WELCOME TO HIDDEN FRANCE
Constructed between 1775 and 1832, the ‘Canal de Bourgogne’ or Burgundy Canal was originally a watery super-highway connecting the rivers Yonne and Soane. Today, still beautifully preserved along its entire 150-mile length, it is a little-travelled backwater giving those who take passage a private view of its hidden history.
There is no better way to get an insider’s view of this perfectly hidden aspect of France than a cruise on board Le Papillon, a lovingly conserved 115-year-old Dutch barge. Le Papillon translates as ‘the butterfly’. Really, she should be called L’Escargot as this really is France at a snail’s pace, chugging slowly from lock to lock between tiny ports and historic moorings. The only way you can see it faster is to borrow one of the bicycles we keep on board and pedal on ahead along the towpath.