Everything you need to know about the Canal du Nivernais and Burgundy canals!

The Canal du Nivernais connects the Loire and Seine basins. Discover what now iconic channel in the history of the region. On foot, by bike or on the sea… Take time to explore the 180km!

Nivernais canal

Second channel in France in terms of participationThe Nivernais canal between Nièvre and Yonne receives visitors every year. And if young and old alike rush to discover it, it’s because it’s not lack of presence! Really, Canal du Nivernais heritage perfectly combines nature and history. For a weekend with family, friends or a romantic trip, sit down and let yourself drift off in silence…

Nivernais canal
Nivernais Canal Chris VERCRUYSSE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourism

Do you know his story?

The Nivernais canal was created in 1842 by hand dug to connect the Decize (58) basins with the Auxerre (89) basins. In the 19th century, this canal was used for wood transport.. Did you know that the Burgundian forests were among the main suppliers of wood to Paris at that time? Thanks to the flow of water, it was really easy to reach the capital. At the dawn of the 20th century, French canals were abandoned as the transport of wood by rail became more democratic. But, The Nivernais canal had not said its last word. ! Thus, excursion boats gradually took over the area, thanks to the small locks of the canal, which was too small for large boats.

Barge charter in Burgundy
Barge charter in Burgundy / Alain DOIRE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

Good to know this: There are no automatic locks on this channel today, lock guards greet you when you leave. take the opportunity to spend Privileged moment with these guardians of the Nivernais canal ! The medieval city of Clamecy, the home of the poet Marie Noël, the ruins of the Counts of Nevers’ former castle… They will be very good advice to share important places to explore during your getaway.

Where is the most beautiful place on the Nivernais canal?

Without any chauvinism, Burgundians affirm: this channel is a treasure ! And rightfully so… Whether you love expanses, exuberant nature, cliffs or vineyards, you’ll find what you’re looking for along the 180km Nivernais canal.

along the Nivernais canal
Along the Nivernais canal / Kim RASMUSSEN – Auxerre Tourism Office © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

Water lovers enjoy exploring the intersection of Confluence of Waters. The Canal du Nivernais, the river Aron, and the Loire meet at the time of a dam, beautiful scenery. A little further on, the Baye and Vaux ponds are perfect for water activities. Athletes are particularly pleased with three activities around the canal. Apart from the green path along this canal, two landscaped natural areas are popular: Basseville and Saussois Cliffs famous climbing places. Panorama and physical exertion guarantee you an incredible view!

River tourism Saussois
River tourism to Le Saussois (also known as Rochers du Saussois) climbing area / Alain DOIRE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

If you’re more of a history and engineering buff, three amazing sites await as you navigate. THEM Stairs of Sardy-les-Epiry It makes it possible to gain an altitude difference of 40 meters. 16 locks arranged at a distance of less than 4 km. A few kilometers away, Little Amazonia, characterized by its rich and diverse nature, is especially Collancelle Cellars, opens. there you will find one 760 m lung in tunnelfor water passage. Finally, proceed along the Yonne canal to better understand the canal’s architectural power. Here, engineering works (aqueducts, viaducts, valves, etc.) bring water from Lac de Pannecière to the canal.

Collancelle Cellars
Collancelle Cellars / Chris VERCRUYSSE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourism

canal by bike

Daily or weekly steps by bike Two-wheeled vehicles are an undeniably interesting mode of transport for exploring the Nivernais canal, especially as the historic towing roads have been converted into a cycle path. You will enjoy pedaling in these vehicles, which are only accessible to channel agents’ vehicles and cyclists. private green roads, without any particular difficulties. Also, this route is promising as the towing road is parallel to the canal. amazing water view with colors that change with the seasons.

