Briare, the picturesque home of the ‘Emaux de Briare’ enamel mosaics company, first grew up with the building of the canal linking the Loire with the Seine. It’s the perfect place for anyone who loves nature and unusual architecture. With walks, exploration and cultural attractions, it offers a slice of the good life. Step aboard your self-drive boat and discover the wonderful region around Briare!
The Briare Canal Bridge
The Canal Bridge is the region’s main tourist attraction and shouldn’t be missed. This steel giant is 662 metres long and, until 2003, it was the world’s longest metal canal-carrying bridge. It’s a remarkable feat of engineering that was inspired by the work of Gustave Eiffel. In 1976 it was listed as an historic monument. Its impressive structure, decorated pillars and 19th-century lamp standards are amazing. Stroll along the towpaths and on the bridge itself to get an unrivalled view over the Loire and its banks. An unmissable attraction during any boating holiday on the Loire.
The Church of Saint Étienne
The Church of Saint Étienne is another must when you visit Briare. It was built in the 19th century in a Romanesque and Byzantine style and listed as an historic monument in 1987. The building of the church was financed by the Briare mosaics factory, which decorated it from top to bottom with its famous mosaics. This feature gives the church an unusual and delightful appearance. Every nook and cranny, inside and out, is a feast for the eyes. Don’t miss the chance to visit the church in the late afternoon to see the sun’s rays reflected on the beautiful mosaics.
The Loire, a Royal River
The Loire and its surroundings are typical of this region’s relaxed way of life. It’s the perfect setting for a picnic with family or friends or just with your partner. Our advice is to visit the area in spring when the first flower buds are opening and you might catch a glimpse of some of the smaller local wildlife with their young: a real treat for all the family!
There are lots of ways you could explore the Loire: aboard your canal barge, on a bike using one of the well-maintained paths, or on foot. There are some really pretty walking routes that take you along the lovely, peaceful towpaths. Photographers, walkers and nature-lovers will fall for this emerald-green paradise.
Hidden away in every corner of the town you’ll find little masterpieces of ceramic art, relics of the town’s past that made it so famous. You can discover it all on your canal barge. There’s no better way to visit Briare than on your self-drive boat!