This cruise will take you to the heart of authentic terroirs and cities full of character and heritage. Cruise along the Loire Canal, a royal river with legendary beauty. You will explore unique places such as Nevers located in the heart of Burgundy, but also the Fontmorigny Abbey, recounting 8 centuries of monastic history. Discover wine and gastronomic cities such as Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre.
Visit historic, authentic and well-preserved sites and regions in France
Taste France's most well-known wines
Discover sumptuous and varied landscapes along the Loire River
Visit Nevers, famous pilgrimage site with an exceptional history
Transfer by coach from Paris to join the ship in Briare (duration approximately 2 hours). Passengers can board at 6:00 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, meet the crew at a welcome cocktail and dinner. Then, cruise through the Briare Aqueduct, whose 14 masonry supports were built by the Eiffel Company. Until recently, it was the longest navigable aqueduct in the world. Afterward, the ship returns to Briare.
Join a visit of Briare and the Deux Marines Museum. Take a tourist train to discover the village of Briare and its hidden treasures, among them the Chateau de Trousse-Barriere - an imposing 19th-century brick castle - and the town hall, a modest castle that was modified in the 18th century. Traveling along the tree-lined canal, you may also see locks and lock-keeper houses and the quaint bridges that cross the waterways. The 19th-century Church of Saint-Etienne was built on the site of an earlier church and combines elements taken from both Byzantine and Gothic styles of architecture. Then, visit the Deux Marines Museum and learn about the history of the Loire and its canals: the spot that was once considered the most important waterway crossroads in France. Spend the afternoon cruising to Léré. The evening is free to do as you please.
Join on an excursion to Sancerre and a goat farm. Set in the historic Berry region, Sancerre overlooks the gorgeous Loire Valley. Discover this beautiful medieval city by following the Fil d'Ariane: a red line painted on the streets taking you past the old wine-making neighborhoods, bakeries, fascinating buildings, and lovely art galleries.
The Fief Tower (optional visit with separate entrance fee; significant stairs to climb) is the only remaining tower of the 14th-century medieval castle. Afterward, you can visit a goat farm and have a tasting of its trademark cheeses and the local Sancerre wine. The family on the farm is raising approximately 200 goats and 60 cows and that are happy to share their cheese-making secrets with you. Spend the afternoon cruising towards Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre. The evening is free to do as you please.
Leave by coach for a visit of Pouilly-sur-Loire, where you can drop by at the Tour de Pouilly-Fumé: a wine-tourism center located in a beautiful setting. Visit the vineyards, the wine cellar and enjoy a tasting. Afterward, you may return on board and continue towards Herry. The evening is free to do as you please.
Leave by coach for a tour of La Charité-sur-Loire and an authentic farm. Begin the exploration with the priory, one of the most important restoration sites in Burgundy for the past 15 years. Then, visit a farm deep in the countryside, where you can experience the rustic calm and authenticity that can be found only in France. Afterward, you may return on board and spend the afternoon cruising. Take advantage of this time to ride one of the onboard bikes or walk along the canal (5km-long). Enjoy the gala dinner tonight.
Leave by coach for the visit to the Fontmorigny Abbey, a privately-owned French historical monument. Now one of the main cultural sites in the area, it is a testimony to over 8 centuries of French religious heritage. The contemporary stain-glass windows are not to be missed. Continue the tour to Apremont-sur-Allier and its floral garden. Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, this small medieval jewel on the bank of the Allier is an absolute must-see. The village offers a stunning point of view of the castle that overlooks it, also a nice stroll along the Allier river. You may return on board at the end of the morning and cruise to Nevers through the afternoon. Take advantage of this time to ride one of the onboard bikes or walk along the canal (2km-long). At nightfall, leave on a romantic tour of Nevers with lanterns.
Day 7: Nevers | Disembark | Transfer to Paris
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking. Transfer by coach from Nevers to Paris (duration approximately 2 hours.)
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.