Superb, sociable cruising on the Nivernais, upper Burgundy

The Luciole makes everyone happy. With over 50 years cruising under her belt, Luciole knows exactly how to please, combining comfort, exceptional service and gastronomic delights during her cruise on the Nivernais canal in Burgundy. Her style is relaxed, her decor classically modern, her quality and comfort faultless.

Hotel Barge Luciole is highly flexible, providing classic cruising for cabin guests, and a great variety of themed cruising for charter parties, including the Adventure cruise, Bike and Barge, Wine Appreciation and the Girlfriend Getaway cruise. Relax in great company and savour innovative and imaginative French cuisine as you get to know this beautiful part of France.

At a Glance

Style: The 'nature' of the hotel barge. Outline subjective guidance as to the quality or comfort level that might be expected on board.
Price Band: Per person. Outline guidance only, on a relative or comparative basis. The bands do not represent accurate low or high season rates.

Hotel Barge Luciole :: Key Features

  • Excellence class (4*)
  • Canal de Nivernais, upper Loire / upper Burgundy region
  • Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, April to October
  • 12 guests / 8 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
  • Themed cruising for charters
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating
  • Queen size double or twin bed configurations or two single cabins
  • Full board, on-board dining
  • Spacious sun deck shade and seating
  • A bicycle for each guest, 8 hybrid with 21 gears and 4 electric
  • Wifi (limited in some places)
  • Air-conditioned minibuses for transfers and excursions

Hotel Barge Luciole: Cruise Highlights

  • A variety of delightful vistas as the Nivernais canal joins and leaves the clear Yonne river
  • Explore Auxerre, the lively ancient capital of the region
  • Excursion to Chablis town, its vineyards and wine tasting
  • Visit to Vezelay and its pilgrim’s way hilltop Basilica of Mary Magdelene
  • Chateau de Bazoches, home of the Marquis de Vauban, important military engineer
  • A theme of your choice (charters only)
  • An excellent towpath for walking and cycling

penny-liley-250x250Your Host:
Owner Penny Liley, a trained chef herself and experienced crew member, is now responsible for the overall running of the Luciole, a family business in its 40th successful year. With her calm hands-on approach she makes sure that her expert crew delivers the high-standards and luxury experience for which Luciole is renowned.

What’s included:
6 nights accommodation, transfers to and from the Hotel Mansart, Paris, all meals and drinks on board, excursion fees and associated transport

Not included:
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10%)

Hotel Barge Luciole: Guest comments

“When I left Australia, I knew I would be celebrating my March birthday with a belated event in France. Well, last week was it. I went on a Hotel Barge holiday, cruising through the heart of Burgundy. It was wonderful!
– 4 star luxury all week. Every morning the chef, deckhand or one of the crew would head off to a local bakery for wonderful bread sticks, croissants and pastries. Coffee, fresh fruits and preserves, a perfect way the start the day.
Lunch; a fabulous buffet of 5 or 6 dishes. All the french classics. To follow, sometimes sweets, sometimes cheese. Always 2 matching wines.

Dinner; a lavish 4 course event every night. Again, matching wines from the region, always a white and a red, and plenty of backup bottles. The final night, the Captains champagne farewell dinner was another notch up the scale (loved the pan fried Foie Gras).
To sum it up. You hear the phrase ‘a dream holiday’. Well, I reckon this was it for me.”
Rodney B, 2015

Hotel Barge Luciole: Classic Cruise
Auxerre to Clamecy – Canal du Nivernais and river Yonne, Burgundy

Click on the Special Options tab for Variations on the Classic Cruise including
Adventure ActivitiesBike and BargeWine WeekGirls’ Getaway

hotel barge nivernais burgundy luciole

Day 1 Sunday Arrival
Pick-up from the Hotel Mansart in Paris at 14:15 for chauffeured transfer by private air-conditioned mini-bus to Luciole, moored at Auxerre. Champagne reception and meet the crew before dinner on board and a stroll around the town.

Day 2 Monday Auxerre to Vincelles
The cruise upriver on the Yonne through verdant countryside, passing the ‘Caves be Bailly, famed for their sparkling Cremant de Bourgogne; St Bris and Irancy, also well-known vineyards, are close by. Lunch on board and then an excursion to the Chablis vineyards in the hills to the east for a fabulous wine-tasting. Chablis is produced within a strictly-defined area, the most prestigious from vineyards on the ‘Grand Cru Hill’. Moor for the evening on the wide river in Vincelles.

