Cruising in Burgundy

The following barges cruise in this area:

Barge Name Price Range (per person) and Maximum number of guests
AMARYLLIS **Special Offer Available**
8 guests
APRES TOUT $5000-$7000
6 guests
L'ART DE VIVRE $3000-$5000
8 guests
LA BELLE EPOQUE $4000-$6000
12 guests
C'EST LA VIE $5000-$6000
8 guests
FINESSE $6000-$8000
8 guests
FLEUR DE LYS **Special Offer Available**
6 guests
GRAND VICTORIA **Special Offer Available**
6 guests
HIRONDELLE **Special Offer Available**
8 guests
12 guests
LUCIOLE $3000-$5000
12 guests
M.S. NIAGARA $2000-$6000
6 guests
8 guests
PAPILLON $4000-$5000
6 guests
REINE PEDAUQUE $3000-$7000
8 guests
RENAISSANCE $5000-$7000
8 guests
SAROCHE $4000-$6000
6 guests
Interactive Map
Click to explore this region and see barge cruise routes

Burgundy has always been famous for its fine wines—and when you cruise here you’ll see and taste how marvellous they are. In addition, this area is scattered with beautiful, intimate waterways, from the well known scenic Burgundy Canal and her charming ‘sister’ the pretty Nivernais Canal, to the celebrated ‘Côte D’Or’ (Golden Coast) of southern Burgundy, Canal du Centre and the River Saône which finally leads you down to the sparkling city of Lyon. There are many facets to this enchanting region, which is best explored by barge of course.

Where is it?

In north-eastern France, with Dijon its capital city. The main waterways here are the Burgundy Canal and the Nivernais Canal, the Canal du Centre and the River Saône.

What are the cruises like?

Idyllic. Winding your gentle way through hidden medieval villages, through wooded valleys and gentle plains, you’ll be enchanted by the atmosphere in this region of France and charmed by the warm welcome of its inhabitants. At the heart of France, Burgundy’s countryside is among the most beautiful in Europe. Miles of beautiful waterways offer tremendous opportunities for those seeking a relaxing and gentle vacation. Burgundy is justifiably well known as the home of some of the finest wines in the world and for some of the best food in Europe. Don’t let the number of barges confuse you—check out their barge pages by clicking their name above and you’ll see there are quite a few different itineraries available, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re stuck, just call us and we’ll be happy to help!

Images of Burgundy - MS Niagara Images of Burgundy - On-deck pool
The gentle MS Niagara barge (above), taking only 6 guests at a time, wends her way along the Burgundy Canal in dappled sunshine. She even has a glorious plunge pool(above).

How does this canal compare with others in Europe?

There is perhaps no better way of getting to know Burgundy than by boat. Nearly twelve hundred kilometres of rivers and canals, with very little commercial traffic, are open to pleasure craft. This remarkable wealth of navigable waterways results from the geographical situation of Burgundy; in the very heart of the region is the watershed between the basins of the three major rivers in France - the Seine, the Loire and the Rhône. In order to link these three rivers, a series of canals was built in Burgundy, starting in the 17th century, with navigable rivers the Saône, the Yonne and the Seine. It’s one of the most prized waterways in France due to the pretty villages you cruise through en route, and also because of the sun-drenched, wine growing countryside on either side of you. Gently meander through one the loveliest areas you could ever come across, sampling fine wines along the way and enjoying fresh French cuisine at its best...

Images of Burgundy - Ripening grapes Images of Burgundy - Autumn vineyard

Burgundy— fine wines and a lot more besides...

Why would I want to cruise here?

- Because you want to cruise through the very heart of possibly the prettiest French countryside—houses covered in flowers seemingly year round, medieval-feeling villages with small central squares surrounded by cafés where people are enjoying the slower pace of life.

