Board the luxury hotel barge Renaissance and embark on a 7-day cruise through the rivers and canals of France. Cruise over Gustav Eiffel's famous aqueduct spanning the Loire River. Take some time to explore the beautiful village and canals of Montargis either on foot or bicycle. Take a leisurely breakfast of fresh croissants, baguettes, and assorted pastries as you visit Gien, home of the Faience pottery, renowned for its beautifully decorated and vibrant dinnerware. Visit the delightful, privately-owned Château de La Bussière, known as the ‘fishermen’s castle’, with its wonderful ornamental and vegetable gardens.
Visit to the privately-owned Château de la Bussière
Cruise across the aqueduct built by Gustave Eiffel over the River Loire
Guests are met at the meeting point in Paris and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the spacious Renaissance where a Champagne welcome with canapés awaits you to meet the Captain and crew. You might have some time for a walking tour of the pretty village of Montargis before dinner on board.
This morning, you will embark on your first cruise through the Loire countryside, with great towpath walking and cycling opportunities, to moor at Montbouy. After lunch on board, you will visit Château de Fontainebleau, a national museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. To walk through this magnificent palace is to walk through the history of France. It is the only royal and imperial château to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries and every French royal family added its own architectural style and features when in residence. Dinner on board.
This morning you will visit Château de Sully-sur-Loire. The castle originally belonged to Georges de la Trémoïlle, who infuriated Joan of Arc by encouraging the Dauphin to devote himself to idle hunting in the forests around Sully. After Joan’s failure to liberate Paris in 1430, de la Trémoïlle imprisoned her in the castle. In the 18th century Voltaire, exiled from Paris, also spent time at the château. Following lunch back on board, you will enjoy an afternoon cruise to our mooring at the pretty village of Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, near its 350-year-old 7 lock-flight, which is well worth visiting on foot. Dinner on board.
After a leisurely breakfast of fresh croissants, baguettes, and assorted pastries you will visit Gien, home of the Faience pottery, renowned for its beautifully decorated and vibrant dinnerware, and also explore the town’s bustling market. After lunch, you will enjoy an afternoon cruise to La Gazonne, a beautiful mooring surrounded by lakes and ponds that provide water for the workings of the Canal de Briare. Dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers in Les Bezards.
A morning cruise to the mooring at the little town of Briare, site of Gustave Eiffel’s magical aqueduct across the River Loire, again with excellent walking and bicycling opportunities. You will be able to preview Friday’s crossing of this amazing 10,000 ton, 662 meter Pont Canal which was completed in September 1896. Your afternoon visit is to a renowned winery in Sancerre, such as Domaine Henri Bourgeois in Chavignol, for a tour and private tasting. This medieval hilltop village overlooks a vibrant region which has known viticulture since Roman times. Dinner on board.
This morning you will be able to wander around fruit and vegetable, seafood, cheese and French fashion stalls in the market in Briare before returning to the hotel barge for a short cruise across the aqueduct and lunch on board. This afternoon, you can visit the delightful, privately-owned Château de La Bussière, known as the ‘fishermen’s castle’, with its wonderful ornamental and vegetable gardens. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Day 7: Châtillon-sur-Loire | Disembark
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Paris.
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