luciole - burgundy nivernais

canal cruising in france

hotel barge holidays in france

canal cruising in france

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Hotel barge luciole burgundy - nivernais

Canal Barge in France


The reason there are few boats on our canal is because they are either too heavy in the water and/or to high to get through the bridges. The Luciole, carrying 12 passengers was designed especially for the Nivernais, which is considered by most - to be the most - beautiful and varied in France. Beautiful and historic, the Canal du Nivernais provides a step back in time. Each curve in the route presents an exciting panorama, to be explored, should you choose, on a stroll between locks - or from the sun deck of the 'Luciole'. Visits are made also to vineyards, market towns or chateaux, in a region where hustle knows no place.




The bar on board Luciole is spacious and well supplied. While sitting you can enjoy an apertif and just watch the world go by. Meals on board the Luciole are treasured times. The warm ambiance, for which the 'Luciole' is renowned is no better experienced than when gathered round a table with the anticipation of unfolding culinary delights. Wines are chosen to complement the menu including of course the famous Chablis produced locally, but also other wines such Cote D'Or, Chateauneuf Du Pape and Bordeaux. Three double-bedded cabins are available, each of which can be converted into twins, together with three further win-bedded and two single cabins on board. Each has its own private shower and toilet facilities. Individually-controlled air-conditioning is installed throughout.

on board

itinerary - The Canal du Nivernais from Auxerre to Clamecy

SUNDAY - Transfer from Paris to the Luciole moored at Auxerre

The rendezvous in Paris at the Hotel Mansart with the Luciole's representative is at 2.30 pm, followed by the journey to Auxerre in the barge's private bus. The Luciole will be moored on the impressive river frontage of the city, overlooked by the Cathedral, the 13 - 15th Century Abbey and Parish Church. A Champagne reception welcomes our guests on board

MONDAY - Morning Cruise from Auxerre to Bailly

The barge cruise upriver leads us into beautiful pastoral countryside intermingled with sweeping reaches of the River Yonne. After lunch we arrive at the Crément making centre of Bailly. Here in 1972 local winemakers restored the fortunes of this ancient vineyard area with the production of sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne in what are now known as the Caves de Bailly. The picturesque villages of St Bris and Irancy, also devoted to wine, stand nearby. Our visit in the afternoon is made to a wine cellar in the vicinity of Chablis, barely sixteen kilometers to the east of Auxerre. Chablis is one of the greatest names in wine, with production within a strictly-defined area. The most prestigious wines are produced from vineyards on the south of the town on 'Grand Cru Hill'.

TUESDAY - Morning cruise from Bailly to Accolay

The barge cruise in the morning along the canal takes you towards the River Cure on the 'Vermenton Arm' and the village of Accolay. Our visit to historic Auxerre is in the afternoon. The city offers many historic features: the Cathedral of St Étienne, Abbey of St Germain, with the Romanesque crypt and attractive clock tower in the centre of the town, built in the 15th Century. The Church presides over one of the most attractive waterfronts in France, recently renovated and where the Luciole now has her own private mooring. Place St Nicholas, by the river, commemorates the patron saint of barge people. Nearby from the Place du Coche Eau, passengers once boarded packet-boats for Paris. Auxerre was originally a Roman camp and became a centre of learning and pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. It was declared a holy city by the Pope in the 11th Century. The town's strategic position ensured a rich trading history and also saw Joan of Arc stop twice to pray in the Cathedral of St Étienne. Napoleon stayed in Auxerre during "the hundred days war" following his return from exile on Elba, before heading north to Waterloo in 1815. The afternoon provides a good opportunity to visit the shops and take time to enjoy French provincial life.

WEDNESDAY - Afternoon cruise from Accolay to Mailly-le-Château

Our visit in the morning from Accolay, takes us to the delightful town of Noyers-sur-Serein. With its friendly market stalls, half-timbered houses and turreted ramparts it is easy to see why Noyers is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Above the town, the reconstruction of the medieval castle progresses. Catholic Henry IV ordered the destruction of the Protestant-owned château in 1599. Look out for the orchids in May and June. One of our charter groups, with a passion for these rare wild flowers found 6 amongst the old grounds of the chateau, much to the great delight of Willem Adriaan de Bruyn, who leads the renovation of this gem of Burgundian heritage. The barge cruise after lunch continues southwards to a night-time mooring beneath the walls of Mailly-le-Château. Here you can take the steep path from our mooring at Bourg d'en Bas, or Lower Town up to Mailly-le-Château where a terrace offers spectacular views of the Yonne Valley.

