Upper Loire, Canal de Briare
Sail with us on the oldest summit level canal in Europe, connecting the Loire and Seine valleys. In this region, known as the Gâtinais or “Garden of Paris”, the passing countryside of open fields, the picturesque winding waterways and the succession of classic french villages never cease to amaze you on this relaxing and bucolic barge cruise.
You will pass through the villages of Montcresson, Châtillon-Coligny, Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses, Ouzouer-Sur-Trézée and Briare. With their rich history, glorious architecture, antique shops and museums, you will certainly find someting to your taste.
These ancient waterways will take you through the region at a leisurely pace, in a relaxed manner and through an unforgettable countryside.
Discover old canals and villages
We start with Montargis. This is, after Orléans, the second largest city in the Loiret department and is also known as the “Venice of the Gatinais”. Many small canals cross the town. It has 131 bridges that are adorned with an abundance of flowers.
Montbouy is a picturesque village that nestles on the left bank of the Briare canal. It’s full of history. Many remains from ancient times are also visible, such as a Gallo-Roman amphitheater that offered space to 6,000 spectators.
On the old canal we go through a lot of manually operated locks. Already, there are 8 between Montbouy and Rogny-les-les-Sept-Ecluses. This beautiful village is named after the stairs of 7 locks that were in use from 1642 to 1887. The old lock staircase and other remains of this old canal can be admired from the water. Since we moor in Rogny, you can go there in the evening for a romantic walk. In the afternoon you can visit the 16th-century castle of St. Fargeau.
Ouzouer-sur-Trézee / La Gazonne. The trip on this route is so beautiful. We moor at the lock of Gazonnne to give you the chance to visit the lakes. They supply water to the top of the canal.
Visit also the french-style gardens of the Pont-Chevron castle. It possesses mosaics from Roman times.
Further up the old Briare canal lies the medieval town of the same name. It developed during the reign of Henry IV. He started in 1604 with the construction of the “Loyre en Seine” canal. In the afternoon you can visit the faience factory and the museum in Gien.
Leaving Briare, we cross the 662 meter long aqueduct, the picturesque “Pont Canal” over the Loire river. The panoramic view of the Loire valley below is nothing short of grand. We moor at Châtillon-sur-Loire. You can visit the nearby Mantelot lock. Before the canal bridge existed, cargo ships had to go here to cross the wild river Loire.
Although a lot further away, we can organize an afternoon excursion to Sancerre.
This Upper Loire cruise can be combined with the Upper Seine cruise as a 14 day Seine-Loire cruise.
Contact us with your cruise requests and wishes, we’ll send you a quote and availability as soon as possible.
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