You’ll believe you’re in a dream if you choose to cruise on the Nivernais Canal, probably one of the most beautiful canals in France. The Nivernais Canal connects the Loire basin to that of the Seine while travelling through the beautifully preserved Morvan Regional Natural Park. Steeped in history and tradition, this canal, built at the end of the 18th century, will bring to life the story of timber transport from Morvan to Paris.
Val de Loire – South Nivernais
Châtillon en Bazois is located at the edge of the Morvan and the Nivernais. The Nivernais Canal runs through villages, valleys, hills, forests and alongside castles, and it is well worth the trip! At the junction of the canal du Nivernais and the Canal Latéral à la Loire, Decize is the veritable focal point of these waterways. On your way to Nevers and the Sancerre vineyards, feel the romance in the air, taste the local gastronomy and learn the history of this charming area.
Digoin, is a central point for canal boating. The town not only lies at the heart of the Charolais region, famous for its white cattle, but it is also at the junction of 3 canals. To the south, the Canal de Roanne à Digoin, also called “the quiet canal”, offers you the chance to cruise through the fields of Brionnais along the Loire River. It is the perfect place to stop and moor in the shade of the trees, while admiring the landscape. To the east, the Canal du Centre between the Saône River and the Loire River runs through the Ceramic valley to Paray le Monial, a small town famous for its Roman Art. Then it brings you to the Maranges Vineyards, known as “Côtes Chalonnaises”. To the north-west, the Canal Latéral à la Loire runs through historical towns like Decize and Nevers.
Burgundy / Franche-Comté – The Saône River
There are so many different routes from Pontailler-sur-Saône! You can either travel along the Saône River or the ‘Petite Saône’ and cruise freely along due to its limited number of locks. There is also the canal du Bourgogne or the Doubs River, or you can even sail along the Canal de la Marne à la Saône! These canals and rivers are often shaded by oaks and willows, and lined with reeds. Here you can sometimes glimpse the grey herons, kingfishers or wild ducks that live there in peace. Another bonus of this region is the local cuisine and wines which are well worth a taste.
Bresse bourguignonne – Seille
The Seille River, a tributary of the River Saône, is a superb river which runs through the Bresse Bourguignonne home of the famous chicken “Poulet de Bresse”. There you can discover the quiet charm of it wetlands and it half-timbered houses before continuing on to La Truchère. Here the river will take you through a wildlife reserve created in 1980. This reserve is a mosaic of different natural environments such as marshy ponds, bogs and dunes covered with lichens and moss. From La Truchère the river continues on to Louhans, a vibrant and picturesque city. Its main street is lined with 157 arcades and frontages dating from the 16th century and every Monday there is a famous farm market. Another option is to travel along the Saône River from La Truchère and then onto the Sanenay or Mâcon vineyards for some wine tasting!