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Loire Valley Waterways by Barge

4.2 stars(24 reviews)
Small Group

An all inclusive barge cruise through the scenic loire valley

7 days From £2,395 £1,995 per person
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2023 Tour code: CLV23

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 MS Raymonde, 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 Raymonde

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4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 24 reviews

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

S Bankes

4 stars

Submitted 16 Aug 2022

The cruise was most enjoyable, even though it was not the itinerary we had chosen or hoped for. The barge was comfortable enough, the food was excellent and the crew all worked like Trojans. The canal offered a timeless view of the France I remember from the 1960s. That said, I felt that the way the change of itinerary was presented, at the last minute when it must have been known about for weeks, left much to be desired. The company expressed itself happy to offer the new itinerary, when surely what mattered was whether we were happy with it. There was no hint of an apology. The attitude seemed to be "They won't know where any of these places are anyway, so they won't know the difference." Perhaps the legal department doesn't allow apologies? Having got over the initial disappointment, however, this was a most welcome first trip abroad in three years.

Collected by Trustpilot

M Briggs

4 stars

Submitted 29 Jul 2022

Through no fault of your own we didn't get the holiday we anticipated due to a late change in itinerary due to low water levels. Nevertheless the cruise was enjoyable and the crew. were excellent. The original courier Peter did not accompany us as far as the barge - leaving us in Paris. His late replacement for the return journey picked us up in Paris and was attentive to the group especially going through Gare du Nord.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 27 Jul 2022

Briare and Loing Canals excellent quiet trip on Deborah.10 out of 10 for vpassengers, crew, food etc.

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M Honey

1 stars

Submitted 04 Jul 2022

I, like several other passengers, cancelled at the last minute due to 1.The unexpectedly excessive heat in France 2. The train strike 3. Potential for catching Covid. This was my 4th and now final attempt at doing this trip.!

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5 stars

Submitted 03 Jul 2022

Despite the fact it was not the trip we booked and was expecting we had an enjoyable time, the crew and staff were incredibly helpful and welcoming. The food and wine were outstanding, not one meal duplicated or disappointing.

Collected by Trustpilot

M Johnston

5 stars

Submitted 03 Jul 2022

We have had a wonderful time, even though the itinerary was changed at the last minute. The people from CROISIEUROP were wonderful and helpful, never mind the food which was excellent.

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Loire Valley Waterways by Barge

An all inclusive barge cruise through the scenic loire valley


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