Story of a boating holiday in Burgundy Franche-Comté

Here is the story of a boating holiday, in the Burgundy Franche-Comté region.

Come on board to discover its beauties!

Bourgogne Franche-Comté

Start of the holiday in Gray, a small town on the Saône, about 50 km from Dijon.

Here you can see the basilica and the castle, an Italian-style theater or the town hall with its glazed tile roof. Whether you visit the Baron Martin Museum of Art and Archaeology for a collection of paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, or take part in an activity such as karting or canoeing with your family, there are many sites to discover.

You can enjoy a picnic at the Orangerie d'Arc-lès-Gray or take the two-hour city tour organized by the Office de Tourisme that reveals hidden treasures of the city, such as the winding spiral staircase that closes a secret room or the backyards where you can see historical architectural details a glimpse of the beautiful city.

Bourgogne Franche-Comté

After the administrative formalities and navigation instructions on board the boat, we took our shopping to the nearby supermarket, in order to leave with an empty fridge.

If you are looking for a good restaurant for the first night, you will be in good hands at "Crato".

Day 1 : Gray - Ray-sur-Saône

Gray - Ray-sur-Saône

After fresh croissants and a good baguette in the morning, we start sailing with a radiant weather. It's a beautiful sailing area: the small Saône river winds through a landscape punctuated by lush pastures, luxuriant forests and small villages.

Relaxation is coming... Pure and beautiful nature: this is what makes this navigation area unique!




Bourgogne Franche-Comté

The beautiful river with its nature is in the center of our boat holiday in Burgundy.

The region is not very touristy, you always meet very nice and approachable locals.

If you are a foreigner, a little knowledge of the French language is useful, but not essential! The lock keepers will be able to help you with a few words of English.




Bourgogne Franche-Comté

Many shades of green, fields of rapeseed in bloom and a blue sky with beautiful white clouds, are our backdrop along the Petite Saône.

We are lucky to have this almost empty waterway all to ourselves: we can count on the fingers of one hand the boats we passed!




Bourgogne Franche-Comté

My crew was totally new to river cruising.

The Petite Saône is highly recommended for novice crews, as the river has little flow and plenty of room to maneuver. All locks work automatically and simply.

In many places you can simply moor on the shore with stakes.

For swimming, you can dive wherever you want, and there are also real beaches in some places.

Bourgogne Franche-Comté

The tunnels are a special experience on a boating holiday, as you will not find them in all navigation areas!

By bike or on foot, you will quickly reach Savoyeux, where you can see an old wash house and a goat cheese factory.

The bistro "Chez Berthe" has a very good reputation, but we decided to have a delicious lunch on board.


Bourgogne Franche-Comté

In the afternoon, we set off again, in the direction of Ray-sur-Saône.

At a fork in the road, we turn right and take the detour by the winding river.

Although it takes longer, it's worth it, because the river and its banks are absolutely beautiful here!




Bourgogne Franche-Comté

At Ray-sur-Saône, there is a superb jetty with mooring space for about 4-5 boats.

There is no electricity or other facilities, but the absolutely brilliant location makes up for this.

Dating from the 10th century, the castle is located on the hill overlooking the village and the landscape is a very nice place to take pictures. 




Ray-sur-Saône is a pretty, quiet hamlet with a lot of charm.

During a walk you can visit the gothic church, the wash house, the mill and the historic houses, including the 16th century monastery house.

From the park next door, you have a magnificent panoramic view of the Saône.




Bourgogne Franche-Comté

The restaurant "Chez Ivette" is just around the corner from the mooring.

It is a beautifully decorated restaurant where Ivette offers home cooking with her daughter. The menu also offers bison meat from animals raised in the vicinity of Dampierre.

We had a very nice evening with lamb stew, Jura wine and homemade pâté.



Jour 2 : Ray-sur-Saône – Soing – Scey-sur-Saône

Ray-sur-Saône – Soing – Scey-sur-Saône

Soing peut être atteint par une branche de la rivière.

Une très belle partie avec les berges encadrées par une forêt sauvage, dans laquelle des troncs d’arbres font saillie dans l’eau, les hérons ont leurs nids et la vie en forêt est laissée sauvage.






Soing offers a mooring with water connection, a beautiful picnic lawn with a children's playground, a small grocery store, a church and a 16-meter high replica of the Eiffel Tower that was built for a European festival.

We followed the advice of a local to cycle through the hills and fields of blooming rapeseed in the nearby forest to visit the old washhouse where the villagers used to do their laundry.



We sailed to Scey-sur-Saône, our arrival point for the day.

We experienced another highlight of the navigation: the 681 m long Saint-Albin tunnel, ordered by Napoleon to link the two arms of the Saône.

This remarkable building was built between 1838 and 1843 and is now classified as a historical monument. The tunnel has an impressive walkway, an S-shaped curve makes it very exciting!





As soon as you leave the tunnel, you can quickly reach Scey-sur-Saône, located on the canal.

Here you have electricity and water at the mooring as well as sanitary facilities.

In the village, there is a supermarket and right on the bridge, the big bakery "A l'Ancienne Mairie", where you should definitely take some small pastries, macaroons or a pie.



Day 3 : Scey-sur-Saône - Gray

 Scey-sur-Saône - Gray

But we had only booked a short stay and had to turn back.

We passed the last lock at Grey before closing time and were able to spend the last night at Grey.

This time we enjoyed a good meal at the restaurant "Le Mastroquet" right next to the bridge.



An extra day


A day in the capital of Dijon that you should definitely plan, it's really worth it.

I was very surprised by the young and open atmosphere, the many nice stores and cafés, the shady parks and the beautiful half-timbered architecture.





Bourgogne Franche-Comté



Are you ready to discover Burgundy Franche-Comté on board your boat without a license?