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 historic attractions of this lovely region, being supported by local guides, and staying in the beautiful city of Auxerre.Book Now
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 historic attractions of this lovely region, staying in the historic city of Auxerre. Supported by local guides, we visit the iconic UNESCO listed Basilica of St Mary Magdalen at Vézelay; the prehistoric Caves dArcy; the great Renaissance Château of Ancy-le-Franc, with a pause for lunch in Chablis; and there is time to explore historic Auxerre where are hotel is situated.. Our three days of cruising will take us between Auxerre and the medieval town of Clamecy, representing about 22 hours of cruising time over 70km, and passing through 35 locks and a number of lift-bridges. 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. There is lots of opportunity for strolling the towpath.
We should caution that because of the visits to historic buildings in this programme, there will be quite a lot of walking and some stairs to manage. Some parts of the programme may not be suitable for anyone with impaired mobility.
Whats Included: Executive Coach Travel to and from Ashford and Folkestone Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure Eurotunnel crossings Hotel accommodation at the 3* Hotel Normandie in Auxerre Evening Dining voucher scheme or group dining Three-day cruise itinerary with on-board lunch and including a free bar Lunches in Vézelay and Chablis on our excursion days Scenic rail journey between Cravant-Bazarnes and Clamecy Guided Visits to Vézelay, Château Ancy-le-Franc, and Caves dArcy Free time in Auxerre
Outward Travel by executive coach departing Folkestone at around 09:00 to arrive in
Auxerre by 18:00, 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 also 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.
We make the short journey out of Auxerre to the village of Vermenton where we
board the Natalia to cruise southwards as far as Châtel-Censoir – 6 hours mostly on canal over 29km
with 12 locks, passing through the villages of Accolay, Ste-Pallaye, Prégilbert, Mailly-la-Ville, Maillyle-Château and Merry-sur-Yonne, and also passing the spectacular limestone crag at Les Rochers du
This morning we leave 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 the remote hilltop vineyard of La Croix
Montjoie, where we can savour more magnificent views over a pick-up lunch. In the afternoon we
enjoy the lovely Yonne Valley scenery as we make our way back to Auxerre, pausing for a guided visit
to the Grotte d'Arcy – location of the second oldest known prehistoric cave drawings in all of
Today we start with a scenic train ride along the valley of The Yonne between
Cravant-Bazarnes and Clamecy, where we are met by the coach and transferred to the town’s
waterfront where we find the Natalia waiting. We spend the rest of the day again cruising to ChâtelCensoir, but this time from the opposite direction, covering a further 20km with 9 locks over a scenic
rural route, with the small town of Coulanges-sur-Yonne as midpoint. After disembarkation we
make for the village of Nitry where we dine at the popular restaurant La Bersaudière.
This morning the coach takes us first to the great Renaissance Château of Ancy-leFranc where we enjoy a guided tour. From here we return as far as the iconic wine town of Chablis,
where we have lunch, and our afternoon is then free 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
of shops and galleries to check-out in the medieval centre.
Today we return to Vermenton, this time cruising downstream to conclude in
Auxerre – 6 hours on alternating sections of the River Yonne and canal cuts, the waterway travels
21km through the villages of Vincelles, Bailly, Champs sur Yonne and Vaux and passes through 13
locks. Our approach to Auxerre offers one of the greatest waterways vistas in France as we pass
through the historic Pont Paul Bert and the view opens up of the Cathedral St-Etienne and AbbayeSt-Gervais dominating the Auxerre skyline.
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
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. For three evenings 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 only on our first and last evenings and on one evening midweek when we dine at La Bersaudière in Nitry.
On Board Facilities:
Our boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate a coachload of passengers in loungestandard seating and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air. The boats has two WC/washrooms. There is no smoking on board.
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.
Travel from Kent: 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.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
|Ashford International Htl|| Ashford International Hotel |
|Folkestone|| Bus Station Bay E, Folkestone |
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