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Loire Valley - Nevers to Briare - Bike and Barge - France - Van Gogh Tours

Loire Valley – Nevers to Briare

From: $1,740 USD

8 Days / 7 Nights
Type: Guided
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Imagine Yourself…

  • Following gently the flow of the Loire River
  • Passing seemingly endless vineyards
  • Taste the Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé wines
  • Breezing past beautiful chateaux in a classically French landscape

Overview

Loire Valley map - bike and barge - Van Gogh Tours - Nevers to Briare vvThe Loire Valley between the cities of Nevers and Briare in the heart of France is a very well suited region for a relaxing bike and barge holiday. Following the flow of the Loire River you gently ride through the green countryside with charming little villages and old castles and palaces.
The rich landscape boasts many fruitful vineyards. Especially well known are the Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé wines. You will also see impressive examples of canal building engineering along the Canal lateral du Loire. The old city of Nevers with its winding streets, castle and churches is our starting point. On the way to the wine city of Sancerre you will visit the Château of Apremont, dating back to the 12th century and lavishly surrounded by gardens as well as the ancient Roman town of La Charité-sur-Loire with a 16th century stone bridge and Notre Dame cathedral. In between you will ride to St. Brisson Forest and through seemingly endless vineyards. Through a beautiful region of lakes and past more castles you will cycle along the Loire and visit Chatillon-sur-Loire with its impressive locks. Briare with its picturesque locks and aqueduct is the final destination of this week.

 

REVERSE ROUTE:  Briare to Nevers

Daily Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Nevers - 10 miles (16 km)

    The barge is moored in Nevers on the outskirts of the center of town in Embranchement de Nevers, Chemin de Halage. You are expected to arrive at our barge between 1 PM and 2 PM. When you can settle in and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the tour leader, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers.

    During dinner aboard the ship, the program for the next day and the global planning of the week are discussed. Instructions on cycling and safely procedures will also be given. After dinner the tour leader will escort you on the first kilometers on your bike during a short ride around the town.

  • Day 2: Nevers - Gimoulle- 14 miles (22 km) 

    We start this week in the heart of France with a short ride to the sleepy village of Gimouille on the Canal lateral du Loire. But first you can take some time to visit the town of Nevers where there are many sites to see including the winding streets filled with houses dating back from the 14th to 17th century. The origins of Nevers date back to Roman times. Nevers is since the 5th century the seat of the bishop and has among others a castle and a few interesting churches.

  • Day 3: Gimoulle - Cours les Barres - 24 miles (38 km)

    First thing you will do today is pay a visit to the aqueduct over the Allier River. With its two impressive locks both measuring about 30 Feet high this is a must do! With some luck and good planning you might see your barge the Clair de Lune pass through here, high above the river. Later this morning you will end up in the small town of Apremont. Here you will have the opportunity to visit the 12th-century castle and surrounding fabulous gardens. Riding north from Apremont you pass wooded areas with idyllic villages, castles and country estates.

  • Day 4: Cours les Barres - Ménétreol sous Sancerre – 29 miles (46 km) 

    Right after breakfast you will hop on your bikes and begin this days cycling tour through the region of the Pouilly Fumé wines to La Charité-sur-Loire, an ancient Roman town. Crossing the 16th century stone bridge to the center, you will have a splendid view overlooking the town and its Notre Dame church. Continue towards the final destination of today, the wine town of Sancerre. In Ménétréol, situated under the Sancerre vineyards, we will have the opportunity to try some wine before returning to the barge.

  • Day 5: Ménétreol sous Sancerre - Belleville sur Loire – 22 miles (35 km) 

    Sancerre wines, and especially the white wines, are famous all over the world. The first mentioning of winegrowing in this region dates back to the 6th century. Until the 19th century the region mostly grew Pinot grapes, but after a disease that devastated the grapes Sauvignon is now mostly grown. And with success! The ride today takes you on a picturesque route right across the Sancerre vineyards and through the surrounding villages to the charming village of Belleville-sur-Loire.

  • Day 6: Belleville sur Loire - Briare – 28 miles (45 km) 

    Todays bike ride to Briare leads you through typical French countryside with rolling hills, country estates and small villages. On the way you will pass the historic locks of Châtillon-sur-Loire and ride on to St. Brisson, where you will see the impressive medieval castle. We end the day with a visit to the magnificent aqueduct over the Loire River in Briare. We spend the last two nights moored in the typical French small-town of Briare.

  • Day 7: Roundtrip Briare - Rogny les Sept Ecluses – 30 miles (49 km) 

    Your last bike ride this week will lead you to the castle of ‘Pont Chevron,’ situated on a small, picturesque lake. Around lunchtime you will be in the village Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, known for its historic seven locks. Via the 16th-century castle near Bléneau you will cycle through a region of lakes to Ouzouer-sur-Trézée and eventually back to Briare. A worthy ending of your bike adventure in the heart of France.

  • Day 8: Tour Ends

    After breakfast, we’ll part ways.

Dates & Prices

Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full

2024

Departure

Barge

Double

Twin Split Level

Single

June 3

Clair de Lune

$ 1890

$ 1890

$ 1980

Full


June 17

Clair de Lune

$ 1890

$ 1890

$ 1980

July 1

Clair de Lune

$ 1740

$ 1740

$ 1860

July 22

Clair de Lune

$ 1740

$ 1740

$ 1860

August 12

Clair de Lune

$ 1890

$ 1890

$ 1980

August 26

Clair de Lune

$ 1890

$ 1890

$ 1980

September 9

Clair de Lune

$ 2050

$ 2050

$ 2190

Full


September 23

Clair de Lune

$ 1890

$ 1890

$ 1980

Full


Prices are per person in US Dollars / inclusive bike rental

2025

Coming soon!

  • What's included

    • 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets, and towels)
    • 7 breakfasts, 7 packed lunches, and 7 dinners
    • Coffee and tea on board
    • 24-speed touring bicycle rental, including helmet, water bottle, pannier, lock, bike insurance
    • Multilingual tour leader
    • 3 City walks with tour guide
    • Information pack, route descriptions and maps
    • Ferry fares
    • Reservation costs
  • Bikes

    Well-maintained, comfortable 24-speed touring bikes are included. These men’s and women’s bike models come in sizes appropriate to your height. The bikes have a side pannier, helmet, water bottle  and lock.
    An electric bike is also available for this tour ($120 per person). We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They’re heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver. In addition, you can rent children’s bikes, child seats, bike trailers, and tag-alongs.Women's bike - Van Gogh Tours - Bike and Barge Mens bike - Van Gogh Tours - Bike and Barge Electric bike - Bike and Barge - Van Gogh Tours
  • Meals

    The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a three-course dinner of very good quality. A packed lunch may be prepared after breakfast. Tea and coffee will be ready when you arrive on board in the afternoon. There’s a bar on the boat with reasonably priced beer, wine and soft drinks. If you have special meal requirements, we ask you to mention this when booking. In the case of a Vegan, gluten- or lactose free diet there is an additional charge of $85 per week.

  • Not included

    • Airfare
    • Museum entrance fees and private expenses
    • Drinks(other than coffee & tea) on board
    • Trip cancellation insurance

Accommodations

The accommodations listed below are examples of those usually used on the tour. Depending on availability, you may be booked in a different accommodation of equal quality.

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