About Burgundy: Franche Comté

Pamper your palate in the heart of magnificent Burgundy

Famous Burgundy well deserves its reputation for fine wines and gourmet cuisine. Lush vineyards hug rolling hills, and quiet villages invite you to linger. Amidst a network of canals flows the majestic Saône River, the focal point of your Burgundy boat rent in France! This beautiful river ushers you into a world of pleasures, a realm that pleases the senses and soothes the soul.

 

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Map showing where the Burgundy: Franche Comté boating region is in France

The perfect boating region for...

Wine Tasting

Did you know that more than 200 million bottles of Burgundy wine are sold every year? Really! And you've got to savour some on your wine tasting cruise! Tour the Côte de Beaune vineyards! Stop by the Maison des Vins in Chalon-sur-Saône for regional wines!

Nature Lovers

Burgundy's rivers and canals are a rich habitat for wildlife. Along the Saône and Doubs you'll find 42 species of mammals, 30 species of fish and 160 species of birds! Watch for bee-eaters, little ringed plovers, kingfishers, golden orioles, and even the common cuckoo!

Gastronomy

Dining in fine restaurants should be part of your Burgundy Boating Vacations! Try a flan filled with Burgundy snails at Maison Lameloise in Chagny, a 3-star Michelin favorite. How about Idéal mâconnais, a cake made with meringue and butter cream filling? Or pain d'epices (ginger cake)?

Fishing

A fishing vacation in Burgundy means angling for carp, pike, zander, perch and bream. But the real lure for the passionate angler lurks in the depths of the Saône, to catch the Silurus glanis or giant catfish, try the waters near Beaune!

Useful information

A bit of background

In Vioménil amidst the beautiful Vosges Mountains, the Saône River bubbles crystal clear, draining the hills and valleys along its run of 480 kilometres (298 miles) to the Rhône River at Lyon. A Burgundy map shows that it’s navigable from Corre all the way to Lyon, a beautiful stretch spanning 371 kilometres (230 miles). Your Burgundy boat rent in France covers some of the prettiest waterways, which include adjoining canals and major tributaries! The river’s source is 396 metres (1,300 feet) above sea level, and the river makes most of its fall before Gray. From Gray all the way to the Rhône the drop is only 34 metres (111 feet). This means that the Saône is a very gentle river — slow, wide and peaceful below St. Jean-de-Losne on the Big Saône. It is narrower and more rural above Axonne on the Petit Saône.

Roman legionnaires cherished a sacred spring in Chalon-sur-Saône named after the Gallic river goddess Souconna. They called the entire river Sou-conna, and the name eventually stuck. However, the Romans also called the river Arar, which loosely translated means two rivers that fit together. The name arose from the confluence of the River Doubs with the Saône. Seneca described the Saône as “a hesitant river” that couldn’t make up its mind about which way to go!

The Petit Saône, Big Saône and the Seille River are all easy to navigate and suitable for beginners. The adjacent canals are also gentle and inviting.

The locks on the Seille River are self-operated. The locks on the Petit Saône are automatic and have lock keepers; others are self-operated. On the Big Saône, you’ll find three large automatic locks with lock keepers between St. Jean-de-Losne and Mâcon. On the Canal des Vosges, Canal de Bourgogne and the Canal du Centre, all locks are automatic.

Opening hours: Petite Saône locks operate from 09:00-19:00 (7:00 p.m). They are closed for lunch from 12:30-13:30 (1:30 p.m.). Big Saône locks operate from 06:00-21:00 (9:00 p.m.). No lunch closures.

Public holidays: Locks are open on most public holidays.

Lock Closure dates: Please be aware about the lock closure dates by local authorities. During that day(s), you won’t be able to go through the locks. For more details and questions, please contact our sales team.

  • Canal des Vosges & Saône River (Upper Petite Saône + South): All locks closed on: 1st May
  • Canal de Bourgogne, Canal du Centre, Canal du Rhône au Rhin & Seille River: All locks closed on 1st May & 14th July

There are numerous well-equipped moorings on the Seille River. Mooring on pontoons or in a harbour is compulsory on the Big Saône.

To find out how to get to each of our bases in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available at each base or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

  • Rental of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demontration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks
  • Optional vacation extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Interactive map of Burgundy: Franche Comté

Base pin  = Le Boat base                 Point of interest pin  = Point of interest

Great to see...

