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, making for a perfect Burgundy Canal Cruising Holiday.


Burgundy Cruise map

NB: this itinerary runs in reverse directions on alternate weeks – so Pont Royal to Pont de Pany one week, then Pont de Pany to Pont Royal the next – starting September 5th, with the last cruise departing October 10th.

Day 1:
All great French adventures start with a ‘coup de champagne’ and this trip is no exception. You join Le Papillon somewhere around Dijon to meet the crew for a welcome drink and briefing and later share a gourmet meal that will be the first of many.

Day 2:
Today we get to grips with Burgundy’s main claim to fame – fine wine. We cruise along the Burgundy canal before mooring at Gissey-sur-Ouche for lunch. Then we disembark and drive down the ‘Routes de Grand Crus’ at the very heart of the legendary Côte du Nuit. Our first destination is the Château of Clos de Vouget to discover the history of the region, then it’s on for a private tasting courtesy of one of our favourite vintners. With our palates suitably impressed we return to Papillon for cocktails and dinner.

Day 3:
We’ve learned about the wine so today is all about the food – these Burgundians really know how to live! This morning our chef visits the incredible market in Dijon, designed and built by Gustav Eiffel, to meet our meat, fish and vegetable suppliers and you’re cordially invited along to watch the negotiations. There’s a wonderful little bar right in the middle of the market where you can sit over a coffee or something stronger and watch the world go by. Then it’s more cruising and a sunset cordial of Dijon’s world-famous aperitif Kir Royale – a mixture of Crème de Cassis and champagne.

Papillon hidden France

Day 4:
Today sees the high spot of the cruise for wine lovers as, after mooring in the quaint little port of Pont d’Ouche, we drive through the glorious vineyards of the Côte d’Or to Beaune. After a restaurant lunch we’ll visit one of the world’s medieval ‘must sees’ – the fabulous Hospice built by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor of Burgundy, in 1443. Now a spectacular museum, it is some of the most fantastic medieval architecture in France and, amazingly, was still a working hospital until the late 1970’s. All this culture is thirst-making but luckily we’re right next door to the spectacular cellars of the Marché aux Vins for a ‘must taste’ moment or several, trying some of the most famous wines in the world.

Day 5:
You’ll have been delighted with the food and wine so far but today is a feast for the eyes as we visit Chateauneuf-en-Auxois. Rated as one of the most beautiful places in France the stunningly restored village offers some wonderful vistas – walk into the bar in the square and you would not be surprised to see Gaston from Beauty and the Beast drinking in the corner. Once back on board we climb a flight of locks to the summit of the canal then, after lunch, there is the option to visit the Château of Commarin or the amazing Grand Basilica at Vézelay, a major historic site and still an important stop for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Before dinner we cruise through one of the wonders of the French waterways – the two-mile long tunnel leading to Pouilly-en-Auxois.

Day 6:
A laid-back morning cruising to sleepy Pont Royal, where we moor-up for lunch. Then we take to the road to visit the beautiful village of Flavigny, recently elevated by Hollywood and Johnny Depp as the location for the movie Chocolat. We also include the UNESCO World Heritage Cistercian abbey at Fontenay and the little-known medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois with its old fortifications and cobbled streets. You’ll have an appetite for your final fabulous dinner!

Day 7:
After breakfast we wave you off on your way back to Paris.

Papillon cruising and cycling

6-night Classic Burgundy 2020 – Sunday to Saturday Tariffs

Price includes:

  • Collection from, and return to Paris, France
  • Accommodation in a double or twin cabin with private facilities
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all cooked by our gourmet chef w/ local seasonal delicacies
  • Restaurant meals where required
  • Wine pairings of finest Burgundian vintages at lunch and dinner
  • Open bar 24/7 stocked with French champagne, fine wines and spirits
  • Use of the on-board library and stereo system
  • All ground transport in air-conditioned mini-bus for local sightseeing visits
  • Entry costs for sightseeing
  • Use of on-board bicycles