- Because Burgundy's range of culinary experiences varies from pretty inns on the banks of a river to prestigious restaurants (last time we counted there were 32 restaurants with Michelin 'stars', including four with 3 stars!) All of the barges cruising in Burgundy pride themselves on the quality of their food and wine. With your own personal chef on board, local specialities and international cuisine are of the highest standard.

- Because you want to taste some fine wines and enjoy select private wine tasting, as offered by many of the barges’ excursions.

- Because you like great weather and sunshine, but perhaps not quite such high temperatures as in the south of France.

- Because you want to visit amazingly intricate chateaux and tread in the footsteps of past kings and queens of this fine country.

To give you a feel for the different areas, here are some cruise highlights of the differing waterways:

Nivernais Canal cruise Highlights may include:
  • Auxerre - the centre of barging in Burgundy, with its shops, narrow streets and Cathedral of Saint- Etienne
  • The Basilica of Vézelay
  • Wine villages of St Bris, Coulanges and Irancy
  • Wine tasting at a famous vineyard in Chablis
Burgundy Canal cruise highlights may include:
  • Beaune, Wine Capital of Burgundy
  • The Roman town of Tonnerre with its 13th century refuge and remarkable spring
  • 16th Century Châteaux of Tanlay and Ancy Le Franc and the Abbey of Fontenay
  • Visits to famous vineyards such as Savigny, Meursault and Nuits St Georges
Canal du Centre cruise highlights may include:
  • Wine tasting at Santenay and Meursault
  • The hilltop Château de Rochepot
  • Excursions along "La Route des Vins"
  • A visit to Beaune for wine tasting
Images of Burgundy - Chateau La Chassagne

Wonderful chateaux such the Chateau la Chassagne (now a hotel), an ancient hunting chateau, are the perfect place to stay pre or post cruise. With private airfield, vineyards, pool and solarium, chapel, stables, golf course and more, this is the place to head. A 10 minute ride from Dijon train station and you’re there. Please e-mail us for details.

On the subject of wine…

No one who spends time in Burgundy can miss visiting the wine cellars. The most famous of Burgundy's products and its best ambassador is its wine. Throughout the province, from north to south, are prestigious appellations : Chablis, Coteaux de l'Auxerrois, Côte-de-Nuits, Côte-de-Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise et Mâconnais.

150 wine producers produce between them 40 million bottles of wine a year. Wine traders, small cellars in which you can sample the wine, and the larger wine centres are all ready to welcome you to their cellars. Most - if not all - the barges offer wine tasting sessions at vineyards along the route. Some can even offer wine tasting or appreciation courses as a part of the cruise. Please ask us if that interests you.
Images of Burgundy - Papillon lounge Images of Burgundy - Papillon barge cruising
The gorgeous Papillon barge (above) cruises in Burgundy. She has a lovely salon and is one of the very few barges benefiting from a separate dining room.
Images of Burgundy - Fabulous dessert
Let yourself be pampered with the choicest of dishes and sweet desserts aboard the character full Belle Epoque, cruising on the Nivernais Canal between historic Auxerre and Clamecy.

Images of Burgundy - Ballooning

Ballooning can also easily be enjoyed from the barge, at extra cost but well worth it we think! (Belle Epoque, left)

How can I travel to this area?

As well as the extensive road network, there are several airports and train stations in this region:

  • Dijon Airport - 5km from the city centre.
    Offers scheduled flights to destinations in France
Please note that for the majority of cruises in the Burgundy region transfers can be easily arranged, if not already included in the cruise price, from Paris- making the large airports of Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Paris Orly important arrival points from outside France.
TGV train stations
  • Sens
  • Montbard
  • Dijon
  • Chalon-sur-Saone
  • Le Creusot
Click here to go to the Barge Company dedicated 'trains' website to find out more about travelling around France on the TGV High Speed Rail network

Phone: +33 561 59 20 07, Fax: +33 561 59 23 54
Phone (Toll-Free from USA + Canada): 1-800-688-0245

The Barge Cruise Company Ltd, 2 Allée de Castelnouvel, 31490 Léguevin