Boating Holidays Masthead
Boating Holidays Masthead

East Burgundy Boating Holidays

A boating holiday in eastern Burgundy (Franche-Comté) takes you through France's richest region - noted for its relaxed living, fine wines, excellent cuisine, culture and history.

On the network of tranquil waterways see quaint medieval towns and villages with forests and mountain scenery alongside pastures and fields of wheat.

East Burgundy Area Map

Our eight boat bases give you many options for your cruise in East Burgundy.

Under a backdrop of blue-tinged Vosges mountains Fontenoy-le-Chateau is a typical medieval market town. From our cruiser boat base sail down the Canal de Vosges through forests to join the River Saône.

One of France's most attractive rivers, the Saône has few locks and charming riverside villages. Cruise the Saône from our penichette base at Scey-sur-Saône or further south our cruiser boat base at Gray, once a thriving port for the wine and wheat trades.

East Burgundy - rich in natural beauty

Our boat base at St-Jean-de-Losne is at the crossroads of the Burgundy waterways.

The beautiful Canal de Bourgogne leads north east through rolling hills and famous wine producing areas to the city of Dijon, famed for its palatial buildings and rich heritage.

East from St-Jean-de-Losne the Canal du Rhone au Rhin travels to the foothills of the Jura mountains. From our penichette base at Deluz cruise east to historic Baume-les-Dames and west to Besancon, where the canal arrives via a 394m tunnel under the massive citadel, and on to Dole through a canalised stretch of the River Doubs.

Cruising south, on the west bank of the Saône are the vineyards of Burgundy, home to the world’s finest wines such as Nuit St Georges. Joining the Saône at Chalon-sur-Saône, the Canal du Centre passes the renowned vineyards of the Cote de Beaune and can be explored from our base at St-Léger-sur-Dheune.

Further south the picturesque medieval town of Tournus has a Mediterranean feel. Turn off onto the unspoilt River Seille into the heart of the countryside past delightful villages to our cruiser boat base at Branges near the market town of Louhans. Or continue south of the Saône to Mâcon, famous for its red wines, and with a penichette base.

A cruise in eastern Burgundy takes you through a fascinating and varied region of France.


Area Highlights

Highlights of the Burgundy East Region

  • Famous vineyards near Branges
  • Michelin-starred restaurants and gourmet cuisine
  • Picturesque cruising on the Rivers Saône and Seille
  • Burgundian architecture and quaint villages
  • Dijon, the opulent ancient capital of Burgundy, renowned for its architecture
  • Louhans lively Monday market!
Port in St Leger

Useful Information:

  • River Seille: Easy cruising; self-operated lock; numerous well-equipped moorings.
  • Grande Saone: Between St. Jean de Losne and Macon. There are 3 large automated locks, manned by lock keepers.
  • Petit Saone: Easy cruising. Automatic locks operated by a lock-keeper and self-operated locks.
  • Canal des Vosges, Canal de Bourgogne and Canal du Centre - all locks are automatic some of which are operated by a lock-keeper.
  • Locks are open on most public holidays.

Suggested Cruises from our base in Burgundy East

Boat holidays from Branges

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.


One Way Routes

Branges - Changy - St Jean de Losne
(or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 159km • 28 Locks • 33hrs

Start your Burgundy cruise amidst the Jura and Mâconnais wine regions, cousins to the renowned Côte de Beaune. As you travel, find charming cafés with superb local fare, and excellent restaurants in Chalon-sur-Saône and Auxonne.

Branges - Gray (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 193km • 12 Locks • 34hrs

Continue the above route from St Jean-de-Losne through the lively port of Seurre to Chalon-sur-Saone, birthplace of Nicephore Niepce, who invented photography, and its fabulous museum of cameras.

Branges - Fontenoy-le-Château (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 193km • 12 Locks • 34hrs

Out and Back Routes

Branges - Santenay - Branges

Return Trip • 1 Week • 176km • 36 Locks • 35hrs

Pursue your passion for wine in the premier cru vineyards of the Côte de Beaune area along the Canal du Centre. En route, see famous names such as Pommard, Chasagne-Montrachet, Rully and Mercurey.

Branges - Macon - Chalon-sur-Saône - Branges

Return Trip • 1 Week • 192km • 8 Locks • 32hrs

Explore the Maconnais-Beaujolais wine region of Macon, famous for its local white wines. Explore the city of Macon, which dates back 2,000 years, and taste the light and dry wine crafted from chardonnay and pinot blanc grapes.

Branges - Tournus - Branges

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 88km • 12 Locks • 10hrs

Cruise the River Seille toward beautiful Tournus, an old Roman town with restaurants and bars. Enjoy this unique and relaxing way to see medieval cathedrals and small towns amidst a pastoral paradise of vineyards and forests.

Boating Holidays in East Burgundy
Cruise the River Saône

Cruiser boat holidays from Fontenoy-le-Chateau

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.


