Depart Paris by luxury private transfer direct to the Apres Tout which will be moored in Briare. A champagne reception welcomes you on board, and there is time to settle into your cabin for the week. Caroline is busy preparing your first dinner on board !
Today, the barge traverses the river Loire via the longest canal bridge in Europe, connecting the Canal du Briare to the Canal Latéral à la Loire. After lunch you will visit the beautiful Chateau de Saint-Fargeau once the home to ‘La Grande Mademoiselle’, cousin of Louis XIV who exiled her to her estates early in his reign. We have a private visit through the rafters of the Chateau and learn about its fascinating history.
After breakfast, you visit the beautiful town of Gien to visit a faïence producer. The china of Gien is renowned for its colour and design. Here we discover methods both old and new that combine together in the production of designs which are contemporary and traditional. We have special permission to walk through the design area and see at first hand the painters at work. Also, for lovers of ‘La Chasse’, Gien also boasts a fine hunting museum housed in the unique brick built Chateau de Gien. We then return to the barge and enjoy a wonderful lunch while the barge cruises southward to Léré, a pleasant countryside mooring.
Late morning we transfer to the village of Chavignol famed for its production of fine Sancerre wines and the locally produced ‘Crotin de Chavignol’ goats cheese. We visit the Domain Henri Bougeois before enjoying lunch at the family’s bistro ‘La Cote des Monts Damnes’. After lunch take a leisurely stroll through the meandering streets of the impressive hilltop medieval town of Sancerre, with its stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
The barge continues to cruise from Ménétréol towards La Charité-sur-Loire. We moor in a rural spot called Passy and drive through the vineyards of Pouilly sur Loire renowned for their production of Pouilly Fume white wine. We continue to La Charité-sur-Loire, an important site of Burgundian Romanesque art. The Clunisian ensemble of La Charité was a hugely important spiritual centre in the early middle ages, and a halt for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela and is a world Heritage site.
This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Nevers, the capital of the Nivernais and the third largest city in Burgundy. Discover the streets of the old town, including the magnificent Cathedral with its splendid contemporary stained glass windows. The barge continues to cruise from La Charité-sur-Loire to Le Guétin. After a relaxing lunch on board, there is a short drive along the now disused section of the canal with an interesting engineered turning basin to Aprémont. Aprémont is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, situated on the banks of the river Allier – and boasts wonderful gardens and a location much favoured by artists through the ages. Farewell gala dinner on board.
After breakfast disembark the barge and transfer to Paris by luxury private minibus