Calm and contemplative, they are the villages of the Saone in the Franche Comté in the east of France. So they are just the thing for a relaxing holiday for connoisseurs. We have experienced some of them on ours Houseboat tour from Gray to Scey sur Saone, You should not expect great sights. Instead, the villages of the Saone are the perfect stops on our houseboat trip on the river.
Off the main route of the Saone
Most are a bit off the main route on the river. Therefore we have to make detours through side channels to get to them. This is exactly what makes a houseboat tour on the Saone a perfect experience for those looking for recreation. We had five days to travel from Gray to Scey sur Saone and back. On the way we visited several villages along the route. The fact that we have to leave the main river, the return journey is varied and interesting. The villages of the Saone are perfect for those who love slow travel and pleasure travel. Rest, relaxation and deceleration are announced. Those looking for it quickly succumb to the charm of these ancient villages of the Saone.
So we have experienced three villages of the Saone
Seveux - the first of the villages of the Saone
Seveux is the first of the Saone villages that we get to know on our houseboat tour. We leave Gray around nine in the morning and arrive at the Savoyeux Marina in the early afternoon. The place is just behind the exciting tunnel in front of Savoyeux , An exciting experience! Immediately after the tunnel is the marina. Because the weather is so nice, we decide to spend a quiet afternoon here.
The marina and its surroundings are perfect for this. On the other side of the river there is a nice bike path that invites you to take a ride on the bicycles that we have on board. Petar and I decide to take a walk into Seveux, which is only a mile from the marina. Simone of nach-holland.de join us. Signs of a bakery and a restaurant make the decision in the afternoon heat easy. For what is more seductive than a cool drink after a walk through one of the villages of the Saone?
The tunnel of Savoyeux
We cross the bridge over the Saone Canal and watch boats as they cross the tunnel of Savoyeux. An exciting affair to watch as other boaters do that. Bird chirping and the aforementioned signs for refreshing drinks lure us further towards the village. Past ancient deciduous forests, from which the song of the birds spreads summer mood, we approach the main river of the Saone, which is quite wide and shallow at this point. On a hill above the village, a castle emerges whose farm buildings are located near the thoroughfare through Seveux. At the sight of farms, in front of which a herd of cattle grazes contentedly, seeking the shade of centuries-old beech and oak trees, the charm of this village opens up to us. Here time seems to stand still.
Village idyll in Seveux
The midday heat is slowly passing, the shadows are getting longer, and people are coming out of their houses: in the farm that advertises homemade goat cheese, the farmer's wife is on the phone with the cell phone and is sitting on a hay bale. In the village center, a couple of men are cleaning the pretty flowers around the village fountain and the washing area. And from the café "Chez Berthe" the owner comes to us with outstretched hands, shakes our hands and greets us with a friendly: "Bonjour M'sieur, M'dame" before he immediately disappears into a car and drives away . We cannot resist this personal invitation and sit down at one of the tables on the terrace of "Chez Berthe", where we try a diabolo orangeade, a cool refreshing drink that tastes of almonds and orange. Perfect for a slow travel day like this.
We stop by the village church, which - like many churches in the Franche Comté - has one of those church towers whose roof is covered with beautiful glazed tiles. Inside she looks rather modest. Tantalizing scents of food coming from one of the farms in the village eventually make us return to the marina, where we prepare a delicious ratatouille for dinner in our own galley.
Ray sur Saone, one of the most beautiful villages of the Saone
The next day we make a detour to Ray sur Saone, one of the most beautiful villages in the Saone, which is off the main waterway. Because we cannot see the jetties, we moor on the river bank and climb ashore over our shaky ship's plank. In just a few minutes we are in the center of the village with its ancient farmhouses, which you can see the age. Weathered, with crumbling plaster, some with sloping roofs or bricked-up windows, the houses of the place quickly make it clear that Ray sur Saone is a village with a lot of history.
Leisurely village life in Ray sur Saone
This is also indicated by the castle that rises on the mountain above the village. Because it is in private hands and is not open to visitors, we give ourselves the steep climb and prefer to look around the village. The French and European flags and two coats of arms, unknown to us, decorate the entrance to the “Mairie”, the town hall of the village. Loving flower arrangements adorn the old courtyard gates and overgrown gardens. The front door of a house on the church square is open and only an airy curtain prevents us from looking inside. Next to it is the old washing place of the village, which is surrounded by an arcade hall, on the arches of which blooming roses wind upwards. Now only one cat is missing. And actually one of them is sitting in the next entrance to the courtyard and licking her paws with relish.
