Burgundy and the Cote d'Or 

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Dole to St-Leger-sur-Dheune (Cruise runs Saturday to Friday)

Highlights: St-Jean-de-Losne, France's waterways capital - The City of Dole - Wine tasting in the quaint village of Remigny - Chalon-sur-Saone - Possible option of Jeep Safari into the Cote d'Or 

You'll join the barge in Dole on Saturday afternoon. This thriving and attractive city was home to Louis Pasteur and is a bustling place with narrow streets, good shopping, great eateries and outdoor cafes. There is plenty to see and do and we'll be moored in either its harbour or just outside under an avenue of plane trees. This lovely shady spot will be a blessing, particularly if the weather's hot. Dining out is a great choice tonight and a restaurant I've heard glowing reports about is 'Les Templiers'. They apparently serve good hearty fare in the atmospheric setting of a 13th Century crypt. Just watch out for bones! Alternatively, Dole's Pizza boat is moored in the harbour and if excellent pizza from a wood fired oven takes your fancy, we could pick up a couple and bring them back to the barge.

On Sunday we leave Dole along the 'Canal du Rhone au Rhin' toward today's destination, 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, I'll cook your 'welcome aboard dinner' which due to our being in Burgundy, might appropriately be a delightful, slow cooked Boeuf Bourguignon and dish that previous guests have raved about.

Dole's Pizza BoatOn Monday we leave early for a cruise down the river Saone to Verdun-sur-le-Doubs. After passing through a long canalised section of river, we encounter the pleasant port of Seurre where we might stop for a bite to eat and a wander round. Alternatively, we'll rejoin the Saone's original course and navigate a very enjoyable wooded stretch of river. Tonight's mooring is 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 Tuesday I plan to leave early and cruise to a mooring on the 'Canal du Centre' on the outskirts of Chalon-sur-Saone. Unless however, we are lucky enough to find one of the extremely rare ones in the City itself. 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. Our mooring at Fragnes is a 30 minute taxi ride from the centre of the lovely city of Chalon-sur-Saone 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.

Our destination on Wednesday is a charming little village called Remigny further up the 'Canal du Centre'. We'll travel through a large number of very narrow locks on the way. 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 enable some serious wine tasting if that sort of thing takes your fancy and there is also a small restaurant right by the canal. We'll be moored against the canal bank, so a BBQ wouldn't be out of the question either. On Thursday night we will reach the weeks final location of St-Leger-sur-Dheune. We can choose to dine out or self cater aboard. You are due to leave the barge after breakfast on Friday. This will involve a taxi into Chalon-sur-Saone (market day) and an onward train to Paris. Trains from Paris to Dole or Chalon to Paris typically take around 3 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.