Boating Holidays from Blue Water Holidays

West Burgundy Boating Holidays

The region of western Burgundy (Nivernais Loire) offers magnificent chateaux, peaceful landscapes, ancient villages and plentiful wildlife on a network of pretty waterways. Easy to reach from Paris, the region offers some of the most varied boating areas in France.

Our five cruiser boat bases and four penichette bases offer you an extensive choice of cruises.

West Burgundy Area Map

From our bases at Joigny and Migennes cruise the Canal de Bourgogne south east through Chablis wine country.

Discover the ancient villages of Saint Florentin, Tanlay, and Montbard, and the magnificent chateaux of Tanlay and Ancy-le-Franc.

Take the Canal du Nivernais – the prettiest in France - south from Joigny and Migennes through wooded hills to the rich plains of the Loire Valley. Medieval towns and villages are perfect places to stop and enjoy the cuisine and wines of Burgundy.

West Burgundy - the very heart of France

See historic Auxerre, picturesque Irancy, and Chatel-Censoir, a pretty village with 5th century crypt and ancient church, and also a cruiser boat base. Nearby Vezelay has a main street lined with medieval houses and a World Heritage site church.

Tannay and Corbigny both have boat bases and offer views over the Morvan hills. From Corbigny the descent south to the Loire winds through rich meadows grazed by the famous white Charolais cattle.

Between Sardy-les-Epiry and Baye three successive tunnels lead to a set of 16 closely spaced locks.

Decize, on a hill between two arms of the River Loire, has narrow and picturesque streets and walled fortifications. From our boat bases here and at Dompierre cruise further south through villages with their weekday markets to Digoin, famous for its potteries and aqueduct crossing the River Loire.

To the west of the Nivernais Loire region the gently sloping Canal lateral a la Loire follows the course of the River Loire with very few locks. See Nevers, steeped in history, or the more modern Formula 1 museum at Magny Cours. Enjoy views across famous vineyards to pretty wine villages such as Sancerre.

Going north on the Canal de Briare from our bases at and Briare, see the famous aqueduct at Briare and reach Montargis with its waterside streets and Moret-sur-Loing, home to the impressionist painter Sisley.

A cruise in West Burgundy gives you the choice of cruising routes in the very heart of France.

Area Highlights

Highlights of the West Burgundy Region

  • Easy to reach from Paris
  • Renowned for its wine and food
  • Stunning views from medieval hilltop villages
  • Beautiful architecture
  • Wonderful local markets with fresh produce
  • Hilltop village of Sancerre and its famous wine-producing vineyards
  • Delicious Crotting de Chavignol goats cheese - a local speciality
  • Formula 1 museum at Magny Cours
  • Nevers' rich cultural heritage - a former Roman town
Burgundy Canal Boat Hire

Useful Information:

  • Locks open on most public holidays.
  • Canal lateral a la Loire: An easy cruising route with automatic locks and lock-keepers.
  • Canal du Nivernais: No Commercial barges. Well-kept, easy to operate locks with lock-keepers.
  • Sardy staircase near Baye has 16 locks and a lock-keeper to assist.
  • Canal du bourgogne: Manual and automatic locks with lock-keepers.

Customer Reviews

The Canal du Nivernais is a beautiful route with unspoilt towns and villages and wonderful scenery unfolding at every turn. This is our fourth boating holiday in France and was definitely the best yet. The staff to Joigny were outstanding and the Europa 400 boat was beautifully presented and ideal for 2 couples. PW - Joigny - Joigny
We travelled from Tannay to Decize on the Nivernais canal. We were very fortunate with the weather and enjoyed very good fishing (catch & release of course). The lock keepers were largely cheerful and helpful and the few people we saw (mainly on bikes riding alongside the canal) were friendly. A really pleasant experience and a relaxing holiday despite negotiating through 72 locks! PY – Tannay to Decize in Central France
From Joigny we headed down the Canal du Nivernais to Auxerre and then headed a little way down the Canal de Bourgogne on the way back. We had a great time, and next time I think we'd try to stretch for a 2 week trip. HT – Joigny and back in Central France
The route was easy going, maps very informative and the scenery pleasant to beautiful. The bikes added a wonderful dimension. It was ultra relaxing!!
RB – Decize to Chatilon sur Loire in Central France
The route was easy going, maps very informative and the scenery pleasant to beautiful. The bikes added a wonderful dimension. It was ultra relaxing!!
RB – Decize to Chatilon sur Loire in Central France
“Joigny to Chatel Censoir & back. Boat, its facilities, inventory, general condition & cleanliness were better than we had expected, really excellent.”
FB – Joigny out and back in Central France
Show More Reviews

Suggested Cruises from our bases in Burgundy Nivernais

West Burgundy Boating Map

One way cruises are available between bases of the same colour.

View Routes from:

Boat Holidays from Corbigny

Corbigny is gateway to the Canal du Nivernais which was built between 1783 and 1842 and has some of the most stunning scenery on the French Waterway. A highlight of the town is the Corbigny Abbey, an 18th century abbey which hosts a music festival each summer. There is also a Gothich 16th century church and traditional old houses in the town. Cruise south to Decize or north to Auxerre and descend towards the River Seine.

