Burgundy – Franche Comté :: Hotel Barge Canal and River Cruises


The ancient Dukedom of Burgundy is home to possibly the most concentrated essence of the best of France and what is French. With its capital at Dijon, Burgundy is rightly regarded as one of the most attractive yet diverse waterway regions.

West of Dijon, the Burgundy Canal follows the impossibly pretty Ouche Valley, heading towards Paris. In the east, the Rhone-Rhine Canal threads itself through Franche Comté, past Besancon, alongside and into the River Doubs, bound for Basle and the Rhine. And South, the Canal du Centre breaks away from the Loire valley, looping around to Chalon and finally, bisecting the region north to south, is the ample River Saone gently flowing south to join the Rhone at Lyon.

The unique attractions of the region are world-famous. The many charming historic towns, a legacy from the Duchy’s former golden age, will provide an opportunity to stop, explore and marvel. Romanesque monuments, castles and abbeys are complemented by cities of culture, crammed with art treasures and historic relics. Historic Dijon, home to mustard and brightly coloured tiled roofscapes, Michelin restaurants, Coq au Vin, Bœuf Bourguignon, Charolais cattle and Bresse poultry. Not forgetting the wine-waiter’s dream team – Beaune, Macon, Nuits-St-George, Beaujolais, Chablis and Cote d’Or.

Download our free Guide to Burgundy.

Barge Cruising – The Ouche Valley and Dijon

map ouche valley dijon► Hotel Barges cruising in this locality

Canal de Bourgogne (South-East)

The construction of the Canal de Bourgogne in eastern central France was completed in 1832 and follows the course of first the River Armancon and then the River Ouche. Located close to its summit, the pretty rural village of Vandenesse-en-Auxois marks the start of the southern reaches of one of France’s loveliest waterways, gliding through perhaps the most highly-regarded winemaking region in the country. The celebrated Burgundy Route des Vins offers arguably the best of French reds from the Cotes de Nuits to the Cote de Beaune and all stops in between.

The fairytale Chateau de Longecourt has a romantic moat and dreaming spires to enchant the eye, but it is the Ducal Palace in Dijon that provides the historical and architectural highlights of the area. Once the official residence of the Dukes of Burgundy, it now houses the Musee des Beaux Arts, one of the largest museums in France, which features masterpieces by the likes of Titian, Veronese, Brueghel, Rubens, the list goes on…In the 17th century Dijon was granted exclusive rights to produce mustard, a skill that locals have honed down the years and nowadays the famous Dijon mustard adds a piquant note to the cuisine for which the Burgundy region is so well known.
Look out for the distinctive glazed tiles that colour the roofscapes of so many of the region’s towns and villages: from the 12th century onwards these richly coloured tiles, arranged in intricate patterns, were intended to confer status on the owners of the houses that they graced.

Getting There
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Paris or Dijon hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and there is a European-flight airport at Dole. There are also TGV express train stations at Montbard, Dijon, near Dole and Le Cruesot (near Montchanin); and many other towns in the region have railway connections.

– [below] In the region: Vandenesse-en-Auxois, Canal de Bourgogne, Longecourt, Burgundy Route des Vins, Dijon –

vandenesse-500x300  c-bourgogne-500x300  longecourt-500x300

burgundy-vineyard2-500x300  burgundy-cellar-500x300  wine-tasting-500x300

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Longecourt ©CamSky | Barrels ©wineterroirs.com | Tasting ©bringingburgundytoyou.com | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Barge Cruising – The Saone and South Burgundy

map saone burgundy► Hotel Barges cruising in this locality

River Saone – Canal du Centre – Doubs/Canal Rhone-Rhine

The Saone is one of the most attractive rivers in France: wide, sleepy and unhurried, it wends its way from the mountains of the Vosges to the Rhone, linking up with the Burgundy Canal, the River Doubs and the Rhone au Rhine Canal and passing through delightful countryside replete with wildlife – herons, kites and the pale Charolais cattle that come down to the waterside to drink. Macon offers an ideal base for discovering the Beaujolais – a rolling crest of hills famous for the production of light red wine, or if you prefer fuller Burgundy reds then a rendezvous at Clos Vougeot will provide ample opportunity for tasting. Beaune is another major centre for viticulture and the town’s ancient hospital with its dazzling glazed tiled roof is an unmissable attraction.

Formerly an outpost on the border between the historic kingdoms of France and Burgundy, Verdun sur le Doubs is now better known for the delicious stew made from locally caught river fish – Pochouse. Also on the River Doubs, Dole retains much of its medieval character and Besancon, with its spectacular citadel designed by the French military architect Vaubun, is worth the journey further upstream.

Fans of photography will be keen to visit Chalon-sur-Saone, the home of Nicéphore Niepce and thus regarded as the birthplace of this popular art form: the colourful Sunday market offers perfect opportunities for taking vivid holiday snaps.

Getting There
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Paris or Dijon hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and there are European-flight airports at Dole and Lyon. There are also TGV express train stations at Dijon, near Dole, Macon, Le Cruesot (near Montchanin) and Lyon; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.

