Whether you’re setting off from the Parc de la Tête d’Or, the south of Lyon or coming from the Saône, a trip through Lyon is a must when navigating the Rhône. Here’s a practical look at river tourism in Lyon’s largest city.

Sailing the Rhône: crossing Lyon

River navigation in Lyon

Coming from the south or from the Saône, the crossing of Lyon marks the boundary between the south and north of river navigation in France and the end of the navigable Rhône from the Parc de la tête d’or viaduct to Montalieu-Vercieu.

On the Saône side, navigation lights mark a variable alternation depending on when the river is flooded. It is essential to consult the notices to skippers when crossing old Lyon by boat.

On the Rhône side, numerous facilities such as the Edouard Herriot river port and riverside stops line the river, also requiring careful navigation: pleasure boats and transport barges pass each other in this dense area.

Riverbank development

Mapped out during the charter between Voies navigables de France (VNF) and the Lyon metropolitan area (2016-2021), here are the river developments along the Lyon confluence between the Rhône and the Saône with :

  • Landing stages
    River liners, water sports and public access
  • Stops and parking areas
    Commercial vessels, river stops and private pleasure craft, docked boats
  • Sports areas
    Sailing, rowing, water skiing

Here are 2 maps to identify the river uses of the Rhône and Saône in the Lyon metropolitan area.

The Saône upstream of Lyon

  • Map of river developments upstream of Lyon on the Saône River:

Rhône and Saône in Lyon

  • Map of river facilities for crossing Lyon between the Rhône and Saône rivers :

Inland navigation and cartography

And for navigation and tourism on the Rhône and to the north of France via the Saône, here are a few links and practical tools to keep you informed in real time, depending on your route.

Sailing the Saône in Lyon

Published by VNF, the navigation map of the Saône in Lyon provides practical information on the river situation:

  • Boats sailing and stationary
  • Structures (locks, marinas, harbours, port sites, lights, etc.)
  • Measurements (scales, hydrometers, clearances, etc.)

To consult the map and the information feed, go to the page dedicated to the Saône in Lyon :

Crossing Lyon on the Rhône

And for the Rhône river from its confluence with the Saône, the InfoRhône website takes over the mapping. Published by the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR), it provides information on :

  • Alerts restricting navigation during periods of high water (RNPC)
  • The weather and hydrology of the upper and lower Rhône
  • River information with daily bulletins
  • Graphs by station (level, head, flow, wetting)
  • News and practical links

To consult the site and the latest updates, go to the map and navigate in the menu on the left:

Sailing in Lyon

And to make it easier to cross Lyon and navigate your river in real time between the Rhône and Saône, the easiest way is to use the NAVI application, which allows you to see the state of the river at the same time.

From an interactive map, you can consult all the practical information you need for navigation, such as :

  • Boat traffic
  • Notices to skippers
  • Flood zones
  • Locks, ports, terminals, quays and car parks
  • Water bins, rubbish dumps
  • Kilometre points (KP)

Example of information available on a mobile phone (screenshot) :

Sailing through Lyon offers the privilege of crossing a thousand-year-old city and admiring all its attractions, especially the historic centre and its many buildings with unique architecture.

Between the Saône and Rhône rivers, the Lyon region offers a wide range of facilities for river tourism and water sports, as well as leisure areas.

River tourism in Lyon
Barge on the banks of the Rhône in Lyon / Romain Behar

What next?

Heading south towards the Mediterranean, the next stage of your river cruise takes you to the heart of the Rhône valley, to discover the charm of its unique and varied landscapes:

Coming soon

And for the Upper Rhône and Lake Geneva, water for sailing on the Rhône upstream of Lyon:

Web link

For information and maps on navigation on the Rhône, go to the dedicated page:

Web link


Activities, leisure, Rhone River
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Activities, visits, tickets, leisure
Activities, visits, tickets, leisure