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Boating holiday in Dole

The town of Dole, famous for its art and history, was home to the first self-drive canal boat hire base that Nicols opened in France in 1991. It provides a remarkable setting to get on board your barge and fall under the spell...

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Self drive boat renting in Dole
The Nicols base at Dole
Tanneurs canal street, Dole
Tanneurs canal street, Dole
Water park in Dole
Water park in Dole
Lock on the Canal du Rhone au Rhin (Doubs channeled)
A lock on the Canal du Rhone au Rhin
Caves of Osselle - Franche-Comté
The Caves of Osselle (Doubs Valley)
The Canal du Rhone au Rhin and its towpath
The Canal du Rhone au Rhin and its towpath
Moor up and enjoy lunch on the riverbank
Moor up and enjoy lunch on the riverbank
Visit of Besancon in Franche Comté
Waterways meander through the Doubs valley
Vauban citadel - Besançon
Vauban Citadel - Besançon
Add the Nicols heated splash pool to your boat
Add the Nicols heated splash pool to your boat
Regional flavours, Jura wine
Regional flavours, Jura wine
Castle of the Dukes of Wurtemberg in Montbéliard
Château de Montbéliard (Doubs)
Ray sur Saône ©Sara Bosmans
Ray sur Saône ©Sara Bosmans
The Port of Dole
The port at Dole
Cruise prices from463 €

Best bits:

  • A crossroads of rivers giving an exceptional choice of routes
  • The fauna and flora of the steep-sided Doubs valley
  • The famous cheese and wine from Jura and Franche Comté
  • The River Saône is a fisherman's paradise

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Cruise prices from463 €

The town of Dole, famous for its art and history, was home to the first self-drive canal boat hire base that Nicols opened in France in 1991. It provides a remarkable setting to get on board your barge and fall under the spell of the Franche Comté region. The port of Dole is located at the foot of the old town where you can visit the Notre-Dame Collegiate (16th century Basilica), birthplace of Louis Pasteur and Hôtel Dieu (17th century)…

Travelling down the Doubs, your trip will take you along the river's winding bends, navigating through a superb steep-sided valley plush with fauna and flora: the Osselles caves (the oldest caves open to the public in France), Besançon and its Vauban citadel, Baume les Dames and many other villages and towns provide numerous must-see stops.

If you choose the wide, tranquil waters of the Saône, your boating holiday will lead you to the Port-sur-Saône marina, the location of our other Nicols canal barge rental base, unless you decide to visit St-Jean-de-Losne, leading you to the Canal de Bourgogne.

*Note: some previous boating experience is recommended for a boating holiday on the Doubs

Cruise prices from463 €

Our suggestions of cruise on the Saône and on the canal du Rhône au Rhin

Weekend 2 days

Itinerary 1: The Doubs valley short break

Course: Dole – St Vit - Dole (54km - 16 locks - 9h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Rochefort-sur-nenon : Limestone cliff
  • Orchamps : Fountain’s laundry

Itinerary 2: The petite Saône short break

Course: Dole – Auxonne - Dole (64km - 20 locks - 12h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Auxonne : Church Notre-Dame, Fortifications, Castle Louis XI with Bonaparte’s museum

Itinerary 3: The Côte d’Or short break

Course: Dole – St Jean de Losne – Dole (44km - 18 locks - 10h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • St Jean de Losne : Museum of the “canal transport”, Church St Jean Baptiste, Hotel Dieu

Mini week

Itinerary 1: Getaway to the Vauban's citadel

Course: Dole – Besançon - Dole (112km - 40 locks - 23h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Rochefort-sur-nenon : Limestone cliff
  • Orchamps : Fountain’s laundry
  • Osselle : Cave of Osselle in 3 km of the lock
  • Thoraise : Castle, Chapel Notre-Dame du Mont
  • Montferrand le Château : Castle of the XIII° century
  • Rancenay : Old medieval town
  • Avanne-Aveney : Church of Avanne
  • Besançon : Citadel of Vauban, Museum “the black door” (triumphal arc), Palace’s Granvelle

Itinerary 2: Getaway to the châteaux de la Saône

Course: Dole - Mantoche - Dole (150 km – 24 locks – 22h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Auxonne : Church Notre-Dame, Fortifications, Castle Louis XI with Bonaparte’s museum
  • Pantallier-sur-Saône : Public garden of the virgin, Castle of Talmay, Laundry
  • Heuilley-sur-Saône : Water’s house, fishing and nature
  • Essertenne et Cecey : Castle, Water’s fountain, Church St Julien
  • Mantoche : Castel, Church

