Enjoying the Riverbanks of Burgundy

By Danielle Pruger
Photos courtesy Burgundy Tourism

Auxerre, France

Burgundy, France offers more than 600 miles of waterways, making it a perfect destination for sailors of all experience levels. There are many ways to enjoy the rivers of Burgundy – sailing, sightseeing, waterskiing and bicycling along the river are just to name a few.

Visitors can relax on a sightseeing boat for a guided tour along the waters of the Burgundy Canal. The Seille, a river flowing between the French departments Tournus and Louhans, also offers cruising opportunities. Hotel barges are also a relaxing way to enjoy the Burgundy Canal.

The city of Clamecy and the medieval village of Cravant on the Nivernais Canal are great small towns to visit and explore. The little town of Semur-en-Auxois is few miles away from Burgundy and includes sights such as the Tour de l’Orle d’Or or the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame. Large cities also have a lot to offer: the Dijon marina is a lively area with the Péniche Cancale, a boat converted into a floating gourmet bistro and cabaret that hosts concerts, exhibitions, dance performances and theatre.

Burgundy, the birthplace of pinot noir and chardonnay, is home to world-class vineyards that produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world. Visitors can taste some of the best wines of Burgundy at the cellars of the vineyards of Auxerrois, Tonnerrois, Maranges or Santenay.

Water sports enthusiasts can choose other activities including water-skiing, sailing and rowing. The developed areas invite swimming in leisure centers in Auxerre or Decize. The tranquility of the waterway can be enjoyed by fishing on the region’s canals or lakes or by big game fishing on the Saône while accompanied by a qualified instructor.

The towpaths along the canals and rivers, open to cyclists, are perfect for biking. These paths are also great for enjoying a walk along the waterfront.

The region is full of marked trails so there are plenty of routes to choose from. The Tour of Burgundy by bike runs along the canals of Nivernais and Burgundy, as well as the Canal du Centre. These paths take visitors through the region’s most beautiful landscapes – across vineyards, groves and forests and pass by historic monuments and charming residences.

Pardone des mariniers in Saint-Jean de Losne

A region criss-crossed by waterways, every year Burgundy celebrates water with various events. Music, demonstrations, tournaments and tastings punctuate the shorelines all summer long. There are many events to choose from, including the Pardon des mariniers in Saint-Jean de Losne, the Fête du Flottage in Clamecy or the Halles en eaux in Decize.

For more info, go to Burgundy Tourism

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