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OFF PISTE BURGUNDY

Come and join us for a week on Le Papillon and you can rest assured that it’s 100% your holiday. So, whilst we have a normal weekly itinerary designed to suit most guests, there is no such thing as ‘normal’ – if there’s something you’d rather do or see whilst you’re in Burgundy, we will do whatever we can to organise it. Some things we can include free of charge – others you may need to pay for as ‘optional extras’. In all cases the more notice you give us the better so let us know when you book. Here is a brief A-Z of things we can usually organise and we’re always happy to take you off somewhere in the minibus, then bring you back to rejoin Le Papillon further down the route

BOULES

A national afternoon pastime in France, also known as Petanque and frequently played by old men over a glass of red wine, this is the French version of bowls or bowling. Just about every village has a Petanque pitch and we carry a set of Boules on board. It’s not just for old men – kids love it too.

CYCLING ­– CASUAL

We have 4 bikes on board for adults. If you’re bringing your children let us know and we’ll swap the adult ones for more junior sizes. These are generally used by guests who want to use a bit of pedal-power on the towpaths that run adjacent to the canals. It’s very gentle cycling along flat terrain – good for working off that extra croissant at breakfast or working up an appetite for dinner.

CYCLING – SERIOUS

Frenchman Pierre Lallement is widely credited as inventing the modern-day pedal cycle – although he called it a ‘velocipede’. One look at the crowds lining the sides of the roads during Le Tour de France tells you that cycling is the national passion of France and, if you take cycling that seriously, you’ve come to a brilliant place to hit the road. We don’t run cycling tours ourselves, but we know people who will bring road-bikes direct to Le Papillon and plan a half-day or whole-day ride wherever we are. They’ll take account of your standard and fitness and can include a mixture of categories of climbs and durations. Talk to us when you book, and we’ll put you in touch with the experts.

GOLF

Golf isn’t a massive sport in France – when did you last see a Frenchman at The Masters or The Open? However, there’s a good smattering of courses in Burgundy, many quite sparsely used, and we can happily book tee times and arrange club hire for you.

HORSE RIDING

Probably the only better way to see Burgundy’s beautiful countryside than by barge is on horseback – and there are plenty of equestrian establishments along the route. With enough notice we can usually find one with an instructor who speaks English.

HOT AIR BALLOONING

Ever since the French Montgolfier brothers, who were originally paper manufacturers, sent the first human up in a balloon in 1783, hot-air ballooning has held a special place in French hearts. We’ve long been associated with some brilliant ballooning buddies in these parts – look on our Burgundy home page and you’ll find more details of what is a very ‘off piste’ way to see the region.

PETANQUE

See Boules above.

ROCK CLIMBING

If you’re cruising the Nivernais, whilst not a day-out for beginners, the rocks at Le Saussois are a famous training ground for climbers throughout France with climbs graded between 4 and 8. Actually they’re great to photograph as you cruise past.

TENNIS

Tennis is hugely popular in Burgundy and just about every village we moor at will have a court, usually in good condition, which we can book by contacting the local Mairie (mayor’s office). If you’re a serious player you might want to bring your own rackets and balls – if not, let us know and we’ll arrange for some to be on board.

WINE TASTING

We plan to take you wine tasting as a natural part of the ‘Burgundy Experience’ and we’re proud of our wine connections. If, however, there is a specific wine or winemaker you would like to visit please ask and we’ll try and fit them into our schedule.