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No.28B - Rivers of Wine a Burgundy Cruise

No.28B - Rivers of Wine a Burgundy Cruise

A tour and cruise package featuring three full days of cruising on the delightful Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, complemented by easy days out on the coach to some of the great vineyards and wine centres of this celebrated wine region and with included guided visits to the UNESCO-listed Basilica of Vézelay and the restored Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny.

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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.

 

Our three full days of cruising will take us between the medieval town of Clamecy and the delightful city of Auxerre, representing about 20 hours of cruising time over 70km through beautiful rolling countryside, and passing through 35 locks and a number of lift-bridges.   There is lots of opportunity for strolling the towpath.

 

We will take advantage of our cruising time to present some of the delightful wines of the "Gateway to Burgundy", including locally-produced Crémant de Bourgogne, the fine reds of Irancy, the newly admitted appellation of Vézelay, and of course the great wines of Chablis.

 

For our two excursion days we will first take advantage of the A6 autoroute to visit the delightful town of Beaune in the heart of the Côte d'Or vineyards to the east, then for the second excursion day we will stay more local to concentrate on Irancy, Chablis and Auxerre.

Day 1

Coach departs Ashford at 07:00 for our scheduled 08:50 Eurotunnel crossing bringing us into Calais at 10:30 local time. We continue southward via Autoroute with a stop for lunch close to Reims. In the afternoon our motorway journey continues across the great agro-plain of Southern Champagne to Troyes, and from here it a scenic cross-country journey on quiet roads to Auxerre, where we stay at the welcoming and family-run 3* Hotel Normandie, within strolling distance of the riverfront and medieval centre.

D

Day 2

This morning we lave the hotel at 09:00 to make our way to the UNESCO-listed hilltop Basilica of Vézelay, following a lovely route along the Cure Valley through a succession of quiet villages. Shortly after its foundation in the 9th century, the Benedictine Abbey of Vézelay acquired the relics of St Mary Magdalene and since then it has been an important place of pilgrimage. St Bernard preached the Second Crusade there in 1146 and Richard the Lion-Heart and Philip II Augustus met there to leave for the Third Crusade in 1190. We enjoy a guided introduction courtesy of local expert Chris Kelly, before moving on to nearby Clamecy where our cruise begins to a toast of local Crémant de Bourgogne, and lunch is accompanied by wine from Domaine La Croix Montjoie, one of the newest of French AOCs. Our afternoon of cruising follows the Canal du Nivernais and River Yonne as far as the village of Châtel-Censoir where we conclude for the day.

B, L, D

Day 3

Cruising continues today as we re-board at Châtel-Censoir and follow the Nivernais back to Cravant, where we turn onto the short branch canal leading us through to Accolay where we conclude. We pause for lunch alongside the spectacular limestone crag known as les Rochers du Saussois - home to a population of Peregrine Falcons - and lunch is accompanied by a choice of local wines including St Bris, Coulanges-la-Vineuse and Irancy.

B, L, D

Day 4

We take advantage of the coach and the convenience of the A6 Autoroute to visit the delightful town of Beaune in the heart of the Côte d'Or vineyards and home to the famous 15th Century Hôtel-Dieu, setting for the town's wine auction in November each year. We will schedule plenty of time to explore the sights of Beaune either side of our restaurant lunch, with its Wines Museum and Basilique de Nôtre-Dame amongst the attractions.

B, L, D

Day 5

Another spectacular cruise beckons as we continue along the Nivernais and Yonne into Auxerre, which offers one of the greatest of riverside vistas. We aim to pause late morning to moor at the Caves de Bailly for a tasting of locally produced Crémant, and we will theme today's lunch around an array of delicious local cheeses including Chaource, Époisses and Soumantrain. This evening we have a special treat in store as we board the coach to return to Vermenton and the Abbaye de Reigny where we will enjoy a guided tour and supper. The lovingly restored Abbaye occupies a sheltered spot alongside the River Cure and has one of only three surviving Cistercian refectories in all of France. There are also kingfisher nestboxes to look out for!

B, L, D

Day 6

For our final full day, we first take the coach to pause at the magnificent hilltop viewpoint overlooking the wine village of Irancy. From here it is quite a short hop into the iconic wine town of Chablis where we enjoy time for some sightseeing in the centre; and we then return to Auxerre where after lunch on board the boat guests have a free afternoon to explore the medieval centre and/or riverfront or just savour the atmosphere at a pavement café, or simply stay on board to savour the river views.

B, L, D

Day 7

We leave Auxerre after breakfast to follow a reciprocal course back to Calais, aiming for a lunch-break close to Reims and an onward journey targeting the 18:50 crossing from Calais to be back in Kent around 6.30pm our time.

B

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

What’s Included:

 

Executive Coach Travel from Ashford or Folkestone

Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure

Eurotunnel crossings

Hotel accommodation at the 3* Hotel Normandie in Auxerre with breakfast

Evening Restaurant meals, always to three courses with wine

Three-day cruise itinerary with on-board lunch with wine

Lunches with wine on the two excursion days

Visit and tasting at the Caves de Bailly

Free time in Auxerre, Chablis and Beaune

 

Guests wishing to travel to and from Burgundy via Eurostar through Paris may do so by booking direct, and have the option of sending heavy bags ahead to travel with the coach.   Guests are also welcome to self-drive to the hotel if they wish. 

 

 

Environmental Policies

 

Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply.   Its electric engines have 6hrs endurance from our batteries, so the diesel engines are not required for sedate cruising and you can look forward to a silent cruise where you can only hear the gentle rippling of the water!  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 bikes on board free of charge for anyone who would like to ride the towpath.  The boat 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.

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 Times
Ashford International Htl Ashford International Hotel
View
Folkestone Bus Station Bay E, Folkestone
View

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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
Closed