Luciole Nivernais Canal | French Barge Cruise

Explore France's Burgundy Region Aboard the Luciole Hotel Barge

What better way to experience France’s Nivernais Canal than onboard a vessel that played a pioneering role in hotel barging. During this week-long adventure, you’ll cruise between Auxerre and medieval Clemency while discovering the undeniable beauty of Burgundy. 

Delve into the region’s historic architecture and legendary wine cellars during daily excursions, then relax as the scenery rolls by along this 18th-century waterway. Accompanied by knowledgeable local guides, you’ll experience the rich history and culture of the region, and be treated to gastronomic delights by the onboard chefs. 

Whether you’re particularly interested in wine tasting, biking or hiking, our “Luciole” itineraries can be custom-designed to suit your group’s needs. 

Note: The “Luciole’s” direction of travel alternates each week.

 

The Luciole Luxury Barge

While the “Luciole” has made a name for herself in the luxury hotel barging industry, her career began as a mule-drawn freight vessel. Originally known as the “Ponctuel”, she would carry loads weighing up to 180 tonnes along the French canals. 

In the 1960s, she was purchased by Richard Parsons who had the idea to transform her into France’s first hotel barge. He renamed her “Palinurus” and she began transporting holiday makers, including the American author Emily Kimbrough who based her novel “Floating Island” on her journey along the Burgundy Canal. 

More recently, the “Palinurus” underwent another transformation, this time at the hands of Inland Voyages Limited. Now known as the “Luciole”, her bunk bed cabins and shared bathrooms were redesigned into luxury ensuite cabins, and (a few years later) she was “stretched” in a Parisian shipyard to add another 17 feet in length. 

Despite all the changes and renovations, the “Luciole” has retained the charm of bygone days, including features that hark back to her cargo-carrying years. 

 

Images & Videos

Luciole Luxury Barge
buildings in Auxerre, France
baked goat cheese appetizer
building and car in Burgandy France
bikers in france
cooking demo on french barge
beef filet
people walking along a French canal
barge in the water in the Nivernais canal
wine cellar tour in France
people on walking tour of french town
Barge in Canal du Nivernais
luxury barge in france at sunset
man on ropes course in France
chateau bellombre in France
luciole barge
Luciole Luxury Barge
buildings in Auxerre, France
baked goat cheese appetizer
building and car in Burgandy France
bikers in france
cooking demo on french barge
beef filet
people walking along a French canal
barge in the water in the Nivernais canal
wine cellar tour in France
people on walking tour of french town
Barge in Canal du Nivernais
luxury barge in france at sunset
man on ropes course in France
chateau bellombre in France
luciole barge

Itinerary

Collapse all days

Day 1

Transport from Paris to Auxerre and Board the Luciole

After meeting in the lobby of the Hotel Mansart at 2:15 pm, you will be transported from Paris to Auxerre where the “Luciole” is moored. Auxerre is around two hours’ drive from Paris and is famed for its centuries-old cathedral and the Abbey of St. Germain, both of which will be visited later in your cruise. 

Step onboard the “Luciole” and settle into your cabin before a champagne reception is held in honor of your arrival. 

ACCOMMODATION : Luciole Hotel Barge
MEALS INCLUDED : Dinner

Day 2

Cruise from Auxerre to Vincelles, Wine Tasting and Tour

As we begin cruising along the Nivernais Canal, soak up the stunning countryside as it rolls by. We’ll pass historic Bailly, which is famed for its production of sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne, as well as the charming villages of St. Bris and Irancy. 

Our afternoon excursion is to a wine cellar in Chablis where you will have the opportunity to sample this cool-climate white. Only wines produced in this northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region can be labeled “Chablis”. 

This evening, we will moor on the banks of Vincelles, which lies near the old Roman road of Agrippa. 

ACCOMMODATION : Luciole Hotel Barge
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Cruise to Accolay, Walking Tour

From Vincelles, we will cruise towards picturesque Accolay and on to the Vermenton Arm of the River Cure, a tributary of the River Yonne. We will then be transported back to Auxerre to tour this historically rich city, which centers around a cobblestoned old town and its 15th-century clock tower. Auxerre became a pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages and its magnificent cathedral remains a highlight of the city today. 

ACCOMMODATION : Luciole Hotel Barge
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Explore Noyers-sur-Serein, Cruise to Mailly-le-Château

Wake at your leisure as we cruise from Accolay to Noyers-sur-Serein, which is renowned for its cobblestone lanes, charming squares, and half-timbered houses. The town is overlooked by a medieval castle while market stalls cluster in its picturesque center. Noyers-sur-Serein is particularly stunning in May and June when the orchids are in bloom. 

In the afternoon, we will cruise towards Mailly-le-Château and moor beneath its old walls. A steep trail leads from the riverbank up to a terrace that offers spectacular panoramas across the Yonne Valley. 

ACCOMMODATION : Luciole Hotel Barge
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Cruise from Mailly-le-Château to Chatel Censoir, Vézelay Tour

After breakfast, we’ll disembark the “Luciole” for a walking tour of Vézelay, a photogenic hill town that’s dominated by a centuries-old basilica. It was once a meeting point for the Crusaders and it was here that Bernard of Clairvaux preached in the 12th century. Home to the relics of Saint Mary Magdalene, Vézelay is still an important religious hub to this day. There will be time to peruse the local handicraft stores and enjoy a spot of people watching in the cafes. 

