Five beautiful villages to explore during your France river cruise with Scenic

When you think of a France river cruise, you picture heritage homes, stone water wells, 12th century churches, locals cycling by and cafe chairs spilling into narrow cobbled streets.


On a 5-star truly all-inclusive France river cruise with Scenic, you won't have to picture it, you can experience it for yourself. Our custom-designed Scenic Space-Ships are designed to dock right in the heart of small towns and villages. Disembark and be led by the expertise of Scenic’s well-versed local guides on a Freechoice excursion or take an e-Bike and navigate the villages independently, taking advantage of the Scenic Tailormade app  clever enough to guide you even if you choose to go your own way.

Here are five of the most beautiful and picturesque villages to experience in France

Roussillon, Avignon 

Considered one of France’s most beautiful villages, Roussillon's famous ‘Ochre Path’ on Luberon’s ochre circuit resembles a painter’s palette. Ochre quarries were carved out of the red cliff faces more than two centuries ago. On the Scenic 11-Day South of France itinerary, you can take a guided tour through a maze of picturesque streets, colourful paths and squares up to the castle overlooking the town.  This region is also famous for its vast purple fields of aromatic lavender in the summer months. On this Scenic Freechoice activity, you’ll visit a nearby, local lavender producer and learn how lavender is grown and harvested here in the South of France. 

Les Baux, Provence 

The medieval village of Les Baux is a must-see for lovers of history and postcard-worthy photographs of a quintessentially French township. Stroll past St Vincent’s Church, a 12th century building that is typical of the structures in Les Baux, half built into rock. View the interiors that include modern stained-glass windows by Max Ingrand (1962), a gift from Prince Rainier III of Monaco. On the edge of the village stands the historic monument Château des Baux, spanning an area of five hectares with beautiful vistas over Provence, from Aix to Arles. 

Beuvron-en-auge, Normandy 

During the Scenic 11-Day Normandy & Gems of the Seine cruise to visit Beuvron-en-auge – an archetypal Norman village. After a visit to the small town of Pont l’Eveque, renowned for producing a cheese of the same name, continue on to Beuvron-en-Auge. Here, you can visit an acclaimed Calvados (apple cider) producer Christian Drouin and wander the heart of the village – known for its Calvados, antique stores and historic timber homes and inns built in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.  

Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux

Spend an afternoon in the World Heritage-listed medieval village of Saint-Émilion, renowned for its wineries, architecture and fascinating monuments. This stunning village was named after a Breton monk called Émilion who lived as a hermit in caves beneath the ground. Scenic’s expert local guides will take you a tour of the caves to see where he lived, as well as to the underground limestone catacombs of the Monolithic Church built in the early 12th century – its 53-metre-high bell tower rising above the historic village. 

Blaye, Nouvelle-Aquitaine  

On the banks of the Gironde River, Blaye is a beautifully preserved historic centre contained within the walls of the World Heritage-listed Citadel of Blaye. Scenic guests can take a guided walking tour of the citadel to learn about the defence system which was created by the famous architect Sébastien Vauban between 1685 and 1689. On an active guided cycling tour, follow a 30km roundtrip route along the ‘Captain’s Road’, named in honour of the World War I Captains who purchased homes along this water-facing stretch. A visit to the fairytale-like Château de La Roche-Guyon, known as ‘The Castle of Sleeping Beauty’ is magnificent – explore the beautiful grounds during a guided tour. 
On your Scenic France river cruise, you can explore and discover all of these fascinating and atmospheric towns – and so many more. Each itinerary includes Scenic Freechoice activities that you can choose according to your tastes and set a pace that feels right for you. So, whether it’s French food, wine, history, architecture or nature that appeals, the expert Scenic team are there to assist every step of the way – when you say au revoir to France, you’ll leave with vivid, lifelong memories.

Start planning your France river cruise