Must see
Square in Dijon
Seat of the Burgundy dukes, it is one of the most attractive cities of provincial France and the historic capital of Burgundy. Discover Dijon and its mediaeval centre full of history, interesting buildings and monuments. Climb the 315 steps of the Philippe le Bon Tower for a splendid view over the rooftops of the city's well-preserved mediaeval quarter.
Must see
Dole, Burgundy
A wonderful city. The port is situated in a very picturesque part of the old town, directly below the magnificent cathedral, less than 100 metres from the old quarter of tanneries. This part of Dole is made up of narrow cobbled streets, and very old houses. You can visit the house where the scientist Louis Pasteur was born, and numerous churches.
Must see
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs Vision Boat
This pretty and calm village is great for leisurely strolls. There are numerous houses just over the water that you can see when you cross the beautiful Floerew bridge. Verdun-sur-le-Doubs is a good place to stop and relax a bit.
Must see
Produce in a market
Along the Saône, influenced by the history of the Burgundian kingdoms, is Chlaon-Sur-Saône. Discover its long and complex history and its beautiful monuments. The market place, with the Saint-Vincent cathedral, is magnificent to see. A truly beautiful city.
Fontenoy-le-château has an interesting history so be sure to visit the museum and numerous churches. Discover the old paved streets and alleyways where time seems to stand still, visit the Tower of the Lombards and maybe take a look at the château ruins.
A picturesque and welcoming town, Port-sur-saône has much to offer. Visit an old eighteenth century church, and discover the charm of the sixteenth century. You'll also want to see the magnificent, eighteenth century bridge: 13 arches long, it spans across all of Saône, offering you wonderful landscape views.
With its tall tower houses, Scey-sur-saone welcomes you with many vestiges of the past. Visit the beautiful eighteenth century church, and walk along the banks of the Saint-Albin canal. The Scey-sur-saone castle cannot be toured but it remains a great sight to see.
For being so small, this town has a lot of history. Ray-sur-Saône has kept its soul over the centuries, as you will see. Discover the former wash basin of the village, and the beautiful Saint-Anne church. The expansive Ray-sur-Saône castle dominates the valley and is open for tours.

Gray is a bustling town, steeped in history with fascinating preserved buildings that you can visit. Most notably are the Eglise, and the fortified chateau of Baron St. Martin, which is now an art gallery & museum.

Sometimes referred to as the jewel of the Saone valley", or " the second capital of Haute-Saône", Auxonne was a strategically important fortified town in the middle ages. Nowadays, it is a market town.
Saint-Jean-De-Losne has seen numerous wars during the last few centuries, and was named "Belle-Defense" by the king. There are several downtown monuments about this. Walking through the streets, or over a beautiful bridge, you can also catch sight of Saint-Jean-Baptiste's church.
Besançon has many gems including its vast parks, wide boulevards and the Battant Quarter which was originally settled by wine-makers. You'll see some beautiful architecture here including seventeenth century facades fronted by wrought-iron balconies. The Citadel was built by the great military architect, Vauban, and offers magnificent views over the city and the river Doubs.
A scenic town nestled next to a canal, Seurre is known for being the native village of the famous French writer, Bossuet. His house can still be visited and has been transformed into a little museum. In Seurre, you can enjoy a local popular dish, the pôchouse serruoise, made from fish.
Chagny is a pretty town, with plenty of restaurants, including the famous Lameloise. Among the numerous shops, the 18th century apothecary is always interesting. If you have time, visit the contemporary art gallery.
Santenay is one of the villages that played host to the famous Burgundy duke, Phillipe le Hardi. His castle is still there and can be toured. There are also vineyards and a casino in this exciting and pretty town.
Welcome to Tournus, a wonderful city filled with medieval monuments and vestiges. Here, you will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful Saint-Philibert church, with its high medieval tower covered in green ivy. The well-preserved abbey palace is also wonderful to observe. A great place to go for a walk.
Cuisery is one of the four famous Book Villages of France. There are more than a dozen book shops selling collectors' items in gravure, lithography, illuminated text, early comics, etc. You will surely enjoy this cultural visit. The Church of Notre Dame is also pleasant to visit.
Welcome to Branges, a calm and peaceful town. Take the opportunity to cycle along the canal banks, and explore the area. Downtown, you can have a drink on the terrace of a French village bar.
Louhans is a pretty city where you can enjoy walking along the beautiful arcades, where there are many shops and beautiful old buildings to see. Church Saint-Pierre, with its burgundian roof, is beautiful. Try the local speciality chicken, called Poulet de Bresse.

