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Classic Cruise – Upper Loire & Western Burgundy
Sunday, Day 1 Montargis
Guests are met at our meeting point in Paris** and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the spacious Renaissance where a champagne welcome with canapés awaits and you meet the Captain and crew. Time enough for a walking tour of the pretty village of Montargis, before dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Montargis to Montbouy
This morning, we embark on our first cruise through the Loire countryside, with great towpath walking and cycling opportunities, to moor at Montbouy. After lunch on board, our visit this afternoon is to the splendid Château de Fontainebleau, a national museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the only royal and imperial château to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries and every French royal family has added its own architectural style and features when in residence. We make a private tour through rooms and galleries not usually on public view, including Napoleon III’s Imperial Theatre, the Stag Gallery, and the Column Room. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Montbouy to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses
This morning we visit the privately-owned Château de La Bussière, known as the ‘fishermen’s castle’, with its wonderful ornamental and vegetable gardens, where we enjoy a cooking demonstration with the barge chef using seasonal produce from the gardens. We enjoy an afternoon cruise to our mooring at the pretty village of Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, near its 350-year-old 7 lock-flight, now disused and a national monument, from which it takes its name. A short stroll to the locks is worthwhile before dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses to La Gazonne
Today we immerse ourselves in the world of Impressionist art. We start with a short walking tour of Moret-sur-Loing, famous for its association with the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley and see several of his most famous scenes before continuing to the Chateau home of Rosa Bonheur. Rosa Bonheur was the most celebrated female artist of the 19th Century; a pioneer in a man’s world and a champion of women’s rights. Her best-known paintings are of animal scenes including one of Buffalo Bill on horseback which prompted an enduring friendship between the two. We take lunch in the private salon of the chateau before joining the present owner for a tour and to hear more about the history of this remarkable lady and view some of her works. Later, we enjoy an afternoon cruise past the Rogny lock flight to La Gazonne, a beautiful rural mooring surrounded by lakes and ponds that provide water for the workings of the Canal de Briare. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 La Gazonne to Briare
A morning cruise to our mooring at the little town of Briare, site of Gustave Eiffel’s magical aqueduct across the River Loire, again with excellent walking and cycling opportunities. We preview Friday’s crossing of this amazing 10,000 ton, 662 metre Pont Canal which was completed in September 1896. Our afternoon visit is to a renowned winery in Sancerre, such as Domaine Henri Bourgeois in Chavignol, for a tour and private tasting. This medieval hilltop village overlooks a vibrant region which has known viticulture since Roman times. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Briare to Châtillon-sur-Loire
This morning we visit the market in Briare with its food and fashion stalls before returning to the hotel barge for lunch and a spectacular cruise across the Briare aqueduct with its ornate iron lampposts and railings, spanning the wide River Loire below. This afternoon, we visit the delightful Château de Ratilly and its rather unusual selection of turreted towers, construction of which began in 1270. In the castle’s workshops, we see traditional pottery being hand thrown and have the chance to try this artisanal craft for ourselves. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Châtillon-sur-Loire
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Paris**.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
On alternate weeks, the cruise will be in the reverse direction.
**other locations available for private Charter bookings.