Hop aboard! We're going barge cruising down the Saône river, the Burgundy Canal and fruther through the Southern Burgundy and Saône-et-Loire regions in France.
The Southern Burgundy and Saône-et-Loire regions belong to the most favorite ones of our team here at Bookarivertrip.com. As the area produces some of the most prestigious wines in the world. But it’s not only the wine that draws visitors to the region. It's also the Michelin star restaurants of Dijon, the stunning landscapes of Franche-Comté and the medieval cities. They have witnessed the rise and fall of the Roman, Burgundian, and Frankish Empires. A trip to this region is therefor perfect for travellers who enjoy good food and wine, history and exploring quaint French towns.
Must do activities in the southern Burgundy region
Dijon is a fantastic place to visit with plenty of cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries and shops. Though it is a big city in this region it has managed to keep the friendliness found in small towns. Here are some must see things while you are in and around Dijon on your barge river cruise.
- Palais des Ducs: built in 1365 but heavily renovated in the 18th century this museum is a fantastic example of medieval architecture. Today it houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts, a small chapel and the tombs of John the Fearless, Margaret of Bavaria, and Philip the Bold. While you’re here, climb the Tour Philippe le Bon for an incredible view over the city.
- Rue de la Verrerie: a cute little medieval street full of chic boutiques, independent art galleries and antique shops.
- Mulot et Petitjean: this shop is the keeper of the recipe for traditional gingerbread or 'pain d’épices' that dates back to medieval times. You'll find a charming boutique and bakery where you can purchase this gingerbread as well as other baked goods.
- Loiseau de Ducs: a fantastic Michelin star restaurant giving classical dishes from the Burgundy region a luxurious makeover. Expect foie gras with sour cherry chutney and pigeon alongside other gastronomical delights. The restaurant also features a wine library onsite so you can sample wines from the region while you eat. The sommeliers at the restaurant are very knowledgeable in wine pairings if you need suggestions.
The Ouche Valley is a must see for people who love exploring quaint French towns. In this region it is just one beautiful village after another. With castles, local markets and fantastic restaurants to visit in each. Just spend some time exploring the local life and uncovering hidden gems while enjoying the cozy comfort of your barge.
Route des Grand Crus
Running between Dijon and Beaune, this wine route takes you through some of the best vineyards in Burgundy. Following this route will take you through 38 wine villages, each with their own vineyards. The region mostly produces excellent pinot noirs but it also is home to some of the driest chardonnays.
While driving through this region the wine isn’t the only attraction though. You will pass medieval abbeys, chateaux and wine presses of the Dukes of Burgundy. Once you have booked your barge river cruise, we can book you a private wine tasting tour. Either one that will cover a few different vineyards or if you have a particular vineyard you would like to visit, we can contact them to arrange a tasting for you. An exquisite wine that we recommend is the Clos de Vougeot which was established by monks in 111.
A region that lies to the northwest of Lake Geneva and is full of medieval fortresses and tiny rural towns to explore. A visit to this area is all about enjoying the breathtaking scenery and possibly a spot for hiking.
Here are two of our favorite parts to explore:
- Besançon is a town surrounded by imposing military fortifications built in the 1600s. Visit the Citadel to see the UNESCO World Heritage section of this military architecture and the museums it contains. Another popular site is the St. Jean Cathedral which is home to one of the great works of Fra Bartolomeo, a Renaissance Master.
- Lons Le Saunier is a quiet town set on gentle forested slopes and is a gateway to the Jura Mountains and their beautiful ski slopes. This town is also a big treat in spring or summer though, as it is set amongst agricultural lands, offering fantastic scenery.
The Burgundy Canal is a really special part of this region and ideal for riverboat cruising. The canal is composed of a series of locks. A fascinating thing to experience as the water level is adjusted within the lock so the barge is either lowered or raised to meet the water level in the direction you're cruising. It is also one of the most attractive canals in France with picturesque scenes of villages and vineyards passing by. Due to the low water levels of the canal, it is very quiet as only small leisure craft and boat hotels able to cruise the canal.
Here are some things to do whilst cruising the Burgundy Canal:
- Walk or bike along the tow path while the boat moves slowly through the locks. A great way to experience the locks is both from the barge and from the outside, while walking alongside the leafy paths and quaint villages.
- Stop for the day in Côte d’Or for wine tasting and truffle hunting as well as for a round of sightseeing in the spectacular medieval villages.
- Visit the Abbey of Fontenay a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in 1118. The impressive Romanesque architecture is a reason to visit in itself. Besides that, the peaceful gardens surrounding the abbey are a pleasure to explore.
- Marvel at the pretty tiled roofs of the Hospice du Beaune which was built in 1443 and was employed as a hospital until 1973. Now it is a tourist attraction, but as it is situated on a wine estate that sells some of the best Crus and Grand Crus of the region, it is worth leaving yourself plenty of time to explore everything on offer here.
Why book your river barge cruise with Bookarivertrip.com?
We are specialists in unique travel accommodations. Other websites in our brand offer all kinds of rentals: lighthouses, treehouses, houseboats and even fishing cabin holiday homes. Our mission is to have guests from all over the world experience and enjoy the rich culture and delicious food of France, while cruising down its beautiful rivers and enjoying the scenery from the luxury deck of a private hotel boat. The cruises on our website offer personalized itineraries or itineraries curated by an expert. We guarantee you will experience the very best on offer in the Southern Burgundy region. Because you are cruising on a private luxury barge, it is small enough to access little towns that the bigger river cruise ships can’t. This ensures a much more peaceful experience, one that is off the regular tourist track.
Most of our cruises are private cruises for groups varying from 2-12 persons, so you can enjoy the attentive service of the on board crew. Our cruises are carefully handpicked to ensure only the best quality is on offer. We add lots of extras as well, like dinners at Michelin star restaurants. Or private chefs on board to create curated menus with paired wines from the region. You will, of course, have an experienced captain on board. All the private tours are conducted by local tour companies selected for their superior customer service. We demand the highest levels of customer service on all of our river barge cruises. In the very rare case when things don’t go as smoothly as we planned, Bookarivertrip.com has a dedicated customer happiness team who will respond quickly to find a satisfactory resolution.
Our team is the backbone of our operations at Bookarivertrip.com and we are all focused on ensuring you have the best holiday experience possible. The trips offered on our platform mimic the trips we like to take ourselves: unique travel experiences that offer the best food and cultural experiences. Just like you, we don’t want to be fighting through swarms of tourists to take pictures. We also love to have interaction with locals. In short if we wouldn’t take the trip ourselves, it won’t be offered on our website. Our manager Marc lives on a river cruise ship docked in the heart of Paris so he is an expert in this type of travel. If you would know Marc, you'd know he is extremely picky with the cruises we offer. With his decades of experience in hospitality and river barges, he drives the passion and knowhow in our team of experts. He ensures everything runs smoothly from the minute you book your trip until you return from your amazing holiday.
WELCOME ON BOARD!