Places to Cycle Along the Burgundy Canal

Towpath along the Burgundy Canal

Particularly in times of the ‘new normal’, barge cruise holidays are increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why! There’s simply no better way to explore a region while avoiding crowded tourist hotspots; maintaining a luxurious, holiday feeling; and avoiding the constant packing and moving common to most tours.

Should you choose to explore the picturesque Burgundy Canal on a luxury barge holiday, you might find yourself yearning to spend a little time away from the boat, to explore the stunning landscape. Below are a few of the highlights you’ll encounter when you head off on a cycle along the Burgundy Canal…

L'Impressionniste cruising past Chateauneuf on the Burgundy Canal


Towards the southern end of the cruise route, less than a kilometre from the canal, lies the picturesque town of Chateuneuf. On a cycle along the Burgundy Canal, you’ll reach the town after a short ride up a gentle hill, where spectacular vistas await! Chateuneuf commands attractive views of the countryside and canal. Complete with historic houses and a chateau dating back to the 12th century, the historic, calm, yet invigorating atmosphere of Chateauneuf is very much in keeping with the laid-back spirit of a luxury barge cruise holiday.

Should you wish to go further, a little less than two kilometres north of the town is the Panthier reservoir. Mirror-smooth and often bathed in clear mountain sunlight, it’s well worth visiting for a swim and perhaps lunch at the nearby hotel restaurant. It’s then only a short downhill cycle back to the canal and the comfort of your boat.

Morvan Forest on the Burgundy Canal
Morvan Forest, Burgundy

Morvan Forest

A few kilometres further north on your cycle along the Burgundy Canal, the canal draws very close to a national park. Disembarking at Villeneuve-sous-Charigny, a four-kilometre ride will bring you to the eastern edge of Morvan Forest. Depending on your pace, you’ll be able to enjoy the forest’s softly rolling hills and idyllic fields.

Perhaps one for a more experienced cyclist, a medium-length 15km route can see you skim the outer edge of the park, whereas a slightly longer 25km route might have you follow the banks of the Serein for a little while before returning to the vessel. These routes are highly recommended if you prefer a little more activity.

La Fosse Dionne, Tonnerre
La Fosse Dionne, Tonnerre


The northern end of the canal passes through the town of Tonnerre. Larger than Chateauneuf, it’s nonetheless very much worth a visit on a cycle along the Burgundy Canal, and requires no additional travel to reach. Dotted with tree-lined boulevards, narrow alleys and ups and downs to keep the ride interesting, Tonnerre features a handful of restaurants and shops along its main road. It’s also worth cycling out to the tucked away Le Saint Père for a drink. The town’s pleasant river crossings and houses make for a slightly more urban environment without breaking the remote feel of a luxury barge cruise.

Bikes aboard La Belle Epoque


Don’t forget that these are just suggestions: the best part of taking a bicycle ride on a luxury barge cruise is being able to get off and explore wherever you’d like. Remember to always ensure you can find your way back to the boat and know your limits with regards to speed and stamina, and you’ll have fun exploring both land and water on your hotel barge holiday.

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