Day 1 - Châtillon-sur-Loire
Welcome to canal boating - Intrepid style. Our new Waterways of Burgundy trip provides a hassle free way to enjoy the towns and more importantly wines of the Loire Valley. This trip offers by the berth options, so whether you're within a group or an individual this is the perfect trip for you. Although we’ll have a tour leader accompanying you on this trip, half the fun of river/canal boating is donning the captains hat and taking control of the wheel. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience, before we set off you will be given a hands on demonstration on how to navigate and operate the boat – it’s not hard the only options are forward, reverse, thrusters for side movement and mooring, all at a top cruising speed of 8km’s an hour! Itineraries operate from
While some activities are included, you will also have plenty of opportunity to participate in optional activities or go off on your own for a couple of hours. Your leader will be on hand to facilitate visits to the towns and villages that you’ll pass along the way and lead optional bike tours through the vineyards with cellar door visits (bicycle hire is included as part of your trip). This region of Burgundy is called the ‘Garden of France’, with locally grown fruit and vegetables, beef, cheese and snails just as well-known as its wines, so be prepared to loosen your belt a notch or two by trip end.
The trip commences promptly at 4 pm on Day 1. On arrival at the base you will meet your leader and fellow travellers, before receiving a briefing from the base manager on how to operate the boat before heading out onto the water for a hands-on cruising demonstration. You'll be shown how to drive the boat safely and responsibly, how to navigate through the waterways, canals and locks and where possible, how to manoeuvre the boat for mooring. It’s vital that you feel confident before setting off, but please be reassured that your leader will be with you at all times.
Tonight you will spend the night moored at the base. A starter pack will be delivered this evening and it includes bottled water, soft drinks, wine, beer, crackers, a baguette, jam, peanuts and biscuits. You can choose to visit a local supermarket with the leader to purchase some pate, cheese and cold meats or head out to a local restaurant for dinner where you can experience a local speciality and a drop or two of the local wine. Don’t over indulge too much as the wineries of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume beckon tomorrow.
Day 2-7 - Loire River & waterways
Over the next 5 days you’ll be visiting the below mentioned towns. Aside from the full day winery tour from Sancerre, none of the days or activities are locked in. As a group, with guidance from the leader you can decide what towns to visit and for how long. This flexibility will allow you to make this trip your own.
Breakfasts are usually comprised of fresh croissants and baguettes from the local boulangerie (bakery), coffee & tea (included in the starter pack), cheese, cold meats and perseveres. As a group you can walk or cycle to the local market or supermarket or if there’s an early riser in the group they can head off first thing in morning while the rest of the group have a lazy sleep in. The leader will have a comprehensive guide to the local amenities and restaurants so you don’t have to worry about looking up where your next meal will come from.
Your boat, the Grand Classique, comes equipped with a fully operational kitchen, there is a gas stove top, an oven, pots, pans, utensils, a coffee plunger and tea pot. There is a large dining table, which can easily seat the group, as well as an outside dining table on the sundeck, with shade cloth and cushions for comfort. One of the best experiences we’ve found is visiting a local market to stock up on local produce then heading back to the boat for a dinner cooked by you, the travellers, and enjoyed on the sundeck while watching the sun go down – of course washed down by a glass or two of sauvignon blanc.
Sancerre & Pouilly-Fume
You’ve probably tasted Sancerre’s greatest export without even knowing it – Sauvignon Blanc. What makes the Sancerre perfect for viticulture (agriculture in general) is the outcrop of chalk it sits on that runs from the White Cliffs of Dover, through Champagne and Chablis. The valleys surrounding Sancerre, and across the river in Pouilly-Fume, have their own micro climate, allowing enough sunlight and warmth, even in the colder months, to fully ripen the grapes. Your full day wine tour will explore origins of winemaking, explanations about the soil, grape varieties, the history of the wine villages and how vineyards work. You’ll be afforded beautiful views across the valleys, visits to 2 different appellations (Sancerre & Pouilly-Fume), a visit to 2 castles (chateauxs), wine tasting and a visit to a goat cheese farm. Here you see the goats, learn the process of making the cheese and of course get to taste the finished product.
There is also an option of a leader lead bike or walking tour through the vineyards with stops at cellar doors to sample or buy a couple of bottles for lunch, dinner or to ship home. We encourage sensible drinking and cycling!
La Charité sur Loire
La-Charité-su-Loire is a wonderful city with many ancient buildings. You can cycle or walk into town and visit the impressive Church Notre-Dame-de-la-Charité-sur-Loire as well as the well-preserved battlements on the outskirts of town. In the centre, enjoy the unique view over the Loire on the Old Bridge.
A lovely town tranquil town Marseilles-les-Aubigny is perfect for discovering on foot. Have lunch in one of the local cafes and watch as the locals go about their day. .
One of the biggest cities in the area, there are plenty of sights to see and history to discover. You may want to visit the medieval Porte du Croux, the huge Cathedral Saint-Cyr, or the impressive Palais des Ducs. This is the perfect place to discover a part of France's history and heritage.
A quiet harbour surrounded by nature. It's a perfect place to stop and take a walk or cycle along the paths in the sunshine and enjoy a picnic. With produce picked up in Nevers this is the perfect location for a group cooked dinner enjoyed on the sun deck. No doubt there will be a few bottles of wine on hand to enjoy as the sun goes down.
Situated at the junction of the Canal du Nivernais and the Canal Latéral à la Loire, and at the confluence of the Rivers Loire and the Aron, Decize is an interesting town to visit, and is full of history. Walk along the charming winding streets and discover the old fortified walls and the ruins of the Castle Decize. Visit the beautiful church Saint-Aré and marvel at the view over the Loire from the huge old bridge. For dinner tonight your leader can suggest and book a restaurant so you can treat yourself to the delights of this amazing region.
Day 8 - Decize
It’s with a heavy heart that your journey through this beautiful part of the Loire Valley comes to an end. Breakfast can be enjoyed on the sun deck one last time before you disembark. Don’t forget to take any bottles of wine you’ve brought along the way.
The base can assist you in organising taxis to the train station.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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