You will be picked up at your hotel and have the choice to be transferred in our Mercedes minibus directly to the barge moored in Besancon – this involves a 4 and a half hour drive (without stops) OR we can arrange a pickup and transfer to the train station, assistance onto the train, and first class TVG tickets to Dole, where we will meet you and transfer you to the barge. This journey would be shorter – the train journey is just under 2 hours and then a 30 minute transfer in our minibus to the mooring. Rory and Caroline will be waiting to welcome you onto the Apres Tout for your cruise on the Rhone au Rhin, finishing on the Saone river. A delicious four course dinner will be served with wonderful wines to match, prepared lovingly by Caroline!
After breakfast we drive up to the hilltop Citadelle, a master piece of defense designed by Vauban and now protected by Unesco – this is a remarkable ancient military building and houses some museums – one of which is to honour the French Resistance during World War II. Returning to the centre of town, we make a stop at the Astronomical Clock housed inside the Cathedral created in the 19th century. Return to the barge for lunch and enjoy the afternoon cruising. We pass through an amazing tunnel through the hill side under the Citadelle and cruise down through the valley to our overnight mooring at Osselle.
The morning is spent cruising through the lovely valley of the Jura, this is a truly spectacular part of the waterway, small villages pass by, cows wander in the fields, and there is nature all around. There is a total feeling of peace and tranquillity as we slowly cruise this magnificent waterway.
After another wonderful lunch, we visit the delightful town of Arbois. This town surrounded by vines, has some pretty streets lined with ancient houses centred around a central square. Here we purchase some local specialities – the famous Comté cheese & charcuterie of the region plus some handmade chocolates. This is followed by a wine tasting in a vaulted cellar – tasting some of the Jura wines, one of which is a delightful but little known Vin de Paille, accompanied with the cheeses, hams and chocolates recently purchased. Nearby there is a walk to a pretty waterfall where you can admire the beautiful scenery.
This morning we continue to cruise on this beautiful waterway towards the historic town of Dole. This was once the capital of the County of Burgundy before it was integrated into the Kingdom of France in 1678. Louis Pasteur was born here – the man who invented pasteurization. For nearly 500 years, the bell tower of Notre Dame with its beautifully restored nave, has proudly dominated the historic centre. Late morning we transfer to the elegant Chateau de Germigney, this is an18th century mansion set on a private estate and makes an excellent place for lunch ! Returning to Dole, we visit this charming town by foot and then return to the barge.
We leave Dole behind and continue our cruise to St jean de Losne, the largest inland port in France. After lunch, your guide takes you to visit the privately owned magnificent Chateau de Longecourt for a guided tour with the owner, the Count of St Sens. Return to the barge for a refreshing cocktail and dinner.
We cast off and enjoy a scenic cruise on the River Saone, after lunch spend the afternoon enjoying a wonderful visit to the area of the ‘Côte d’Or’ (In French meaning Gold Coast) planted with vines that produce some of the world’s most famous wines. We have arranged two fantastic brightly coloured classic iconic 2CV’s to take you through the vines. We stop off at Meursault for a private wine taste, tasting directly from the barrels in a wonderful vaulted cellar deep in the caves.
Tonight Caroline is preparing a gala dinner with some wonderful wines to match! Sadly, Rory and the crew will be bidding you a fond farewell.
After breakfast disembark and transfer either to Paris or Lyon. Thank you and a safe onward journey.