|St-Leger-sur-Dheune to Longecourt-en-Plaine|
Highlights: St-Jean-de-Losne, France's waterways capital - Wine tasting in the quaint village of Remigny - Chalon-sur-Saone - Possible option of Jeep Safari into the Cote d'Or
are due to join Barge Nilaya on Saturday in the small town of St-Leger-sur-Dheune
on the southern boundary of Burgundy's fabulous Cote d'Or. Tonight I'll cook your 'welcome aboard dinner' which due to our
being in Burgundy, should appropriately be a delightful, slow cooked Boeuf
Bourguignon and dish that previous guests have raved about.
After a leisurely start in the morning, we cruise the short distance down four locks to the charming little village called Remigny on the 'Canal du Centre'. Today and tomorrow offer great opportunities to use the towpath alongside the canal for a bout of exercise on foot or by using the ship's bikes. The towpath here is one small section of a grand European route linking the French city of Nantes with the Black Sea via the Loire, Saone, Doubs, Rhine and Danube. Quite an undertaking and what will be a terrific cycle way when completed by 2011.
Remigny has a number wine caves that will hopefully enable some serious wine tasting if that sort of thing takes your fancy. We'll be moored against the canal bank tonight, so a BBQ or self catering is the order of the day.
On Monday I plan to leave early and cruise down a large number of locks to a mooring on the 'Canal du Centre' located on the outskirts of Chalon-sur-Saone. Our mooring at Fragnes is a 30 minute taxi ride from the centre of this lovely city which was home to the inventor of photography, one Joseph Nicephore Niepce and you can visit the excellent museum in his honour. The island of Saint-Laurent in the middle of the Saone is full of narrow streets lined with old buildings and well worth the diversion away from Chalon's bustling centre, great shopping and wonderful dining opportunities. While in town, you should see the town hall, Saint Vincent Cathedral and Ursulines Monastery. Unfortunately, extremely limited moorings for barges such as Barge Nilaya, prevent mooring in the cities heart.
On Tuesday we are en-route to a far smaller town called Verdun-sur-le-Doubs and a mooring situated inside the mouth of the river Doubs rather than on the Saone itself, hence the towns name. Verdun-sur-le-Doubs was established by the Romans in the first century and there are some interesting old buildings to discover such as the town's 17th Century Hotel-Dieu. There is an amazing flood marker on one of the riverside buildings which along with showing some historical flood levels also shows some pretty regular recent ones! Tonight I suggest we track down a local restaurant and sample a specialty of the region known as 'Pochouse'. It's a delicious stew comprising of a mixture of several types of freshwater fish in a delicious onion and wine sauce. On the way, we'll pass the small town of Gergy and if you're interested, we might be able to arrange a genuine 'Willy' Jeep tour of the surrounding Cote d'Or countryside, possibly even visiting the magnificent wine town of Beaune. Should you decide on doing this, the rest of the weeks programme will likely change. If not, this is the rest of the weeks plan.
Wednesday sees us rejoin the Saone and navigate a very enjoyable wooded stretch of river through to tonight's mooring in the self proclaimed waterways capital of France, St-Jean-de-Losne. Lying near the junction of no less than six major French navigations, its a pleasant enough place with a very 'boaty' feel, lovely town quay, marina and boatyards. Having enjoyed a cold beer or two in the quayside bar, we might wander up to the Auberge de la Marine for a tasty but inexpensive meal.
Nilaya cruises out of St-Jean-de-Losne on Thursday and heads up a perfectly straight section of the Canal du Bourgogne towards a bank side mooring next to the village of Longecourt-en-Plaine. You might wish to take a walk and view the villages magnificent privately owned Chateau. It's not possible to go inside but the exterior is simply stunning. In the evening you can self cater aboard or if the weathers nice, enjoy a BBQ on the canal side.
You are due to leave Barge Nilaya after Breakfast on Friday by taking a taxi into Dijon. It's tourist office can arrange wine tasting tours and Saturday is also one of the market days. You might want to consider staying overnight before taking your train to Paris.
Trains from Dijon to Paris take about 90 minutes and Paris to Chalon, around two and a half hours.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Unforeseen circumstances sometimes affect our cruising schedule. These can include, but are not limited to: illness, floods, weather, canal closures, canal maintenance, lack of moorings, bureaucracy, strikes, civil disturbance, acts of god, the engine, and whims and fancies of both skipper, guests and crew. All of these things might cause last minute changes to the above and cruise routes. Although rare, we reserve the right to alter any and all routes accordingly. Flexibility is the name of the game and any such changes cannot be considered grounds for cancellation of the cruise.