Nevers - Briare
Bike and Barge tour along the vineyards of the Sancerre. The Loire Valley between the cities of Briare and Nevers in the heart of France is a very well suited region for a relaxing bike and barge holiday.
Following the flow of the Loire River you gently ride through the green countryside with charming little villages and old castles and palaces. The rich landscape boasts many fruitful vineyards. Especially well known are the Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé wines. Both wines are reckoned to be among the most prestigious in the world. You will also see impressive examples of canal building engineering along the Canal lateral du Loire.
The small city of Briare with its picturesque locks and aqueduct is our starting point. On the first day you will ride to Rogy-les-Sept-Ecluses via the Pont Chevron castle. Through a beautiful region of lakes and past castles you will cycle along the Loire and visit Chatillon-sur-Loire with its impressive locks. Wine-tasting in the region of Sancerre and the Pouilly Fumé wines can not be missed. In between you will ride to St. Brisson Forest and through seemingly endless vineyards. On the way to the city of Nevers you will also visit the ancient Roman town of La Charité-sur-Loire with a 16th century stone bridge and the Château of Apremont, dating back to the 12th century and lavishly surrounded by gardens. The final destination of this week, the historical town of Nevers, is in itself already worth a visits of a few days.
- Famous Sancerre
- Pouilly Fumé vineyards
- Beautiful Sancerre and Nevers
- Ride along the Loire River
Day 1 Saturday: Nevers 15KM
Arrival and welcome at the barge on the mooring place. Tryout bike ride in the surrounding countryside. After diner there will be an evening walk through the old town of Nevers. The city is famous for its ceramics and it is also one of the major pilgrimage centres of France because the city has kept the body of Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879). The Old Town, with its narrow winding streets, is full of many buildings and palaces dating from the 17th century.
Day 2 Sunday: Nevers – Gimouille 25KM
We start this week in the heart of France with a short ride to the sleepy village of Gimouille on the Canal lateral du Loire. But first you can take some time to visit the town of Nevers where there are many sites to see including the winding streets filled with houses dating back from the 14th to 17th century. The origins of Nevers date back to Roman times. Nevers is since the 5th century the seat of the bishop and has among others a castle and a few interesting churches.
Day 3 Monday: Gimouille – Cours-les-Barres40KM
First thing you will do today is pay a visit to the aqueduct over the Allier River. With its two impressive locks both measuring about 9 meters high this is a must do! With some luck and good planning you might see the Claire de Lune pass through here, high above the river. Later this morning you will end up in the small town of Apremont, where you will have the opportunity to visit the 12th-century castle and surrounding fabulous gardens. Riding north from Apremont you pass wooded areas with nice villages, castles and country estates.
Day 4 Tuesday: Cours-les-Barres – Sancerre 45KM
Right after breakfast you will hop on your bikes and begin this days cycling tour through the region of the Pouilly Fumé wines to La Charité-sur-Loire, an ancient Roman town. Crossing the 16th century stone bridge to the center, there is a splendid view overlooking the town and its Notre Dame church. Continue towards the final destination of today, the wine town of Sancerre. In Ménétréol, situated under the Sancerre vineyards, there will be an opportunity to try some wine before returning to the ship.
Day 5 Wednesday: Sancerre – Belleville-sur-Loire 50KM
Sancerre wines, and especially the white wines, are famous all over the world. The first mentioning of winegrowing in this region dates back to the 6th century. Until the 19th century the region mostly grew Pinot grapes, but after a disease that devastated the grapes Sauvignon is now mostly grown. And with success! The ride today takes you on a picturesque route right across the Sancerre vineyards and through the surrounding villages to the charming village of Belleville-sur-Loire.
Day 6 Thursday: Belleville-sur-Loire – Briare 45KM
Todays bike ride to Briare leads you through typical French countryside with rolling hills, country estates and small villages. On the way you will pass the historical locks of Châtillon-sur-Loire and ride on to St. Brisson, where you will see the impressive medieval castle. We end the day with a
visit to the magnificent aqueduct over the Loire River in Briare. We spend the last two nights moored in the typical French small-town of Briare.
Day 7 Friday: Briare – Rogy-les-sept-Écluses- Briare 50KM
Your last bike ride this week will lead you to the castle of ‘Pont Chevron,’ situated on a small, picturesque lake. Around lunchtime you will be in the village Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, known for its historical seven locks. Via the 16th-century castle near Bléneau you will cycle through a region of lakes to Ouzouer-sur-Trézée and eventually back to Briare. A worthy ending of your bike adventure in the heart of France.
Day 8 Saturday: Briare,
Departure. After breakfast: debarkation before 10 AM.