If your ideal summer holiday looks like a long, gently-flowing canal with occasional new experiences along the way, then your next break just has to be about hiring a boat on the Canal du Nivernais! You’re guaranteed a holiday that’s exciting as well as relaxing, on one of the most beautiful canals in France.
Starting from the base at Joigny or Corbigny, spend your summer afloat
A great start to the day…
>The Sardy valley is the image of peace and tranquillity – really inspiring. Don’t miss the Échelle de Sardy (Sardy Ladder), a famous piece of waterways engineering with an incredible stairway of 16 locks. Our tip: hire bikes from your Locaboat base, or if you forget to do that, hire them on site from the Activital outdoor activities centre. On a mountain bike or an electrically-assisted hybrid, you can ride along the towpath, which has been converted into a green cycleway for 3.6 km.
> Fancy a cultural interlude? Make the most of the cooler morning air by strolling through the back streets of Clamecy to explore the remains of its former medieval citadel. Along the route you’ll see half-timbered houses, some with stone tracery, as well as gargoyles at the Collegiate Church of Saint Martin. Our tip: see the extraordinary antique astrological disc at the Romain Rolland museum of art and history.
> If you’re at Châtillon-en-Bazois, you can have lunch right there in the marina on boar ‘La Krystelle’. It’s a traditional Breton fishing boat, known as a touée cabanée*, that has been converted into a waterborne crêperie where you can try traditional wheat or buckwheat pancakes, savoury or sweet. Our tip: try the ‘pirate galette’, a buckwheat pancake with red fruits, perfect for a late-morning snack.
> To pimp up your picnic, discover Burgundy’s secret: a nice bottle of Irancy red! The village of Irancy stands beside the canal and is surrounded by 251 hectares of vines, a great place to lose yourself while you’re looking for the perfect bottle to take back on board!
Our tip: try a plate of cold meats with a glass of Irancy red, it hits the spot every time!
A busy afternoon
> Take a look at the Collancelle Tunnels. Ever since 1784, these three famous old ladies of the Nivernais have been making eyes at the boating fraternity! You’ll love the amazing vegetation that grows above the three vaulted tunnels. This is a magical voyage through Burgundy’s answer to the Amazon forest. Our tip: the Activital centre provides stand-up paddle boards so you can experience it all as you paddle along.
> Walkers and nature-lovers, don’t miss the lakes, the Etang de Baye and Etang de Vaux! Set out on an expedition to see the plants and wildlife, but don’t forget your swim suit and towel. After a good long walk, dive into the water to cool off or enjoy some watersports. Our tip: to make your walk more interesting, install the free IONO app and you’ll learn all about this birdwatcher’s paradise.
The evening stretches out in front of you. Your friends are there and the cocktails have been served on deck: raise a glass to local products! As we pass through Clamecy, bring back a few delicious Donjon Beers, an homage to the châteaux of the Dukes of Burgundy. You’ll get a warm welcome from the two enthusiastic friends who run this craft brewery, producing blond, amber and rose blond beers.