Top 3 places to moor up on Burgundy boating holidays

Thursday, 1 March 2012 4:08 PM

Burgundy is the ideal destination for a France boating holiday, offering visitors the chance to take in glorious landscapes and explore fascinating settlements. Cruising along the Rivers Seille and Saone is idyllic, as you can drift along at your own pace, soaking up the views. If you can't stay in the area for long, however, you might be wondering where the best places are to moor up at during your break.

As you make your way through the Franche-Comte region, you'll come across world-famous vineyards, pine forests, mountains, waterfalls and rolling meadows, as well as a variety of towns and cities. Read on to discover three of the best spots to visit during your Burgundy boat vacation.

Louhans

If you want to experience France at its most authentic, you simply must moor up at the lovely spot of Louhans in the east of the nation. The settlement is famous for its large market, which has been held in the town for centuries.

Full of character, Louhans really comes to life on a Monday morning when the market gets underway. The bazaar is held on the high street among the 157 arches and arcades that were put up in the 11th century.

Livestock have long been sold at the market, and you'll come across pigs, goats and horses for sale if you visit, as well as special Bresse poultry. In addition to this - the main section of the market - there is another part that sells fruit and vegetables, while a third area sees locals and tourists alike haggle for clothes, shoes and accessories.

After all that hard shopping, you might want to head straight back to your Burgundy canal boat, but make some time to stop at one of the cafes in the vicinity and sample some local delicacies, which include la tete de veau - head of veal - and corniottes, which are sweet pastries.


Gray

There are plenty of things to do in Europe and Burgundy is no exception. Head to the town of Gray and you'll find lots of impressive sights to take in. Located on the Petite Saone, the settlement has a rich history, having been razed by fire twice during the Middle Ages.

After being rebuilt, the town became a centre for industry and commerce by the 17th century and saw its prosperity soar in the 19th century when trade on the river was strong.

Since the industry on the waterways has all but vanished, Gray has become a popular spot among tourists who visit to admire the lovely buildings to be found here. These include a restored theatre and an antique church.

Stop off at the fortified chateau of Baron St Martin and you'll be able to take in the structure's picturesque exterior before venturing inside to visit the art gallery and museum. There's also a science museum to call in at and - if the weather's warm - you can always take a dip in the river at La Plage like the locals do.

Dijon

The capital of the Burgundy region, Dijon is one of provincial France's most attractive cities. The elegant settlement is famous as the birthplace of Dijon mustard and you can visit speciality shops during a visit to pick up some of the condiment in quaint little ceramic pots.

As you make your way around, you'll be able to delve into Dijon's medieval past. Take a sightseeing tour to admire the half-timbered houses that line the streets, along with the Well of Moses sculpture and the Burgundian Gothic church of Notre-Dame.

Next, head to the centre of Dijon to a place called the Place Francois Rude and you can witness the local cafe culture, as well as take in the sight of the pretty central fountain. Nearby is the Philippe le Bon Tower, which affords fantastic views of the city's medieval quarter if you can manage the 315 steps it takes to reach the top.

Culture vultures will find plenty to keep them entertained in the city too, including the Musee des Beaux-Arts, which displays art and artefacts from between the Egyptian era and the 20th century. Meanwhile, you could take a wine tour and visit the local cellars and chateaux, where you can sample locally-made wines and perhaps take a bottle or two home as a souvenir of your boating holiday.

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If you're looking for a getaway that lets you explore idyllic rural surroundings, consider booking a France boating holiday, like a Golden Midi Cruise. The Midi Canal in the south of the country is a particularly excellent location for visiting cultural hotspots and taking long, leisurely walks through the countryside.

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If you love active getaways and are looking for a fresh adventure for your next holiday, boating breaks are the perfect choice. You need no licence or prior experience to take to some of the world's most beautiful canals and rivers, so there are no barriers to you booking straightaway.

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If you're planning a boating holiday but don't want to forfeit your exercise regime for a week or so, it's worth looking into the activities that will be available at your chosen destination. Canal boats often have room for bicycles, and you can take along a pair of hiking boots, while many areas will have facilities for sports.

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