The 812 km (505 mi) long Rhône makes the most abundantly flowing river in France. Its source is in Switzerland’s Rhône glacier and flows into the Mediterranean Sea close to the French cities of Arles and Marseille. On leaving the Lake of Geneva, the Rhône flows south along the Jura until it breaks through the range towards the west. From Lyon, it flows south towards the sea. The region between the two estuaries is the Camargue, famous for its white horses, black cattle, flamingos, herons and ibis. The Rhône has been channelled and has twelve locks along the 310 km (193 mi) stretch from Lyon to the sea. All in all, the Rhône is a rather tranquil, slowly-flowing river. Appreciated by the ancient Romans for its mild climate and the high-quality wines of the Rhône region. They left their mark in the form of astonishing buildings. Cities like Lyon, Tournon, Viviers, Avignon and Arles are just some highlights along the Rhône.
The Saône, known to the Celts as "Aras", has its source at an altitude of 396 m (1299 ft) near Vioménil in the Vosges range. Its tranquil course runs for 480 km (772 mi) before it flows into the Rhône at Mulatière, a suburb of Lyon.
The Saône had many roles to play during the centuries; sometimes a border, at other times a transport route. This navigable river enabled trade and industry to develop and flourish along its banks from ancient times until the 19th Century. The Saône valley clearly deserves its reputation as particularly charming. A rather narrow river with a mild current and marvelously clear water. Tall poplars along the banks, spacious meadows, and picturesque ancient villages with cottages built of grey stone and colourful glazed roofing tiles under the Mediterranean sun hold a promise of more than just a hint of southerly charm. The cities of Chalon-sur-Saône and Mâcon are built on the banks of the Saône.