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Boating Holidays In South Burgundy

Cruise through one of Frances finest wine and gastronomy regions.

The River Saône which flows south to join the Rhône at Lyon is a major artery of this region. Because it passes through some wonderful rural scenery, has few locks, and is slow-flowing, the Saône provides some excellent river cruising. Important canals - the Canal du Rhône au Rhin, the Canal du Centre and the Canal de Bourgogne - were all constructed to link the Saône with key rivers used for commercial trading. Major cities like Lyon, Dijon, and Besançon, as well as historical towns and villages and famous centres of wine production are all accessible from our extensive range of bases.

Wine lovers could be in for a treat. Some of the most renowned vineyards of Burgundy in the Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Beaune areas can be reached easily from the Canal du Centre, served by our bases at St-Léger-sur-Dheune and Branges. Wine-producing villages like Montrachet, Mercurey and Santenay are likely to entice you away from the water. Further south you can cruise the Saône and discover two more famous wine regions : Beaujolais and Mâconnais. The attractive city of Lyon where the Saône meets the mighty River Rhône is then accessible just south of here. The hills of Fourvière and Croix-Rousse on the picturesque Ile Barbe create a superb entry port for the city of Lyon. The old town carries the Unesco World Heritage site label with its colourful Renaissance façades, tight alleyways known as traboules, and the many cosy restaurants known as bouchons.

The cruising in the east of the region strays into the neighbouring province of Franche-Comté. From the bases at Scey-sur-Saône or Gray you can climb north through forests on the Canal des Vosges to Fontenoy-le-Château. Cruise east along the Canal du Rhône au Rhin, and for something truly dramatic enter Besançon via a 394m tunnel which takes you right under the fortress built by Vauban and then do a complete circuit of the city by water.

If you want to combine leisurely river and canal cruising with excursions into fascinating towns and cities and also delve into the rich history and culture of one of France's premier gastronomic and wine regions, South Burgundy could well be the right choice!

Places of Interest

Auxonne - An historic military port town with its 17th century defensive structures still in tact. The town was home to the Artillery School where Napoleon received his first training. A statue of the Emperor sits in the town square.

Besançon - The city has one of the most beautiful historic centres of any major town in France. The historic centre presents a remarkable ensemble of classic stone buildings, some dating back to the Middle Ages and others to the Spanish Renaissance. Vauban's Citadel and the Cathedral of St. Jean are just a couple of sights worth seeing when passing through Besançon.

Chalon-sur-Saône - The city was a busy port town, distributing local wines up and down the Saône river. The town is best known as the birthplace of photography with inventor and resident Nicéphore Niépce standing proud in the town centre. The photography museum has over 2 million photographs on display as well as old and modern photography equipment. In July the citys streets host an international arts festival called "Chalon dans la Rue" Over four days artists from across Europe and beyond come to the streets of Chalon to perform, mostly for free, in music, theatre, acrobatics and comedy.

Dijon - Dijon is the historic capital of the region of Burgundy. The city is synonymous with a strong French mustard and the surrounding vineyards make it a centre for excellent wines. Dijon holds its International and Gastronomic Fair every year in autumn which attracts 200,000 people. The city boasts a large number of churches, notably Notre Dame de Dijon and Dijon Cathedral, the crypt of which, dedicated to Saint Benignus, dates from 1,000 years ago. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons (Burgundian polychrome roofs) made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green, yellow and black and arranged in eye-catching geometric patterns.

Louhans - The splendid market town of Louhans is the capital of the Bresse region and is famous for its Monday poultry market. The church of St Peter is made up of two buildings, both with excellent examples of the polychrome roofs seen in Dijon. It is now home to a photography and printing museum.

Macon - The city is awash with culture, with several excellent museums and is also home to a 8 week long festival. The "Eté Frappé" Festival is a free art and music festival that takes place every summer from June to August all over the town, featuring many concerts in a wide range of musical styles. The citys public gardens are also worth a visit as year on year they win national awards.

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