One Way Routes

Fontenoy le Chateau - St Jean de Losne

One Way • 1 Week • 190km • 32 Locks • 40hrs

The River Saone meanders gently from pretty Fontenoy through Jussey, noted for its fountains and Spanish style houses, to Port-sur-Saone, a bustling market town where there are many colourful festivals over the summer and to Scey-sur-Saone.

Cruising southwards discover the small walled city of Auxonne, with its museum in honour of Napoleon who was once garrisoned there. Stop at St Jean-de-Losne where the waterways meet and from here you can take a local train to Dijon.

Fontenoy le Chateau - Gray (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 137km • 27 Locks • 30hrs

Visit unspoilt towns along the River Saône such as Ray-sur-Saone, a lovely chateau village, and Gray with its Saturday market, once one of the leading river ports for the wine, wheat and iron trade. Visit splendid castles and enjoy summer festivals and art exhibitions.

Fontenoy le Chateau - Branges (or vice versa)

One Way • 2 Weeks • 319km • 38 Locks • 54hrs

Cruising Burgundy East
Saint Jean de Losne

Boat holidays from Deluz

From the new base of Deluz, cruise east towards the foothills of the Jura moutains along the Rhône-Rhine Canal. Along your way, discover Baume-les-Dames and its historic centre. The church of Saint-Martin, the centrepiece of the town, is a listed historic monument.

Cruising west arrive at the fortress town of Besançon by either taking a complete loop of the river Doubs or by a 394m tunnel which passes underneath Vauban's massive citadel. Further west, the River Doubs between Besancon and Dole has been canalised and passes between spectacular cliffs.


One Way Routes

Deluz - Besançon - Dole - Auxonne - Gray - Scey-sur-Saône

One Way • 1 Week • 217km • 49 Locks • 5h /30 day

Deluz - L'Isle sur le Doubs - Beaume les Dames - Besançon - Dole - Auxonne - Gray - Scey-sur-Saône (or vice versa)

One Way • 2 Weeks • 313km • 93 Locks • 3h /30 day

See the Forge de Buffon
Cycling alongside the Burgundy Canal

Boat holidays from Gray

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.


One Way Routes

Gray - Fontenoy le Chateau

One Way • 1 Week • 137km • 27 Locks • 30hrs

Cruise from beautiful Gray north toward the distant Vosge Mountains past forested riverbanks, meadows and hills. Perhaps enjoy a warm afternoon of fishing at Ray-sur-Saône, or visit the International Folk Festival in Port-sur-Saône held every August.

Gray - Branges (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 193km • 12 Locks • 34hrs

Continue the above route from St Jean-de-Losne through the lively port of Seurre to Chalon-sur-Saone, birthplace of Nicephore Niepce, who invented photography, and its fabulous museum of cameras.

Tournus, further south on the Saone, marks the beginning of more Mediterranean country. Climb its narrow picturesque streets, visit the abbey or explore the art galleries and antique shops.

Onto the River Seille, one of the prettiest small rivers in France, continue upstream to Branges, surrounded by reeds and waterlilies and Louhans, the capital of the Bresse region with its arcades and lively Monday market.

Gray - St Jean de Losne (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 113km • 23 Locks • 19hrs

Out and Back Routes

Gray - Corre - Gray

Return Trip • 1 Week • 200km • 30 locks • 38hrs

Continue the above route from St Jean-de-Losne through the lively port of Seurre to Chalon-sur-Saone, birthplace of Nicephore Niepce, who invented photography, and its fabulous museum of cameras.

Gray - Scey-sur-Saône - Gray

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 71km • 5 Locks • 12hrs

See the Forge de Buffon
Cycling alongside the Burgundy Canal

Boat Holidays from - Mâcon

Mâcon has a distinctly Mediterranean feel with its pastel-painted buildings lining the lovely Saone river. The view across the river with the cathedral towers dominating the skyline is particularly beautiful. Attractions include the famous 15th-century Maison de Bois, whose façade is decorated in elaborate wooden carvings, and the Musée des Ursulines which is housed in a 17th-century convent. The town lies at the heart of the Mâconnais, Burgundy’s southernmost wine-growing areas, which produces mainly dry whites.


One Way Routes

Mâcon - Lyon - Mâcon - LaTruchère - Louhans - Tournus - Châlon - Chagny - Santenay - Saint-Léger

One Way • 1 Week • 173km • 25 Locks • 4 hr / day

Mâcon - Lyon - Mâcon - LaTruchère - Louhans - Tournus - Châlon - Chagny - Santenay - Saint-Léger

One Way • 2 Weeks • 336km • 35 Locks • 4 hr / day

Out and Back Routes

Mâcon - Cuisery - Louhans - La truchere - Chalon sur Saone - Tournus

Return Trip • 1 Week • 196km • 12 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Mâcon - Jassans Riottier - Lyon - Tournus - Port d'Arciat

Return Trip • 1 Week • 163km • 5 Locks • 4 hr / day

Moored Penichette in Burgundy
Vineyard in Macon

Boat Holidays from Scey sur Saone

Climbing north from Scey-sur-Saone on the Canal des Vosges through the forests of the Vosges you cruise through an amphitheatre of ash, silver birch and other trees. The towns of Fontenoy-le-Chateau and Epinal are both well worth a visit.