THURSDAY - Afternoon cruise from Mailly-le-Château to Lucy sur Yonne

Our visit to Vézelay is in the morning, where the spectacular 11th Century Basilica dominates the steep sided hill town which has numerous shops and cafes. Vézelay was the historic starting point for two of the Crusades to the Holy Land, where Saint Bernard preached to the Crusaders in the presence of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Vézelay owed its position of influence and prestige since it holds the relics of Saint Mary Magdalene and a Papal declaration attesting to their authenticity. The town was a high point of medieval pilgrimage and was a major gathering point for the Crusaders on the way to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. There is plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of this hilltop town and a super chance to visit the numerous craft shops selling clothes and gifts. Another opportunity too, to stop at one of the local cafes and watch the world go by (very French cafe life!). The barge cruise in the afternoon to an evening mooring at Lucy-sur-Yonne passes through a region where dramatic cliffs stand by the water's edge. Watch out for the delightful ducks and geese, who have made this canal bank their home. Along the cruise route the Rochers du Parc and those at Les Saussois are regularly used by climbers. Do take a look at our video for a true idea.

FRIDAY - Morning cruise from Lucy sur Yonne to Clamecy

The barge cruise in the morning takes us to the delightful medieval town of Clamecy, a worthy venue for the climax of our cruise. The town features the 12 -16th Century church of St Martin that stands up on the hill in the town centre. Beside the river, stands the church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, which was opened in 1927. It was dedicated to the 50 successive bishops of Bethlehem who, unable to preside in Bethlehem itself, were resident at Clamecy from 1225 until the French Revolution in the late 18th Century. Our visit on the final afternoon is to the imposing Château of Bazoches. Set on a hillside amidst splendid rolling countryside, this was the 17th Century home of the Marquis de Vauban (1633-1707). Vauban was France's great military tactician and engineer, who was responsible for the creation of the first coherent network of fortifications surrounding the developing kingdom of France. He was also a prolific and at times visionary writer who remained steadfastly loyal to his roots in the Morvan region around Avallon and Vézelay and considered the Château of Bazoches as his true home.

SATURDAY - Departure from the Luciole at 9.30am & Return transfer to Paris

After breakfast, the Luciole bus departs for Place Vendôme, central Paris where taxis are available for onward travel. Anticipated arrival is at 1pm. For guests wishing to travel elsewhere in France by train or hire car, a stop can always be made in Auxerre en-route to Paris.

On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.

  • cruise
    2020 - 2021

    individual or charter


    single cabin

    8 person charter

    10 person charter

    12 person charter

  • value season
    6 nights all inclusive

    26 Apr/23 May - 19 Jul/29 Aug - 4/31 Oct

    4200 Euros per person

    4200 Euros per person

    39500 Euros

    43750 Euros

    48OOO Euros

  • regular season
    6 nights all inclusive

    24 May/18 Jul - 30 Aug - 3 Oct

    4650 Euros per person

    4650 EUROS per person


    48500 Euros

    53000 Euros

Price for Luciole includes:

Return transfer from Paris to Barge Luciole in our private bus - Four course evening meals, high quality buffet lunches and breakfast each day - An inspiring selection of French wines each day and evening - Open bar with a wide range of spirits - Six English speaking crew to look after our passengers - All excursions from the barge in our air conditioned bus - The use of our on board bicycles.

These rates do not include:

• Insurance • Personal expenses • Gratuities to the crew (between 7 and 10%)

To avoid currency exchange fees

• Australians can pay in Australian dollars by direct deposit or credit card. • New Zealanders can pay in New Zealand dollars by direct deposit or credit card. • US citizens will be charged in US dollars using credit card.


Bon voyage!