Hotel Barge Luciole Chablis vineyards Nivernais Burgundy

Day 3 Tuesday Vincelles to Accolay
Cruise towards the River Cure taking the branch canal towards Vermenton and moor at the village of Accolay. Lunch on board and then an excursion and guided tour of Auxerre: the Cathedral of St Étienne, 15th century Abbey of St Germain. Auxerre was originally a Roman camp, became a centre of learning and pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and it now a bustling city with shops and cafes to visit and sample French provincial life for the afternoon. Return to Luciole at Accolay for dinner back on board.

Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais

Day 4 Wednesday Accolay to Mailly-le-Château
Excursion to historic Noyers-sur-Serein, considered one of the most beautiful villages in France, with market stalls, half timbered houses and turreted ramparts of a castle under restoration. Take lunch in one of the local restaurants and enjoy the authentic atmosphere of dining in the French tradition.
Then cruise to moor beneath the walls of Mailly-le-Château. Take the steep path up to the town, where a terrace offers spectacular views of the Yonne Valley. Dinner on board.

Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais

Day 5 Thursday Mailly-le-Château to Lucy-sur-Yonne
Excursion to the hilltop town of Vézelay, its spectacular 11th Century Basilica and its numerous shops and cafes that line the street to the summit. Vézelay was the historic starting point for two of the Crusades to the Holy Land, where Saint Bernard preached to the Crusaders in the presence of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais
Lunch on board and then cruise to the mooring at Lucy-sur-Yonne, passing through dramatic cliffs of the Rochers du Parc and Les Saussois, regularly used by climbers from all over the world. See the video.

Day 6 Friday Lucy-sur-Yonne to Clamecy
Cruise to the lively medieval town of Clamecy, with its historic 12th century church of St Martin and the church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, 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.
Lunch on board and then an excursion to the Château of Bazoches, the 17th century home of the Marquis de Vauban (1633-1707), famed military tactician and engineer.

Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais

Day 7 Saturday Departure
After breakfast, chauffeured transfer to Place Vendôme, central Paris, where taxis are available for onward travel. Anticipated arrival at 13:00.

Please note: This is a sample itinerary and subject to change; on alternate weeks it runs in the reverse direction

Hotel Barge Luciole – Four Themed Cruises on the Canal du Nivernais

1. Hotel Barge Luciole: Family Adventure Itinerary

The Luciole Activity Cruise blends cruising the glorious Nivernais Canal in Burgundy, with exciting activities. Alternative activities can easily be arranged, as well as excursions for the slightly less active. Remember, the route follows the Nivernais river and is a delight for swimming – no need for a Jacuzzi!

Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais Burgundy

  • Bikes for all ages are kept on board. The tow path beside the canal is ideal
    for cycling or walking along
  • Alternative meal times can be arranged for young children. Special diets are
    catered for by our talented chef.
  • Our crew of six are welcoming and create the relaxed and fun atmosphere
    on board that the Luciole is renowned for..

Sample itinerary:

Rendezvous in Paris at a location of your choice. Champagne reception on board the Luciole.


Zip-lining Hotel Barge Luciole Burgundy

Morning cruise to Bailly. Afternoon zip-lining and tree climbing. Also, a visit to Guedelon, a fascinating Medieval town in the making.

Morning horse riding in the hills, no previous experience necessary. Optional visit to Auxerre. Afternoon cruise to Accolay.

Horse riding Activity barge Luciole Burgundy

Excursion to the market of Noyers-sur-Serein. Cruise in the afternoon to Mailly-le-Château
Hotel Barge Luciole rock climbing activityMorning cruise to Lucy-sur-Yonne. Afternoon activity of rock wall climbing in an impressive quarry. Thrills for all.


Hotel Barge Luciole canoeing

Morning cruise to Clamecy. Afternoon of canoing the River Cure and visiting Vézelay, followed by ‘Captain’s Dinner’

Return transfer to Paris to a location of your choice


Each itinerary is carefully planned with the charter group before the cruise and alternative visits can usually be offered to those choosing not to participate in the selected activity. All visit costs are covered in the all-inclusive themed charter cruise rate.

