Burgundy Canal ~ Ouche Valley ~ Dijon

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.

► Hotel Barges cruising through Southern Burgundy

Wonderful Ouche Valley Places

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

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

dijon-centre-500x300  dijon-roofs-500x300  dijon-halftimbered-500x300

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

Getting to Dijon and the Ouche Valley
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.

River Saone ~ Chalon-sur-Saone ~ River Doubs ~ Canal du Centre

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.

► Hotel Barges cruising the Saone / Doubs / Canal du Centre

Wonderful South Burgundy Places

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

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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

Getting to South Burgundy
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.


Capacity: 50 passengers

Natalia ~ Hotel CruisingProfessional Fleet

  • Style: Cruise + Hotel
  • Capacity: 50 passengers
  • Cruising: Paris‑Champagne, West Burgundy‑Loire, Nivernais

Gentle Cruising in Burgundy  (no supplement for single guests) Join this cruise with a difference aboard the new river and canal boat, Natalia,... Read more

Capacity: more than 6 cabins

JeanineCroisiEurope

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

Capacity: 6 cabins / 12 guests

L’ImpressionnisteE W Fleet

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

Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests

Grand CruOwner Operated

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

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

AmaryllisBelmond

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

FinesseE W Fleet

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

La Reine PedauqueOwner Operated

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

HirondelleBelmond

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

Savoir VivreOwner Operated

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

Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests

Fleur de LysBelmond

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

Après ToutOwner Operated

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

La Vie en RoseOwner Operated

La Vie en Rose, a classic cargo barge from the 1930's, has recently been operating as a hotel barge under the name of Who Knows. Now under new... Read more

Rendez-VousOwner Operated

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

Grand VictoriaOwner Operated

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

Wine & WaterOwner Operated

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

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

MagnoliaOwner Operated

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

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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!

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