Tour date: 12-18 October 2024
Join Oxford medieval historian Dr Rowena E Archer on one of our very popular and relaxing hotel barge holidays, this time on a new route along the charming Burgundy and Petite Saône Canals. Discover the medieval history of this region with a visit to the stunning Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, learn about the seat of the powerful Duchy of Burgundy in picturesque Dijon, and a enjoy selection of lovely chateaux, churches and abbeys in the small historic towns which dot the landscape along the way. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste one of the world’s finest wines at a renowned Nuits-Saint-Georges wine producer, sample a famed AOC cheese at the fortified hilltop town of Langres and enjoy afternoon tea at a fascinating 15th century chateau. Along with the exciting guided visits and illuminating talks from our trip scholar Dr Archer, there will also be plenty of time to relax on board and enjoy the scenic views as the barge navigates the canals, or hop on a bike and explore the countryside alongside.
- Cruise through the picturesque waterways of Burgundy and Haute Saône, offering breathtaking views of the French countryside.
- Explore charming towns and villages along the route, with a guided excursion to a famed Burgundy wine producer in Nuits St Georges, plus historical sites and local markets.
- Enjoy the congenial atmosphere aboard the comfortable hotel barge, taking just 20 passengers and chartered for exclusive use.
- Sample French delicacies prepared on board by our own chef, plus a special cheese-tasting and afternoon tea at a chateau.
- Your choice of relaxing or active: bicycles carried on board for cycling along the towpath.
Itinerary at a glance
Day 1: Tour starts in Dijon where the Barge is moored | SNCF and Eurostar tickets available
Day 2: Enjoy a guided tour of Dijon | Visit the Palace and Tombs of the Valois Dukes | Cruise towards Longecourt-en-Plaine
Day 3: Explore Medieval Beaune | Enjoy a wine-tasting at one of Burgundy’s finest wine producers | Moor in Auxonne
Day 4: Cruise towards Gray | Afternoon visit to Château de Rosières with afternoon tea | Moor in Gray
Day 5: Guided tour of Gray | Afternoon cruise to Ray-sur-Saône | Option to cycle along the canal | Enjoy a wine-tasting on board
Day 6: Morning visit to the town of Langres with cheese-tasting | Cruise towards Port-sur-Saône | Farewell dinner
Day 7: Tour ends after breakfast | Group road transfer back to Dijon Ville rail station | Optional SNCF and Eurostar to London
Day 1: 12 October 2023 Dijon
Day 2: 13 October Dijon - Longecourt-en-Plaine
Day 3: 14 October Longecourt-en-Plaine - Auxonne
Day 4: 15 October Auxonne - Gray
Day 5: 16 October Gray - Ray-sur-Saône
Day 6: 17 October Ray-sur-Saône - Port-sur-Saône
Day 7: 18 October Port-sur-Saône - Dijon
Dates and Prices
Prices are in UK£, per person, based on double occupancy
|Optional train London-Dijon
Share of twin cabin with private bathroom, full board (except on the arrival day when only dinner is included, and on the departure day when the tour ends after breakfast), red and white wines with lunch and dinner, group road transfers to/from Paris to coordinate with our recommended Eurostar train timings, all excursions mentioned with local guides including entrance fees, expert leader.
Travel from the UK to and from Paris (optional Eurostar train available for around £100-£200 per person return), drinks other than those served with meals, transfers to the barge if arriving independently, travel insurance, tips to crew and guides, items of a personal nature.
Optional Eurostar + SNCF train tickets
Temple World can arrange the Eurostar train from London to coordinate with this tour, subject to a minimum of 10 people booking this. The cost of tickets start at £150 per person.
We recommend the 10:31 train from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord which arrives at 13:50 local time. Please note that in Paris you will need to arrange your own transport to the Gare du Lyon where the Dijon train departs from – by taxi or Metro this takes a minimum of 30 minutes. Earlier trains from London are available should you wish to allow a longer transit time between trains. From the Gare de Lyon we recommend the SNCF train to Dijon departing at 14:52 arriving into Dijon at 16:31. A group transfer in Dijon to coordinate with the arrival of the 16:31 train is included for the short distance to the barge.
