Departing from our base in Corbigny, located on the Canal du Nivernais, head towards the Canal Latéral à la Loire for a relaxing cruise far from the madding crowd. Or cruise up the Canal du Nivernais towards Auxerre to immerse yourself in Burgundy’s history.

Cruise holidays on the Canal du Nivernais in a few words…

Originally conceived by Henri IV, the Canal du Nivernais was finally built between 1783 and 1842, and boasts some of the most glorious scenery on the French waterways. Connecting the basins of the Seine and the Loire, its two sides are very different from one another: from Corbigny, perched on a hill between two arms of the Yonne, towards Decize, the descent to the Loire winds through rich meadows grazed by the famous white Charolais cattle. The three arches of the Colancelle, the legendary centre of waterways tourism, allow you to cross the Morvan massif and are followed by a surprising staircase lock: a row of 16 locks in the town of Sardy-Les-Epiry. The étang de Baye adjoins the canal, from where you will soon glimpse the tall silhouette of the Château de Châtillon-en-Bazois.

The port of Corbigny in Burgundy

The
highlights of Corbigny

  • The three Colancelle tunnels, a legendary spot of French waterways, is a unique experience
  • An unspoilt area with green pastures and forests, that will let your unwind to the rhythm of the waterways.

our routes departing from Corbigny

The routes shown are only suggestions; don’t forget that you can stop wherever you like on your cruise.

Discovering birds

Waterway Canal du Nivernais
Itinerary CorbignyChain of locks at SardyLa CollancelleEtangs de Baye Châtillon-en-Bazois PanneçotCorbigny

Waterway

Canal du Nivernais

Itinerary

Corbigny...Corbigny
Duration of stay
1 week
Navigation time
4h / day
Distance traveled
98 km return trip
Number of locks
96
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Corbigny

Chain of locks at Sardy

In 1784, the part of the canal between the highest point and the Yonne was planned as just a flotation ditch to allow the transport of floating logs. It wasn't until 1786 that plans for a canal were made and a series of 16 locks were needed to complete it.

La Collancelle

On your cruise along the Canal du Nivernais, you'll pass through the Colancelle Tunnels: three galleries dug through the granite and porphyry of La Colancelle “Mountain” to allow the canal to pass.

Etang de Baye

There's a wealth of bird life at "Etang de Baye", which is listed as a protected nature reserve. Take time out to enjoy the lush natural surroundings and the show put on by the resident birds.

Châtillon-en-Bazois

The small town of Châtillon-en-Bazois has an interesting heritage to see, as well as architecture typical of this region of France. Dynamic and lively, the town seduces by its good humour and tranquillity.

Panneçot

If you pass through the small village of Panneçot, don't miss to discover its historical heritage such as the Château Anizy, Limanton or Arcilly.

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Corbigny

Luxurious greenery, secret halting places

Waterway Canal du Nivernais, Yonne
Itinerary CorbignyTannayClamecyChâtel-Censoir Vermenton Vincelles Auxerre Joigny

Waterway

Canal du Nivernais, Yonne

Itinerary

Corbigny...Joigny
Duration of stay
1 week
Navigation time
4h45 / day
Distance traveled
128 km one way
Number of locks
62
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Corbigny

Tannay

When you moor at Tannay, you'll find all the shops you need to restock your self-drive boat. It also gives you the chance to discover Coteaux-de-Tannay, a lesser-known wine.

Clamecy

At Clamecy you can discover the secrets of the tower of the Collegiate Church of Saint Martin, with its delicate stone lacework, rose window and gargoyles, or the Romain Rolland Museum, a tribute to the French Nobel prize-winner.

Châtel-Censoir

As you pass through this village on your self-drive boat, take time to learn something about caving in one of the many local underground galleries, or enjoy some peace and quiet in the collegiate church of Saint Potentien.

Vermenton

Vermenton is situated in what is known as the "land of beautiful hills". If you stop there, you will be able to see the Château de Bétry and its church, dating from the Middle Ages.

Vincelles

Today, Vincelles is a town that is partly agricultural, with traditional cereal crops and arboriculture, which has been able to adapt to the necessities of economic life. The greenery makes the town very charismatic, you will probably appreciate a stopover there.

Auxerre

As you pass through this village on your self-drive boat, take time to learn something about caving in one of the many local underground galleries, or enjoy some peace and quiet in the collegiate church of Saint Potentien.

