About the river
The River Saône is in eastern France and flows southwards with the Jura and Alpine mountains to the left and the vineyards of Burgundy to the right. The river's source is in the Vosges mountains at an altitude over 400 metres. It is 480 kilometres long and is the main tributary to the majestic River Rhône which it joins in the heart of the city of Lyon.
The river is divided into two sections, the upper stream La Petite Saône and the lower stream, much larger La Saône.
La Petite Saône (the small Saône) which is 192 kilometres long has gentle curves and turns as it passes through wood-lands and low hills.
La Saône 170 kilometres is much wider as it flows through the flat plains of the Saône valley towards the Rhône.
For the self-drive boating holidays we really recommend exploring the upstream section called La Petite Saône, there are rental boat bases at Saint-Jean and Gray. You'll also be able to cruise on the River Doubs or take the Canal Marne à la Saône.
If you've already cruised on the canals, heading down stream on the Saône aboard a Hotel Barge cruise in perfect for wine enthusiasts who are keen on the Burgundy & Beaujolais wines.
Self-driveBoat rentals Charter barge Hotel barges
The towns & villages to visit
- Pontailler sur Saône
- Verdun sur le Doubs
The river town of Chalôn is always bustling with activity and the Sunday market is really good. The river banks, cafés, restaurants, old streets and shops must be on your list of places to explore whilst you're here.
Lyon is the second city of France, the gateway to the south, a beautiful historical city and lays on the junction of the River Rhône and River Saône. To the west you have the hills rise for the Beaujolais vine-yards, to the east the large plains of the river give way to the mighty Alp mountains.
This small river town is the heart of traditional barging.
Places to visit
- Côte de Beaune vineyards
- Côte de Nuits vineyards
- Beaujolais vineyards
- Paul Bocuse restaurant
- Restaurants at Ile Saint-Laurent, Chalon-sur-Saône