We are not yet midway through our back-to-back barge trips in Burgundy. So far, it has been a magical trip. The photos accompanying this post barely do it justice. The weather has treated us kindly since we departed Besançon on Friday morning.
Our departure from this beautiful city in Franche-Comté was through a tunnel underneath the Citadelle, a 17th-century fortress that stands high above Besançon.
Since leaving Besancon we have spent time on both the Doubs river and a canal that runs alongside. The river is impassable for long stretches because of rocks and rapids. The canal allows our barge (Daniele) to avoid such obstacles, with locks that gradually drop our barge downriver toward the Saône.
While the locks are interesting, the landscape between the locks is mesmerizing. The barge is so quiet that we can hear the songs of birds in the budding trees. At locks, we stepped off the barge to walk along the towpaths that line the banks. In addition to hearing the songbirds, we’ve seen quite a few herons and egrets. It is quintessential spring – in France, no less.
The trees are another highlight. During our approach to Dole yesterday, giant sycamore trees (called plane trees here) lined each side of the canal. I snapped several photos and videos to try to capture the beauty. The trees perfectly framed Daniele as she motored toward a lock (in French, ecluse).
Platanus occidentalis (American Plane Tree, American Sycamore, Buttonball Tree, Buttonwood, Eastern Sycamore, Sycamore)
Today in Saint-Jean-de-Losne, situated on the Saône, we played Pétanque on a quay just steps away from our barge. As we tossed the metal balls, our chef, Armand, prepared a barbecue on the outer deck, and tonight we will dine outdoors as the sun sets on the river.
It is hard to imagine how our trip could have been better so far – or the weather, which, luckily, has defied the rain forecast. The sun is shining, we are in France, and the smell of barbecue is beckoning.
I hope you enjoy the photos from what is so far a wonderful trip. From the Saone river, Bonsoir.