Going south from Scey-sur-Saone, take the Canal du Rhone au Rhin from Dole to Besancon. It follows the course of the River Doubs past rocky cliffs and between wooded slopes.


One Way Routes

Scey sur Saone - Gray - Auxonne - Besancon - Deluz

One Way • 1 Week • 217km • 49 Locks • 5 hr 30 / day

Scey sur Saone - Gray - Auxonne - Dole - Besancon - Beaume-Les-Dames - L'Isle-Sur-Le-Doubs - Deluz

One Way • 2 Weeks • 313km • 93 Locks • 3 hr 30 / day

Out and Back Routes

Scey sur Saone - Port sur Saone - Corre - Fontenoy - Scey sur Saone

Return Trip • 1 Week • 138km • 36 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Scey sur Saone - Gray - Pontailler - Auxonne - Scey sur Saone

Return Trip • 1 Week • 202km • 26 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Scey sur Saone - Gray - Auxonne - Dole - Scey sur Saone

Return Trip • 10 / 11 Days • 266km • 46 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Scey sur Saone - Gray - Dole - Besancon - Scey sur Saone

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 368km • 86 Locks • 5 hr 30 / day

Scey sur Saone - Gray - Seurre - Tournus - Louhans - Scey sur Saone

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 506km • 42 Locks • 5 hr 15 / day

Ray Sur Saone
La Saône

Boat holidays from St Jean-de-Losne

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.


One Way Routes

St Jean de Losne - Fontenoy le Chateau

One Way • 1 Week • 190km • 32 Locks • 32hrs

St Jean de Losne - Changy - Branges

One Way • 1 Week • 159km • 28 Locks • 33hrs

St Jean de Losne is at the crossing of the waterways where the Saone widens out. From Seurre to Verdun sur les Doubs enjoy picturesque cruising and visit the charming town of Chalon and its Nicephore Niepce Museum, followed by a wine tasting at the vineyards of Chagny. On the way back stop at the famous vineyards of Beaune, Pommard, Nuits St Georges and Meursault.

Out and Back Routes

St Jean de Losne - Louhans - St Jean de Losne

Return Trip • 1 Week • 293km • 14 Locks • 38hrs

From St Jean de Losne at the heart of the Burgundy waterways, enjoy a relaxing cruise to the weekly Monday market in Louhans and stock up on local bread, cheese and wine. On the way, visit the large Roman riverside towns of Chalon and Tournus.

St Jean de Losne - Besancon - St Jean de Losne

Return Trip • 1 Week • 194km • 50 Locks • 32hrs

Depart from the bustling port of St Jean-de-Losne with its cobblestone streets and impressive architecture and visit the old port of Dole, birthplace of Louis Pasteur. Stroll the beautiful parks and wide boulevards of Besançon, where the majestic Citadel dominates the skyline.

St Jean-de-Losne - Dôle - St Jean-de-Losne

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 48km • 18 Locks • 10hrs

Museums, art galleries, restaurants, and modern facilities make St Jean de Losne an ideal place to start your Burgundy boat hire in France.

Dole and the Doubs River
Dole

Boat Holidays from St Leger

Go south from St Leger-sur-Dheune and Chalon-sur-Saône is an essential stop. This traditional Burgundy town is noted for its history and fine food. Tournus, another picturesque medieval town, marks the frontier to a different landscape, with its Mediterranean feel.

Cruising the Canal du Centre from St Leger-sur-Dheune you pass through some of the most renowned vineyards of the Cote Chalonnaise. Along the misting valley of the Dheune sparkle the varnished tile roofs of charming villages. At the foot of the Cote Chalonnaise are world-famous wine producing villages: Mercurey, Santenaywith its 13th century church of St Jean de Naroise standing amid the vines, Montrachet, synonymous with fine whites, and Rully with its 12th century castle.


One Way Routes

St Leger - Santenay - Chagny - Chalon - Tournus - Louhans - Mâcon

One Way • 1 Week • 173km • 25 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

St Leger - Santenay - Chagny - Chalon - Tournus - Louhans - Mâcon - Lyon - Mâcon

One Way • 2 Weeks • 336km • 35 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

Out and Back Routes

St Leger - Chagny - Chalon - Tournus - Pont De Vaux

Return Trip • 1 Week • 168km • 36 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

St Leger - Monceau les Mines - Paray le Monial - St Leger

Return Trip • 1 Week • 138km • 84 Locks • 5 hr 15 / day

St Leger - Chagny - Chalon - Verdun dur le Doubs - St Jean de Losne - St Leger

Return Trip • 10 / 11 Days • 190km • 36 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

St Leger - Chagny - Chalon - Seurre - Dole - Besancon - St Leger

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 334km • 94 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

See the Forge de Buffon
Penichette Boat 1500FB

Other two-week routes are obtained by combining suitable one-week routes.

Please note that hours suggested above are approximate

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