Each day in our accompanying bus we make excursions into a historic and culturally rich region - to chateaux, market towns and vineyards. And our expert on-board guide knows this region well. Described as 'the most beautiful and varied water route of them all', the Nivernais offers the attractions of an up-country waterway, a delight throughout its course.
Day 1, Sunday: The rendezvous at Hotel Regina in Paris with our representative is at 2.30 pm, followed by the journey to Auxerre in the barge's private bus. The barge moored on the impressive river frontage in the city, overlooked by the Cathedral, Parish Church and the 13 - 15th Century Abbey. A Champagne reception welcomes our guests on board.
Day 2, Monday: A visit to the historic centre of Auxerre is followed by a cruise upriver into beautiful pastoral countryside where we serve lunch on board. The afternoon's voyage, through sweeping reaches of the River Yonne, concludes at the wine-making centre of Bailly.
Day 3, Tuesday: A visit is made to a wine cave in the vicinity of Chablis. The picturesque villages of St Bris and Irancy stand nearby, and a rendezvous is made with wine producers in the area - followed by a visit to Chablis itself. After lunch we cruise up an arm of the canal to the small town of Vermenton.
Day 4, Wednesday: A morning drive in the bus takes the group up the valley of the tumbling River Cousin to the historic centre of Avallon, where a lively shopping area adjoins the ancient fortifications on the town's clifftop site. Following lunch the barge continues southwards to a night-time mooring at the village of Mailly-la-Ville.
Day 5, Thursday: From Mailly, we make the short journey in our bus to Vezelay, where the spectacular 12th Century Basilica dominates the town. Here St Bernard preached the 2nd Crusade. After lunch the barge cruises onwards through a region where dramatic cliffs stand by the waterside, to an evening mooring at the village of Lucy-sur-Yonne.
Day 6, Friday: Our final visit is to the imposing Chateau of Bazoches. Set on a hillside amidst splendid rolling countryside, this was the 17th Century home of the Marquis de Vauban, France's great military engineer. The voyage in the afternoon, through the rich Nivernais landscape, takes us to the delightful Medieval town of Clamecy, a worthy venue for the climax of our cruise.
Day 7, Saturday: An after-breakfast departure for Paris anticipates arrival there around 12.30 pm. For guests wishing to travel elsewhere in France, by train or by hire car, a stop can always be made in Auxerre again on our journey up to Paris.
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