Itinerary 3: Religious heritage getaway

Course: Dole – Verdun sur le Doubs - Dole ( 114km - 18 locks - 19h30)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • St Jean de Losne : Museum of the “canal transport”, Church St Jean Baptiste, Hotel Dieu
  • Esbarres : Church Notre-Dame of Nativity
  • Pagny le château : Chapel Castrale
  • Pagny la ville : Church St Léger with its organ
  • Seurre : Church St Martin
  • Verdun-sur-le-Doubs : Museum of the wheat and the bread, Hotel-Dieu, Faubourg St Jean

One week

Itinerary 1: Historic Doubs valley

Course: Dole – Baume-les-Dames – Dole (182km - 62 locks - 37h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Rochefort-sur-nenon : Limestone cliff
  • Orchamps : Fountain’s laundry
  • Osselle : Cave of Osselle in 3 km of the lock
  • Thoraise : Castle, Chapel Notre-Dame du Mont
  • Montferrand le Château : Castle of the XIII° century
  • Rancenay : Old medieval town
  • Avanne-Aveney : Church of Avanne
  • Besançon : Citadel of Vauban, Museum “the black door” (triumphal arc), Palace’s Granvelle
  • Chalèze : Church
  • Novillars : Castel
  • Deluz : Church, Chapel
  • Laissez : Hurt of seen by the castle and by the cross of souvance, Cascade of 17m
  • Roulans : Chapel of Aigremont
  • Ougney-les-champs/Ougney-le-bas : Castle, Dimes’s house, House of the twelfth century, Chapel
  • Fourbanne : Limestone cliff
  • Esnans : Castle, Fountain and laundry of the seventeenth century et its organ
  • Baume-les-Dames : Church St Martin, Abbey, House of “cires De neufchatel", Belzacq’s court

Itinerary 2: The real Saône

Course: Dole – Ray sur Saône – Dole (250 km - 32 locks - 40h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Auxonne : Church Notre-Dame, Fortifications, Castle Louis XI with Bonaparte’s museum
  • Pantallier-sur-Saône : Public garden of the virgin, Castle of Talmay, Laundry
  • Heuilley-sur-Saône : Water’s house, fishing and nature
  • Essertenne et Cecey : Castle, Water’s fountain, Church St Julien
  • Mantoche : Castel, Church
  • Velet : Neolithic station in the hollow of serpe
  • Gray-la-ville : Church (classified historic monument), Laundry
  • Arc-les-Gray : Lamugnière’s property with flags, Orangey, Cave, Basins, Laundry
  • Gray : Parochial church Notre-Dame, City hall, Theatre, Hotel Dieu, Museum
  • Ray-sur-Saône : Castle

Itinerary 3: The petite Saône

Course: One way Dole - Port-sur-Saône (154 km – 23 locks – 24h00)

  • Dole : The college, The fountain of lepers, The media library, Birthplace Pastor
  • Auxonne : Church Notre-Dame, Fortifications, Castle Louis XI with Bonaparte’s museum
  • Pantallier-sur-Saône : Public garden of the virgin, Castle of Talmay, Laundry
  • Heuilley-sur-Saône : Water’s house, fishing and nature
  • Essertenne et Cecey : Castle, Water’s fountain, Church St Julien
  • Mantoche : Castel, Church
  • Velet : Neolithic station in the hollow of serpe
  • Gray-la-ville : Church (classified historic monument), Laundry
  • Arc-les-Gray : Lamugnière’s property with flags, Orangey, Cave, Basins, Laundry
  • Gray : The Notre Dame basilica, The old town, The baron martin museum (art and archeology), The museum of natural sciences (biology)
  • Savoyeux : The Savoyeux tunnel (640m)
  • Ray-sur-Saône : Castle
  • Scey-sur-Saône : The tunnel of Saint Albin (680m)
  • Port-sur-Saône : The church of St Etienne and the pont de pierre, Both dating back to the 18th century

*Cruise suggestions: non-contractual information
Cruise prices from463 €

Need information about your destination? Remember to order your travel guide from Nicols before you leave!

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Cruise prices from463 €
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