Three stops to make on a Burgundy boating holiday

Thursday, 1 March 2012 4:14 PM

If you want to experience France at its most authentic, you can't go wrong by booking a Burgundy canal boat and meandering through the Franche-Comte region. Known for its world-famous vineyards and natural beauty, Burgundy also has plenty more to offer travellers, whether you're staying for a couple of weeks or just a few days.

You can enjoy picturesque cruising along the Rivers Saone and Seille, which are perfect spots for nature fans and fishermen alike. As you traverse the waterways, expect to pass rolling pastures, waterfalls, mountains and pine forests, making the region truly idyllic and ideal for a peaceful break.

If you haven't long to spend in Burgundy, make sure you visit some of the most popular parts of the region during your getaway. If you can't decide which places are true must-visits, read on.

The first stop worth making on a boating holiday in the area is at Dijon, the capital of the region. Once you've made your way along the Canal de Bourgogne through verdant countryside, you'll arrive at one of the most attractive cities in provincial France.

An elegant and chic settlement, Dijon is a cultural hotspot renowned as the birthplace of Dijon mustard. As you explore the area, you'll come across medieval and Renaissance buildings, as well as more modern landmarks.

To make the most of your visit, book a sightseeing excursion and you'll be able to admire the elegant church of Notre-Dame - which is a fine example of Burgundian Gothic style - as well as the old streets lined with half-timbered houses and the medieval sculpture known as the Well of Moses.

In the centre of Dijon is the Place Francois Rude, which is full of bustling cafes and bars that surround a pretty central fountain. From here, you can make your way to the Philippe le Bon Tower and climb the 315 steps to the top for superb views over the city's medieval quarter.

There are plenty of museums and galleries to visit, including the Musee des Beaux-Arts - where you can view collections that date between the Egyptian era to the 20th century. It's worth taking a wine tour too, during which you can visit various cellars and chateaux, as well as sample the locally-produced tipple. Before you leave, pick up a couple of jars of Dijon mustard, which is sold in pretty ceramic pots at speciality shops.

Another top spot worth stopping at during a France boating holiday in Burgundy is Louhans - a town full of character. Located in eastern France, the settlement is well-known for its bustling market, which has been held since medieval times. The large, colourful market takes place on a Monday morning throughout the high street, which is comprised of 157 arches and arcades that date back to the 11th century.

Special Bresse poultry is sold here, along with other livestock like pigs, goats and even horses, making it a real sight to behold! This is the main section of the market; not too far away is another part where you can pick up vegetables and fruit, and if you're feeling peckish you might want to visit a nearby restaurant to try the local specialities, such as corniottes - sweet pastries - and la tete de veau, which is head of veal. Another part of the market sells clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories at low prices - perfect if you want to update your wardrobe.

The third stop you should make if you're looking for things to do in Europe is at Gray - a major town on the Petite Saone. The settlement has a long history, having been razed by fire twice during the Middle Ages. Afterwards, it was rebuilt and became a bustling commercial and industrial centre by the 17th century.

Gray reached its highest levels of prosperity in the 19th century when trade on the Saone was strong. Now, that industry has vanished, and so the town has become a peaceful haven popular with tourists.

There's plenty to see if you venture on to land here, including an array of well-preserved old buildings like the antique church and the restored theatre. It's well worth paying a visit to the fortified chateau of Baron St Martin too, as not only is the building aesthetically pleasing, it also houses an art gallery and museum. Call in at the local science museum and take a dip in the river at La Plage with the locals.
 

Explore vine-clad Aquitaine by boat

Aquitaine boating holidays - ideal for culture vultures

If you want to book a break to a cultural hotspot renowned for its excellent cuisine and rich history, a boating holiday to Aquitaine in the south-west of France will fit the bill perfectly. Even if you have only a few nights to spend away from home, you'll delight in the enchanting scenery and medieval landmarks of this region.

Delve into history on a Saone waterway holiday

Enjoy lush countryside and historic towns on a Saone cruise

If you're thinking of heading to France for a European short break, consider holidaying aboard a boat along the Saone waterway. The river runs through the east of the nation, taking in Burgundy's glorious countryside landscapes and colourful port towns.

Boating holidays in northern Europe

Top three destinations in northern Europe for a boating holiday

If you've always fancied taking a boating holiday where you can admire beautiful scenery and experience a new culture, why not consider a break on the water in Europe?

Explore the Venetian Lagoon on a boating holiday to Italy

Explore the Venetian Lagoon on a boating holiday to Italy

The Venetian Lagoon is the ideal place for a short romantic holiday and if you want to make your trip even more special, go on a boating adventure. This is one of the best European locations for a getaway on the water, with several islands to visit, making your break to Italy one to remember.

Canal breaks - family-friendly and affordable

Why boating holidays are great short breaks with a difference

If you're thinking of booking a short break but want to try something new, consider taking a holiday aboard a canal boat. Travelling by boat is perhaps not something that will have sprung to mind when you've pondered a getaway with a difference, but it's certainly worth considering.

Enjoy beautiful views on a Charente boating break

Explore France's cognac trail on Charente boating holidays

If you want to indulge in the wonderful gastronomy France is renowned for, you can't really go wrong by choosing a short Charente boating holiday. The river is known as one of the nation's most beautiful and runs for 381 km through the south-west of the country, passing famous cognac distilleries and first-class restaurants along its course.

The Norfolk Broads is ideal for boating

Norfolk Broads: ideal for both long and short boating breaks

If you only have a few days away from the office or your family commitments, and are in desperate need of a break, a short boating holiday around the Norfolk Broads is the perfect solution. You can see some of the area's highlights in just three days.

Take an active break in the Highlands

Scotland: the perfect place for an active boat holiday

While places like the Swiss Alps, the United States's Rocky Mountains and Portugal's Algarve region have long been popular for activity holidays, going overseas is not always the most suitable option if you only have a short amount of time to take off work. As such, it is better to look at destinations that are a little closer to home - with Scotland particularly great for an active weekend.

Coffee with a local in Amsterdam

Amsterdam

This week IdealShortBreaks.co.uk is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?