01303 261 870

No.26A/B - Creeks and Antiques on the Nivernais

No.26A/B - Creeks and Antiques on the Nivernais

An Antiques-themed cruise in the company of antiques expert, auctioneer, and celebrity of Bargain Hunt and Auction Man, Michael Hogben and his wife, Lesley. We will explore the enchanting Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, staying in Auxerre and with visits to some of the Brocante and local markets of this little-explored region.

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We are delighted to present the opportunity to spend a wonderful week exploring the full 70km of the Canal du Nivernais and river Yonne between the spectacular city of Auxerre and the medieval town of Clamecy, in the company of antiques expert, auctioneer and TV celebrity Michael Hogben and his equally expert lady, Lesley!


Passing through scenic and sparsely populated country on the western edge of the Morvan regional park, the Canal du Nivernais is arguably the prettiest of the many canal cruise routes in central and eastern France.  The Canal provides a link between the Loire Valley to the south and the Paris basin to the north, and its mix of river and canal sections make it an infinitely varying and interesting waterways journey.


In midweek we enjoy a completely free day in the lovely city of Auxerre, and for our two excursion days we will enjoy a gentle tour around the Yonne and Nièvre Departments to find some of the off-the-beaten-track places which make bargain-hunting in France such a joy.  Michael will be on hand throughout to help identify items of interest, and on our cruising days he will offer some on board presentations and Q&A sessions.

Day 1

Outward Travel by executive coach departing Folkestone in the morning to arrive in Auxerre by 18:30, with an en route break for lunch in or near Reims. Pre-departure overnight accommodation and/or parking available at the Ashford International Hotel (please enquire for further detail). Anyone preferring to transfer via Eurostar to Paris and local train to Auxerre again please enquire for further information. We are able to receive forwarded baggage to go with the coach so that you can fly or take the train to Paris and onwards to Auxerre with minimal luggage.


Day 2

Cruise between Vermenton and Châtel-Censoir - 7 hours mostly on canal over 29km with 12 locks, passing through the villages of Accolay, Ste-Pallaye, Prégilbert, Mailly-la-Ville, Mailly-le-Château and Merry-sur-Yonne, and also passing the spectacular limestone crag at Les Rochers du Saussois.

B, L, D

Day 3

Today we will take the coach to explore the area north west of Auxerre, taking us to Aillant-sur-Thonon, Saint-Roman-le-Preux, and onwards to the fine medieval town of Joigny before we return to Auxerre via Appoigny, taking the opportunity to visit some of the Brocante shops along the way.

B, L, D

Day 4

After an early visit to the town of Clamecy and its variety of brocante shops, we cruise for the rest of the day as far as Châtel-Censoir, covering a further 20km with 9 locks over a scenic rural route, with the small town of Coulanges-sur-Yonne as midpoint. Instead of returning to Auxerre we then visit the restored Cistercian Abbey of Reigny where we enjoy supper courtesy of our hosts Béatrice and Louis-Marie Mauvais.

B, D

Day 5

A free day in Auxerre, where our hotel is close to the city centre and within easy strolling distance of the spectacular waterfront with the Cathedral St Étienne and Abbaye St Gervais making this one of the most attractive skylines in all of France. There are lots more shops and galleries to check-out in the medieval centre. The coach will offer an afternoon visit to the nearby iconic wine town of Chablis, travelling via the viewpoint above the vineyards of Irancy.

B, D

Day 6

Cruise from Vermenton to Auxerre - 7 hours on alternating sections of the River Yonne and canal cuts, the waterway travels 21km through the villages of Accolay, Cravant, Vincelles, Bailly, Champs sur Yonne and Vaux and passes through 13 locks.

B, L, D

Day 7

For our second excursion day we head south-westwards to explore the small towns of Varzy and Prémery and their antiques outlets before returning to Auxerre later in the afternoon.

B, L, D

Day 8

We set out for home with a planned lunchtime break in Reims or Laon before completing our journey back to Calais for an early evening crossing.


B=Breakfast Included, L=Lunch Included, D =Dinner Included

Because of the regularity of locks and our gentle cruising speed there will be plenty of opportunity for a towpath stroll.


On cruise days an on-board lunch is included and a free bar operates throughout.   As well as teas, coffees and soft drinks, the bar stocks bottled beers and a range of wines including local Chablis, Bourgogne Aligoté and Irancy rouge, Crémant de Bourgogne, and a Provence rosé. 


Our Antiques Guide


Michael Hogben will be known to millions of Television viewers from his many appearances on antiques programmes including ITV's Dickinson Real Deal, BBC1 Bargain Hunt & Auction Man, and Channel 4's Name your Price.   Author of three best-selling books on antiques and collectables, Michael has a vast knowledge of fine art, antiques & collectables stretching back over 35 years.



What’s Included:


  • Executive Coach Travel

  • Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure (additional cost)

  • Eurotunnel or ferry crossings

  • En route stops where time allows – normally Reims or Laon

  • Hotel stay as described

  • All meals except for lunches on travel days outbound and return, and lunch for free day in Auxerre

  • Wine with all lunches and evening meals

  • Three full days of cruising on the Canal du Nivernais between Auxerre and Clamecy

  • Local coach excursions and visit programme on non-cruise days as described

  • Advance luggage/travel independently options



Our Hotel and Meal Plan:


The Hotel Normandie in Auxerre is a well-rated 3* hotel situated only a few minutes walk from Auxerre's spectacular river frontage and its delightful pedestrianised medieval centre.  The hotel is bed & breakfast only but there are many good local restaurants within a few minutes' walk, and for four of our seven nights in the city guests are provided with restaurant vouchers to the value of 35 Euros to use at restaurants (or bars) of their own choosing.  This should appeal to those who would like to try different establishments and dine a la carte.   We will dine as a group on our first and last evenings and on the Wednesday evening we dine out at the Abbaye de Reigny.


Environmental Policies


Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply.  Its diesel engines are only used if battery power is exhausted, so most of the time you can look forward to silent cruising.  The saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system.


We also operate to a strict waste-avoidance policy.  We try to completely avoid the use of single-use plastics and we operate to a responsible recycling code.  All meals and drinks on board are served using normal crockery, cutlery and glassware.  Our crew also has a brief to support the recovery from rivers and canals of floating litter whenever this is practicable.


On Board Facilities:


Our boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate a coachload of passengers in observation lounge comfort and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air.  There are 3 bikes on board free of charge for anyone who would like to ride the towpath.  The boats has two WC/washrooms and a galley serving hot and cold drinks, beers and wines, for which there is no charge.  There is no smoking on board.



Departure from Kent:


Anyone from further afield please feel welcome to join us on this or any other Buzzlines/Backwaters tour.  We are happy to arrange parking for you here in Kent, or we can pick you up from Ashford International Station – only 37 minutes by HS1 from London St Pancras – and help you to find overnight hotel or B&B stops. 

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Ashford International Htl Ashford International Hotel
Folkestone Bus Station Bay E, Folkestone

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Buzzlines Travel
Unit G1, Lympne Distribution Park, Lympne, Nr. Hythe, Kent, CT21 4LR
01303 261 870

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday
09:00hrs – 17:00hrs

Saturday & Sunday