Hotel-Barge Meanderer – Detailed Itineraries

 

CANAL DE BRIARE (Southern Route)

Upper Loire Cruise Itinerary – Montargis to Sancerre (Montbouy to Léré)

Welcome to the magnificent countryside of France. Our cruise itinerary is based in the fascinating region of the Upper Loire. Originally the River Loire carried commercial barges but the constantly changing conditions rendered it unsafe for navigation, leading to the building of the Canal de Briare and later the Canal Lateral à la Loire.

We cruise the full length of the Canal de Briare, the first connecting canal built in France. Construction began in 1604 during the reign of Henry IV (who instigated the Louvre in Paris) and was completed in 1634. The Canal was built to enable produce from the Burgundy and Loire regions to be taken to Paris.

The Loire region is often referred to as the “Garden of France,” a typically French landscape with peaceful, rolling countryside. Our cruise begins at Montbouy, the northern end of the Canal de Briare close to the regional capital of Montargis. The picturesque town of Montargis welcomes visitors with fabulous floral displays. The canal, once the lifeblood of the capital, winds through the heart of the town passing 17th century buildings and crossing the many smaller waterways which dissect the narrow streets.

The section of the canal beyond Montargis follows the course of the River Loing through villages and hamlets, many of which pre-date the canal. At Montbouy, the remains of the Roman Baths and Amphitheatre are clearly visible as a testimony to the heritage of this prosperous region. In Chatillon-Coligny the original riverside washhouses make way for the imposing feudal castle, once home to the Counts of Champagne. Although almost destroyed during the French revolution, the labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and the imposing keep still remain.

The original flight of seven locks at Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses (the highest point of the canal) is now preserved as a National Historic Monument. The new course of the canal takes us via a shorter flight of locks to the village of Rogny itself, considered by many to be the most unspoilt village of the region. The magnificent lakes of the Puisaye at the summit of the canal supplied the water for the canal before modern pumping stations were installed to allow uninterrupted use of the locks. The Puisaye is famous for the clay used by local tradesmen to produce some of the finest pottery in Europe.

A gentle descent to the town of Briare takes us through majestic woodland and open farmland to the most famous waterway landmark in France. The 700 yard long aqueduct, which carries the canal across the River Loire at Briare, was built by the great engineer Eiffel (better known for the famous Parisian tower) to replace the original crossing. Our cruise comes to a close in the town of Léré on the Canal Lateral a la Loire on the banks of the imposing River Loire.

Some possible excursions include:

Cruise Itinerary 2017

Our cruise itinerary is designed to allow as much flexibility as possible. The following is an example of the tour itinerary but we will always try to accommodate any specific group requirements. A typical itinerary includes:

Sunday – Paris to Montbouy
We collect you from your Paris hotel after lunch for transfer by private mini-coach to Meanderer moored in the quiet and picturesque village of Montbouy (just a few miles from the regional capital of Montargis). After a champagne reception we take an early evening cruise to the village of Montcresson and back. Relax on deck and watch the town and people pass by. Your first dinner on board.

Monday – Montbouy to Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses During the morning we cruise to Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses, a historical home of an ancient seven-stage staircase lock, considered to this day a marvel of engineering. After lunch, the excursion program begins with a visit to the magnificent Château de Sully-sur-Loire or to the busy town and spectacular palace of Fontainebleau, home to generations of French royalty or to the Château Vaux le Vicomte with its extensive and pristinely preserved formal gardens.

Tuesday – Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses to La Gazonne This morning we visit the regional capital town of Montargis, the week’s best opportunity to explore a busy market town. People-watch or shop for souvenirs and exquisitely packaged confectionary from the famous Mazet Praline shop. On return to the barge, our afternoon cruise through six locks, which replaced the historical seven staircase lock of Rogny, brings us to the overnight remote mooring at La Gazonne, in the middle of a magnificent nature preserve.

Wednesday – La Gazonne to Briare We start with a morning visit to the splendid 16th century Château of St. Fargeau, offering a surprising and unique discovery of the rich history of this castle. An alternative excursion is available to the Medieval Village of Guedelon, an extraordinary and unique experience to observe this 25 year project recreating a defensive medieval castle, which is being built with materials, tools and techniques of this ancient period. Our afternoon cruise takes us through some of the most beautiful and rural parts of the canal to the spectacular town of Briare on the bank of the Loire River and the entrance to the extraordinary Briare Aqueduct (Pont Canal).

Thursday – Briare to Beaulieu-sur-Loire We shall cruise in the morning over the Pont Canal. The daily excursion program continues with a visit the town of Gien. Set on the banks of the River Loire, the pretty town holds many attractions including the famous Faience Boutique, the Hunting Museum and the Château de Gien. We then take a short drive to the beautiful private Château de La Bussière, with its incredible 18th Century gardens. An optional visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site Village of Vézelay is highly recommended as is a private visit (by appointment) to Château de Buranlure.

Friday – Beaulieu to Léré This morning we continue along the Canal Lateral de la Loire on the way to the charming town of Léré, our final mooring port. The scenery of flat fields and pastures slowly changes to the hills of the vineyards. Afternoon excursion takes us to the world famous wine region of Sancerre with the opportunity to sample the local wines and explore the charming hill-top village. A visit to the extraordinary town of La Charité sur Loire, surrounded on all sides by the Loire River is a special treat. For early risers the best market visit of the region at Cosne-sur-Loire with our chef is an option. The real wine aficionados have the option to visit 2 wineries that afternoon; Sancerre as well as Pouilly Fume.