Route suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

Branges RETURN via Tournus

Branges
Cuisery
Tournus
Branges

10hr(s) of cruising

88.00km 6 locks 3 nights

Branges RETURN via Tournus

The boat moves gently on the River Seille toward beautiful Tournus, where you plan to stop for the night, dine in a café and explore. A Burgundy boat rent in France turns out to be exactly what you envisioned, a unique and relaxing way to see mediaeval cathedrals and small towns amidst a pastoral paradise of vineyards and forests.

10hr(s) of cruising

88.00km 6 locks 3 nights

Branges RETURN via Chagny

Branges
Cuisery
Tournus
Chalon-sur-Saône
Chagny
Santenay
Branges

28hr(s) of cruising

176.00km 32 locks 7 nights

Branges RETURN via Chagny

You'll start your cruise in Branges, a calm and peaceful town. Take the opportunity while you are here to cycle along the canal banks, and explore the area. Downtown, you can have a drink on the terrace of a French village bar. You'll then cruise to Chagny, taking in the picturesque villages of Cuisery, Tornus Chlaon-Sur-Saône along the way. Chagny itself is a pretty town, with plenty of restaurants, including the famous Lameloise. Among the numerous shops, the 18th century apothecary is always interesting. If you have time, visit the contemporary art gallery.

28hr(s) of cruising

176.00km 32 locks 7 nights

Branges RETURN via Mâcon & Chalon-sur-Saône

Branges
Cuisery
Tournus
Chalon-sur-Saône
Branges

26hr(s) of cruising

192.00km 8 locks 7 nights

Branges RETURN via Mâcon & Chalon-sur-Saône

France barge vacations in the Maconnais-Beaujolais wine region of Macon indulge your palate with the local white wines. As you approach the city, which dates back 2,000 years, you can just taste the light and dry wine crafted from chardonnay and pinot blanc grapes. Another local favorite is Macon supérieur, a white wine with higher alcohol content. You’re up for that too!

26hr(s) of cruising

192.00km 8 locks 7 nights

Branges to Saint-Jean-de-Losne

Branges
Cuisery
Tournus
Chalon-sur-Saône
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs
Seurre
St. Jean-de-Losne

20hr(s) of cruising

144.00km 6 locks 4 nights

Branges to Saint-Jean-de-Losne

The Jura wine region lies off the stern as you head out from Branges on the River Seille at the start of your Burgundy boat rent in France. As you travel, the magnificent vineyards of the Mâconnais and Chalonnais spread out before you! Cycling along the towpaths into Roman villages and larger towns brings you close to land and its people. Relax with wine at a pretty café!

20hr(s) of cruising

144.00km 6 locks 4 nights

Fontenoy-le-Château RETURN via Ormoy

Fontenoy-le-Château
Fontenoy-le-Château

12hr(s) of cruising

52.00km 22 locks 3 nights

Fontenoy-le-Château RETURN via Ormoy

You’ve discovered that boating in France offers you many pleasures! You’re travelling down the Canal des Vosges and meeting up with the River Saône, and all the way Burgundy’s stunning beauty surrounds you! After cruising awhile, you stop in Corre to eat at a waterside café and to explore the museum, and then it’s off again to Port-sur-Saône for a spot of cycling and tennis!

12hr(s) of cruising

52.00km 22 locks 3 nights

Fontenoy-le-Château RETURN via Ray-sur-Saône

Fontenoy-le-Château
Port-sur-Saône
Scey-sur-Saône
Ray-sur-Saône
Fontenoy-le-Château

38hr(s) of cruising

208.00km 52 locks 7 nights

Fontenoy-le-Château RETURN via Ray-sur-Saône

Varied and unique, France barge vacations in the heart of Burgundy have proven you made the right choice for a getaway! You leave the pretty town of Fontenoy-le-Châteaux and head out on the Canal des Vosges. You find yourself amidst beautiful scenery punctuated with pretty villages, each seeming to have its own palatial château! Relax and do some fishing on the River Saône!