Tree walking – Nature Adventure, Treigny
Traversing the wires, tackling the obstacles and exciting zip-lines from the treetop. The forrest features numerous circuits for varying abilities and ages – some high up in the trees. You are provided with a harness and helmets. It’s great fun, and can be as challenging or as easy as the individual chooses.

Go karting – Karting Quad, Auxerre
Take to the track with petrol go-karts, suitable for eight years upwards. The package includes free practice, qualifying and a full race. Alternatively, visit Auxerre for culture and shopping.

Noyers-sur-Serein – Chateau Noyers
Free time to explore the market and ramble round the medieval castle remains set up on the hill above the village. Volunteers are rebuilding the castle towers of what was France’s largest chateau. Alternatively, linger in the delightful town, enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes.

Cave climbing – Grotte Champ Retard
An old limestone quarry with a vast cave cut into the rock. Featuring long zip wires, abseiling and rock climbing on a course set into the cave walls. Different levels of difficulty mean any age can participate. This is great fun – for the thrill-seekers – there is the opportunity to feel scared!
The café with seating area provides a perfect place for spectators, while others can wander and watch the activities of others.

Canoeing – Saint Père sous Vézelay
Canoe down the enchanting River Cure, past geological outcrops and under an ancient Roman bridge. Its not white water rafting – but it is fun. If time allows, make a quick detour up to Vézelay for those wanting to see the inspiring bascilia. Alternatively, the river is close to the Chateau of Bazoches and Vézelay, for those preferring a guided tour.

Horse riding – Montillot
Ride through the buttercup fields and rolling hills. The stables offer horses and ponies for beginners to the more experienced rider. Helmets provided. Alternatively, visit the market town of Avallon with optional visit to the Costume Museum.

2. Hotel Barge Luciole: Bike and Barge Itinerary

Bike and barge Luciole Burgundy

Included in the fee:

  • France à Vélo bike, with 21 gears and helmets
  • Electric bikes available (surcharge)
  • France à Vélo’s professional bike guide, working in partnership with the Luciole crew
  • France à Vélo’s bus to transport bikes for passengers choosing ‘the lite’ cycling option
  • The all-inclusive Luciole barge cruise

3. Hotel Barge Luciole: Wine Week Itinerary | 23 – 29 September 2018

The Nivernais Canal runs down the Yonne Valley close to the vineyards of Chablis and Auxerre. The itinerary also includes Beaune in Southern Burgundy and Sancerre and Pouilly vineyards in the Loire Valley.

Wine cruise Irancy barge Luciole Burgundy

From the cruise route on the Nivernais Canal one can see the vineyards of the Appellation Contrôlée wines of the Côte d’Auxerre, Saint-Bris, Irancy, Coulanges-la-Vineuse. To the east, close by, are the famous vineyards of Chablis.

The region is associated with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In St-Bris-le-Vineuse, Sauvignon Blanc; in Irancy, César. Aligoté, also grown in the region is particularly associated with the aperitif ‘Kir’, combining beautifully with the liqueur of the same name.

Visit the esteemed vineyard of Jean-Marc Brocard and his son Julien – who has earned a highly valued reputation for organic wines. From their winery based in Préhy, cross the valley of the River Serein and up the Grand Cru Hill to fully appreciate the expanse and beauty of the Chablis region.

The town is situated in the eastern part of Burgundy, so it’s a day’s excursion. Lunch is taken in the town together with a wine tasting on the return crive through the celebrated domains of the region.

Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé
Lying to the west, the Loire Valley is associated with the crisp Sauvignon Blanc wines. Visit the two towns, lying each side of the wide River Loire, Sancerre perched on its hill top and a little farther south along the river bank, Pouilly. There is after all, much to be said of wine tasting the world famous wines ‘in situ’.

Caves de Bailly
Visit the old quarry, a stone’s throw from the canal, where the sparkling Burgundian wine ‘Crément de Bourgogne’ is now made and stored.

This itinerary is also available for charter parties throughout the year.


A Sample Itinerary

We rendezvous in Paris at the Hotel Mansart for the transfer to the barge. Captain Francisco welcomes you on board the Luciole, with Champagne reception and canapés.

In the morning we begin our cruise towards Vincelles. Along the route, we stop in Bailly to visit the impressive caves where Crémant de Bourgogne Bailly Lapierre is made The afternoon wine tasting is at the inspiring vineyard of Brocard. The tour introduces you to Chablis, the real Chablis made from the grapes within the town’s boundaries. After the tour, we take you to look over the prestigious ‘Grand Cru Hill’ and the vineyards stretched out, into the distance.

