Linking the River Yonne to the River Saone, the Canal de Bourgogne, started in 1775 and finished in 1834, takes you to the heart of the Renaissance. At that period the Duchy of Burgundy vied in magnificence with the Kingdom of France.
Travel from Joigny through Chablis country past ancient poplar trees and buildings ranging from abbeys to fortified farmhouses. Tie up close to the superb aqueduct at Saint Florentin and climb up to its church to admire the superb stained glass.
At Tonnerre, the Fosse Dionne pool, surrounded by ancient houses, still provides a water supply to the town. Magnificent and splendidly furnished Renaissance chateaux such as Tanlay and Ancy-le-Franc punctuate your cruise. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Fontenay Abbey, tucked away in a secluded valley, is a short bike ride away.
From Joigny take the Canal du Nivernais and travel through the Yonne valley and glorious French scenery. Romanesque churches abound and famous wine producing regions lie close to the canal.
From Auxerre, noted for its food, fine Nivernais architecture and its wine, notably Chablis, cruise to picturesque Irancy, surrounded by vineyards with its Gothic and Renaissance buildings.
The dramatic location of Chatel-Censoir, a pretty village with 5th century crypt and ancient church, vies in splendour with nearby Vezelay, its main street lined with medieval houses and the magnificent World Heritage site church, starting point for the pilgrimage to Compostella.
Friendly, bustling Clamecy retains its ancient dovecotes. The prosperous little wine producing village of Tannay boasts panoramic views over the Morvan hills on the way to our base at Corbigny.
Connecting the Seine to the Loire, the two sides of the summit of the Canal du Nivernais are very different. From Corbigny south to Decize the descent to the Loire winds through rich meadows grazed by the famous white Nivernais cattle. Between Sardy-les-Epiry and Baye the three successive tunnels at La Colancelle lead to a set of 16 closely spaced locks in a rural setting. The Etang de Baye with its watersports centre lies right alongside the canal, while the lofty silhouette of the Chateau of Chatillon-en-Bazois soon looms into view. Then reach Decize, on a hill between two arms of the Loire, its narrow and picturesque streets ringed with walled fortifications.
At Decize the lateral canal meets the Loire, and river bathing is possible. Salmon and shad swim up here from the distant sea to spawn.
Our base at Dompierre in Southern Burgundy is a crossroads. Lining the canal banks are chateaux, abbeys and medieval villages. The Pal wildlife park near Dompierre offers some spectacular attractions with almost 500 animals from five continents able to roam in natural settings.
Cruise north up the Canal du Nivernais and cruise through ravishing countryside to the secret heart of the Morvan, or visit Nevers, steeped in history.
South from Dompierre reach the magnificent Digoin aqueduct which takes you on to the Canal du Centre, built in the 18th century to link Roanne to Chalon-sur-Saone. The Digoin aqueduct crosses the River Loire - a real waterways crossroads. Digoin is famous for its potteries, and a museum housed in an 18th century hostelry is devoted to them.
The Canal de Roanne à Digoin leads to Roanne, noted for its gastronomy all over France, but famous too for china and faience.
Penichette Cruising Routes
Joigny - Auxerre - Vermenton - Clamency - Corbigny
136 km, 67 locks, 4 h 45 / day.
Dompierre - Decize - Cercy - Chatillon - Corbigny
122 km, 63 locks, 4 h 15 / day.
Dompierre - Decize - Nevers - Sancerre - Cosne-sur-Loire - Briare (or vice versa, Saturday only)
168km, 37 Locks, 5 hr 00 / day
Joigny - Briare - Sancerre - Nevers - Decize - Dompierre
379 km, 105 locks, 5 h / day.
Dompierre - Decize - Chatillon-en-Bazois - Clamency - Auxerre - Joigny
260 km, 129 locks, 4 h 30 / day.
Dompierre - Sancerre - Nevers - Decize - Cercy - Chatillon - Corbigny
310 km, 116 locks, 4 h 45 / day.
Corbigny - Baye - Chatillon-en-Bazois - Pannecot - Cergy-la-Tour - Decize - Nevers - Marseille-les-Aubigny - La Charite-sur-Loire - Sancerre - Cosne-sur-Loire - Briare (or vice versa, Saturday only)
222km, 87 Locks, 4 hr 00 / day
Joigny - Villeneuve - Sens - Nogent-sur-Seine - Moret-sur-Loing - Rogny - Briare (or vice versa, Saturday only)
295km, 87 Locks, 4 hr 00 / day
The above cruises operate in either direction
OUT AND BACK
Joigny - Auxerre - Vermenton - Chatel-Censoir
154 km, 68 locks, 5 h 30 / day.
Joigny - Tonnerre - Tanlay - Ancy-le-Franc
166 km, 68 locks, 5 h 30 / day.
Corbigny - Tannay - Clamecy - Chatel-Censoir
108 km, 62 locks, 4 h 15 / day.
Corbigny - Etangs de Baye - Chatillon-en-Bazois - Pannecot
98 km, 96 locks, 4 h 30 / day.
Dompierre - Digoin - Paray-le-Monial - Roanne
189 km, 39 locks, 4 h 45 / day.
Dompierre - Decize - Cercy - Chatillon-en-Bazois
170 km, 58 locks, 5 h / day.
Joigny - Auxerre - Chatel-Censoir - Clamency
194 km, 86 locks, 4 h 45 / day.
Joigny - Tanlay - Ancy-le-Franc - Montbard
222 km, 98 locks, 4 h 45 / day.
Dompierre - Decize - Nevers - Sancerre - Briarre
356 km, 70 locks, 5 h / day.
Joigny - Auxerre - Vermenton - Clamecy - Baye
288 km, 176 locks, 5 h 30 / day.
Joigny - Ancy Le France - Tanlay - Montbard - Venarey
246 km, 134 locks, 5 h / day.
Dompierre - Decize - Cercy - Chitry-les-Mines
256 km, 128 locks, 4 h / day.
Joigny - Sens - Montereau - Moret - Montargis - Briare - Sancerre - Nevers - Decize - Chatillon - Baye - Corbigny - Clamecy - Auxerre - Joigny
553 km, 214 locks, 5 h 30 / day.
(Can also be done from Corbigny)