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Loire Valley Waterways by Barge

4.2 stars(16 reviews)

An all inclusive barge cruise through the scenic loire valley

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
7 days From £2,195 per person
Price Reductions

New Lower Price on selected 2022 departures. View Dates & Prices for more details.

2022 Tour code: CLV22

About the tour

Cruise serenely along the idyllic waterways of the Loire Valley and take in the historic towns and villages that have grown prosperous on the bounty of the region's world-class wine trade.


What’s included


Day 1 - London to Briare

Our journey begins at our dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras, where you meet your Tour Manager before boarding the Eurostar service to Paris. From here, transfer to your barge, The Deborah, at Briare. After meeting the crew, enjoy dinner on board, cruising through the Briare Aqueduct.

The aqueduct was once the longest navigable aqueduct in the world between 1896 and 2003 until the introduction of the Magdeburg Water Bridge. The Briare Aqueduct was originally designed to replace a river-level crossing as it was too susceptible to being flooded.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Briare to Léré

Today, explore Briare, discovering the 19th-century Château de Trousse-Barrière, formerly an old farmhouse and bought by engineer Hugues Cosnier at the time of the construction of Briare's canal. Later make a visit to Briare's Museum Conservatory, dedicated to the Loire Valley and its canals. Become immersed in the traditions of this proud canal-faring region as you learn about the development of boating on the Loire and the navigational techniques that sailors used to utilise.

Following time at the museum continue cruising to Léré, a small town set amidst a popular farming area and by the banks of the Loire.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Léré to Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre

Today explore beautiful, medieval Sancerre, an attractive hilltop town that overlooks the undulating scenery of its surrounding region. Léré was formerly in the land of Gaul and settled by the Celtic Bituriges tribe, more recently Sancerre was a regional command centre for the French Resistance in the Second World War, coordinating the destruction of many bridges in the region to hinder German movements. After time here, you are treated to a tasting of the region's famous aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, along with a selection of cheeses at a goat farm.

Whilst Sancerre was once known for its Pinot vintages, a terrible case of phylloxera insects decimated the vineyards. During the replanting process, the formerly favourable Pinot grapes were replaced with Sauvignon Blanc crops, which it is famous for today.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Sancerre to Chapelle Montlinard

Today enjoy a visit to Pouilly-sur-Loire, an idyllic town which is famous for its white wines. Take a tour of the vineyards and cellars where the Pouilly-Fumé grape is grown and the wine stocked. The grapes of this wine form a grey bloom coating at maturity, which is the colour of smoke, hence the 'Fumé' name; however, Fumé also describes the celebrated 'gun smoke' bouquet of this particular wine. Indulge in a tasting that allows you to experience the famous flavours of this delightful wine first hand. Fittingly, the wine cultivated in this area of France would be exclusively exported and delivered by barge, after the opening of the Canal de Briare in 1642. Afterwards, continue to Chapelle Montlinard, a rural village that comprises of farmland and a small collection of rustic hamlets.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - To Marseilles-lès-Aubigny

Today enjoy a tour of La Charité-sur-Loire, built around its priory - the original Cluniac priory in the area which has withstood much turmoil in its long history, including a great fire and the French Wars of Religion - during which it endured an 8-month siege by Catholic forces. During the French Revolution a road was planned to cut through the land on which the priory stood, but thankfully it was saved by a report by Prosper Merimée, the first inspector of monuments, who thought the priory was historically significant enough to be spared. Make a visit to the priory before heading to a nearby farm. After time to explore, return to the ship, where a Gala dinner is served tonight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Nevers

Explore Fontmorigny Abbey today, a former Cistercian monastery that is now privately owned and has seen a resurgence of late, becoming one of the most popular monuments in the region. You then see the floral gardens of Apremont-sur-Allier, where there is free time to discover the delight of its gardens - considered some of the most beautiful in France - at your own pace. Tonight, enjoy a lantern-lit tour of Nevers.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Return home

After breakfast disembark in Nevers then transfer to Paris for the Eurostar service to London.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Shore Excursions - Included in your Tour


Your time in historic Briare is spent discovering its 19th century Château and Museum Conservatory, giving a splendid insight into the Loire Valley's canals.


Sancerre is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc wines and its delicious goat's cheese, and we are privileged enough to be able to sample both during our time here.


Another French town famous for its distinctive wines, Pouilly-sur-Loire is home to the unmistakable Pouilly-Fumé, known for its 'gun smoke' bouquet, which we sample during our time here.

La Charité-sur-Loire

This town's historic priory was charms us as we discover its history and how the town developed around it.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.




MS Deborah

Enhance your holiday


Door to door luggage from £180
Upgrade to Standard Premier Class on Eurostar
London Hotels
UK rail connections


4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 16 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

D Merrill

5 stars

Submitted 18/May

Wonderful holiday ! Brilliant crew and fantastic food . Only 14 passengers onboard and we all had a great time together!

Collected by Trustpilot

A Bainbridge

4 stars

Submitted 27 Sep 2021

The food and drink onboard the barge, MS Deborah, was wonderful. The crew could not have been more helpful and our fellow passengers (13 total) were interesting and fun. The youngest was 66 and the oldest 91, which made the transfer in Paris interesting. The only down side was the Covid 19 testing and paperwork required to re-enter the UK which took up the whole of our last afternoon on the barge. What would have happened in the event of a positive PCR test on the penultimate day of the holiday, as required under the regulations at the time, nobody appeared to know.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr P James

5 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2021

Excellent value holiday with superb Croisi staff on the Peniche Great Rail Journeys were able to give us great support for both the journeys with a tremendous Tour Manager. Most important all the necessary Covid paper work was covered both by GRJ and Croisi to enable us to travel smoothly

Collected by Trustpilot

John Oakley

5 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2021

As to be expected

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr M Taylor

5 stars

Submitted 14 Jul 2019

The standard of accommodation, staff and food on the barge was outstanding. Nothing too much trouble and the team made the whole experience a first class holiday. However... the coach journey from Gard du Nord to meeting the barge took over 4.5 hrs. Just getting out of, and back into, Paris took over 2 hours. This was an extremely long and tiresome journey meaning that we didn't get to the barge until after 2030 hrs.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr J Taylor

3 stars

Submitted 10 Aug 2018

I had an unfortunate experience on MS Deborah because I had an upset stomach and had to miss some of the meals and one of the trips. On the way back I had a bad fall en route from the coach to the Gare du Nord and, as I eventually discovered, I broke my left collar bone. The Tour Manager helped me enormously by arranging for a push chair to assist me to Eurostar and subsequently at St Pancras and Derby. I enjoyed the earlier part of the holiday and the company of fellow passengers.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Loire Valley Waterways by Barge

An all inclusive barge cruise through the scenic loire valley


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