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Boating Holidays In North Burgundy

Discover the great riches and superb waterways of a special region.

Food, wine, history and canals - four undoubtable assets which Burgundy has in abundance! The canals of Burgundy are world famous and provide an unbeatable way of enjoying the culture and fine traditions of an exciting region of France. The canals of north Burgundy were all about linking rivers - the Canal du Nivernais links the Loire with the Yonne; the Canal de Bourgogne links the Saône and the Yonne, and the Canal du Loing and Canal de Briare serve to join the Loire and Seine. In turn these links allowed easier commercial trade with Paris via the River Seine.

The Canal du Nivernais, which is well served by our bases, is regarded by many as France's most picturesque canal. Unspoilt countryside and lovely towns and villages line your route. The area of Chablis, just east of Auxerre, is a worthwhile distraction if you would like to taste some of the produce. The Nivernais leads you through historic Clamecy and the old trading port of Tannay, and then passes the superb châteaux at Chitry-les-Mines and Châtillon-en-Bazois, and the spectacular aqueducts of Baye, before arriving at the walled town of Decize on the Loire.

Our bases at Joigny, Migennes and Montbard are ideal for an exploration of the Canal de Bourgogne. The rich history of Burgundy is evident in places like Tanlay and Ancy-le-Franc with their splendid Renaissance châteaux, and the marvellous Abbey of Fontenay. Discover excellent restaurants and markets in St.Florentin, Tonnerre, Tanlay and Montbard, and enjoy shopping for food and local wine.

In the west of this region the Canal Latéral à la Loire, the Canal de Briare and the Canal du Loing provide a range of itineraries using our bases at Dompierre, Châtillon-sur-Loire and Briare. The canal de Briare is the oldest canal in the world, and the famous canal bridge in Briare, the work of Gustave Eiffel, is one of the most elegant structures you will see on any canal. Other highlights of the region are Sancerre with its fine wines, Montargis with its flower-bedecked waterside houses, and Roanne with its famous 3 star Michelin restaurant the Maison Troisgros.

Places of Interest

Auxerre - Undoubtedly one of the prettiest towns to line the River Yonne. The town is awash with Romanesque and Gothic architecture from the Cathedral of St Etienne and the Abbey of Saint-Germain (both of which can be seen from the river bank), to the 17th century clock tower which is located in the old town.

Briare - The town is the point where the River Loire joins the central canal system. The town gives its name to the nearby aqueduct which spans 662 metres, and was, until 2003 the worlds longest navigable aqueduct.

Clamecy - The medieval centre of Clamecy has been classed by the French government as a "Secteur Sauvegardé" (protected sector) with many of the 13th century houses still in excellent condition. The town has attracted many artists from around the world and holds a month long music festival in July called the Festival des Perthuis.

Montbard - A town which relied on the steel industry but is now thriving on tourism. The 12th century Abbey of Fontenay is close to the town but its the miles of unspoilt countryside along the Canal de Bourgogne either side of the town that draw the visitors. The town is also home to an ex-pat cricket team who host an international 6-a-side tournament in June every year.

Nevers - Once a key strategic point for Julius Caesar, the town is now a hotbed for manufacturing and production. The narrow streets of the old town are lined with houses dating back to the 14th century. The Ducal Palace which was built in the 15th century is now home to the courts of justice whilst the Cathedral of Saint Cyr-Sainte Julitte dates back to the 13th century.

Sancerre - This hilltop village not only produces world famous wines, but also offers exceptional views across the Yonne and Cher departments. Known for production of red wine from the Pinot Noir grape up until the early 20th century, the area was devastated by phylloxera in the late 19th century. And so the vineyards were replanted with the Sauvignon Blanc grape. The area is also noted for its goats cheese.

Sens - The cathedral in Sens in one of the earliest Gothic buildings in France and was a refuge for Thomas Becket. The cathedral treasury is one of the largest and richest antiquities in France. The town has also kept its old Roman street plan, with remains of the then city walls still intact.

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