38hr(s) of cruising

208.00km 52 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne to Fontenoy-le-Château

St. Jean-de-Losne
Auxonne
Gray
Ray-sur-Saône
Scey-sur-Saône
Port-sur-Saône
St. Jean-de-Losne

32hr(s) of cruising

210.00km 32 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne to Fontenoy-le-Château

You’re a fan of history, and in this part of Burgundy you can’t resist poking about the museum honouring Napoleon Bonaparte in Auxonne. He attended artillery school in this lovely city in 1788, prepping for his future escapades. As you head north, you stop in the old trading port of Gray for a bite to eat — beef bourgignon or smoked sausage with a glass of local Chassagne-Montrachet!

32hr(s) of cruising

210.00km 32 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Gray

St. Jean-de-Losne
Auxonne
Gray
St. Jean-de-Losne

16hr(s) of cruising

129.00km 10 locks 3 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Gray

Billed as France’s largest centre for inland boating, the busy and picturesque town of St. Jean-de-Losne is situated at the junction of the Burgundy Canal and the River Saône. Museums, art galleries, restaurants, and modern facilities make this an ideal place to start your Burgundy boat rent in France! Gray and Auxonne invite you to linger!

16hr(s) of cruising

129.00km 10 locks 3 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Louhans

St. Jean-de-Losne
Seurre
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs
Chalon-sur-Saône
Tournus
Cuisery
Branges
St. Jean-de-Losne

37hr(s) of cruising

293.00km 14 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Louhans

The call of vendors in the weekly market every Monday in Louhans reminds you that the ritual has gone on since medieval times. You bargain with merchants, and buy a baguette, some cheese and a bottle of wine. Then you head out on the River Seille. France barge vacations in Burgundy combine rural charm with watersports, shopping and fine dining!

37hr(s) of cruising

293.00km 14 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Besançon

St. Jean-de-Losne
Dole
Besançon
St. Jean-de-Losne

37hr(s) of cruising

194.00km 52 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Besançon

On a Pasteur Cruise boat rent in Burgundy, you depart from the bustling port of St. Jean-de-Losne with its cobblestone streets and impressive architecture. You make your way to the old port of Dole, birthplace of Louis Pasteur, and you stroll the beautiful parks and wide boulevards of Besançon, where the majestic Citadel dominates the skyline.

37hr(s) of cruising

194.00km 52 locks 7 nights

Fontenoy-le-Château to Branges

Fontenoy-le-Château
Port-sur-Saône
Scey-sur-Saône
Ray-sur-Saône
Gray
Auxonne
Saint-Jean-de-Losne
Seurre
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs
Chalon-sur-Saône
Tournus
Cuisery
Branges

50hr(s) of cruising

319.00km 38 locks 10 nights

Fontenoy-le-Château to Branges

Following the River Saône, you will enjoy a picturesque cruising in a land of natural beauty, fine wines and gourmet cuisine. Discover the splendid châteaux near Scey-sur-Saône, visit the city of Châlon-sur-Saône and taste fine wines from the Côte de Beaune’s premier cru vineyards nearby, and stop for an historic walk in the roman town of Tournus or in the military town of Auxonne.

50hr(s) of cruising

319.00km 38 locks 10 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Dole

St. Jean-de-Losne
Dole
St. Jean-de-Losne

16hr(s) of cruising

48.00km 18 locks 4 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Dole

From Saint Jean de Losne, follow the Canal du Rhône au Rhin, immerge yourself in a part of the history of France! Discover the medieval city of Dôle and its listed monuments like the Louis Pasteur Museum. Along your way, taste the local specialties: you are nearby world famous vineyards of Burgundy and of the Jura!

16hr(s) of cruising

48.00km 18 locks 4 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Chagny

St. Jean-de-Losne
Seurre
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs
Chalon-sur-Saône
Chagny
St. Jean-de-Losne

26hr(s) of cruising

154.00km 28 locks 7 nights

Saint-Jean-de-Losne RETURN via Chagny

Follow down the River Saône up to the dynamic city of Châlon-sur-Saône then turn to the Canal du centre to reach the town of Chagny. You are now between 2 of the most famous vineyards of the World, the Mâconnais and the Côte de Beaune! Take the most of these fine wines by tasting them with some the local cheeses and gourmet cuisine! Just relax and make the most of the patrimoine and gastronomy of Burgundy!

