Hotel barge Luciole cruises the Nivernais Canal, thought by many to be the most beautiful of French waterways. Round every bend the vista changes, as the waterway weaves through the heart of Burgundy’s beautiful scenery.
Barge Luciole is 114 ft (34 metres) long and 17 ft (5.18 metres) wide, with a flat base, straight sides and two decks. The barge began life on the French canals in 1926 as a mule-drawn freight vessel carrying coal. Her first name was the ‘Ponctuel’. Later equipped with an engine, she carried a heavier cargo of up to 180 tonnes.
The rendezvous in Paris at the Hotel Mansart with the Luciole’s representative is at 2.15 pm, followed by the journey to Auxerre in the barge’s private bus. The Luciole will be moored on the impressive river frontage of the city, overlooked by the Cathedral St Etienne, the 13 – 15th Century Abbey of St Germain and the Parish Church. A Champagne reception, delicious canapés and our crew, welcome Luciole passengers on board.
The cruise upriver leads us into beautiful pastoral countryside intermingled with sweeping reaches of the River Yonne. After lunch we pass by Bailly. Here in 1972 local winemakers restored the fortunes of these ancient vineyards with the production of sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne in the large limestone Caves de Bailly. The picturesque villages of St Bris and Irancy, also devoted to wine, stand nearby. We moor for the evening on the wide river in Vincelles.
In the morning the canal takes you towards the River Cure on the ‘Vermenton Arm’ and the village of Accolay.Our excursion to historic Auxerre is in the afternoon. The city offers many historic features: the Cathedral of St Étienne, Abbey of St Germain, with the Romanesque crypt and attractive clock tower in the centre of the town, built in the 15th Century. The Church presides over one of the most attractive waterfronts in France, recently renovated and where the Luciole now has her own private mooring. Auxerre was originally a Roman camp and became a centre of learning and pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.
In the morning we travel from Accolay, to the delightful town of Noyers-sur-Serein. With its friendly market stalls, half timbered houses and turreted ramparts it is easy to see why Noyers is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Above the town, the reconstruction of the medieval castle progresses. Catholic Henry IV ordered the destruction of the Protestant-owned château in 1599. Look out for the orchids in May and June
We visit Vézelay is in the morning and cruise in the afternoon to an evening mooring at Chatel Censoir, passing through a region where dramatic cliffs stand by the water’s edge. Watch out for the delightful ducks and geese, who have made this canal bank their home. Along the cruise route the Rochers du Parc and those at Les Saussois are regularly used by climbers. There is plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of this hilltop town and a super chance to visit the numerous craft shops selling clothes and gifts. Another opportunity too, to stop at one of the local cafes and watch the world go by (very French cafe life!). .
Our final cruise in the morning takes us to the delightful Medieval town of Clamecy, a worthy venue for the climax of our cruise. The town features the 12 -16th Century church of St Martin that stands up on the hill in the town centre. Beside the river, stands the church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, which was opened in 1927. It was dedicated to the 50 successive bishops of Bethlehem who, unable to preside in Bethlehem itself, were resident at Clamecy from 1225 until the French Revolution in the late 18th Century.
After breakfast, the Luciole bus departs for Place Vendôme, central Paris where taxis are available for onward travel. Anticipated arrival is at 1pm. For guests wishing to travel elsewhere in France by train or hire car, a stop can always be made in Auxerre en-route to Paris.
Meals on board the Luciole are treasured times: a summer luncheon or dinner by candlelight
Wake up to fresh croissants and pastries from local bakeries along our cruise route. The culinary delights continue through lunch, with savory dishes and a feast of salads. Our chef is encouraged to be innovative and imaginative, marrying French cuisine with a contemporary twist whilst using fresh local ingredients to inspire and spoil you. Each evening the memorable four-course meal provides the climax to each day.
Through out the week we introduce you to a variety of twenty-three delicious French cheeses, from creamy Camembert to the famous blue Roquefort. Tea and coffee is available throughout the day, or perhaps choose something a little stronger from the ‘open bar’. Special diets are easily catered for aboard the Luciole.
|Accomodation||Low Season||High Season|
|Private Charter (up to 8 guests)||$54,000||n/a|
|Private Charter (up to 10 guests)||$62,100||$70,200|
|Private Charter (up to 12 guests)||$70,200||$78,500|
|Double Cabin (Per Person, Double Occupancy)||$6,300||$7,000|
|Seasons||6 May - 26 May / 15 July - 1 September / 30 September - 27 October||27 May - 14 July / 2 September - 29 September|
For several weeks each season, we offer cruises for individuals and couples who would like to join other passengers for their Athos cruise. A two-cabin booking minimum is required for this “hotelstyle” week.
Organizing a family reunion or a special getaway with your closest friends? You can book the entire boat for groups of six or more.