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The town of Briare is famous for the 662m-long aqueduct
The town of Briare is famous for the 662m-long aqueduct

Photo: Shutterstock

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See France by canal barge

Picture yourself cruising along a French canal at a -gentle pace, surrounded by magnificent countryside. France is home to some 8,000km of navigable inland waterways that allow you to traverse the country by boat. This route takes us through the regions of Loire and Burgundy, home to some of France’s most charming scenery, striking chateaus and quaffable wines.

Graphics: Karin Ulin

Montargis

Sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the Gâtinais,” Montargis is a picturesque town on the Briare Canal famous for its network of canals, bridges and charming waterside houses. Visitors with a sweet tooth should not miss the local delicacy of caramelized roasted almonds, known as Montargis pralines.

Montargis

Montargis, France

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Photo: Shutterstock

Montbouy

Montbouy is a good starting point for a visit to the magnificent Château de Fontainebleau, a Unesco World Heritage site. Boasting more than 1,500 rooms and some 130 acres of parks and gardens, Fontaine-bleau was the only royal and -imperial château to be continuously inhabited for seven centuries.

Château de Fontainebleau

77300 Fontainebleau, France

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Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses

Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses is a charming village dotted with bridges and walkways. Engineering enthusiasts will want to visit Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses’ seven 350-year-old locks, after which the town was named. The locks were constructed in the 17th century on the Briare Canal to connect the Loire and Seine Rivers.

Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses

89220 Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses, France

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Étang de La Gazonne

Take a walk along the banks of La Gazonne, a 29-hectare lake that provides the water for the Briare Canal. Visiting gastronomes will be thrilled to learn that the Michelin-starred -Auberge des Templiers is just a short drive away. The timeless eatery, which has held a Michelin star since 1952, is known for dishes such as ravioli of wild mushrooms and velouté with truffle jus, and John Dory in a La Ratte potato crust and sweet red onion sauce.

Étang de La Gazonne

20 Route Départementale, Boismorand

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Château de La Bussière in Briare.

Briare

The town of Briare is famous for the 662m-long aqueduct, which used to be the longest navigable aqueduct in the world. Do not miss an opportunity to visit the exquisite Château de La Bussière. Known as the Castle of the Fisherman, the privately owned castle, originally built as a fortress in the 12th century, houses an extraordinary collection of works of art and artifacts related to fishing.

Château de La Bussière

Château de La Bussière, 45230 La Bussière

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The ruins of Château Gaillard.

Châtillon-sur-Loire

Having cruised across the aqueduct, the Briare Canal turns into the Canal Lateral à La Loire, home to towns such as Châtillon-sur-Loire, with its famous ancient city remains that include the ruins of Château Gaillard. Farther down the line, you will find the celebrated wine region of Sancerre, best known for its richly textured Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Châtillon-sur-Loire

45360 Châtillon-sur-Loire, France

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Last edited: May 23, 2018

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