No.16 - The Classic Nivernais - Relax And Explore!
This cruise-and-tour package will operate by coach from Folkestone with two full days of cruising complemented by two days of unhurried excursions on the coach, and a free day to relax and explore in Auxerre where our hotel is located.
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Coach departs Folkestone mid morning and after a pause for lunch in or near to Reims it is scheduled to arrive in Auxerre at around 18:00. As it is Bastille Day we will pre-arrange to dine as a group.
After a leisurely breakfast we join the coach for a 45 minute journey to the remarkable castle-under-construction project at Guédelon, subject of a current BBC2 TV series. Feedback from afternoon visitors under our 2018 programme has been that guests would like a full day at this fascinating project, and that is what we provide, including lunch at the excellent on-site restaurant..
The coach takes us the the short way to Vermenton, where we board the Natalia for our first day of cruising -mostly on canal over 29km with 12 locks, passing through the villages of Accolay, Ste-Pallaye, Prégilbert, Mailly-la-Ville, Mailly-le-Château and Merry-sur-Yonne, and also passing the spectacular limestone crag at Le Rochers du Saussois before we conclude for the day at Châtel Censoir.
In the morning we travel via the viewpoint above the vineyards of Irancy to visit the lovely medieval small town of Noyers-sur-Serein, officially a plus-beaux village. We then continue to the iconic wine town of Chablis, where we enjoy lunch - accompanied of course by Chablis - and then take some free time to explore and shop.
We take a mid-morning local train following the scenic line along the Yonne Valley between Auxerre and Clamecy, where we join the Natalia to cruise back to Châtel-Censoir. This takes us along a delightful rural setting, with the small town of Coulanges-sur-Yonne as midpoint. Alighting in Châtel-Censoir, we make the short transfer by coach to the Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny just outside Vermenton, where we enjoy dinner courtesy of our hosts Béatrice and Louis-Marie.
A completely relaxed day as we take advantage of our hotel's central location to enjoy a free day in Auxerre, with opportunity to explore the half timbered medieval buildings in the centre, the Cathedral St Étienne, Abbey of St Germain, and the stunning view of the city from riverside.
We depart for home, again planning a lunchtime pause in the vicinity of Reims or Laon.
On cruise days an on-board lunch is included and a free bar operates throughout. As well as teas, coffees and soft drinks, the bar stocks bottled beers and a range of wines including local Chablis, Bourgogne Aligoté and Irancy rouge, Crémant de Bourgogne, and a Provence rosé. Lunches-out are also included on excursion days, except for the free day in Auxerre when we are free to decide our own programmes for the day..
Our hotel in Auxerre is bed & breakfast only but there are many good local restaurants within a few minutes' walk, and guests are provided with restaurant vouchers to the value of 35 Euros to use at restaurants (or bars) of their own choosing. After a group meal necessarily pre-organised for our arrival evening, this should appeal to those who would like to try different establishments and dine a la carte. On the Thursday evening we will dine at the nearby Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny as mentioned, and we will again dine as a group on our final evening in Auxerre
Executive Coach Travel
Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure (additional cost)
Eurotunnel or ferry crossings
En route stops where time allows - normally Reims or Laon
Hotel stay as described
All meals except for lunches on travel days outbound and return and on Friday 19th when customers are free to explore Auxerre
Wine with all lunches and evening meals
Two full days of cruising on the Canal du Nivernais between Vermenton and Clamecy
Local coach excursions and visit programme on non-cruise days as described
Visit to Guédelon Castle (with lunch)
An evening visit and supper at the Abbaye de Reigny
Visit to Noyers sur Serein
Train trip Auxerre-Clamecy
The Hotel Normandie in Auxerre is a well-rated family-run 3* hotel situated only a few minutes walk from Auxerre's spectacular river frontage and its delightful pedestrianised medieval centre. The Normandie does not provide evening meals , hence we organise a group meal at a local restaurant for arrival and pre-departure evenings, we done out at the Abbaye de Reigny, and on the other three evenings guests are able to use our restaurant vouchers to dine a la carte. .
Our tour package includes all meals with the exception of lunch on our travel days outbound and homebound, and lunch on 19th July when we are free in Auxerre
Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply. Its diesel engines are only used if battery power is exhausted, so most of the time you can look forward to silent cruising free of exhaust fumes. The saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system.
We also operate to a strict waste-avoidance policy. We try to completely avoid the use of single-use plastics and we operate to a responsible recycling code. All meals and drinks on board are served using normal crockery, cutlery and glassware. Our crew also has a brief to support the recovery from rivers and canals of floating litter whenever this is practicable.
On Board Facilities:
Our boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate a coachload of passengers in lounge-standard seating and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air. There are 3 bikes on board free of charge for anyone who would like to ride the towpath. The boat has two WC/washrooms. An on-board lunch is included and a free bar operates throughout. As well as teas, coffees and soft drinks, the bar stocks bottled beers and a range of wines including local Chablis, Bourgogne Aligoté and Irancy rouge, Crémant de Bourgogne, and a Provence rosé.
Departure from Kent:
Anyone from further afield please feel welcome to join us on this or any other Buzzlines/Backwaters tour. We are happy to arrange parking for you here in Kent, or we can pick you up from Ashford International Station - only 37 minutes by HS1 from London St Pancras - and help you to find overnight hotel or B&B stops.