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Joigny

Locks and tunnels

Waterway Canal du Nivernais
Itinerary CorbignyChain of locks at SardyLa CollancelleEtangs de Baye BazollesCorbigny

Waterway

Canal du Nivernais

Itinerary

Corbigny...Corbigny
Duration of stay
Mini-week
Navigation time
4h30 / day
Distance traveled
23 km return trip
Number of locks
48
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Corbigny

Chain of locks at Sardy

In 1784, the part of the canal between the highest point and the Yonne was planned as just a flotation ditch to allow the transport of floating logs. It wasn't until 1786 that plans for a canal were made and a series of 16 locks were needed to complete it.

La Collancelle

On your cruise along the Canal du Nivernais, you'll pass through the Colancelle Tunnels: three galleries dug through the granite and porphyry of La Colancelle “Mountain” to allow the canal to pass.

Etang de Baye

There's a wealth of bird life at "Etang de Baye", which is listed as a protected nature reserve. Take time out to enjoy the lush natural surroundings and the show put on by the resident birds.

Bazolles

The pretty village of Bazolles is surrounded by green countryside and has attractive tourist sites: the Baye pond, the Canal du Nivernais, its village with the church, as well as its hamlets and shops. Perfect for a river stopover.

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Corbigny

Explore the Canal du Nivernais from Corbigny

Ideally located in the geographical centre of the Canal du Nivernais, the commune town of Corbigny is a fantastic place to begin your canal holiday along the French waterways. With a Locaboat base stationed here, it is an even more attractive location to start, whether you’re travelling north or south.

If you want to book this cruise
Browse online the availabilities

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Travelling through France on a Canal du Nivernais boat rental

Start your adventures along the Canal du Nivernais from Corbigny

The small town of Corbigny is also worth a little exploring before you head out of the water. Although it isn’t the largest of settlements along the canal, Corbigny has its fair share of attractive landmarks and must-sees.

The most popular sight to see in Corbigny is the Saint Léonard Abbaye, in the commune’s very centre. Apart from its idyllic architecture, the abbey also plays host to a classical music festival every year. Make sure that you time your boating holiday with the summer months to see this display of charming music and culture in a small French commune town.

Once you have seen all that Corbigny has to offer, you’ll need to decide which direction you are going to travel along the Canal du Nivernais. With just as much to see south of Corbigny as there is to see north of the town, deciding on this direction is never easy. As the Canal du Nivernais connects both to the Canal latéral à la Loire and the Canal de Bourgogne, there is an endless amount you can explore here using your very own canal boat.

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Heading South of Corbigny and La Collancelle

After securing your canal boat on the Canal du Nivernais, heading south gives you a pleasant introduction to the area of La Collancelle. While this area is sparsely populated, its natural beauty and idyllic surroundings make it one of the more popular areas to travel, especially by boat. In the commune town itself, time passes by slowly, and you are able to soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the town. One of the town’s major sites is the Saint Sulpice church, which was originally built during the 12th century; the church is adorned with both Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles and is well worth an exploration.

What really gives fame and interest to the area of La Collancelle is its series of tunnels.

The La Collancelle tunnels are a set of underground tunnels and vaults that helped navigate the Canal du Nivernais under the large hillside that surrounded the area. This impressive feat of engineering took place during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and is a testament to the skill of the builders. Boating through this underground tunnel is not only a necessity for travelling the rest of the Canal du Nivernais but is also a fantastic addition to the holidays as a whole.

The various tunnels, lochs and deep canal trenches that make up this section of the Canal du Nivernais are like nothing else in central France. The perfect blend of natural green surroundings and man-made canals makes it a pleasant and interesting journey.

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From winding canals to expansive lakes, let your boat show you the way

Once you have passed through famous tunnels at La Collancelle, you and your fellow boaters will come out on the ponds of Vaux and Baye. More akin to freshwater lakes, these wide-open expanses of water are a welcome sight after the mysterious, dark tunnels. These lakes are not only a beautiful and natural landscape but a place for lakeside recreation also. The most rewarding of these pastimes is fishing out on the lake. With a wide range of fish species calling the ponds of Vaux and Baye home, any keen angler will be in their element out of the water on a Burgundy cruise.

