Burgundy: Franche Comté East of France

About Burgundy: Franche Comté

Pamper your palate in the heart of magnificent Burgundy

Famous Burgundy well deserves its reputation for fine wines and gourmet cuisine. Lush vineyards hug rolling hills, and quiet villages invite you to linger. Amidst a network of canals flows the majestic Saône River, the focal point of your Burgundy boat rental in France! This beautiful river ushers you into a world of pleasures, a realm that pleases the senses and soothes the soul.


A bit of background

In Vioménil amidst the beautiful Vosges Mountains, the Saône River bubbles crystal clear, draining the hills and valleys along its run of 480 kilometres (298 miles) to the Rhône River at Lyon. A Burgundy map shows that it’s navigable from Corre all the way to Lyon, a beautiful stretch spanning 371 kilometres (230 miles). Your Burgundy boat rental in France covers some of the prettiest waterways, which include adjoining canals and major tributaries! The river’s source is 396 metres (1,300 feet) above sea level, and the river makes most of its fall before Gray. From Gray all the way to the Rhône the drop is only 34 metres (111 feet). This means that the Saône is a very gentle river — slow, wide and peaceful below St. Jean-de-Losne on the Big Saône. It is narrower and more rural above Axonne on the Petit Saône.

A brief history

Roman legionnaires cherished a sacred spring in Chalon-sur-Saône named after the Gallic river goddess Souconna. They called the entire river Sou-conna, and the name eventually stuck. However, the Romans also called the river Arar, which loosely translated means two rivers that fit together. The name arose from the confluence of the River Doubs with the Saône. Seneca described the Saône as “a hesitant river” that couldn’t make up its mind about which way to go!

Local Partner Deals

We've partnered up with some of the best local businesses from the towns and villages in Burgundy to help you get the most out of your Le Boat vacation. 

Discover our range of exclusive offers, only available to Le Boat customers. 

Cruising Advice

The Petit Saône, Big Saône and the Seille River are all easy to navigate and suitable for beginners. The adjacent canals are also gentle and inviting.

Waterways and lock closures

Take a look at our waterway and lock closures page to find out if there are any scheduled cruising restrictions that will affect your vacation plans.

About the Locks

The locks on the Seille River are self-operated. The locks on the Petit Saône are automatic and have lock keepers; others are self-operated. On the Big Saône, you’ll find three large automatic locks with lock keepers between St. Jean-de-Losne and Mâcon. On the Canal des Vosges, Canal de Bourgogne and the Canal du Centre, all locks are automatic.

Opening hours: Petite Saône locks operate from 09:00-19:00 (7:00 p.m). They are closed for lunch from 12:30-13:30 (1:30 p.m.). Big Saône locks operate from 06:00-21:00 (9:00 p.m.). No lunch closures.

Public holidays: Locks are open on most public holidays.

Lock closure dates: Please be aware about the lock closure dates by local authorities. During that day(s), you won’t be able to go through the locks. For more details and questions, please contact our sales team.

Canal des Vosges & Saône River (Upper Petite Saône + South): No closure

Canal de Bourgogne, Canal du Centre: No closure 

Canal du Rhône au Rhin: No closure

Seille River: Lock Truchère (to reach Saone river) closed on 1st May only


There are numerous well-equipped moorings on the Seille River. Mooring on pontoons or in a harbour is compulsory on the Big Saône.

Getting to our bases

To find out how to get to each of our bases in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available at each base or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

  • Fontenoy-le-Château
  • Saint-Jean-de-Losne
  • Branges 

Wine Tasting

Did you know that more than 200 million bottles of Burgundy wine are sold every year? Really! You've got to savour some on your wine tasting cruise! Tour the Côte de Beaune vineyards! Stop by the Maison des Vins in Chalon-sur-Saône for regional wines!

      Nature Lovers

      Burgundy's rivers and canals are a rich habitat for wildlife. Along the Saône and Doubs you'll find 42 species of mammals, 30 species of fish and 160 species of birds! Watch for bee-eaters, little ringed plovers, kingfishers, golden orioles, and even the common cuckoo!


      Dining in fine restaurants should be part of your Burgundy Boating Vacations! Try a flan filled with Burgundy snails at Maison Lameloise in Chagny, a 3-star Michelin favorite. How about Idéal mâconnais, a cake made with meringue and butter cream filling? Or pain d'epices (ginger cake)?


      A fishing vacation in Burgundy means angling for carp, pike, zander, perch and bream. But the real lure for the passionate angler lurks in the depths of the Saône, to catch the Silurus glanis or giant catfish, try the waters near Beaune!


      Categories:luxury travel
      Terms and Conditions
      What's included in the price?
      Rental of the boat and its onboard equipment
      A fully equipped kitchen
      Towels and linen for all passengers
      A boat handling demonstration prior to departure
      Technical support
      On-board maps and visitor information
      Passage through locks
      What's NOT included in the price?
      Optional vacation extras
      Boat damage waiver
      Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour (by the litre in Scotland).
      Travel to and from the base(s)
      Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
      Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
      Food and drink

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      " Burgundy: Franche Comté East of France"