pont canal de briare

Loire Canal Cruise

Central France Canal latéral à la Loire

2018 barge cruise

Our cruise route
Loire Canal - Burgundy

It is with great pleasure that Fiona and I would like to share our plans to celebrate our 10th full season of cruising with guests onboard. It feels like only yesterday that Fiona and I embarked on our dream to share Colibri and the canals of France with guests. We could never in our wildest of dreams have imagined this would bring so many lovely people onto our barge and into our lives.

pont canal de briare The Briare canal bridge built in 1896
The Briare canal bridge built in 1896
steamboat small boat with a steam engine
small boat with a steam engine
loire excursion 2 apremont parc chateau
apremont parc chateau
sancerre rose wine

Canal latéral à la Loire

For 2017 and 2018 we will be cruising the Canal latéral à la Loire. This is a section of canal that our cruising friends have been delighted with and their reminiscences have inspired us to take Colibri and discover the region for ourselves. We would love to welcome you aboard Colibri to explore this beautiful stretch of the French waterways and region of wines, chateaux and gardens with us.

Loire canal cruise - sample itinerary

We have put together a sample itinerary that we would like to offer. The basic structure of the itinerary and the stretch of canal we will be cruising will not change, however the visits we will refine and may alter to offer the best of the region. As for previous cruises, we will be using a local tour guide as they will know the hidden treats and treasures to share with you.

Guest will be met by Captain Earl at noon, from the pre-arranged pick up point and transferred to Colibri. Warm welcome aboard, followed by your first Colibri lunch. After lunch we begin our cruise from near Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, across the summit of the canal, descending towards the town of Briare, and our secluded mooring for this evening. Take a stroll and return to Colibri for your first splendid dinner aboard.

Today we visit the Château de Saint-Fargeau, there are so many to choose from! This is a splendid château with beautiful gardens. Our cruise this afternoon will take us across the Pont Canal and the River Loire. This magnificent structure opened in 1896 is 663 metres long and carries 13000 tonnes of water. Here we join the Canal lateral du Loire. Stopping for dinner in a lovely mooring near the village of Beaulieu-sur-Loire.

This morning we will visit the town of Gien, on the banks of the river Loire. You may know the town for its fine faïence china. Returning to Colibri for lunch and an afternoon cruise along the Canal Lateral a la Loire passing through the hand wound locks to our rural mooring for this evening.

Our visit today will be to the very pretty hilltop wine village of Sancerre, exploring the village and some of the wines. After a lovely lunch on board, we will continue our cruise up stream through some of the many villages along the Canal, arriving at our mooring with Sancerre glistening on the hill top above us.

Our visit today will allow us to step back in time to the 18th century at the one of the most beautiful villages in France ”Apremont” The gardens created in 1977 will find us stroll along its wooded paths taking in its immense flower gardens, its water falls and its follies, and the village of Apremont. Our afternoon cruise will take us onwards toward Nevers and our final mooring for dinner aboard.

After a leisurely breakfast, depart Colibri to continue your adventures...

This is a sample itinerary, due to the nature of barging the moorings and visits may vary depending on the seasons, local influences and, of course, your preferences.

Loire canal map

Loire canal map

Canal latéral à la Loire, Canal de Briare and Canal du Loing

Barge Cruise info

The cruise will commence near Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses which is on the Canal de Briare, the very first summit level canal in France, joining the river basins of the River Loire and River Seine. Construction of this canal begun in 1604 and was complete in 1642, before the Canal du Midi was built. Paul Riquet is said to have visited to gain information before embarking on the building of the Canal du Midi. We will take the Pont Canal de Briare across the River Loire and join the Canal latéral à la Loire. From here will cruise upstream with the river on our left hand side, this section of canal has only a gentle slope of about 140m in 200km. We will cruise along this pretty canal, through lovely villages, visiting the hill top village of Sancerre, and we will then continue towards Nevers, where sadly our time together will come to an end.

Our pick up and drop off points will be the towns of Gien or Montargis and Nevers. These towns are well connected by train to Paris. There is a direct rail line with Montages or Gien 1 hour 20 minutes from Paris, and Nevers under 2 hours.

rogny les sept ecluses The seven locks and Briare Canal
The seven locks and Briare Canal
sunny afternoon cruising
loire excursion 1 apremont ecuries
apremont ecuries
peaceful mooring