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The Rhone (French: Rhône, IPA: [ʁon]; Franco-Provençal: Rôno; Occitan: Ròse; standard German: Rhone; Walliser German: Rotten; Italian: Rodano) is one of the major rivers of Europe, originating in Switzerland and running from there through the south-eastern corner of France. At Arles, near its mouth at the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone (French: Grand Rhône) and the Little Rhone (Petit Rhône). The resulting delta constitutes the Camargue region.



Before railroads and highways were developed, the Rhone was an important inland trade and transportation route, connecting the cities of Arles, Avignon, Valence, Vienne and Lyon to the Mediterranean ports of Fos, Marseille and Sète. Travelling down the Rhone by barge would take three weeks. By motorized vessel, the trip now takes only three days. The Rhône is classified as a class V waterway[1] from the mouth of the Saône river to the sea. The Saône, which is also canalized, connects the Rhône ports to the cities of Villefranche-sur-Saône, Mâcon and Chalon-sur-Saône. Smaller vessels (up to CEMT class I) can travel further northwest, north and northeast via the Centre-Loire-Briare and Loing Canals to the Seine river, via the Canal de la Marne à la Saône (recently often called the "Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne") to the Marne, via the Canal des Vosges (formerly called the "Canal de l'Est – Branche Sud") to the Moselle and via the Canal du Rhône au Rhin to the Rhine.

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