Ebbing its way from the shores of the Vaux and Baye lakes, the Canal du Nivernais flows further south and into the very heart of the Nièvre region to the commune town of Châtillon-en-Bazois. Although the centre of the region, the small and unassuming town takes on a far more laid back feel and is a great place to moor over for a while and relax in the French sun. There are a handful of local cafes and eateries that attract the travelling boater, which makes Châtillon-en-Bazois a great place to stop for lunch or an evening meal.

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Make your way to the Canal du Nivernais’ southernmost point

As you make your way through the southernmost section of the canal, the course will slowly turn into the Loire River and canal. Before you think of extending your trip onto the Loire or even the Canal du Midi, there are a few more humble commune towns that will really add something special to your Canal du Nivernais experience. The first of these is not too far from Châtillon-en-Bazois and is known as Cercy-la-Tour.

Cercy-la-Tour sits at a confluence of three waterways, giving it a sense of being at an important location, something that has given the town its iconic status among locals.

The commune’s 12th-century Romanesque church is another of this region’s most captivating buildings, offering a deep look at France’s catholic culture and history. Head up the local Notre Dame du Nivernais for a panoramic view of the surrounding town and region

The next commune town along, at the canal’s southernmost point, is the commune of Decize. This medieval walled town is a perfect picture of ancient medieval ramparts and a modern french village. This is the ideal finishing spot for your Canal du Nivernais boat hire holiday, bringing all the elements that make this trip what it is.

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Sailing north to the Canal du Nivernais Yonne region

Venturing north from Corbigny

If you decide to take the northerly route out of Corbigny, you will follow the Canal du Nivernais up to its Yonne and Burgundy Canal meeting point, something that is seen as a golden point in boating holidays. Just after leaving Corbingy, you will pass a number of small commune villages and towns such as Tannay and Clamecy.

The commune of Clamecy’s medieval centre is one of the best-preserved in all of central France and worth a visit for this alone. The timber-framed buildings and cobbled streets only add to this town’s charm, so much so that it now has ‘Secteur Sauvegardé’ status, meaning it is officially protected by the French government.

Aside from the town’s many medieval buildings, there is also a strong sense of art and culture in Clamecy. This art can be seen in the local galleries but also in the number of exhibitions held by international artists in Clamecy.

Carrying on northwards, it isn’t too long before you come to the next commune of Châtel-Censoir. Although this town is a little smaller, it does allow you access to the town of Vézelay and the famous Vézelay basilica beyond.

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Visiting the historic town of Vézelay

Once you have made it this far north, it gives you and your fellow holidaymakers the chance to visit one of the most popular sites in the entire area, Vézelay Basilica. A few miles to the east, the town of Vézelay is one of the most important historic Christian towns in all of France. The town has stood as a starting point for many pilgrims walking to the church of St James at Santiago de Compostela.

The narrow winding streets provide visitors with a charming step back through the centuries. Walking up the town’s hillside will take you up to the most famous sight in the commune of Vézelay, the Vézelay Basilica. The basilica was originally constructed in the mid-12th-century and has long held a place of religious significance in this part of France. Its fame really began to grow when the apparent relics of the biblical Mary Magdalene were held within its walls – the relics can also be seen today. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status in the 1970s, no visit to this area would be complete without a trip to the Vézelay Basilica.

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Meandering further north to Medieval Auxerre and beyond

Meandering ever north will take you from one iconic township to another, something that is often the norm with canal holidays in France. One of the most iconic of these communes along the Canal du Nivernais is the northern canal town of Auxerre. Mooring up at Auxerre is a must when travelling along the canal or even visiting the area as a whole. Similar to Vézelay, the town of Auxerre has an extremely well-preserved medieval centre, complete with middle-ages facades, cobbled streets and historic buildings.

The most spectacular of these historic buildings is the Auxerre cathedral, which was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. When visiting this church, you will be struck by the breathtaking design of the building including its amazing religious stained glass windows. This epic medieval design can also be seen in the 15th century-built clock tower in the centre of Auxerre.

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If you want to book this cruise
Browse online the availabilities

our boats available

Departing from our Corbigny base, we can offer the range of canal boats shown below. To see the full range of cruises available, please see our self-drive boat pages or contact our team who can help you to choose.

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Your departure
base Corbigny

LOCABOAT HOLIDAY’S

Port de la Vauvelle – La Chaise
58800 – Corbigny
FRANCE

If you have already booked your cruise and you want to reach your departure base:

+33 (0) 3 86 20 07 29

[email protected]

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