Central Burgundy

Burgundy considers itself the heart of France. It is a prosperous region with world-famous wines, hearty but exquisite cuisine and spectacular architecture. Burgundy is made up of 4 departments –⁠ Yonne, Cote-d'Or (Gold Coast), Nièvre and Saône-et-Loire.

Destinations / France / Central Burgundy

The supposed heart of France, the region of central Burgundy is forever etched in history as a region of fine wine, exquisite cuisine and magnificent architecture. Explore it from the deck of a houseboat and enjoy a cruise on the Canal du Nivernais or Canal du Bourgogne. The area is still untouched by mass tourism, so enjoy the vast vineyards and waterways just as you imagine.

Map of Nivernais, Val de Loire

Land of mustard and wine

You could hardly look for more distinctive attributes to characterise the central Burgundy region than Dijon mustard and Burgundy wine. While you'll probably buy your favourite condiment and bring it home as a souvenir to your friends. You have to experience the culture associated with wine for yourself in Burgundy –⁠ although in this case it's more about the taste. Burgundy offers vast vineyards, many of which offer visitors the chance to sample a variety of varieties and brands of wine. Vineyard tours are very popular with tourists.

Even Louis XIV himself called Burgundy wine the wine of royalty and Burgundy was his favourite region. The local regional pride may remind you of our wines, which is not a false impression. The vine grown in the Czech Republic is said to have originated here, when a bush of it was brought to the Czech Republic by the monarch Charles IV in the 14th century.

A selection of French cheeses and red wine with a view of the water channel, Burgundy.

What awaits you

While discovering the region's attractions, you will not only get to know the charm of the historic wine-growingregion, you will also visit a number of beautiful castles, chateaus, monasteries and cathedrals. You will also be impressed by the fascinating Celtic traditions.

Burgundy is a land of vast vineyards, where you can taste a wide variety of varieties and brands of wine. Vineyard tours are open to travellers, so be sure to plan them into your itinerary. The Chablis region produces white wine, otherwise red wine is heavily prevalent in Burgundy.

Head to the most famous villages of Pommarde, Meursault or the town of Beaune. You can be sure that the only real competitor to Burgundy for wine is the Bordeaux region. And which is better? We recommend heading to both so you can decide for yourself which wines will win your heart (and your taste buds).

A view of the old French town of Dole. In the foreground is a water canal with walkways and trees. V

A view of the old French town of Dole.

La Côte d'Or

Discovering Burgundy and its wine-growing tradition is not complete unless you visit the Burgundy Wine Route during your holiday. Choose one of the five options and discover vineyards large and small, old and young, known and unknown. The wine-growing territory that surrounds the whole area around Dijon is known as La Côte d'Or, the Golden Slope, and we can assure you that a visit to this area is not to be missed. Be sure to spend a few days here, whether on foot, by bike or by car. The wine industry is very strong here and is probably the strongest driver of the regional economy.

Although wine is intrinsically linked to Burgundy, it is not the only thing that defines the region. The region also plays a vital role as a centre of learning and Christianity. Visit Dijon, the region's capital, the abbey at Cluny and the monastery at Citeaux, which used to be the bearers of spiritual life and a new form of church. Today, the most important spiritual site is the Basilica of St. Magdalene in Vézelay, which serves as a pilgrimage site on the road to Santiago de Compostela.

Useful information

  • Canal du Nivernais: The canal is well maintained, you will not find commercial vessels here. The locks are easy to operate and the staff will be happy to help you.
  • Canal du Bourgogne: You will find both manual and automatic locks with operators.
  • Canal Latéral à la Loire: ideal for beginners.
  • The Yonne River has a current but manageable exception at times of flooding. Go slowly when approaching the dock to avoid the shallow areas.
  • There are 110 locks on the Canal du Nivernais and 47 on the Canal Latéral à la Loire. They are very well maintained and each is manned. An amazing "staircase" made up of 16 locks can be found at Sardy on the Baye.
  • During the summer season, the locks are open 9.00 am to 7.00 pm. They observe a lunch break between 12 and 1 pm. They are open during most national holidays. Days when the locks are closed: 1 May, 14 July and 1 November. Please check with our merchants.
Map of water channels in central Burgundy

Are you planning to discover France? Why not on a houseboat? Get in touch.

Cruises for 2–⁠5 days

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 2 days | 22 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 8

Brienon — Saint-Florentin and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and the woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 2 days | 32 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 10

Brienon — Joigny and back

You are on the border between Nivernais and Burgundy. The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. Numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of 3 waterways, rocks and woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 2 days | 32 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 30

Venarey — Mussy and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and the woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 2 days | 36 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 25

Venarey — Montbard and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and woods attract visitors to stop

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 2 days | 38 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 22

Venarey — Ravière and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and the woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 5 days | 62 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 24

Brienon — Auxerre and back

You are on the border between Nivernais and Burgundy. The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. Numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of 3 waterways, rocks and woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 5 days | 70 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 30

Brienon — Tonnerre

You are on the border between Nivernais and Burgundy. The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. Numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of 3 waterways, rocks and woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 5 days | 98 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 48

Venarey — Tanlay and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and the woods attract you to stop.

Cruises for 7 days

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 7 days | 100 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 110

Venarey — Pouilly-en-Auxois and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and woods attract visitors to stop

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 7 days | 108 km
Type of cruise: one-way
Number of locks: 57

Venarey — Montbard — Tonnerre — Saint-Florentin — Brienon

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and woods attract visitors to stop

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 7 days | 130 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 60

Brienon — Ancy-le-Franc and back

You are on the border between Nivernais and Burgundy. The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. Numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of 3 waterways, rocks and woods attract you to stop.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 7 days | 150 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 26

Brienon — Sens and back

What makes this location attractive is the proximity to Paris (about 2 hours away), the variety of roads, the local artists, the local cuisine, the architectural treasures of Burgundy.

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 7 days | 168 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 112

Venarey — Saint-Florentin

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and woods attract visitors to stop

Cruises for 14 days

Brienon, Central Burgundy, France, cruising area map

Trip length: 14 days | 130 km
Type of cruise: there and back
Number of locks: 98

Venarey — Chateauneuf and back

The proximity to Paris (about 2.5 hours) makes this location attractive. The numerous historic villages and towns, the coves of the 3 waterways, the rocks and the woods attract you to stop.