6-night all-inclusive cruise in the Upper Loire region; visit Chateaux, enjoy gastronomy and discover beautiful countryside
Cruise the Upper Loire route from Sancerre to Montargis, and taste food & Wines of the region
River trip highlights
- Visit the world famous Sancerre wineries
- Discover the artisanial faiencerie of Gien
- Walk within the walls of the Château of Saint Fargeau
- Discover the rich history of the Château de la Bussière
- Dinner ashore at Le Coté Jardin, 1 Michelin star
- Cruise over the Loire on the Eiffel Canal bridge
River trip summary
WHERE WILL YOU STAY ;
- Our barge is a luxury hotel barge that will offer you the highest standard of experience, with high-quality gastronomy, paired with fine wines, and the best crew to make your cruise unforgettable. The barge itself started cruising in the 1960s by transporting goods across France, Belgium, and Holland.
- It was later on that it was converted to what it is today; a beautiful cruising barge; by a professional and passionate team of craftsmen (naval architects, woodworkers, etc).
- It offers all the comfort you might find in a luxury hotel, as it is fully equipped with all required amenities.
- On the top deck, you will find a dining area, bar and a lounge, both air-conditioned, and numerous windows, so you can enjoy the landscapes, sunsets, and stunning architectural views that we will cross through.
WHAT WE WILL DO TOGETHER ;
- For this particular cruise (we offer 5 other cruises depending on the years and on the periods; beginning of the season/end of the season), we will cruise from Sancerre (2hrs30 south from Paris by car) Montargis or in reverse.
- To do so, we will be cruising on two of France's most beautiful waterways, the Briare Canal and the Canal Latéral to the Loire. It will be a 6 nights and 5 days cruise for you. Where you will see the best of river life, tourism, and France!
- Here at Bookarivertrip.com, we like to say that the best way of discovering a region is to start by its rivers, that have seen civilization, culture, and society appear across the centuries. So why not to start with us.
WHAT WILL BE SERVED ON BOARD ;
As you will see and taste, all the meals cooked by your private chef will be paired with a fine wine selection that we keep and age in a cellar and bring to the boat when they are ready to be drunk.
Breakfast is buffet style, with locally baked pastries, fresh fruit, yogurts, tea and coffee, fruit juices etc
A wide variety of soft and alcoholic drinks are also available at the bar and our chef will prepare a buffet lunch and a 4/5 course gourmet dinner, there is also 1 dinner ashore at the 2 star Michelin restaurant, les Crayeres in Riems.
River trip description
- Please note that this river trip runs the two ways, from Montargis to Sancerre, and from Sancerre to Montargis.
- That means that the stops and activities could take place at a different moment in the week, but will be the same.
Day 1-SUNDAY: Welcome on board, bubbles, and first gastronomic dinner
- We will come to pick you up in Paris, or any other destination we will have agreed on before your arrival! Your private chauffeur for the week will then drive you in our minibus to the barge that will be moored on the Canal Latéral to the Loire, waiting for you!
- The barge itself will be located at the little village of "Les Fouchards", 12 kilometers away from Sancerre, and close to Cosne-Sur-Loire, on the other bank of the Loire river. You will have a glimpse of the beautiful landscapes that you will see during your cruise!
- A bottle of Champagne will be waiting for you, and after you take time to meet the crew and learn about your itinerary, its time to discover your spacious and well-furnished cabins. Its then time for gastronomic dinner cooked by our chef!
Day 2-Monday: Morning cruise to Beaulieu and sightseeing of Sancerre
- We will start the day with a morning cruise to the beautiful village of Beaulieu. Take your time enjoying your comfortable beds, have breakfast made by our chef for you, and discover what cruising on the canal means!
- After lunch on board, we will go for a short drive to reach the town of Sancerre, famous for its white dry wine. You will be driving through vineyards, stunning landscapes to reach the fortified town on the top of the hill.
- There, we will have organised a private sauvignon wine tasting for you, and you will have the occasion to ask all the questions you might have to the wine expert. He will maybe tell you that by going outside and looking at the Upper Loire Valley, you can even see the long and slow path of the Lorie River, and the neighbouring vineyards of Pouilly Fussé.
- Tonight it is our dinner ashore, in the famous 1 Michelin Star restaurant Coté Jardin, in the beautiful town of Gien!
Day 3-Tuesday: Cruise to Ouzouer-sur-Trézée and visit the Chateau de Saint Fargeau
- Today, it is a morning cruise, You know what to do, and after breakfast, you can decide to try our sun deck that will give you stunning views on the surrounding countryside and its wildlife or take a stroll on the tow path. Our next mooring destination is the town of Ouzouer-sur-Trézée.
- Crossing the Loire river on the Pont Canal at Briare, this aqueduct designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel, allows us to join the Canal de Briare.
- During the afternoon, we will visit the beautifully restored Château de Saint Fargeau, more than 1000 years old! It was built by the bishop of Auxerre in the 10th C as a hunting lodge it has seen many changes over the years.
- It is then back on board for a succulent dinner by our chef. You will have the occasion to ask him questions about his cooking, and learn about the typical ingredients of this region! The evening is then yours, and you can decide to use our sound system in order to listen to some french classics.
