Spectacularly beautiful, this cultural and gastronomic region in the heart of France is perfect for a tranquil boating holiday allowing you to discover the natural beauty of unspoilt countryside.
Click on the place name to find out more about each location. Alternatively use Suggested Cruises list to help you decide where to cruise.
Sometimes referred to as " the jewel of the Saone valley", and " the second capital of Haute-Saône", Auxonne was a strategically important fortified town in the middle ages. It is nowadays a market town, but still houses the barracks of the 512th. Regt. du Train.
The port de Plaisance is situated in the very heart of the beautiful old town. The town has many gems including its vast parks, wide boulevards and the Battant Quarter which was originally settled by wine-makers. You'll see some beautiful architecture here including 17th. century facades fronted by wrought-iron balconies. The Citadel was built by the great military architect Vauban and offers magnificent views over the city and the river Doubs.
For your last evening, you can stop here if you want to start to pack and then we suggest that you take your car to Louhans if you want a restaurant for that evening, Please note that there are no restaurants in Branges, so if you don't have a car you will need a taxi to go to the restaurant, which we can organise for you
close to the town centre, the port de plaisance offers all facilities.
It is situated quite near to the town centre and there is a vast shopping complex close by. There is a footbridge linking the port to the old qurter of town.
This is a handy alternative to Ray-sur-Saône if you are looking for an honest "auberge" for a taste of Franche-Comté cuisine.
Possibility of dining 'alfresco' on their very pleasant terrace ; and part of the surrounding gardens has been furnished with childrens' playground equipment.
If you need water or fuel before you climb the Canal des Vosges, this is the moment to stop.
If you need to go shopping, or if you want a restaurant meal on your first night, we recommend you to stop at Cuisery.
It is one of the most attractive cities of provincial France and the capital of Burgundy. Chic and prosperous with cultural gems and elegant medieval and Renaissance buildings. The central hub of old Dijon is Place Francois Rude with its cafes and bars that surround a distinctive central fountain. Climb the 315 steps of the Philippe le Bon Tower in Dijon for a splendid view over the rooftops of the city’s well-preserved medieval quarter.
The port is situated in a very picturesque part of the old town, directly below the magnificent cathedral, less than 100 metres from the old quarter of tanneries. This part of Dole is made up of narrow cobbled streets, very old houses and quaint little shops. The first night is free and you have all the facilities available.
All services are available here should you need to re-fuel the boat, fill up with water, or simply re-stock with groceries.
Here is a miniscule but immaculate boatyard , the last place of any note before Jussey & Corre. The proprietors are a charming Swiss couple Heidi & Stephan Werndli, who are dedicated to looking after boaters.
A small village typical of rural France. Not much in the way of restaurants and shops; but this is a very pleasant little place to dine aboard your boat and watch a Saône- Valley sunset, indulge in a little fishing, and relax.
Gray is a major town on the Petite Saone, with a population of about 10,000. All services and commerces are here, plus the Connoisseur cruiser base. Razed by fire twice in the middle ages, Gray was rebuilt into a major centre of commerce & industry by the 17th century, and reached the heights of its prosperity in the 19th century when it was the head of navigation for the barges which plied their cargoes up and down the Saône valley. In recent times this trade has all but vanished, giving way to light industry and tourism.
Jussey is a pretty little town with everything a tourist might need: Full range of shops, banks, hairdresser, patisserie, hotel - restaurant, police-station, tourist information office, etc.
La Truchère offers a rustic charm in peaceful green countryside, next to a wetland nature reserve.
On arriving at the lock at Loisy, you will find Michel who sells local products, regional specialities and Burgundy wines . He also sells bread, and will even help you pass through the lock, if help is needed.
Louhans is a charming town, full of character, ideal for your first night if you are looking for a bar or a restaurant.
Macon is one of the oldest towns in France, very pleasant to visit. There are many, many shops if you wish to buy souvenirs - or just go shopping!
Just one hour South of Gray base, this makes a welcome stop for your first night. Mantoche is a peaceful, very pretty rural village with a modest auberge open most days of the week. Fresh water is available, and a bread van calls in the mornings ( listen for the horn beep!)
There is a boulangerie(bakery) Tel: 03 84 92 51 33
This town is archetypal of the Burgundy-Bresse region. Lovers of history & heritage will adore the charm of this little town with its Bressan farm-houses, still equipped with brick & clay bread ovens.
This is the first town of notable size going South from Gray, lying about three hours downriver. An attractive little community, with shops & restaurants and an unusual church
This is a very busy little town, once a regional centre of commerce for cargo barges & the surrounding farming communities.
A very pretty little village in a backwater, ideal for picnics, fishing and swimming.
Just a comfortable distance ( 45 minutes) from Gray on your first or last evening. In the centre of the village, on the old river which is not accessible by boat, is a popular paddling and swimming area.
A charming little village steeped in history, this was one of a chain of military outposts which protected the Saône valley from invaders in the middle ages.
Shops, a restaurant, and all facilities available.
La maison Bossuet, l'Etang rouge which is a reconstruction of a Bourguignon village, l'eglise Saint Martin with its carillon of 47 bells; also the historic, rustic town centre; and the museum of objects which have been recovered from the Saône.
Three to four hours from Gray, after passing through the tunnel of Savoyeux, this is your first opportunity to explore a village and re-stock the boat.
Another photogenic little village in a backwater, with shops and a restaurant, also a play area for children and a campsite.
Located at the junction of the Burgundy Canal and the Saône River, St Jean de Losne has become the most important centre for inland boating activities in France . You will find modern moorings with water and electricity and a range of shops conveniently situated close to the port. Near to the water point there is a launderette with washers and driers
Tournus is a town steeped in history, and down the centuries it has been an important religious centre.
This is another village on a branch of river which has been by-passed. It is rural and peaceful, yet all facilites are available at the waterside development of Saône-Valley residential park & leisure centre.
The former lock-keepers' residence has ben turned into a quaint little café restaurant, offering cold drinks, ice-creams and meals.
All services and toilet/ shower facilites available. However, the number of places is limited and the port fills up quickly - don't arrive too late!