Departing from our base in Joigny, you will have easy access to the Canal de Bourgogne and its many châteaux. Joigny is also a great destination for getting to some top-class restaurants and famous Burgundy vineyards.

Boat hire on the Canal de Bourgogne in a few words…

Draped in the Côte Saint-Jacques vineyards, Joigny is rich in heritage and gastronomy. Located at the crossroads of the Yonne river and the Canal de Bourgogne, it is the ideal starting point for touring the region. If you choose the Canal de Bourgogne, you will cruise your way through an 18th century engineering marvel. Moor up near the Saint Florentin canal bridge and visit the church. The centrepiece of the town, it was listed as an historic monument in 1842. The statuary, sculptures and bas-reliefs have transformed the church into something of a museum for 16th century art; its 24 stained glass windows create an ensemble of lively colours with a rare harmony that blends perfectly with the architecture.

Marina at Joigny

The
highlights of Joigny

  • Close to the famous vineyards of Chablis, Irancy and Tonnerre
  • Easy access to the Canal de Bourgogne and its châteaux aboard your canal boat

our routes departing from Joigny

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

On the mythical canal

Waterway Canal de Bourgogne
Itinerary JoignySaint FlorentinTanlayAncy-le-FrancJoigny

Waterway

Canal de Bourgogne

Itinerary

Joigny...Joigny
Duration of stay
1 week
Navigation time
5 h 30 / day
Distance traveled
166 km return trip
Number of locks
68
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Joigny

Saint Florentin

Charming village located at the tip of the Champagne region, Saint-Florentin is set in the heart of greenery. All around, you will find houses, most of them very old, and stairs going down a slope to the Armance river.

Tonnerre

If you pause your cruise here, not far from Champagne, you can sample wines from the Bourgogne Tonnerre appellation, first cousin to Chablis but less well-known. Take a look at the town’s historic heritage, including the Hôtel d'Uzès or the Fosse Dionne, a karst spring.

Tanlay

As you cruise along the Burgundy Canal on board your self-drive boat, you’ll come across the Château de Tanlay, famed for its trompe l’œil gallery and its frescoes. It’s one of the finest Renaissance châteaux in Burgundy.

Ancy-le-Franc

The Ancy-le-Franc château is a listed historic monument and stands in its own large grounds. It’s worth taking a detour from your cruise to see its vast frescoes, some of the largest from the Renaissance period.

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Joigny

French wines and culture

Waterway Canal du Nivernais
Itinerary JoignyAuxerreIrancyJoigny

Waterway

Canal du Nivernais

Itinerary

Joigny...Joigny
Duration of stay
1 week
Navigation time
6h / day
Distance traveled
92 km return trip
Number of locks
38
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Joigny

Auxerre

Almost the whole of the historic centre of Auxerre is a conservation area (67 hectares). After you’ve explored its wonderful heritage, sample a few local specialities such as gougères (cheese pastries) or snails.

Irancy

Stop by "les caves de Bailly" located close to the canal or visit the charming village of Irancy (3-4 km from the canal). Tie up your self-drive boat here to enjoy this typical village of Burgundy surrounded by 251 hectares of vines. Don’t forget to buy a few bottles of the most famous red wine from northern Burgundy.

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Joigny

A nave for Vezelay

Waterway Canal du Nivernais
Itinerary JoignyAuxerreIrancyChâtel-CensoirClamecy Joigny

Waterway

Canal du Nivernais

Itinerary

Joigny...Joigny
Duration of stay
10/11 days
Navigation time
4h45 / day
Distance traveled
194 km return trip
Number of locks
86
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Joigny

Auxerre

Almost the whole of the historic centre of Auxerre is a conservation area (67 hectares). After you’ve explored its wonderful heritage, sample a few local specialities such as gougères (cheese pastries) or snails.

Irancy

Stop by "les caves de Bailly" located close to the canal or visit the charming village of Irancy (3-4 km from the canal). Tie up your self-drive boat here to enjoy this typical village of Burgundy surrounded by 251 hectares of vines. Don’t forget to buy a few bottles of the most famous red wine from northern Burgundy.

village
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.

eglise
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.

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Joigny

If you want to book this cruise
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Navigating the Yonne Rive through the heart of Burgundy

Departing south from the town of Joigny

The commune town of Joigny stands at the crossroads of both the River Yonne and the Canal de Bourgogne, making it an ideal place to start your Burgundy adventure. Locaboat’s base at Joigny offers holidaymakers the perfect starting point, both geographically and for the array of help you will find here before setting off. Before you do decide to lift anchor and start, an excursion around the town itself is well worth a moment of your time.