Day 4-Wednesday: Cruise to Rogny-Les-Sept-Ecluses and meet local artisans
- No cruising this morning, as we will leave after breakfast to the beautiful town of Gien, famous all around the world for its tableware know-how and its artisans. We will visit the pottery of Gien, and you will then have plenty of time to meander around this market town and discover the products that are crafted there.
- This town has been for a long time a center of interest for rival local authorities and for foreign invaders. Strategically located on the banks of the River Loire, there have been settlements here since the Roman empire, and even before with Gallic people.
- We will then be back on board for a good lunch prepared by our chef, while the barge starts its slow cruise to "Rogny les Spet Elcuses" -the-Seven-Locks". You will have time in the meanwhile for a nap or a sunbath before we arrive at the famous 7 locks, that date back to the times of Henry IV, and an amazing piece of engineering for that time.
- Then its time for some cocktails before dinner is served.
Day 5-Thursday: Cruise to Montbouy and visit the Chàteau-de-la-Bussière
- This morning can be a bit more sporty, as we cruise to the village of Montbouy. There is a towpath that you can take on foot or by bike, and that will easily allow you to follow our barge while it cruises to the next destination!
- After lunch on board, we will take a short drive and visit the Chàteau de la Bussière, a perfect example of a 12th-century medieval fortresses. Opened to the public already in 1962 when the Count Henri de Chasseval; nobleman; decided that he needed a place to exhibit its collection of material and art about fishing that he had collected from around the world.
- There will also be time to see the magnificent 18th-century vegetable garden and a beautiful pond with a stunning 300 years old Lebanon Cedar, and we don't know how it got there...
- Its then time to go back on board, and enjoy some quiet time before the chef prepares us his next culinary wonders.
Day 6-Friday: Cruise to Montargis (the little Venice) and visit this stunning town
- Today it's your last day of actual cruising, so enjoy it! Why not ask your captain about navigation, how does it all work, and maybe even take the wheel for a bit! We will keep following the Canal to our last port of call, the town of Montargis and its 131 bridges.
- You will soon understand why it is called the little Venice! After lunch on board, take some time to visit its old shops, meander around the 131 bridges to discover their hidden histories, and discover its feudal castle and half-timbered houses.
- It will be time for you to pick your favourite cafe (generally the one with the best terrace, where to enjoy a drink) and quietly observe the life of this very typical french town. You will have the occasion to buy some Pralines, the local sweet speciality
- Tonight, it's your last dinner on board, so you can be sure that the chef will have done everything he can to make it unforgettable! Just wait and see the menu.
Day 7-Saturday: Day of departure
- This morning at 9.30 is the time for your departure after breakfast! Take some time to say goodbye to the barge,
- Our driver will then chauffeur you back to Paris, where we hope you will continue to visit France, a country worth spending years.
- We hope to see you back very soon, why not for another of our itineraries along the stunning and always surprising french waterways! Fell free to ask questions about them to our Bookarivertrip.com captain, he knows them very well.
Type of experience
Heating / cooling
Languages spoken onboard
Music-sound system / CD player
Books and magazines
Binoculars for animal watching
Petanque balls and jigsaw puzzles.
8 Bikes with helmets.
How to get there
Picked up in Paris at 3.00 by our mini bus and driver and driven to to the boat, near Sancerre.
For charter groups your party will be met at 1 hotel of your choice in Paris at 3pm by our driver and driven to the “C’est la Vie” which is moored in the hamlet of Les Fouchard
For individual cabin bookings, pick up and drop off at the hotel Madison, 143 Boulevard St Germain 75006 Paris.
You can decide to rent or give back a rented car in one of the many agencies in the city.
BY TRAIN ;
Montargis is well connected and to the regional train network. From there, you can reach Paris in between 1 hour and 1.30 hours depending on the journey you chose.
You can also reach all the other cities by doing one or more transfers, depending on your final destination. If you wish, we can help you with all that.
BY PLANE ;
We would recommend you if you come by plane to arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORY) airports, as you can reach many more destinations from there. Remembering that the pick up in Paris is at 3.00pm. We can help arrange a pick up and drop off from there.
About the area
One of the most stunning features of the village
What may surprise you most (it did us) on a visit to the village of Sancerre, in the department of Cher is the way that it rises from the plains of the Loire Valley as if to proclaim its position as lord of all it surveys. It is a position of strength that has made the village a strategic location for most of its history. The village grew up around a small church and then abbey of the11th century but there is evidence of an even earlier Roman settlement - it was probably they who planted the first vines.
This eventually led to a fortress being built by local noblemen in the 12th century to secure what at the time was one of the most important defensive sites of the region. The castle walls had six defensive towers built into it - one, the 'Tour des Fiefs' which has survived the ravages of time, can still be climbed today to take in the surrounding panoramas. The fortification helped repel English armies from two attacks during the Hundred Years' War, unfortunately the protection did not extend to the nearby church and abbey which were destroyed by the English.
River trip owner
Our barge is a family run luxury hotel barge, with Olivier's son ready to take over the helm. Between them they have more than 30 years of experience, you will find no better crew on the waterways who will take care of your every need, for sure.
Run by a French/English family gives the barge a unique insight into the two cultures and we are ready to show the French way of life, with their love of food and wine. Coming from a family of chefs and restaurateurs, you will never be disappointed.
The high standard of the boat shines through the minute you step aboard.