When it comes to the best French river cruises, you can’t go wrong with a barge trip in Burgundy. This laid back region, with its rolling hills, sleepy villages, elegant chateaux and fabulous wines, represents all the things we know and love about France. With so much to see and do here, it is a good idea to make a shortlist before you go; although if you book onto one of the best French river cruises you will be guided to all of the highlights. Here are some of the favourites. |
The regional capital, this vibrant city literally bursts with history. A beautiful place that is easy to explore on foot, Dijon was once the home of the mighty dukes of Burgundy. The Ducal Palace takes pride of place at the heart of the city, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts with the decorative tombs of the duchy’s formidable rulers is well worth a visit.
Today the city has made its name in the world of gastronomy. On any of the best French river cruises in the region you will have the opportunity to indulge in a host of local specialities.
A delightful village situated on the edge of the Morvan National Park, this spot is steeped in history. In the eleventh century, the monks inhabiting the village reputedly obtained the relics of Mary Magdalene and, from then on, the place became a site for pilgrims who came from far and wide to visit. With the pilgrims came money and other riches and consequently the village became extremely affluent. Much of the money was spent on what many believe to be the most stunning Romanesque basilica in the world. It is a wonderful place to spend an hour or two.
Chateau de Guédelon
Despite its imposing aesthetic and medieval features, this castle was only built in 1997. It is a fascinating project that was instigated by a team of enthusiastic historians who wanted to design and build a full size medieval castle. Dressed in period costumes and using only the tools from the day, the volunteers have toiled tirelessly to create this masterpiece. Animals were drafted in to winch pulleys and lift machines, as they would have done hundreds of years ago, and the bricks and vaulted arches were all built by hand. The Great Hall is finished and the ramparts are almost complete, with the final completion date set to be 2023.
A gorgeous town lined with cobbled streets and dotted with quiet squares, Beaune is the best place in the region to sample the local wines. Of course, on the best French river cruises in Burgundy, there will be plenty of wine tasting opportunities, but when you’re in Beaune don't pass up the chance to head to a wine bar and indulge in the full local experience.
Also in the town, make sure you find some time to visit the Hospices de Beaune with its iconic colourful tiled roof.
We really could go on and on when discussing the highlights of Burgundy, but rest assured if you book one of the best French river cruises with a reputable tour operator, you will be in for a real treat.
Author Plate Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive luxury barge holidays. If you're looking for the best French river cruises or cruises to other great destinations they are the go-to experts. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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