The picturesque town of Joigny overlooks the banks of the Yonne River, creating an idyllic setting to an already pastoral-looking town. Walking up to the ancient houses that stand overlooking the town is one of the most appealing activities to do in Joigny.

Some of these half-timbered constructions are adorned with medieval carvings and make for a welcoming sight.

Joigny is also home to a number of chapels and churches; most famous amongst these is the church of Saint-Jean. Known in French as the Église Saint-Jean, this church’s memorable image is its 16th-century carving of Christ and his disciples, something that shouldn’t be overlooked when walking through the town. Other sights include the numerous surviving sections of the town’s medieval ramparts, only adding to the beauty of Joigny.

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Spend your Burgundy canal cruise on the Yonne and beyond

When leaving Joigny, you will need to decide which route to continue down. Taking the left route will allow you to join the Canal de Bourgogne, whereas taking the right route will allow you to continue south along the Yonne River. Choosing the right route will take you on an idyllic winding trip past some of the most beautiful riverside sights in Burgundy. Passing villages such as Bassou, Chemilly-sur-Yonne, and Appoigny will give a real feel of the Burgundy countryside. These views, mixed with the meandering twists and turns of the river encapsulate the beauty of the area and French canal cruises as a whole. After travelling south for a few miles, you will come to the city of Auxerre, capital of the Yonne department and one of the largest cities in all of Burgundy.

Mooring at Auxerre is a must when travelling along this section of the river, and the city is home to a number of delightful sights that should not be missed. At the pinnacle of these sights is the Auxerre Cathedral, a medieval cathedral that has features spanning many centuries of medieval church design.

Alongside this impressive cathedral, Auxerre is home to a well-preserved historic centre. A mix of timbre buildings, medieval arcaded shop fronts and cobbled streets create an almost magical feel as you walk through the city centre. Walking through the pedestrian section of the city, keep an eye out for one of the city’s most iconic landmarks; its 15th century built clock tower.

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Adventuring south of the River Yonne, France

Leaving the city of Auxerre, boaters can continue south along the River Yonne, taking their canal boat through the many smaller towns that lie south of the city. The first of these smaller settlements is the commune town of Vermenton, a great place to stop off after travelling a few miles south of Auxerre. Although far smaller than a city, Vermenton has its own unique village charms that are irresistible to any lover of the Burgundy countryside. Following this route further on, similar villages to Vermenton will present themselves, offering even more attractive stop-off points. A bend in the River Yonne will bring you to yet another riverside delight, the commune of Châtel-Censoir.

The idyllic narrowed streets of Châtel-Censoir are welcoming to those who wish to explore this town on foot. Making your way to the higher stretches of the town provide fantastic views of the riverbanks below. A short journey from Châtel-Censoir will take you to one of the most famous landmarks in the area, La Basilique de Vézelay or Vézelay Abbey. Constructed between 1120 and 1150, Vézelay Abbey is a UNESCO protected monument, showing its cultural importance to not only the history of France but that of Europe also. Inside the abbey, visitors will be drawn by its breath-taking nave and other architectural features. Relics of Mary Magdalene are held within the abbey, a fact that only added to the abbey’s fame through the centuries.

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Discover the River Yonne’s southernmost settlements

Following the River Yonne to some of its southernmost points, you will begin to pass a number of must-see communes, towns and small villages. The first of these is the town of Corbigny, a few miles south of Vézelay Abbey. Corbigny is home to a Locaboat centre and is a great place to begin and end your River Yonne boating holiday. Apart from being close to the River Yonne and the Canal du Nivernais, Corbigny itself has its own fair share of attractions. Saint Léonard Abbaye is what brings many visitors to the town, yet if you visit Corbigny during the summer months, you will be entertained by the classical music festival held at the abbey.

To end your journey on a high, it’s well worth visiting the Etang de Baye or, in English, the Ponds of Vaux and Baye. This idyllic lakeside spot is great, not only for ending a boat trip through the Yonne Valley but a fantastic location in its own right. Those who are partial to a spot of angling will be pleased to know that the Ponds of Vaux and Baye are home to an array of different fish species. If fishing isn’t your thing, simply enjoying the fantastic views that are on offer will be more than enough.

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Boating through the best of the Canal de Bourgogne

Choosing the right route for your Burgundy canal barge cruise

Taking the left fork when leaving Joingy will take you from the River Yonne and onto the Burgundy Canal, one of the best routes for canal boat holidays in this area of France. Setting out from Joigny, your first stop has to be the town of Saint Florentin. Saint Florentin’s natural mooring station makes it an ideal place to stop when in the area, and the town’s attractions offer more to explore when you’re back on dry land. Saint Florentin’s most famous sight is its local church, ideally situated in the centre of the town. Given historical monument status in the mid 19th century, the church is home to an array of 16th-century art, stained glass windows and a number of sculptures and bas-reliefs.