Boat Search by Start Base

Start Base: Corbigny

One Way Routes

Corbigny - La-Collancelle - Châtillon-en-Bazois - Decize - Dompierre

One Way • 1 Week • 122km • 70 Locks • 4 hr 15 / day

Corbigny - Clamecy - Vermenton - Auxerre - Joigny

One Way • 1 Week • 128km • 62 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Out and Back Routes

Corbigny - Tannay - Clamecy - Châtel-Censoir - Corbigny

Return Trip • 1 Week • 108km • 62 Locks • 4 hr 15 / day

Corbigny - Tannay - Clamecy - Coulanges - Vermenton - Corbigny

Return Trip • 10/11 Days • 158km • 92 Locks • 4 hr 15 / day

Corbigny - Châtillon - Decize - Nevers - Sancerre - Corbigny

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 340km • 168 Locks • 6 hr 00 / day

Boat Holidays from Dompierre

Our base at Dompierre in Southern Burgundy is a crossroads. Lining the canal banks are chateaux, abbeys and medieval villages. The Pal wildlife park near Dompierre offers some spectacular attractions with almost 500 animals from five continents able to roam in natural settings.

South from Dompierre reach the magnificent Digoin aqueduct which takes you on to the Canal du Centre, built in the 18th century to link Roanne to Chalon-sur-Saone. The Digoin aqueduct crosses the River Loire - a real waterways crossroads. Digoin is famous for its potteries, and a museum housed in an 18th century hostelry is devoted to them.

Boat Search by Start Base

Start Base: Dompierre

One Way Routes

Dompierre - Decize - Cercy - Chatillon - Corbigny

One Way • 1 Week • 122km • 63 Locks • 4 hr 15 / day

Dompierre - Decize - Chatillon en Bazois - Clamency - Auxerre - Joigny

One Way • 2 Weeks • 260km • 129 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Out and Back Routes

Dompierre - Digoin - Paray-le-Monial - Roanne - Dompierre

Return trip • 1 week • 189km • 38 locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Dompierre - Decize - Cercy - Chatillon en Bazois - Dompierre

Return trip • 1 week • 170km • 58 locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Dompierre - Decize - Nevers - Sancerre - Briare - Dompierre

Return Trip • 2 weeks• 356km • 70 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Briare aqueduct
Charite Sur Loire

Boat Holidays from Joigny

Travel from Joigny through Chablis country past ancient poplar trees and buildings ranging from abbeys to fortified farmhouses. Tie up close to the superb aqueduct at Saint Florentin and climb up to its church to admire the superb stained glass.

From Joigny take the Canal du Nivernais and travel through the Yonne valley and glorious French scenery. Romanesque churches abound and famous wine producing regions lie close to the canal.

Boat Search by Start Base

Start Base: Joigny

One Way Routes

Joigny - Auxerre - Vermenton - Clamency - Corbigny

One Way • 1 Week • 128km • 62 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Joigny - Tanlay - Ancy-le-Franc - Montbard

One Way • 1 Week • 111km • 52 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Joigny - Sens - Tanlay - Ancy-le-Franc - Montbard

One Way • 10/11 Days • 227km • 84 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

Joigny - Tanlay - Ancy-le-Franc - Venarey - Pouilly-en-Auxois - Chateauneuf - Montbard

One Way • 2 Weeks • 233km • 195 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Joigny - Sens - Moret - Briare - Sancerre - Nevers - Decize - Dompierre

One Way • 2 Weeks • 379km • 105 Locks • 5 hr 00 / day

Out and Back Routes

Joigny - Tanlay - Ancy le Franc - Montbard - Joigny

Return Trip • 10 / 11 Days • 222km • 98 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

Joigny - Ancy Le France - Tanlay - Montbard - Venarey - Joigny

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 246km • 134 Locks • 5 hr / day

Joigny - Villeneuve - Sens - Bray - Nogent-sur-Seine - Joigny

Return • 10/11 Days • 256km • 48 Locks • 4 hr 15 / day

Joigny - Sens - Montereau - Moret - Montargis - Briare - Sancerre - Nevers - Decize - Chatillon - Baye - Corbigny - Clamecy - Auxerre - Joigny

Circular Route • 3 Weeks • 553km • 214 Locks • 5 hr 15 / day

Burgundy Canal

Please note that hours suggested above are approximate

Back to the Top

Venarey - Montbard - Tonnerre - Saint Florentin - Brienon

Oneway • 7 Days • 108km • 57 Locks • 32 hrs

Venarey - Chateauneuf - Venarey

Return • 14 Days • 98km • 130 Locks • 90 hrs

Venarey - Tanlay - Venarey

Return • 7 Days • 124km • 68 Locks • 31 hrs

Venarey - Ancy-le-Franc - Venarey

Shortbreak • 4 Days • 82km • 50 Locks • 21 hrs