– [below] In the region: Besancon, Dole, Verdun sur le Doubs, Chalon-sur-Saone, Macon, Clos Vougeot, Beaune, Germolles –

besancon-500x300  dole-500x300  verdun-doubs-500x300

chalon2-500x300  saone-500x300  macon-500x300

clos-vougeot-500x300  beaune-museum2-500x300  chat-germolles2-500x300

Besancon ©M Akpovi | Dole ©sosni | Verdun ©B Bonin | Chalon ©M Chanaud | Clos ©markjone | Beaune ©Michael Evans | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Style: 6* Supreme

Grand CruOwner Operated

  • Style: 6* Supreme
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Saone‑South Burgundy

Although cruising deep within Burgundy’s lush landscapes and ancient canals, Grand Cru’s modern design provides the clean lines and open... Read more

ProspéritéOwner Operated

  • Style: 6* Supreme
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

Timeless cruising on tree-lined canals...wine-tasting in the Cote d'Or....an idyllically beautiful route aboard one of the finest hotel barges in... Read more

Amaryllis Belmond

  • Style: 6* Supreme
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

Belmond Amaryllis is luxury personified - a delightful combination of traditional decor and contemporary comfort to cosset 8 lucky guests in true... Read more

Fleur de Lys Belmond

  • Style: 6* Supreme
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Saone‑South Burgundy

Elegant, graceful, superbly appointed and super-spacious, the Belmond Fleur de Lys cruises the classic Burgundy route through France's Cote d'Or -... Read more

Style: 5* Grand Luxe

FinesseE W Fleet

  • Style: 5* Grand Luxe
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Saone‑South Burgundy

Finesse: the name says it all. She is the perfect vessel on which to meander through the lush undulating countryside of southern Burgundy. Enjoy... Read more

Après ToutOwner Operated

  • Style: 5* Grand Luxe
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Saone‑South Burgundy

An exceptionally smart and elegant barge offering the very best of luxury cruising for the discerning traveller in central Burgundy. With two... Read more

Style: 4* Excellence

L’ImpressionnisteE W Fleet

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 6 cabins / 12 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

A beautiful barge for up to 12 guests cruising in glorious southern Burgundy. She is richly decorated, with a wood-panelled saloon, comfy leather... Read more

La Reine PedauqueOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

La Reine Pedauque, newly refurbished and sailing once more in the heart of Burgundy, offers an exceptional barge cruise for just 8 guests. Take a... Read more

Hirondelle Belmond

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Saone‑South Burgundy

The Belmond Hirondelle offers elegance and luxury whilst cruising the most beautiful parts of central France. Simply sit back and infuse the... Read more

Grand VictoriaOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or, Saone‑South Burgundy

Grand Victoria (formerly Hemingway) has been superbly refurbished to carry six guests on a luxuriously relaxing cruise through the Burgundy... Read more

Rendez-VousOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

Hotel Barge Rendez-Vous offers high quality accommodation and cruising on the famous Burgundy canal. With fresh and tidy decor she provides 6 guests... Read more

Wine & WaterOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

A superb cruise, especially if you are a wine enthusiast, in glorious southern Burgundy, the heart of the world renowned wine-making country. Wine... Read more

SarocheOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Paris‑Champagne, Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or, Saone‑South Burgundy

Saroche is a classic barge with those graceful lines that make hotel barge cruising superbly elegant and stylish. As one on the largest hotel... Read more

Style: 3* Premier

Savoir VivreOwner Operated

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

The clue is in the name - Savoir Vivre knows how to live; how to provide 8 guests with a wonderful vacation that's 'chic, relaxed, fun, authentic... Read more

MagnoliaOwner Operated

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Ouche Valley‑Cote d'Or

Discover the richness of Burgundy and its unique landscapes along the meandering canal of Burgundy and its picturesque Ouche valley. Choose from... Read more

Style: 3* Smart

Jeanine CroisiEurope

  • Style: 3* Smart
  • Capacity: more than 6 cabins
  • Cruising: Paris‑Champagne, Saone‑South Burgundy

Brightly and colourfully decorated throughout, MS Jeanine is one of CroisiEurope's fleet of five up-to-the-minute hotel barges. She cruises in... Read more


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Our Expertise – France, Cruising the Waterways and Hotel Barging . . .

We have explored the rivers and canals of France on our own yacht and motor boat since 2003, logging up nearly 10,000km along most waterways, in most regions, at all times of year. Independent, impartial and enthusiastic, we have personally visited and know every hotel barge, every owner-operator and fleet, published on french-waterways.com.


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advice-350x217We feature information about 50 wonderful hotel barges, of various sizes and price/style levels, more than 100 individual cruises to choose from every week of the season, in 8 regions across France. Some book flexibly by the cabin, others exclusively charter the entire hotel barge. Quite a choice!

Every one of our hotel barge information pages has been carefully crafted and written by us, from our own unique first hand-hand experience – but we also understand that there’s nothing like speaking to a friendly expert to help see the wood for the trees and make the best possible decision about the vacation cruise of a lifetime.

So please, send us a Booking Enquiry form (click on the red tab above) or just pick up the phone and give us a call.
We love France, we love the rivers and canals of France, we love hotel barging – and we love talking about all three!

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We have been cruising and exploring France
aboard our own river boat since 2003.

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