Carrying on from Saint Florentin for a few miles will bring you to a variety of different towns and villages on the canal, the first being the commune of Tonnerre. Tonnerre is home to an array of historical attractions, owing to its long history dating back to Roman times. These include the Fosse Dionne spring and the 9th-century church known as the Église Saint-Pierre.

It is easy enough to spend a whole day exploring what Tonnerre has to offer by means of attractions and historical sights. Being right along the Burgundy canal is an added luxury, enabling you and your fellow holidaymakers to explore and return to the boat to relax.

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Exploring the northern wonders of the Canal de Bourgogne

Following on from Tonnerre, boaters will enter one of the more meandering sections of the canal, complete with a plethora of must-see sights. The first of these is the famous Hôtel-Dieu of Tonnerre. This former medieval hospital is one of the oldest in all of Europe and one of the longest. Constructed in the late 13th century, it has been classified as a national historical monument for over a hundred years and is as impressive as it is old.

Further on from the Hôtel-Dieu of Tonnerre, boaters will come to the small commune town of Tanlay. The exquisite natural beauty of this part of the river makes a visit here worth it for that reason alone.

Heading into the town of Tanlay, you will see the impressive Château de Tanlay, viewable from the canalside. Step inside the Château de Tanlay, and even more surprises await, including a series of impressive ceiling frescos from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Only a little further down the Burgundy Canal is another of the Yonne department’s most stunning chateaus, the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. This renaissance-style 16th-century chateau is a marvel of architecture and interior design. Ensure you take your time when visiting the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc, as there is so much to see inside, from murals and carvings from over the centuries.

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Arriving at the halfway point on the Canal de Bourgogne

Much like boating down the River Lot or a Loire Valley cruise, the section of the waterway you travel along determines what you see and do during your trip. When you arrive at the halfway point of the Burgundy canal, you are again opened up to a whole new section of the canal and its many settlements. The first of these stops is another of France’s iconic religious sites, the Abbaye de Fontenay. This fantastically well-preserved monastic building is one of the most revered in all of France and, as such, has been granted UNESCO status since the early 1980s.

Originally constructed during the early 12th century, Abbaye de Fontenay is one of the oldest and best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in all of Europe.

The abbey includes a cloister, dormitories, common rooms, churches, and even its own forge. Exploring this World Heritage Sight in all its entirety may take a while, but every second is worth it.

Following the canal route past Abbaye de Fontenay will bring you to another of this region’s most famous historical sights, the Forges de Buffon. Constructed during the 17th century, this forge was the centre of exceptional scientific breakthroughs and production. Standing as a testament to France’s industrial past, the site has been granted historic monument status by the nation for many decades.

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South Burgundy canal boat hire and beyond

Those who are in it for the long hall will pass the centre of the Burgundy canal, and into the southern section of the waterway. The first commune you will come to in the south of the Burgundy Canal is that of Pouilly-en-Auxois. Pouilly-en-Auxois is home to the traditional start of the canal and is made famous by its canal tunnel, which you will undoubtedly navigate yourselves through. On dry land, Pouilly-en-Auxois is home to the Halle du Toueur; this museum houses a former tug boat in all its glory. This is ideal for any fan of boating in general or the history of canal boats through France.

In true French countryside fashion, another chateau can be found a few miles from Pouilly-en-Auxois, known as Château de Commarin. This château has been passed down by twenty-six generations of the same family, showing how preserved and cared for the history of this area os. Open to the public half of the year, exploring Château de Commarin is just as rewarding as the many that line the Canal de Bourgogne.

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Explore Burgundy’s gastronomic capital of Dijon

Coming to the most southerly point of the Burgundy Canal, it would be impossible to boat through this area and not visit the region’s capital, Dijon. Known throughout Europe and the world, the city of Dijon has a reputation for many things. One of the biggest draws to the city is its gastronomical history and appeal. Lovers of all things French gastronomy will find an array of different food experiences in the city and really give you a taste of true French cooking.

Aside from the foodie experiences, Dijon has its fair share of cultural and historical must-see sights in the city. The most popular of these has to be the Ducal Palace, the former home of the Duke of Burgundy and their courts. This perfectly preserved Gothic-style palace is a fine example of 17th and 19th century Royal French architecture and history.

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If you want to book this cruise
Browse online the availabilities

our boats available

Departing from our Joigny 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 Joigny

LOCABOAT HOLIDAYS
Quai du Port au Bois
89300 – Joigny
FRANCE

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

+ 33 (0) 3 86 62 06 14

[email protected]

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