We begin the day with a breakfast cruise towards Accolay before a departure to Beaune. The Pinot Noir grape is grown in this famous wine region of Haute Côte de Beaune. We visit the Marché aux Vins and then lunch in the esteemed town, before a drive home through the vineyards, to compete the cruise to Accolay.

The small delightful town of Irancy nestles in an amphitheatre of vines and cherry trees. The winemakers here combine Pinot Noir grapes and the ancient variety of César for the town’s Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOL) red wine. We wine taste in St Bris, awarded AOC status in 2003. The wine is famed for being the only Burgundy to be permitted to use the Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris grape varieties. Cruise in the afternoon is to Mailly-le-Château, where we moor beneath the dramatic rocks.

Early morning cruise to Lucy-sur-Yonne, a delightful mooring between the village and the River Yonne. The bus departs to drive west for lunch in the enchanting hill-top town of Sancerre, overlooking the majestic River Loire. In this region, the Sauvignon Blanc grape is grown, a fruity contrast to the mineral white Chardonnay of Burgundy. We return home via Pouilly Fumé on the Loire’s east bank. The wine of this town, takes its name from the grapes, that when ripe, are covered with a ‘smokey’ bloom. A fascinating day for wine lovers.

Our final cruise is to the medieval town of Clamecy. The afternoon visit is to an organic wine producer, close to the magnificent hill top town of Vézelay. After the winery we visit the imposing World Heritage Site Basilica of Mary Madeleine for culture and an opportunity to shop at the delightful boutiques of clothes, jewellery, art and crafts. In the evening we celebrate the cruise with the farewell ‘Captain’s Dinner’.

Departure from the Luciole is after breakfast at 09.30.
Arriving in Paris at lunchtime.

4. Hotel Barge Luciole: Girls Getaway Charter

Luciole offers a cruise of sheer pampering and relaxation for a charter group of girlfriends. Escape, unwind and have fun on this luxury ladies cruise.

Girls Getaway Luciole barge Burgundy

Elegant Auxerre is great a place to shop, featuring French fashion shops and cafes. Vézelay has a great array of antiques, clothes and craft shops. Market day in Noyers-Sur-Serin is loved by ladies, with market stalls, a charming pottery shop and a tanner, who makes unique and classy hand-tooled leather handbags and accessories. Of course, the wine tasting tour to Chablis and a visit to the stunning chateau at Bazoches are also included.

A visit to the lovely Spa of Le Prieure for a massage in the elegant and relaxed surroundings of this tranquil old priory.

Colour consultant
An afternoon with a colour consultant from Paris, providing the opportunity to learn about the colours and styles that suit you. Lots of laughter along the way!

French flower garden

Flower grden Burgundy hotel barge Luciole
A visit to a gorgeous French garden in Fontenille, close to Luciole’s route, for tea, cake and garden joy. An opportunity to share flower appreciation with the knowledgeable and delightful house owners.

And of course the all-inclusive Luciole barge cruise.

Hotel Barge Luciole cruises through Nivernais and Morvan, Central Burgundy

Barge Cruising – The Nivernais

map burgundy nivernais► Hotel Barges cruising in this locality

Canal du Nivernais (north)

The Nivernais region is part of the modern department of Nievre and was originally a province centred around the town of Nevers in western Burgundy. It is most famous for its narrow squiggle of a canal – the Nivernais – which links the Loire and the Seine basins and crosses the remote and beautiful heathland forest of the Morvan. It was constructed in the 18th century to bring timber from the countryside to Paris and is one of the most characterful and unspoilt waterways in the whole country. It is often possible to buy local produce from some of the 110 locks along the way and many of them have exhibitions or beautifully planted gardens to ravish the eye.

Among the Nivernais’ natural wonders are the Rochers de Saussois, a towering limestone bluff that soars above the River Yonne which feeds the canal as it goes, while man-made highlights include the chateaux of Bazoches which was built in 1180 and has had forty owners including the brilliant military architect Vaubun; and Tanlay with its romantic moat and famous trompe l’oeil frescoes. Vezelay is the starting point for one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago di Compostella and it is easy to understand why pilgrims might be drawn to the pale and compelling beauty of the medieval abbey, particularly as it is said to house relics of Mary Magdalene.

