The river’s name derives from that of the Gallic river goddess, Souconna.
Rising at Viomenil in the Vosges and joining the Rhone in Lyon, the Saône runs for 300 miles, much of it linked via locks and canals with the Loire, Seine, Rhine, and Marne rivers. An important waterway since the Bronze Age, the Saône has witnessed centuries of history while nurturing the epicurean riches of France’s world-famous Beaujolais region.
Most Saone River cruises run between Chalon-sur-Saône and Avignon or Arles, on the Rhone. While the scenery is lovely, it’s the food and wine that really steal the show. Lyon, considered the gastronomic capital of France, is a highlight of the trip, a UNESCO World Heritage site chock full of fascinating historical sites, museums, parks, and gourmet attractions.
Given its fame and popularity, there are many options for cruising the Saone; in addition to mini-cruises featuring just the Saône, most cruise companies offer combinations with the Rhone for a longer cruise, as well as Saône and Seine combination cruises.