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From: Viking River Cruises: Southern France cruise review


ABOVE: One section of a monumental trompe l'oeil building mural in Lyon.

MS Maribelle departed Macon at 1 a.m., traversing several locks on its way to Lyon (where the Saône merges with the Rhône, France's most powerful river).

The ship reached Lyon before breakfast and docked next to the Pont de l'Université, directly across from the island between two rivers that forms the heart of France's second-largest city.

Our morning was occupied by a city tour of Lyon. We started with a visit to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere, a grandiose 19th Century monument to the Virgin Mary that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

Next came a walk through le Vieux Lyon ("Old Lyon"), with enough free time for a visit to the Cathedral. The buses got everyone back to the ship in time for lunch; the afternoon was free, although Viking did lay on a shuttle bus for those who didn't feel like walking or taking public transportation to the Place des Terraux at the far end of downtown.

We skipped the afternoon shuttle and walked around the city, eventually taking the Métro to the transportation complex around the Gare de Perrache railroad station. Later, after dinner, we walked to a newer section of Lyon until it began raining, when we caught a tram back to the ship.

For guests who felt like staying up late and paying extra, Viking offered an optional night tour that involved a bus ride to various illuminations around the city. (Since 1989, Lyon has had a "Public Lighting Plan" with more than 150 buildings, plazas, and monuments being lit in creative ways. If you're visiting Lyon independently, ask the tourist office or your hotel concierge for a schedule of guided "Lyon, Ville Lumière" tours.)

To learn more about Lyon, see:

Cruise Photos: Lyon

Lyon Tourism and Conventions

Next page: Vienne

MS Maribelle
Introduction Dining
M/S Maribelle Shore excursions
Staterooms Service
Audience and ambience Overall value

Saône-Rhône River Cruise: Ports and Excursions

Chalon-sur-Saône Vivarais Railroad
Beaune Viviers
Macon Avignon
Lyon Les Baux de Provence
Vienne Arles
Tournon sur Rhône Pont du Gard

Day-by-day cruise photo gallery:

MS Maribelle photos (169 day-by-day images)