Cruising along the Loire

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Sailing along the Loire, between Briare and Nevers: a landscape with wine, nature, history but above all a lot of tranquility. On the one hand, the unnavigable Loire with its beautiful nature, on the other the old canal with its many small villages and towns, each worth a visit.

The wide but shallow river made its way through a gently sloping landscape. The ridges around Sancerre are just steep enough to give the grapes some more sun. In this ideal cycling landscape, the EuroVelo 6 route was built along the Loire.

In order to transport the many agricultural products, the canal was built along the Loire in 1838, which connects to the Briare canal and thus allowed further transport to Paris. Now it is mainly a tourist attraction to enjoy this beautiful region on a daily basis.


Wine, nature, culture, tranquility

Our departure point Briare is best known for its canal and its canal bridge over the Loire. However, the town itself is also worth a visit, if only for its picturesque harbor full of pleasure boats. Cycle along the old canal, under the beautiful trees, to the lock on the Loire and then over the bridge to Mantelot. Here they used to cross the sometimes turbulent Loire with small ships.

12 km downstream lies Gien with its famous faience factory and hunting castle with museum. Definitely recommended for those who are interested in art and culture.

We sail on the canal bridge across the Loire towards Châtillon-sur-Loire and further via Beaulieu to Belleville-sur-Loire. In the local shop our cook Patsie will certainly buy some delicious goat cheese, the world famous Crottin de Chavignol. It’s going to be a feast this evening.

Anyone who would like to help with the operation of the locks will certainly find satisfaction here. Be quick, however, because starting in  2021 the locks will slowly but surely be automated. In 10 years this charming tradition will also be gone here.

20 km and 4 locks further we see the hill of Sancerre appear. Of course we will taste this delicious wine on site. At the top of the dungeon you also have a beautiful view of the wider area. Would you also like to visit a goat farmer who shows you how the Crottin de Chavignol is made? Then come along…

The next stop with our hotel boat is La Charité-sur-Loire. This city was known as a book city because of its many antiquarian shops. However, the Internet has largely taken over this trade. The priory of Our Lady becomes the new center of the “City of the Word” (Cité du mot). In addition to the priory, the old city walls, historic buildings and nice squares are also an invitation to stroll through this city.

Cours-les-Barres is a small village a stone’s throw from Le Gettin where the Allier meets the Loire. We definitely visit the beautiful flower garden of Apremont-sur-Allier. Along the way we also pass the Barrage des Lorains which carries water from the Allier to the Loire canal.

On our last day of sailing we cross the canal bridge of Le Guétin where we sail high above the Allier. In the afternoon we arrive at the port of Nevers. Over the bridge of the Loire you enter the old town. Bernadette Soubirous is buried here. Also visit the cathedral and the ducal palace or explore the city along the blue trail “Le Fil Bleu” that takes you past all the sights of the city.

The last breakfast on board barge Johanna. Time to part, not goodbye but hopefully see you on one of our other routes?…

Briare – Belleville – Sancerre – La Charité sur Loire – Cours les barres – Nevers.

Alternatieve moorings:
Châtillon sur Loire, Léré, Herry, le Guetin

This itinerary can be combined with the Briare Canal to create a 14-day Upper Loire cruise.

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