No.21A - Cruising With A Twist Of Jazz
During our week we enjoy some 70km of gentle cruising on the Canal du Nivernais and River Yonne, with excursions on the coach to some of the great local attractions of Northern Burgundy. And John and his colleagues will entertain us throughout the week!
Total cruise time and distance approx 24hrs, 70km, 35 locks
Passing through scenic and sparsely populated country on the western edge of the Morvan regional park, the Canal du Nivernais is widely held to be the prettiest of the many canal cruise routes in central and eastern France. The Canal provides a link between the Loire Valley to the south and the Paris basin to the north, and its mix of river and canal sections make it an infinitely varying and interesting waterways journey.
We cruise for three full days covering the entire distance between Auxerre and the medieval town of Clamecy, and for the other three days the coach takes us to some of the region's highspots, including the UNESCO-listed Basilica at Vézelay; the prehistoric Caves d'Arcy (noted for the second oldest known cave drawings in Europe); the remarkable castle-under-construction project at Guédelon as featured in the recent BBC TV series; and we schedule wine-tastings at La Croix Montjoie near Vézelay, and in the iconic wine town of Chablis. There is also plenty of free time in which to explore historic Auxerre, and we visit the restored Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny for an evening meal there.
During our week we enjoy three full days of cruising between Auxerre and Clamecy on the scenic River Yonne and Canal du Nivernais. With quite regular pauses at locks, there is plenty of opportunity to stroll the well-maintained towpath.
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 our excursion days. Dinners are served at the hotel but on one evening we dine-out at the nearby Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny.
Formed as an offshoot of the JB Jazz and Blues Band in order to accommodate the smaller venue, the JB Swing Band has one aim in life - to have fun! The band was voted Band of the Year by Stafford Jazz Society in 2008, 2010 and 2017, and is well-known through festivals, clubs, theatre performances and a TV appearance on John's son Simon Pegg's hit series Spaced on Channel 4.
The Band has also starred in Jazz events in Spain, Germany, Holland, France and the Channel Islands, and of course many festivals and jazz holidays in the U.K. The band recreates the sound of the Swing and Jump Bands of the 40's and 50's, influenced by the small groups of Louis Jordan, Fats Waller and Louis Prima. With a line up of John Beckingham on Piano and vocals, Paul Holder on Drums and vocals, Andy Loveridge on Saxes, Flute and Clarinet, and Tony Capaldi on bass and vocals, expect some memorable performances of jazz and swing - all contributing to a great holiday!
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Executive Coach Travel
Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure
Eurotunnel or ferry crossings
Hotel accommodation at the Hotel Normandie in Auxerre (August) and the Logis St François in Vermenton (October)
Dinners with wine including an evening meal at the Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny
Visits to the Castle of Guédelon, Vézelay, Caves d'Arcy
Free time in Auxerre
(August) The Hotel Normandie in Auxerre is a well-rated 3* hotel situated only a few minutes walk from Auxerre's spectacular river frontage and its delightful pedestrianised medieval centre. The hotel is bed & breakfast only and we will dine out at a selection of venues where we can also enjoy the company of our music makers!
(October) The Logis St François in the village of Vermenton, a no-frills facility recently fully renovated and ideally situated for our cruising the Canal Du Nivernais southwards to Clamecy. This groups-only hotel is operated by the family who own the nearby Abbaye de Reigny where we eat out on one evening. This is a comfortable, clean, spacious and quiet hotel, well rated by our visitors throughout the 2018 season.
Our tour package includes all meals with the sole exception of lunch on our travel days, when it is planned to break the journey so that guests can lunch on their own initiative in or near Reims or Laon.
When staying in Auxerre (August) we will dine at a selection of local restaurants, advance choice menus and wine included. When staying in Vermenton we will dine in the hotel to a 3-course advance choice menu. For both weeks the evening programme will include a trip out to the Cistercian Abbaye de Reigny to dine there.
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.
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. The boats has two WC/washrooms. There is no smoking on board.
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. The saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system, and the hull design ensures that we create minimal wash, and therefore do not add to the problems of bank erosion.
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.