Enjoy a serene fortnight of canal cruising and afternoon coach excursions in the heart of France as you follow the inland canal network along a 170km route between Decize, on the Loire, and Montargis on the Canal de Briare. This canal route takes us through 56 locks, and with good towpath alongside there is plenty of opportunity to walk or cycle. Stay for our fortnight at two 3* hotels, first the Paddock Hotel at Magny-Cours alongside the famous racing circuit; and then in the old town of Sancerre perched on top of a hill overlooking the surrounding vineyards.
This two-week programme takes you into no less than five of the iconic Departements straddling the Loire Valley – Yonne, Nièvre, Allier, Cher and Loiret.
- Executive Coach Travel with pick-ups across Kent*
- Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure
- Eurotunnel crossings
- 7 night hotel stay at the 3* Paddock Hotel at Magny-Cours, with dinner and breakfast
- 7 night hotel stay at the 3* Hotel Le Clos Martin in Sancerre old town, with breakfast
- Cruise itinerary with on-board lunch including a glass of wine
- On demand tea and coffee throughout cruising
- Beers and local prestige wines available for purchase on board
- Coach Excursion programme as detailed
- Entrance charges to all listed destinations, with guides where stated
*For travellers from further afield, hotel accommodation pre and post tour can be arranged on request.
**Tour package includes all meals including light lunch with a glass of wine aboard the boat on all cruise days, and on 30th July lunch out at a restaurant in Briare. Evening meals are included for our first 7 nights staying at Magny-Cours.
- Meals out for all 7 evenings in Sancerre
- Lunches on non-cruise days
This morning, depart Folkestone on the 08:20 Eurotunnel crossing, arriving in Calais 10:00 local time. Enjoy a late lunch break near picturesque Reims before your onward journey via Troyes, breaking at Auxerre and a lovely late afternoon scenic journey across rural Nièvre to our hotel at Magny Cours where we aim to arrive by 7pm.
You will have a relaxed start today with a late morning coach transfer to Decize old town for sightseeing. Then, enjoy lunch on board and cruise the Canal Lateral de la Loire to Fleury-sur-Loire before taking the coach back to the hotel.
Return to Fleury-sur-Loire to continue cruising as far as Nevers. This afternoon is spent with free time in Nevers, notable for its Roman origins, 14th-17th Century old town, Cathedral, Ducal Palace and Place de la République.
Today we will pick-up the boat just south of Nevers and cruise as far as Marseilles-les-Aubigny, crossing the famous aqueduct at Guétin and its double-lock. In the afternoon, take a visit to the plus-beaux village of Apremont-sur-Allier.
Today our cruise continues to La Charité-sur Loire, for an afternoon visit to historic La Charité, gaining a new reputation nowadays as a town of books. Its Benedictine Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage site as a starting point of one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.
Spend today relaxing at the hotel, pool, or on-site golf course. Later this afternoon enjoy a coach ride around Magny-Cours circuit.
Your cruise continues northwards to Sancerre, with an afternoon visit to the charming city of Moulins on the River Allier. This pre-revolution capital of the Province of Bourbonnais was once seat of the Dukes of Bourbon. Its many attractions include the Maison Mantin, the Anne de Beaujeu Museum and The National Centre of Costume and Scenography.
Transfer to your hotel in Sancerre before you take a Vineyard excursion to Pouilly-Fumé. Later, enjoy some free time in Sancerre.
Today the cruise continues northwards to Léré, for an afternoon visit to Bourges, notable for its vast area of parkland and magnificent cathedral.
Today we contiue cruising to Briare, where we cross the great aqueduct and moor in town before lunch out at the local restaurant L'Estancia. This afternoon is free for sightseeing in Briare.
Cruise along the Canal de Briare to the lock at Petit-Chaloy this morning, before an afternoon guided visit to Château Sully-sur-Loire.
Today is spent free in Sancerre. A taxi can connect with main line at St Thibault for anyone wanting to break out for visits to Moret-sur-Loing, Fontainebleau or Paris.
Today is spent cruising to Montbouy via Rogny-les-Sept Ecluses.
Your cruise voyage concludes in Montargis where we allow free time in the afternoon for sightseeing and shopping before returning to Sancerre.
Depart Sancerre for your return journey, aiming for a lunchtime pause in Senlis or nearby and a mid-evening return crossing to Kent.