Saturday – Léré to Paris This morning after breakfast we depart for the return transfer to Paris.

 

Note: Cruises run in reverse direction alternate weeks. It may be necessary to vary the itinerary from day to day according to local conditions.

CANAL DU LOING (Northern Route)

Upper Loire Cruise Itinerary – Samois-sur-Seine to Montargis

Welcome to the magnificent countryside of France. Our cruise itinerary is based in the fascinating region of the Upper Loire. Originally the River Loire carried commercial barges but the constantly changing conditions rendered it unsafe for navigation, leading to the building of the Canal du Loing, Canal de Briare and later the Canal Lateral a la Loire.

We cruise the full length of the Canal du Loing and part of the Canal de Briare, the first connecting canals built in France. Construction began in 1604 during the reign of Henry IV (who instigated the Louvre in Paris) and was completed in 1634. The Canals were built to enable produce from the Burgundy and Loire regions to be taken to Paris.

The Loire region is often referred to as the “Garden of France”, a typically French landscape with peaceful, rolling countryside. Our cruise begins at the northern end of the Canal du Loing, at the historical village of Samois-Sur-Seine, home of the famous guitar player Django Rheinhardt, and continues through the Canal de Briare to the regional capital of Montargis. On the way we visit Moret-sur-Loing, the splendid hilltop town of Chateau Landon, a charming isolated village of Ferrieres-en-Gatinais and finally are welcome at the picturesque town of Montargis with fabulous floral displays.

The canal, once the lifeblood of the capital, winds through the heart of the town passing 17th century buildings and crossing the many smaller waterways which dissect the narrow streets.

Some possible excursions include:

  • The royal palace of Fontainebleau – Napoleon’s favorite and final home before being sent to live in exile.
  • The Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte – beautiful gardens designed by the famous Louis XIV gardener Andre Le Notre.
  • Moret-sur-Loing – A walking tour of the town, famous for its history and once home to the impressionist painter Alfred Sisley.
  • Château  Landon – A town with a remarkable history dating from the 5th century. Our knowledgeable guide will amaze you with the town’s heritage.
  • Grez-sur-Loing – An option to visit this town and hear about the many impressionist painters who made it their home. The church is remarkable for its gothic details. French royalty visited the church as evidenced by the royal symbol in the floor tiles.
  • Ferrieres-en-Gatinais – A charming town with a gorgeous church and remarkable Abbey.
  • Glass blowing factory in Soisy Sur Ecole where we see the craftsmen at work plying their centuries old skills.
  • Chocolate Factory in the Nemours region.

Our cruise comes to a close in the town of Montargis. A walk through the old town allows for some great shopping and magnificent sights of old canals weaving their way through the center of town. Stepping over the canals through many beautiful bridges (some built by Gustav Eiffel) is certainly a treat.

Cruise Itinerary 2017

Our cruise itinerary is designed to allow as much flexibility as possible. The following is an example of the tour itinerary but we will always try to accommodate any specific group requirements. A typical itinerary includes:

Sunday – Samois-sur-Seine to St.Mammès We collect you from your Paris hotel after lunch for transfer by private mini-coach to Meanderer moored at the riverside village of Samois-sur-Seine, home of Django Rheinhardt. A champagne reception and early evening cruise to a busy waterside town of St. Mammes await you.

Monday – St. Mammès to Épisy During the morning we cruise to Épisy, sailing past Moret-sur-Loing. After lunch, the excursion program begins with a visit to the busy town and spectacular palace of Fontainebleau, home to generations of French royalty, or Vaux-le-Vicomte, site of the movie “Man in the Iron Mask”;

Tuesday – Episy to Nemours Today’s excursion takes us to Moret-sur-Loing and a guided walking tour of this spectacular village, home of Alfred Sisley and inspiration to many famous impressionist painters. Our afternoon cruise takes us to the charming town of Nemours, with its impressive church and beautiful 12th century castle.

Wednesday – Nemours to Néronville This morning’s cruise takes us to a picturesque mooring at the village of Néronville. From there, after lunch, we visit the hilltop town of Chateau Landon. Many options are available, including horse-drawn carriage visit of the town (additional fee) or a very interesting guided walking tour. The cruise itself takes us through an industrial section of the canal followed by a contrasting quiet, rural and picturesque section before arriving at Néronville.

Thursday – Néronville to Nargis The daily excursion program continues with a visit to the village of Grez sur Loing. An optional excursion to Barbizon is available. That afternoon we shall cruise to another beautiful, secluded mooring in the village of Nargis.

Friday – Nargis to Montargis In the morning our cruise will continue to our final overnight mooring at the region capital, Montargis. For those interested in wine tasting, we offer a trip to the Sancerre wine region including tasting and winery visit. An optional trip to visit the beautiful Chateau de la Bussiere with its 18th century garden or Chateau de St. Fargeau with its unique history and present role in the life of local community. We can, time allowing, include a stopover and a walk over the Briare’s Pont Canal – the famous 700 yards aqueduct over the Loire River built in 1896 by Gustav Eiffel. For the early risers a visit with the chef to the farmer’s market in Ferrieres en Gatinais is an option.

Saturday This morning after breakfast we depart for the return transfer to Paris. Cruises run in reverse direction alternate weeks. It may be necessary to vary the itinerary from day to day according to local conditions.