With the holiday season upon us, the excitement of the World Cup and theTour de France fading away, it’s now time to think of a peaceful way toenjoy your well deserved time off. With its 800 miles of navigable waterways, Burgundy is a veritable haven for those seeking to “make haste slowly” and savour to the full the many pleasures of the former land of the Great Dukes of the Occident.
With the holiday season upon us, the excitement of the World Cup and the Tour de France fading away, it’s now time to think of a peaceful way to enjoy your well deserved time off. With its 800 miles of navigable waterways, Burgundy is a veritable haven for those seeking to “make haste slowly” and savour to the full the many pleasures of the former land of the Great Dukes of the Occident.� Alain Doire – Bourgogne TourismeIt’s a real paradox that in the land of great wines, water turns out to be a top tourist attraction, for Burgundy boasts one of the most extensive network of navigable waterways in France. Created back in the 18th century and completed in the 19th century, the waterways are given over to commercial traffic and the boatmen of yesterday have been replaced by inland waterway tourists. For these enthusiasts, Burgundy offers first class facilities including houseboats, hotel barges or riverboat excursions: there are over 30 departure points operated by all the major names in houseboat rentals boasting a total fleet of 500 boats. Saint-Jean-de-Losne, France’s largest inland marina with capacity to moor 300 boats is a major port, but waterway halts have been established at Tonnerre, Digoin, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs and all along the Nivernais canal. Here, visitors can set off to explore the sights, enjoy a restaurant or wander through the town.You can choose to either hire your own boat with room for 2 to 12 people or relax in the comfort of a hotel barge or a cruise boat.Hotel barges undoubtedly offer you the most luxurious and most comfortable way of discovering Burgundy and its unrivalled cuisine. With cruises ranging from 2 to 7 days, they can provide full board service with evening entertainment and visits to wine-cellars.Whether with family or friends, for either a week or a week end, house-boats offer the perfect combination of calm and serenity whilst discovering the region at your own rhythm. Piloting your own boat is almost a child’s game and for most of the boats a licence is not necessary.Throughout its 4 departments, Burgundy offers a choice of no less than 6 canals: Val de Loire, Val de Saone et la Seille, Canal du Centre, Canal du Nivernais, l’Yonne and Canal de Bourgogne.They all have their different identity, offering a variety of landscapes, architectural riches and historical meanings. You will need more than one visit to truly understand Burgundy!Wherever you go, you are never far from the water. Treat yourself to a relaxed, offbeat way of discovering Burgundy and visit www.burgundy-tourism.com� Alain Doire – Bourgogne Tourisme