26hr(s) of cruising

154.00km 28 locks 7 nights
Added on 16 May 2018

Gary Martin said

The boat was in good condition with all the facilities needed for a perfect, romantic getaway. We enjoyed the experience very much. Friendly, efficient and professional
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St. Jean-de-Losne - Fontenoy-le-Château
Clipper
Added on 22 April 2018

John Fitzgerald said

The woman that was attending to us was wonderful. She was full of excellent information. She was also alone and trying to deal with other charterers and was overwhelmed. She needs some help!!!!! Very relaxing. Will do it again.
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St. Jean-de-Losne - St. Jean-de-Losne
Clipper
Added on 30 September 2017

Kathy Benage said

They were very helpful we had a support post for the Bimini that bent when we lowered the top, it had been heated and obviously repaired and I appreciated that they didn't make an issue out of it, I felt they were honest Pretty little town we enjoyed it
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Branges - St. Jean-de-Losne
Royal Mystique A
Added on 23 September 2017

Buz Humphery said

Very good. The only reason it does not get a five star is: 1. After payment of the full reservation fee, the Waterways Guide should be sent to the customer, price of the guide should be included. 2. We had one small window water leak issue we emailed about enroute, and got no response. 3. The starter pack of groceries should afford the customer to choose what items are wanted. 4. At the end of the cruise, the check out procedure, most importantly, the fuel charge issue, should be made more clear. The boat, weather, and route were very good. A little rain, but not much.
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St. Jean-de-Losne - Branges
Calypso
Added on 19 August 2017

Poul Rossing said

Venlig og professionel service. Har allerede anbefalet Le Boat til venner og bekendte Også her meget imødekommende og kompetent personale, der lyttede til os og vore ønsker
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St. Jean-de-Losne - St. Jean-de-Losne
Grand Classique
Added on 19 August 2017

Fred Robinson said

Like alway a friendly welcome, the boat was clean,fuelled and ready to go. Beautiful location in a pleasant town, easy cruising with no problems
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Dear Mr Robinson,
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are delighted to learn you enjoyed your cruise with us in Burgundy. We would love to welcome you on board with us again soon.
Best wishes, The Le Boat team
St. Jean-de-Losne - St. Jean-de-Losne
Salsa A
Added on 24 July 2017

Walter Becker said

Excellent pre-cruise info. Online info not available on tablet during the cruise was unfortunate. Get to meet interesting people in their every day world.
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St. Jean-de-Losne - Branges
Vision 3
Added on 10 July 2017

Bruno Campana said

Desde a reserva até a recepção antes do embarque tivemos uma atenção e qualidade de serviço excelente. Único ponto que poderia sugerir de melhoria seria a qualidade de toalhas de banho e lençóis. O resto superou nossas expectativas. Pretendo fazer outra viagem com vocês em outra região e com outros barcos de amigos. O percurso é muito tranquilo e o passeio gostoso mas imagino que tenham percursos com mais atrações na Franca.
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Branges - St. Jean-de-Losne
Royal Mystique A
Added on 24 June 2017

Peter Watt said

Very professional service, good communication. This canal is not as busy as others, so it was a very peaceful and enjoyable voyage. The river was wide and free flowing, clean enough to swim in which was enjoyable for the teenagers onboard particularly since the weather was very hot. We have previously cruised the Canal du Midi and the Nivernais, this cruise was a little more back to nature which was thoroughly enjoyable, although finding supplies was a little more difficult.
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Hi Peter,
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch and to send feedback through to us. We're very glad that you had a positive experience with us & hope you had an enjoyable holiday overall.
We look forward to helping you plan your next holiday with us in the near future!
With Best Regards, Your Le Boat Team
St. Jean-de-Losne - Fontenoy-le-Château
Grand Classique
Added on 13 May 2017

Sharon Hanlon said

Highly responsive to my emails asking for more information, clarification, options and always very accommodating and positive A perfect introduction to the River Saone with a little side trip to Dole to experience canal cruising.
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GRY - St. Jean-de-Losne
Royal Mystique A