat, Hermes, for dining cruises, is large and comfortable. The Saone cruise boats are much simpler.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lyon

Auberge-Rhone-Alpes, France

Man on horse statue in foreground, basilica behind

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