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The Sparkling Cruise

Loire-Valley, France

Reviews for the The Sparkling Cruise

We travelled from Paris by train to Nevers where we stayed overnight before catching a taxi to Decize. This allowed us to get to the base early and start provisioning. As a previous hirer, the briefing on the boat was quick and we were on our way by 2pm. Our hire period was the 1st week in September and the weather was perfect. We visited the port of Nevers but only bought supplies as we had explored the town when we stayed overnight. This was also worth doing! We allowed a full day in port at Menetreol (Sancerre) and took advantage of the full day wine tour offered by Vinitour. The scenery was excellent and there were considerably less locks than on our previous hire on the Canal du Nivernais. We made good time to Chatillon sur Loire and continued over the aqueduct and on to Briare. The greatest surprise of the trip was the Pont du Guetin, a stone aqueduct with 2 consecutive locks that were the deepest ever encountered.
There are many small villages of interest and I would strongly recommend at least one bike hire to get provisions. The larger towns of Nevers, La Charite sur Loire, Menetreol (Sancerre) and Briare are all worthy of some detailed exploration. The full day wine tour was excellent but not cheap at 95 euro pp. There are plenty of good restaurants along the way but check to make sure they are open, especially once you get past the summer holiday period. Getting water at Nevers is a pain if you are making a quick stop as everything is locked up and the 'captain' only comes down twice a day. After Menetreol (where you will pay for water) there are plenty of places to fill up.
We were greeted very well, allowed to peruse the maps and instructions over lunch and departed earlier than expected. We were promptly handled at our final destination and even got a sizeable fuel deposit refund. The only reason that I didn't give 5 stars is because I felt that the competencies I had after our instruction session was a little inadequate, even though our instructor was great
Great canal, loved the viaducts over the Loire but would have been very difficult if it was busy
Servicio muy bueno, calidad del bote muy bueno
Muy buena en todos los sentidos