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10 Favorite Ports on the Rhone River

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The Rhone River’s ports including Lyon, Arles, Avignon, and Vienne have been home to Vincent Van Gogh, were once the seats of power for Popes, and are the birthplace of food movements that changed the way the country eats. Elsewhere on the river, small towns like Viviers offer insight into the rich history of the region dating back to the 5th century. 
Lyon 
Lyon is a city known for delicious French food, up-and-coming art, and centuries of history, and France's third-largest city does them well. Modern art galleries and Roman ruins sit next to Bohemian neighborhoods and markets selling cheese, oysters, the catch of the day, and fresh-baked bread. Elsewhere in town park along the Rhone boast floating nightclubs and reflecting pools.
Vienne
Founded by Julius Caesar and once a major center for commerce on the Rhone River during Roman times, Vienne today is a place to wander with cobblestone streets, ancient ruins, and medieval castles, and sample some of the town’s nouvelle cuisine in a place where it originated. 
Arles
Arles has seen the likes of Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh walk its streets, the latter painting over 200 works around town. Today, the city is becoming the art capital of Provence converted train stations around town are now galleries and world-renowned architects are helping to keep the movement alive. Away from the art scene, there are Roman ruins, lively markets, and a group of new restaurants changing the dining scene.
Avignon
Seven popes lived in Avignon before the court moved to Rome leaving behind the majestic Palais des Papes. The building is the largest gothic palace on Earth and once housed the biggest library in Europe. Today the city’s quiet streets and medieval ruins bring people to explore while discovering the museums, history, and streets and plazas lined with cafes and restaurants.
Tain L'Hermitage
The Rhone Valley is home to some of France’s best vineyards and Tain L’Hermitage is the place to try to local variables. When paired with the fact that the Cité du Chocolat-run by chocolatier Valrhona is here-this is a stop for food and wine lovers from all over the world. 
Viviers
Founded in the 5th century and the location of the smallest cathedral in France, Viviers is considered the best-preserved medieval city in the country. The walled-in old town has narrow winding streets where shops sell homemade sausages and other delicacies from buildings that have been around since the 12th century.  
The Camargue
The upper Rhone River splits at Lyon, forming the Petite and Grande Rhone Rivers that flow to the Mediterranean Sea below. The Camargue is a triangular delta that is spread out between the two rivers where farmlands once were painted by Van Gough, black bulls roam, and salt lands, lagoons, and beaches welcome flamingos. The area is nicknamed the ‘Wild West’, of France and its wildlife and sweeping views prove the moniker true.
Port-Saint-Louis
Built as a port between the Rhone River and the sea by Napoleon, the Port-Saint-Louis of today is one of the gateways to the Camargue, a thriving marina town, and a place to relax on one of the many beaches before heading onwards.
Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts
A port village that once catered to the fisherman, Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts now finds itself visited by travelers who want to experience the romance of the seaside and the genuine history of the region that saw the Rhone River turn into one of the major waterways in the country.
Martigues
Nicknamed ‘The Venice of Provence,’ for its canals and bridges, Martigues is a coastal town of three islands that has long played host to artists drawn to its beauty and charm. Beaches, seaside restaurants, and plenty of galleries and museums make visiting here a day to remember.
Contact one of our travel experts to arrange a trip on the Rhone River that puts you center stage to the rich history and beautiful countryside of France. 
 

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