Worth seeing - the village church
A surprise is the village church: not only that its church tower is also covered with beautiful glazed tiles. Inside, we find beautiful reliefs and a group of sculptures representing the tomb of Christ. Particularly impressive are the reliefs on the pulpit, which depict various saints, and a beautiful stained glass window in the side chapel.
Coffee break at Chez Yvette
At "Chez Yvette" we join the French crew of a second houseboat that has moored in the harbor. They enjoy the lunch from Yvette, who obviously knows something about cooking, because she is happy to provide information about the recipe that she uses for her carrot vegetables. The men from the village who sit behind us at the table are just as friendly. They greet with a smile, and it doesn't seem to bother them that strangers are guests in their village. In general, we often notice the openness and friendliness of the people in the villages on the Saone. Here you are hospitable and helpful to visitors. And what we particularly appreciate because school French is a bit rusty with all members of our houseboat crew: English is spoken almost everywhere, sometimes German. In any case, one tries to understand us and to communicate with us. And almost always works well.
After our several hours stop in Ray sur Saone we drive on to Scey sur Saone, where we arrive too late in the town center to get there a berth. Therefore, we pay the visit and continue the next day
Traves in Franche Comté - the third of the Saone villages
The third village we look at on our houseboat tour is Traves. Similar to Ray sur Saone, this village is located off the main waterway on the Saone. To reach it, we have to drive along a few kilometers of side arm, which alone is worth the visit of this village. Through dense deciduous forests our way leads us to Traves. The branches of beeches and weeping willows hang down to the water surface. Some tree roots give us the impression of being in a mangrove forest, and we almost expect to see alligators and spoonbills among the trees. A fallacy, because what we see are swans, herons and again and again a fast-floating kingfisher, whose bright blue plumage makes us twitch the camera in our hands. But they are always too fast for us to banish them.
At the port of Traves
In Traves, a bay opens up, into which the river sign points us, and we come to a very pretty harbor with many well-kept jetties. If you arrive here by boat during the day, you can park for free, as long as he consumes something in the bar of the holiday park to which the marina belongs. Exactly what we are looking for! First of all, we welcome three donkeys on our pier who are apparently used to the river, because they follow us wherever we go - always in the hope of getting some food or being petted. It should not be missing pats, because the three are just too golden.
Before the refreshing drink we look at the village. The path climbs steeply up to the church, whose interior looks rather bleak. Similarly disappointing is the village of Traves at first sight. Only when we walk through do we discover charming details, pretty flower arrangements and the picturesque beauty that half-dilapidated buildings possess. Here you have to look a little deeper to discover the charm of the village. Therefore, it does not take long to pull us back to the bar on the marina, where we relax under a shady canopy at a Diabolo Citron and use the free Wi-Fi to post some posts through our social media channels.
Enjoy the journey through the villages of the Saone
Our Houseboat trip along the Saone has developed into a real pleasure trip through our detour to the villages of the Saone. Enjoyment, this time not in a culinary sense, but in the meaning of ease, rest and peace. We enjoyed these in the five days on the Saone, so much so that we finally had a hard time saying farewell - both from our crew, our houseboat, which became home this week French food and from the pretty villages on the Saone.
Travel tips from travel bloggers
- Tips for 3 days in Strassbourg and Karlsruhe has Antje from Delicious Travel.
Arrival by plane, public transport or car
Book yours here Arrival by plane, bus or train*. Nearby airports are Basel, Zurich or Lyon. From there you travel by train to Besançon or PEM Viotte. From there we continue with the rental car.
Do you already know:
- In the houseboat on the Saone in Franche Comté
- Rent a houseboat - this is how a houseboat vacation works
- France travel destinations
- Camargue France
- The Saone in Franche Comté - the river of the swans
- Picnicking in Munich - where is the nicest place?
- Discover the Rhone and Historic Cities on board the Arosa Luna
- Nile cruise
- How do you prepare an absinthe drink?
- Cooking in a motorhome or houseboat
- Compare motorhome prices here.
- Or do you prefer to travel with him Rooftent or Zelt?
- Which rain jacket is the best?
- Why is a folding e-bike useful when camping?
Source: On-site research. We thank LeBoat and Tourisme Franche Comté for the invitation to this trip. Our opinion, however, remains our own.
Find more Slow Travel Recommendations here.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline