Burgundy Valley Canal Boats,
Narrow Boat Barges on the Burgundy Canal

  • Cargo Boats, Narrow Boats
The barges that cruise the Burgundy Canal today have evolved over the years from the cargo carrying work boat of narrow beam and shallow draft, often referred to as narrow boat in Britain and barque, bateau  or péniche in France.

  • Modern Canal Boats
The modern Burgundy Canal boats will be restricted to 16.5 feet in beam, 5 foot 10 inches draft, with a height above water of 10.5 feet.
These canal boats of the Burgundy Canal are no longer cargo barges but more often a luxurious, floating hotel barge and can as such be outfitted with satellite TV, spa on deck, modern kitchen, Private chef, private bath for each stateroom, antique furnishings, air conditioning, bikes on board, van support, wine cellar, cheese board, and resident wine expert.

Cargo barges still cruise the Seine in Paris and the Rhone River of Provence but the barges that cruise on the Burgundy Canal are, for the most part, modern and recreational.  They cover some historic scenery, however.

  • Canal de Bourgogne
The Canal de Bourgogne or Burgundy Canal first provided north to south access through Eastern France in 1832.  The canal connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea through the Rivers Seine and Yonne just south of Paris at Migennes in the north, and the Rivers Rhone and Saone at St. Jean de Losne, south of Dijon.
  • Horse Drawn Barges
The early barges were pulled by horses as they transported cargoes of grain and wine to the mills and markets of Paris, Dijon, and Marseilles.
When steam trains began carrying cargo, the barges tried to lower operating costs by providing lodging for the crew and at times the captain's family, thus initiating the concept of lodging aboard.
The barges eventually became steam operated and later gas and diesel powered.
Today little cargo traverses the Burgundy Canal, trains and trucking have taken over that segment of canal activity.  
  • Hotel Barges
Today it is the hotel barge of 22 passengers or the specialty barge of 6 to 8 passenger that makes a one-week culinary and wine cruise through the Burgundy wine regions of East Central France.   
The Burgundy Canal
  • History
The Burgundy Canal had its first backers with a plan conceived in 1607 that would help transport produce form the farms of the rich alluvial Burgundy Valley and from farms along the Rhone River.  
The engineers started work on the canal in 1727 and completed work in 1832 when barges made the first crossing.  
Some cargo still traverses the canal but most traffic is now tour boat cruises that make one-week trips or private barges that make extended runs through France from the Med
iterranean to the Atlantic.
  • Highest Elevation
The Village of Pouilly en Auxios, north of Dijon, is the highest point on the canal at 378 meters above sea level. (1,240 feet)  
  • Engineering
A three-kilometer tunnel (2.07 miles) is one of the intriguing features of this marvel of engineering.  The Burgundy Canal has a total length of 150 miles.
  • Locks
With 113 locks on the Yonne River side of the canal and 76 on the Saone River side, and a complex system of reservoirs and feeder canals, the Burgundy Canal remains an intriguing engineering accomplishment and a wonderful place to enjoy a walk, bike ride, or culinary barge cruise through the French countryside.
  • Sightseeing
Towns of note along the Burgundy Canal are the hilltop village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois where a castle tops the hill.
The City of Dijon offers interesting architecture and history and the City of Beaune , as the center of Burgundy wine country
, offers sightseeing, dining and wine tasting.  
  • Cycling, Hiking
The tow paths built beside the canal for the horses that once pulled the barges have been turned into bike trails called the Veloroute.  The trails offer a biking and hiking experience through the wine country of Eastern France.  
Burgundy Canal  Boats
Burgundy Valley Canal Boats cruise below the 11th Century hilltop village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois where small B&Bs, a village market, and restaurant offer those that hike or bike up a rest and refreshment. Many small  farming towns line the route along the Burgundy Valley and the Burgundy Canal
Hiking Trails along the Burgundy Canal use the service roads where horses once pulled the barges
Burgundy Valley Canal Boats are nearly as historic as the canal they cruise. They were first designed to carry cargo from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea but today are often high-tech floating hotels with AC, satellite TV, hot tubs, and spas.
Barge Cruises on the Burgundy Valley are centered in the City of Dijon and surrounding area.  The barges make one-week culinary and wine trips on the Burgundy Canal

TGV high speed Train and a high speed toll highway reach Dijon from Paris.
The hilltop village of Châteauneuf-en
Boats of the
Burgundy Canal
Burgundy Valley Canal barge cruises through France
  • Canal Cruise
The area traversed by the canal is the famed wine region of Burgundy and offers some of the most scenic farm country in France.
The sights include rolling farm country, fields of white cattle, small villages, and imposing hilltop castles and chateaus.
The Burgundy Canal joins the Saonne River in the \City of Saint Jean de Losne in the south, the noted wine country of Burgundy with the City of Beaune at its center.
Parts of the canal have undergone modernization and  automation of the water and gate control but much of the canal remains just the way it was when the first barges made passage between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic in 1832.
Burgundy Canal, France
Best Time To Go To the Burgundy Valley:   
  • Cruise Season, Hiking and Biking
April to October  is canal cruise season and good times to go to the Burgundy Valley for Barge Tours, Dijon visits, biking and hiking along the canal on the veloroutes, and the culinary cruise vacation.  
  • Weather
The weather in Burgundy is temperate March and April (50-75 F) Showers could come in any month but will be of short duration.  Weather is good in September October, great months to visit.
  • Low Season
From  April to mid May the barge tours and hotels will not be booked solid so prices are lowered.  Mid July and all of August can also offer lower prices because much of France goes on a six-week vacation.  The last two weeks of October can be low season and the end of the cruise season for some providers.
  • High season
Hotels in the area and barge trips have their high season, mid May to Mid July and early September to mid October.   
  • Airport Rentals
Auto Europe offers selection, price, and ease of booking on the web.   Shop online well ahead of your trip and choose air, hotel or auto in France.  Rentals available at TGV Stations
Travel To The Burgundy Canal
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