Back in May this year we wrote about France’s most beautiful villages, which are recognised by the independent organisation Le Plus Beaux Villages de France. There are strict criteria for a village to be given membership of this association: the total resident population must be fewer than 2,000 people; it must be situated in a charming rural setting; and the village must boast at least two national heritage sites.
Our canal and river cruises give access to some of the idyllic places that are recognised as one of ‘Le Plus Beaux Villages de France’ and we would like to introduce you to two more which can be discovered and explored on one of our Burgundy cruises.
The hotel barge L’Impressioniste, which cruises through the serene Burgundian countryside from Fleurey-sur-Ouche to Escommes, stops near the delightful village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. This medieval village occupied an important strategic position between Autun and Dijon, as its turreted twelfth-century castle will bear witness.
If you love buildings crafted centuries ago from honey-hued stone, this picturesque hilltop village will certainly impress. You can gaze at its elegant merchant houses, its fairytale church and its glorious views over the rolling farmland, the woodlands of the Morvan and look down on your hotel barge moored on the Canal de Bourgogne.
During your gentle meandering voyage from Venarey-les-Laumes to Tanlay aboard the hotel barge La Belle Epoque, you will have the opportunity to visit the medieval village of Noyers-sur-Serein. Its half-timbered house fronts look out onto charming cobbled streets, while their backs sit snugly alongside the River Serein.
A morning spent exploring this village and its bustling market will allow you to absorb some of its history as you wander through the cornerstones of its agricultural and trading heritage – the Place de la Petite-Etape-aux-Vins (Wine Square), Place du Marché-au-Blé (Corn Market Square) or Place du Grenier-à-Sel (Salt Storehouse Square.
For a slice of quintessential France, these stop-offs on our Burgundy cruises will really allow you to appreciate what historical, cultural and architectural gems this region has to offer.