Still on a religious theme, Auxerre is a historic city of such astounding loveliness that it boasts not just an 11th century cathedral, but a 12th century abbey too, and is where the unforgettable canal finally joins the river Yonne.

Getting There
Hotel barges normally collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Paris hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also TGV express train stations at Sens, Migennes, Montbard and Tours; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.

– [below] In the region: Auxerre, the Morvan, Noyers-sur-Serein, Saussois, the Canal du Nivernais, Tanlay, Vezelay, Bazoches –auxerre-500x300  morvan  noyers-sur-serein-500x300

saussois-500x300  nivernais-lock-500x300  nivernais-liftbridge2-500x300

tanlay-500x300  vezelay2-500x300  bazoches2-500x300

Auxerre ©Nelson Minar | Morvan © | Saussois ©Penny Liley | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Hotel Barge Luciole: Details and Facilities

Luciole Hotel Barge Burgundy Deckplan

  • Dimensions: 114ft (34m) x 17ft (5m)
  • Cabins: 3 queen-size double cabins, 3 twin-bedded cabins, 2 single cabins, all with ensuite bathrooms. However, 12 guests only.
    Doubles and twins approx 110 sq ft, singles 70 sq ft
    Hair-dryers and Molton Brown toiletries provided
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating throughout
  • Professional English-speaking crew of 6 – captain, tour guide, deckhand, chef, two hostesses
    Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais

Other items on board:

  • Sundeck with partial shade, dining area and seating
  • Comfy bicycle for each guest, including 4 electric bikes
  • A small library of books, maps and board games
  • Music system with CDs
  • TV and DVD player and DVDs
  • WIFI (limited availabilty in places
  • Air conditioned executive minibus

Hotel Barge Luciole: Cuisine

Hotel Barge Luciole Nivernais

Wake up to fresh croissants and pastries from local bakeries. The culinary delights continue through lunch, with savoury dishes and a feast of salads. Luciole’s chef is innovative and imaginative, marrying French cuisine with a contemporary twist whilst using fresh locally grown ingredients. Each evening the memorable four-course meal provides the climax to the day.

Throughout the week you will be introduced 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 and an ‘open bar’. Special diets are easily catered for aboard the Luciole.

Hotel Barge Luciole Burgundy

Naturally, French wines from far and near are served with every meal. Local vineyards are well represented with Chablis and the Yonne Valley on the doorstep . Wines from the Cote d’Or and Loire Valley are also on the list, together with selections from further afield: Bordeaux and the Alsace region.

Burgundy wines have their own distinctive character. Generally, Pinot Noir grapes are harvested for the red wines along with Gamay and César. For the whites it is Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Aligoté. The ‘terroir’ of the Burgundy is particularly fascinating and unique; stony vineyards, cold winters and warm summers contribute to the complex and varying flavours of each vintage, highly regarded by the wine enthusiast.

Hotel Barge Luciole Burgundy

The appreciation of Burgundy wines, as the week progresses, is a rewarding journey. However, Luciole also serves the full bodied Cabinet Sauvignon wines from the hotter climes of the southerly vineyards of the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux.

Hotel Barge Luciole – 2018 Rates

Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday

Value rate weeks:

April 15, 22, 29
May 6, 13, 20
July 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
October 14, 21

8 guest charter: 39,950 USD / 31,000 GBP / 39,500 EUR
10 guest charter: 46,000 USD / 33,500 GBP / 42,000 EUR
12 guest charter: 52,000 USD / 36,000 GBP / 44,500 EUR
Themed charter supplement: 2,000 USD / 1,500 GBP / 2,000 EUR

Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: 4,650 USD / 3,300 GBP / 3,950 EUR per person
Single cabin (when available): 4,550 USD / 2,700 GBP / 3,900 EUR

Regular rate weeks:

May 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
October 7

10 guest charter: 52,000 USD / 37,500 GBP / 47,000 EUR
12 guest charter: 58,000 USD / 40,000 GBP / 49,500 EUR
Themed charter supplement: 2,000 USD / 1,500 GBP / 2,000 EUR

Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: 5,150 USD / 3,600 GBP / 4,400 EUR per person
Single cabin (when available): 5,150 USD / 3,600 GBP / 4,400 EUR per person

All rates and prices will be confirmed at time of booking. Special Offers are available from time to time – contact us

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