Cycling along the Nivernais canal
Cycling along the Nivernais canal / Emilie ROLANDEZ © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

canal with boat

River tourism on the Nivernais canal It’s the best way to measure the richness of this artifact that was made by man more than 170 years ago. To go to Châtillon-en-Bazois charter a boat without a license and reach Coulanges-sur-Yonne. Imagine yourself at the helm for five days (or more) to the rhythm of water, locks, nature and cities where it’s good to take the time to wander around to enjoy the architectural nuggets. Under the guidance of your host, you will be surprised at: ease of transport and won by this new captain hat!

barge in the Nivernais canal
Barge on the Nivernais canal / Alain DOIRE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

Organize your stay on the Nivernais Canal

Recommended for visiting the Canal du Nivernais by water. boat rental with cabin. Thus, your transportation destination becomes your accommodation for a 100% natural experience. Prefer more traditional accommodation? Campsites, hostels, hostels, cute hotels… The medieval town of Clamecy, Auxerre, the city of art and history, the historic center of Decize… The area around the canal has reception areas. and visits to welcome you. Listen to your desires and choose the accommodation that suits you!

Clamecy municipal port
Clamecy municipal port / vdmarel.com © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourism

Cyclists can choose Organizations with the tag “Welcome to cycling” that it meets your expectations. It should be noted that every stop near a station makes the journey easier. For cyclists who don’t own a bike, don’t worry: Bicycle rental companies set up on the Nivernais canal. Do not hesitate to contact them to envision your escape based on their valuable advice.

Cycling tourism in the Châtel-Censoir
Cycling tourism at Châtel-Censoir / Alain DOIRE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

Other channels in Burgundy

In addition to the Canal du Nivernais, there are numerous other canals to explore in Burgundy. 1,000 km of waterways Along with lots of nice surprises await you! A brief overview of these places of heritage and discoveries along the water.

Burgundy Canal

Between the Seine basin and the Rhône basin, the Burgundian Canal bends for more than 242 km. Open from April to October, this canal is rich in diverse landscapes.. Sometimes fields as far as the eye can see, sometimes a very rugged landscape. Explore by boat or bike, the Burgundy Canal rich in history and heritage !

Burgundy Canal
Bordeaux Channel © Alexander Demyanenko

Central Channel

Between Chalon-sur-Saône and Digoin, this 114km channel of winds called “wild” among natural landscapes. Before leaving, take time to visit Saint-Vincent Cathedral and the market square in Chalon-sur-Saône. So while on your trip, don’t miss an original piece of art to see on the Canal du Centre: Digoin canal bridge this allows the canal on the side of the Loire to run along the Loire. Set foot in Santenay to wander the vineyards of the southern Côte de Beaune and enjoy the Château de Digoine in Palinges. Nickname “Pearl of Charolais”This building is considered one of the most remarkable French castles of the 18th century.

Cyclist on Digoin canal bridge
Cyclist on the Digoin canal bridge / Alain DOIRE © Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

Side canal in La Loire

Decize to BriareOver 196km, the canal on the side of the Loire imposes itself its serenity and phlegm. Take time to visit Decize before you leave. This town in Nièvre offers a dive into local history, with ramparts, old castle ruins and the Promenade des Halles. So get on your boat without a license, close your eyes, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the silence, listen to the birds greet you and the splash of the water… Then, when you cross the Loire river, your eyes wide when you arrive at Digoin, where the Canal bridge will dazzle you. Arrival in Nevers, View of Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Juliette cathedral and the famous Ducal Palace Wander through the narrow streets of this city with its rich heritage, walls, medieval streets and countless monuments.

Loire bridge and the town of Nevers
Loire bridge and the town of Nevers © Florent

Channels stand out like a magical bracket for your next weekends or future vacations!

you will understand, Cruises in Burgundy a great way to explore this destination! And if the Canal du Nivernais is described as a destination of choice, I bet everyone on all Burgundian canals will appreciate it. nature, the splendor of landscapes and the strength of regional heritage. Whether you’re looking for a sports trip or moments of total relaxation, the various Burgundian canals and rivers (L’Yonne, La Saône, La Seille) are real treasures to explore!

Beyond the canals, you can linger on the castles, landscapes and gastronomy that make up the wealth of tourism in Burgundy. We’ve listed 14 must-haves in Burgundy to gauge the greatness of this destination and not miss a thing!

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