Booking your own travel
Clients who would like to travel on different days/times, or who wish to travel from a city other than London are advised to book their own transport, although if travelling out with the main group we can often book a different return date at the same fare. The start and end point for the tour is Dijon Ville Train Station if taking the group transfer, otherwise guests are welcome to make their own way to – detailed directions will be given as to the mooring point of the barge.
If making your own way to Dijon you can arrive at any time of day on 12 October but check-in at the barge is not normally until 5pm as the crew need to rest and re-provision the barge after its previous charter. We can provide the exact mooring position for the barge in your final document pack if you wish to make your own way there. Alternatively, you can meet the group at the Dijon-Ville SNCF station and take our coach transfer to the barge (this is included in the tour cost). There are no activities on the first day until dinner, which is likely to be at around 8pm.
On the last day (18 October) we will leave the barge after breakfast and a coach will be provided back to Dijon-Ville SNCF station to co-ordinate with the departure time of our recommended train, for all those who wish to return there. You are also welcome to make your own onward travel plans. All passengers must vacate the barge by 9am. Those with earlier flights/trains are welcome to leave earlier if need be.
Very Important! Clients should not make any binding or non-refundable travel arrangements until their place has been confirmed on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure.
No vaccinations are usually recommended for travel to France, as long as travellers are up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK. These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine. See your GP or travel health professional at least 4-6 weeks before travel for advice tailored to your personal requirements.
If your passport describes you as a British Citizen you won’t need a visa to enter France if staying under 3 months. If you have another type of British nationality, you should check the current entry requirements on the website of the French Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Office Advice
We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Easy/Moderate. This is a relaxed itinerary, though for those who wish to be more active there are opportunities to walk and cycle. There are no strenuous hikes but whilst sightseeing we might be ‘on the go’ for several hours at a time, without breaks to sit down and rest. It is important that everyone is able to keep up with the group.
Full fitness profile of the tour
Dr Rowena E Archer
Medieval historian Dr Rowena E. Archer is a Fellow and lecturer at Brasenose College and lecturer at Christ Church, University of Oxford. Her initial research focused on the Late Medieval English Nobility during the Hundred Years War with France but she was soon drawn towards the experiences of women. She has now published on a wide variety of aspects of women’s lives making particular use of the work of the late fourteenth century Franco-Italian writer Christine de Pisan, and is currently starting a study on the impact of the Anglo-French wars on women. She has a particular interest in Henry V and Agincourt. She teaches French History from 1000 – 1500 and runs a specialist course on Joan of Arc (born in Lorraine) and her Age, 1419-1435. She is Director of the long running Medieval Studies Programme for the Cambridge International Summer Schools and regularly teaches at Madingley Hall. She travels to France at least twice a year, partly for work and partly for pleasure.
Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.
Extensions in Paris
We recommend a three-night extension to glorious Paris before or after your tour, and if taking our recommended Eurostar train, can arrange for the date of departure or return to be amended in order to accommodate this addition to your itinerary. Our top hotel recommendations are the Sydney Opera (Paris), for value in a great location and the Balzac, a boutique four star deluxe property in a quiet street close to the Arc de Triomphe. For unparalleled luxury we recommend one of Paris’ opulent ‘palace’ hotels, Le Meurice, the Plaza Athenée or the Four Seasons George V. Please ask us for a quote.
Extensions elsewhere in France
We are happy to quote for car hire, hotels, and guided excursions in any region of France to complement the main tour, should you wish to explore further. For example, you may wish to extend with a stay along the nearby Route des Grands Crus somewhere like the Maison Lameloise, a 15th century Inn with 16 rooms in the heart of Chagny. The hotel is a member of Relais and Chateau and is known for its outstanding restaurant helmed by chef Chef Eric Pras with 3 Michelin stars. It’s around £400 for a two-night stay including breakfast. Lunch at the famed restaurant is €130 per person, degustation menu for dinner from €280 per person, but the hotel is also walking distance to many other local restaurants and cafes, as well as the excellent Sunday Market and an 18th-century apothecary’s shop with period woodwork. Hot air balloon flights over the Burgundy vineyards are also possible. Please ask us for a quote.