Whether you opt for just one trip or both, you’re in for a treat. We’ll barge back-to back through one of the most beautiful regions of France at what I consider to be the perfect time of year, April.
The rapeseed fields (think Canola) provide a golden backdrop to lovely days along the Burgundy canals.
In April, Burgundy is blessed with the emergence of spring. Days are sunny and not too hot. The air is filled with the fragrance of flowering plants and the melodies of songbirds. The crowds have yet to converge on this lovely region. You’ve heard that April in Paris can be wonderful? In Burgundy, April is divine.
From Besançon to Dijon, we’ll barge between the Doubs valley and Burgundy for spectacular scenery dotted with charming cities and villages. We’ll visit the Saline Royale of Arc-et-Senans, Dole and Saint Jean-de-Losne, first river port of France and home to the Musée de la Batellerie (highly recommended). Should you choose to do both trips we’ll repeat only one city, Saint Jean-de-Losne, which works out well as there is much to see and experience there.
From Dijon to Saint-Léger-sur-Dheune, we’ll cruise the Burgundy canal to to the Saône river and up the Canal du Centre, arguably France’s most beautiful canal, at least according to our captain. We’ll visit world-class vineyards to sample wines, including the renown Santenay. We’ll stroll charming Chalon-sur-Saône, a beautiful city of art and history; and for those who are up to it, we’ll hike to the Cirque du Bout du Monde for gorgeous scenery.
Ready to join me next April? You can do one trip or both. Each trip is priced at $3,689 per person, which is less than the barge operator charges for the same itinerary.
Both trips span 14 days and include transfers and accommodations (the 5-Star Grand Hotel La Cloche) in Dijon, for US$7,378 per person, based on double occupancy. If you think you’d like to go, reserve space now. There’s no commitment, but there is a limit, only 10 couples.
After you submit, I will reach out to you via email with more information. You are under no obligation to purchase.
If you opt to to both trips, we’ll arrive in Dijon on the morning of April 12 and transfer to our hotel (transfer and hotel included for those doing both trips). Spend the day exploring Dijon. It’s easy to do on your own. We’ll be in the city center so that everything worth seeing is within walking distance. You’ll have most of the day on April 12 and April 13 to explore this lovely city.
One of the highlights of barging is life on board the barge. Ten cozy staterooms are one deck below the main deck. Check out the stateroom in the video below. Another stateroom (good for those who are mobility challenged), lounge area, bar and dining room are on the main deck as is an outdoor space with chairs and tables and a Jacuzzi. Stairs lead to the sundeck.
Step off the barge to pedal a bicycle or walk along the tow paths that flank the canals. Step back on board for a Cremant (think champagne) or relax in the Jacuzzi. Enjoy gourmet, authentic French dining, which some on our April trip said was better than the Michelin-starred restaurants where they dined before boarding. I’m 6’5″ so I make the bikes look small! We had a bit of fun one day opening one of the manual locks ourselves on the Canal du Burgundy (photo below).
Check La Compagnie for $2,300 roundtrip business class air from Newark airport. Note that La Compagnie services Orly airport in Paris. My suggestion would be to stay a night or two in Paris, then travel by train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Besançon or Dijon, depending on which trip you are doing. Also see Airfare Hacks: Using Google Flights For Cheap(er) Business Class | Snagging $600 Business Class
There are river cruises, then there are barge cruises. The two are worlds apart, or at least waterways apart. River cruises take place on Europe’s major waterways on vessels that typically carry from 100 to 200 guests. By contrast, barge cruises operate on small canals (you could skip a stone across many of them) and typically carry no more than two dozen guests. To say that the experiences are similar would be quite a stretch. Sure, they both operate on water, but they are markedly different modes of transport. How so? In this post, we’ll take a look at 10 reasons to choose a barge cruise.