You'll join Barge Nilaya in the gorgeous tidy town of Paray le Monial. Its a great little place to explore with small gardens, mosaic museum and cute little streets. Its also the second most visited French pilgrimage town after Lourdes. You'll be able to visit the amazing Basillica which is in fact a scale model of the now disolved Abbey at Cluny. After a champagne reception, we suggest you dine out at an excuisiterestaurant we know near the station! Most guests get to us from Paris via a tGV train / bus combination via Le Creusot-Montceau TGV Station.
After a substantial breakfast, we are off downstream and by lunchtime arrive in the small River Loireside market town of Digoin. Just prior to mooring up next to immense logpiles, we cross the stunning Pont Canal de Digoin. Its a masterpiece of engineering and we get to cruise right over it, high above the Loire. Once moored, we'll enjoy a lovely lunch before Isabelle whisks you off in our mini-van 'Frodo' for a visit to the beautiful house and gardens of the Chateau de Dree. In the evening, we've booked you in for dinner ashore at a local coaching house. If the weathers nice, you can walk to it right across the aqueduct which is beautifully lit at night.
After an earlyish start, we make our way along a pretty canal that still retains all its manual lock mechanisms. This offers a great opportunity for a little excercise if you want? If not, the lock keepers and Isabelle or are happy to do it. Today is quite a long days cruising so after a stop for lunch at around midday, we'll press on to a small canalside hamlet called Beaulon. Its about a kilometres walk into the small agricultural village so tonight we'll prepare you a lovely dinner aboard.
From Beaulon we cruise on to the market town of Decize. This place used to be 'canal central' but as the canal traffic died, so did much of the town. It sits on a hill on an island bounded by two canals and the River Loire has lots of character. On the way we pass through sleepy farming villages and mostly rural scenery full of white Charrolias cattle. Tonight you'll be dining at a simple bistro near to the towns pleasure port.
Lots of open cruising through to a wonderfully rural mooring at Chevenon. After a gorgeous lunch, we'll take our minivan to visit the beautiful riverside village and gardens of 'Apremont sur Allier'. En route, we'll stop and view an intriguing piece of canal architecture. A circular canal lock that used to lift barges from the River Allier up into the canal above, but now long since abandoned. Apremont is one of the most beautiful villages in France and I cant even begin to tell you how lovely it is. In the evening we'll cook you a tasty dinner aboard.
Our final days cruising has us in Nevers by late morning. After a light lunch aboard, we'll take you into this bustling town to explore its market, parks and historic buildings. It has the most beautiful location overlooking the mighty Loire river and you'll be sure to linger on the bridge as you walk back to Nilaya.
Tonight, we will drop you at Jean Michel Couron, another very fine restaurant in Nevers old town. A little like the barge cruise, you'll remember this meal for quite some time!
You'll leave Nilaya by around 10am in Nevers and Isabelle or I will drop you at the towns main train station. It takes about two hours to get to Paris by direct InterCity train.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Unforeseen circumstances sometimes affect our cruising schedule. These can include, but are not limited to: illness, floods, weather, canal closures, canal maintenance, lack of moorings, bureaucracy, strikes, civil disturbance, acts of god, the engine, and whims and fancies of both skipper, guests and crew. All of these things might cause last minute changes to the above and cruise routes. Although rare, we reserve the right to alter any and all routes accordingly. Flexibility is the name of the game and any such changes cannot be considered grounds for cancellation of the cruise.