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Les Canalous

Head to the water - to the canals and rivers of Burgundy, for a complete change of scene from your day to day life. Here the only traffic jam may be another boat in the queue for the lock. You can take it all in your own time - the pace of life is slow, the scenery relaxing.

Les Canalous offer self-drive boats for hire from five bases in Burgundy. You can choose a mini-week or longer with a selection of price ranges from budget going up to the premium range, sleeping from two to 12 people. With a kitchen, bathroom, living and sleeping area and sundeck, each boat is fully kitted out including bedding (except towels) and has hot and cold running water and pressure showers. You will be given a two hour briefing before setting out to explain the workings of the boat and the regulations of life on the water.

So how do you choose your starting point and route? The countryside is quite distinctive in the western side of the region to the east and your itinerary will largely depend on the number of days you want to spend on the water. The Canalous website gives good guidance here and staff are available every day to give helpful advice.

Go West

The Canal du Nivernais is considered the most beautiful and natural of all the canals in the region.
Expect leafy unspoiled countryside, geranium clad locks and craggy limestone cliffs, a favourite with rock climbers, as you set off from the base at Coulanges-sur-Yonne south of Auxerre or
Châtillon-en-Bazois east of Nevers on the edge of the Morvan Natural Park. At Decize the Canal du Nivernais converges with the Canal Latèral à la Loire which heads up to Nevers and the vineyards of Sancerre.

The other base on the west side of the region is at Digoin in southern Burgundy. This is the land of misty eyed white Charolais cattle grazing in the undulating countryside. Here you have a choice of direction - see our canal map. The Canal du Roanne à Digoin is quiet and shady; the Canal du Centre leads to Romanesque Paray-le-Monial and the vineyards of the Côte Chalonnaise.

Go East

The Les Canalous bases in the east of the region are at Louhans and Pontaillier-sur-Saône. The attractive town of Louhans with its half-timbered houses is most famous for its market (below left) specialising in Bresse chickens which hold an AOC (certificate of origin). From here you can navigate up the river Seille famous for its fishing, and La Truchère nature reserve of waterfowl.

From the Pontaillier-sur-Saône in the Côte d'Or you have a choice of routes - the Saône, the ‘Petite Saône’, the River Seille, the Canal de Bourgogne or the Canal de la Marne à la Saône. The Canal de Bourgogne leads you to Dijon home of the Dukes of Burgundy in days gone by, and the wines, gastronomy and the land of beautiful châteaux.

For more information see the Canalous website