Portrait of Southern France: Viking Tours.

By Posted in - Blog & Destinations & France on June 28th, 2016 Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene, Viking River Cruises, Saone River

“Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

The Rhone River in Southern France has taken a long journey to get here. It started its prolonged journey as a glacier high up in the Swiss Alps before making its way down to the Chaîne des Alpilles, a small range of low mountains in Provence. It flowed through Lake Geneva before arriving in the distinguished city of Lyon, in Southern France. It was here, where I came to really appreciate the river and how it flows. It was on my trip with the Viking Tours that first brought me here last year and brings me back again this year.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

 

In the 20th century, lock systems were installed to aid in Rhone River travel and to produce hydroelectric power along the river path in Southern France. The Rhone has an impressive series of locks and canals that keep your trip tranquil and relaxed as you allow the cruise ship to do its work. While going thru the lock system, you can rest in your comfortable room, eat amazingly prepared food by the boat’s chefs and enjoy the company of your fellow passengers or decide to curl up with a book alone in the main lobby.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

Portrait of Southern France: Viking Tours

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

River travel allows the vacationer the ability to do slow travel, more relaxing than traditional trips. You only unpack once, but you are in an almost constant state of movement quietly and slowly, as you make your way through many of the small towns and villages that are near the river in southern France. That is the single best part about a river cruise: You feel more settled, and never have to move your things.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

On the well-known Viking River Cruises, there is always someone there that will take care of you and the logistics of your trip the entire time. Basically, you can put yourself on “airplane mode” and relax.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

Lyon, France: Portrait of Southern France

Map of Southern France, Southern France, Viking Tours

Welcome to Lyon

Lyon is a hub where your Viking River Cruise may begin or end or stop at along the way, as the Provence area of France is known worldwide as a charming place to be in the Spring. Once you arrive there with Viking, you will have plenty of time to visit the city itself.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene, Lyon cafes

Lyon is built right on the river, in fact, it is built on two rivers, the Rhone, and the Saone. It is built right where the two rivers intersect, which make this city even more interesting in layout than most. In fact, this city became the starting point of the Roman road system and was founded as far back as 43 BC!

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene, lion statue

Lyon is the Capital of Gaul and is a great place for cultural exchanges and trade. The wealth of Lyon has attracted artists, merchants, politicians, as well as banking institutions from the far East. It is known in Europe as the cultural center of France, only second to Paris.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

Portrait of Southern France: Viking Tours

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

My suggestion to you is to lose yourself in the city, as Lyon is one of my favorite stops along the river. Be sure to go to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vieux Lyon (OLD TOWN) where you will find cafes and shops along a cobble-stoned pedestrian walkway with many narrow passages.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

Just a few streets away from this busy, main thoroughfare you should wander off to the main path to find the restaurant gems that can be found spotted around town.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon cafes

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene, Lyon door

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

There is also a rich collection of Renaissance architecture and passageways to get lost in and of course, the gothic style St. Jean Cathedral

St. Jean Cathedral, Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

and the nearby Palace of Justice.

 

As you wind yourself through town, don’t forget to look for other famous portraits around town: the La Fresque des Lyonnais, located at the corner of 2 rue de la Martinière and 49 quai Saint Vincent by the Saône River. It is another must-see attraction in Lyon, where local artists have painted the sides of the houses in a French style.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

 

 

 

 

You can also ride up to the top of Fourviere Hill on the funicular railway and enjoy sweeping views of Vieux Lyon down below, scoping out the two river system. The gorgeous and majestic Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is there with its giant lion statue, the symbol of the city.

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

 

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Lyon lion statue, Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene

Southern France, Viking Tours, French flowers, Lyon street scene , Lyon bridges

 

And don’t forget to also visit the Odeon of Lyon, an ancient Roman theater built in the 2nd century. There are plenty of places to go and see to keep you occupied for at least a day or two, so sit back, relax and enjoy your visit to Lyon, France.
I recommend eating at Le Tire Bouchon Restaurant, while in the old town.

 

The atmosphere has a local feel, the food is French and divine!

 

Disclosure: My trip on the Viking River Cruise to Southern France was courtesy of Viking River Cruises. Opinions all my own.

(2) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Stephanie Be -

    June 28, 2016 at 11:36 am

    This looks like such an amazing experience. Love your perspective and tips!

    • Cacinda Maloney -

      June 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks Ms. Stephanie! Wish you were on this trip with me!