Heart of Burgundy on the Saone River

St. Jean de Losne to Louhans

Available August through October of 2024

It’s hard to find a region that more embodies the “Quintessential French Experience” than Burgundy.  This region is legendary for its beautiful abbeys, Romanesque architecture and incredible vineyards.  The roots of power and history run deep and the unmistakable influence of the Dukes and monks is found in every aspect of life in this region.

Day 1: St Jean de Losne

Welcome to St Jean de Losne!  A champagne welcome and introduction to the crew awaits.  Take some time to settle in and relax before you enjoy your first of many gourmet meals on board by your personal chef.

Day 2:  St Jean de Losne to Le Chatlet sur Saône

After breakfast, we cruise through St Jean de Losne and start cruising down the Saone River.  Enjoy a morning coffee on the front deck, while we wind our way to the sleepy farming hamlet of Le Chatelet sur Saone. Once moored, we will head for the famed Cote de Nuits wine region, where will visit the 12th C Chateau of Clos de Vougeot for a tour of this historic monastery where the monks cultivated the vines here at the end of the 11th century.  The four original giant wine presses are still standing in the vat house on the property.  We end our visits today in Nuits St Georges with a visit to the Jafflin family wine cellar in Nuits st Georges itself for a tasting of some of the best wines the region has to offer. Dinner on board is a treat tonight and may possibly include some bottles of those lovely wines you were only able to taste earlier at Jafflin.

Day 3:  Le Chatlet sur Saône to Verdun sur le Doubs

After breakfast, we head off to visit Dijon, Capital of the Dukes of Burgundy.  It’s market day and one can accompany the cook as she haggles with the traders in the imposing ‘Halles Centrales’.  Orientation of Dijon’s centre and you’ll soon be free to explore on your own – the Rue Verrerie with its famous antique shops is nearby, so too is the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Rue Verrerie with the famous Maille mustard shop and Ducal Palace.   We return to Papillon moored in the town of Seurre, and from there we spend the afternoon cruising to the confluence town of Verdun sur le Doubs.  Dinner on board tonight is the perfect ending to a day well spent enjoying the history and diversity of Burgundy.

Day 4:  Verdun sur le Doubs to Chalon sur Saône

Today we head off cross country to the famed Cote d’Or wine country and descend into the Côte d’Or vineyards and visit Beaune – a thriving little town and proud capital of the wine trade.  Here we tour the world-famous Hospice with its multi-coloured roof tiles built in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to the dukes of Burgundy.  This afternoon’s journey takes us to the bustling town of Chalon sur Saone where photography was invented by Nicephore Niepce and wehere we will moor on the island in the Saone, the towns historical centre.  Our dinner ashore tonight is at the Restaurant Le Bistro, an intimate culinary gem on the Island of Chalon.

Day 5:  Chalon sur Saône to Cuisery

After a morning cruise downstream, our lunchtime mooring is  in the shadow of the 11th century abbey of St.Philibert, on the waterfront at Tournus. From here we will travel westwards to the mediaeval hilltop village of Brancion, and then a stroll through its sleepy streets we will continue to the 17th Century Chateau de Cormatin, with its magnificent gilded rooms.  Time permitting, we may choose an optional tour and tasting at Clos Antonin Rodet in Mercury or return to the barge to sample some of the delicious white wines from the village of Chardonnay, the origin of one of France’s most famous grape varieties.  Dinner this evening will surely highlight the incredible flavors of the white Burgundian wines that are so revered in this region.

Day 6:  Cuisery to Louhans

We turn off the River Saone this morning and start wending our way up to the headwaters of the River Seille, one of the gems of the French Waterways and which only the Papillon can regularly navigate with passengers, owing to its carefully calculated dimensions when built.  You’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing lunch on deck accompanied by some carefully selected wines as we travel through lush water meadows and past timeless watermills; to the capital of the famed Poulet de Bresse producing region; Louhans with its fabulous colonnaded Grande Rue and mediaeval hospital.  Be sure to return to Papillon in time for apéritifs with the crew and one last magnificent meal, where we will enjoy the Captains Farewell Feast featuring the only ‘appellation controlée ‘chicken in the world, with its blue legs, scarlet crest and sublime flavour.  Bon Appetit!

Day 7:  Louhans

All things must come to an end and unfortunately there is no exception with your cruise on board Le Papillon.  After a final café and pain au chocolate, our crew bids you a fond farewell as our captain helps transition you to your flight home or on to your next destination.

À bientôt!  See you soon!

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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

Le Papillon was remodeled in 2021 and is our flagship luxury barge.  She carries a maximum of 4 guests with 4 crew members and cruises multiple itineraries through some of the most beautiful wine regions of France.

Le Papillon in detail

More itineraries aboard Le Papillon

Champagne glasses

The Nymphea itinerary

The Loire Valley

Thank you for the wonderful week! We will long remember the food, the wine, the cruising, the tours, the walks, the lounging on the deck, the conversation and just plain fun!

Jane & Nelson

A week of fabulous food, wonderful wines, terrific trips, comfy cabins, cheery company and most of all the super duper staff.


You made this a truly memorable week – great food, fabulous wine and such attention to detail.

Ursala & Garth

The beautiful French countryside, amazing French cuisine & fabulous Burgundy wines surpassed all we had imagined!

Mike & Carolyn

I have traveled all over the world and this is by far one of the finest experiences of my life.


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