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'Belmond Hirondelle' - Canal du Centre, Saône River & Canal du Rhône au Rhin
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'Belmond Hirondelle' - Canal du Centre, Saône River & Canal du Rhône au Rhin

European Canal Barge Cruises: Tranquil voyages along Europe's scenic canals and rivers



Arrive in Besançon from Paris. A Champagne reception allows you to meet your crew and fellow guests. Later, enjoy your first dining experience on board ‘Belmond Hirondelle.’

'Belmond Hirondelle'   |   Meals: D

Enjoy your first cruise on board ‘Belmond Hirondelle’ along the stunning Canal du Rhône au Rhin, following the beautiful River Doubs out of Besançon and passing through numerous locks along the way. After lunch, return to wonderful Besançon, the capital of the Franche-Comté, and tour the citadel, discovering the rich history of the area and enjoying the many museums, rampart walks and views contained within this historic site. Return to the barge, moored at Osselle.

'Belmond Hirondelle'   |   Meals: B L D

This morning, cruise to the charming town of Dole, birthplace of the great scientist Louis Pasteur. A walking tour of the old town is complemented by a trip to the medieval wine town of Arbois, where Pasteur grew up and conducted some of his experiments, and where you sample the famous local vin jaune at a private tasting.

'Belmond Hirondelle'   |   Meals: B L D

Today, cruise the last stretch of canal and moor at the inland waterways capital of St-Jean-de-Losne on the majestic River Saône. Have lunch at the charming La Chaumiere restaurant near Dole before a trip to the heartland of the great Burgundy vineyards. Visit the Château du Clos de Vougeot, where Cistercian monks first practiced organized viticulture on its storied slopes. Admire the ancient wine presses and learn about the famous Burgundian wine society, La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, which maintains the château as the spiritual home of the region’s wines.

'Belmond Hirondelle'   |   Meals: B L D

A morning cruise down the broad and stately River Saône takes you on to the pretty Canal du Centre with a mooring at Fragnes. After lunch, take a short ride to visit the historic city of Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. Here enjoy a private tour of the magnificent Hôtel-Dieu, a splendid example of French 15th-century architecture. A former charity hospital, the hotel is now a museum dedicated to Burgundian culture and the history of wine making in the region. There is time to enjoy the charming town and its shops before returning to the barge for dinner.

'Belmond Hirondelle'   |   Meals: B L D

This morning, take a short drive back to Chalon-sur-Saône to enjoy the bustling local market before returning to the barge for a beautiful cruise to Chagny. There are opportunities to walk and cycle along the towpath as the barge navigates this pretty stretch of canal. Later, another short drive through the celebrated Burgundy countryside takes you to Chassagne-Montrachet, where you will enjoy a private tasting and learn more about the renowned local wines. Return to the barge in Chagny, where the chef prepares a gala farewell dinner.

'Belmond Hirondelle'   |   Meals: B L D

After breakfast and a fond farewell from the crew, return to Paris via private transfer.

Meals: B

Canal Barge Cruising in Europe is a relaxed way of travel that is inherently flexible and subject to change. The above itinerary is an example of the places you may see and visit during your cruise; your actual itinerary may vary.

Cruise itinerary operates in reverse direction on alternate weeks.

2014 Alternate Routes:
Apr 06, Apr 20, May 04, May 18, Jun 01, Oct 05 and Oct 19: Dole to St-Léger-sur-Dheune
Apr 13, Apr 27, May 11, May 25, Sep 28, Oct 12 and Oct 26: St-Léger-sur-Dheune to Dole
Jul 06: St-Léger-sur-Dheune to Digoin
Jul 13: Digoin to St-Léger-sur-Dheune