In the afternoon, our journey takes us from Mailly-le-Château to Chatel Censoir along a cliff-lined stretch of the canal. Keep your eyes peeled for rock climbers as we pass the famous Rocher du Parc crag. 

ACCOMMODATION : Luciole Hotel Barge
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Clamecy, Tour of Château of Bazoches

After cruising to the medieval town of Clamecy, there will be time to tour its 12th-century Church of St. Martin and the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem. In recent years, Clamecy has attracted numerous artists from across Europe, many of whom operate studios and galleries in the old town. 

By bus, you will be transported to the Château of Bazoches, which was once home to the famous French military engineer, Marquis de Vauban. It features four towers and a keep surrounding its central courtyard, as well as beautifully furnished period rooms. Constructed on the site of a Roman post in the 12th century, the château is surrounded by magnificent scenery.

ACCOMMODATION : Luciole Hotel Barge
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Goodbye Breakfast, Return Transfer to Paris

This morning, it’s time to disembark the “Luciole” and make your return journey to Paris. Our bus will transport you to the Place Vendôme where we expect to arrive around 1:00 pm. There are plenty of taxis available here to transfer you to your hotel of choice or Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Alternatively, a stop can be made in Auxerre en-route to Paris if you are traveling elsewhere in France by train or wish to pick up a rental car. 

MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD) 
May 01, 2022 to May 07, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
May 15, 2022 to May 21, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
May 22, 2022 to May 28, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jun 12, 2022 to Jun 18, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jul 03, 2022 to Jul 09, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jul 10, 2022 to Jul 16, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Aug 07, 2022 to Aug 13, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Aug 14, 2022 to Aug 20, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Aug 21, 2022 to Aug 27, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Aug 28, 2022 to Sep 03, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Sep 04, 2022 to Sep 10, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Sep 11, 2022 to Sep 17, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Sep 18, 2022 to Sep 24, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Sep 25, 2022 to Oct 01, 2022 $5,800£0€0$0$0$5,800£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Oct 02, 2022 to Oct 08, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Oct 09, 2022 to Oct 15, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Oct 16, 2022 to Oct 22, 2021 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Oct 23, 2022 to Oct 29, 2022 $4,950£0€0$0$0$4,950£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW

Supplementary Information

Seasonal Prices for Individuals, Groups & Charters

24 April - 21 May, 2022

  • $4,950 per person
  • $4,950 single cabin (when available)
  • $57,500 12 person charter
  • $52,000 10 person charter
  • Theme charter - $2,000 supplement

22 May - 16 July, 2022

  • $5,800 per person
  • $5,800 single cabin (when available)
  • $64,500 12 person charter
  • $59,500 10 person charter
  • Theme charter - $2,000 supplement

17 July - 27 August, 2022

  • $4,950 per person
  • $4,950 single cabin (when available)
  • $57,500 12 person charter
  • $52,000 10 person charter
  • Theme charter - $2,000 supplement

28 August - 1 October, 2022

  • $5,800 per person
  • $5,800 single cabin (when available)
  • $64,500 12 person charter
  • $59,500 10 person charter
  • Theme charter - $2,000 supplement

2 October - 29 October, 2022

  • $4,950 per person
  • $4,950 single cabin (when available)
  • $57,500 12 person charter
  • $52,000 10 person charter
  • Theme charter - $2,000 supplement

Included: 

  • Transfer from Paris to the Barge Luciole and return to Paris at the end of your cruise. Our crew greet you with Champagne and Canapes.

  • All meals commencing with sunday evening dinner through to saturday morning breakfast, including all wines, open bar with a wide range of spirits.

  • Lunch on shore, in a classic French restaurant.

  • All excursions off the Barge in our air conditioned Mini Bus. All entrance fees to tours.

  • The use of our on board bicycles.

Not Included: 

  • Airfare to and from France
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips for Luciole staff and crew

Important Paris Transfer Details: 

  • Free transfers between Paris and the Luciole are included in our cruise prices
  • We rendezvous on Sunday afternoons at the Hotel Mansart in central Paris
  • Left luggage facility provided for those arriving early

Pick up

  • Our Sunday rendezvous is at 2.15pm at the Hotel Mansart in central Paris, located one street away from the Place Vendôme and a stone’s throw from the Paris Opéra.

Drop off

  • At the end of each cruise, we provide a transfer service back to Paris, to the Place Vendôme, where taxis are available for onward travel. The estimated arrival time is at 1pm, allowing for a rest-stop along the route.
  • The hotel reception staff receive passenger names in advance and will direct our guests to the rendezvous point. We kindly request that passengers gather for the rendezvous no earlier than 1.30pm.
  • The Luciole Tour Guide, will meet and drive passengers in our bus to the barge, travelling in the region of 100 miles and arriving at the Luciole for a Kir Royal reception between 5 and 6pm. A rest-stop to stretch your legs will be made halfway along the route.

Ship Details

Designed with a flat base and straight sides, the 114-feet (34.7-meter) “Luciole” can accommodate up to 12 passengers in her eight luxury suites. She has been reconfigured from a cargo barge into a floating hotel for transporting guests through the magnificent wine country and market towns of Burgundy.
 
All of the cabin suites are positioned on the lower deck while the upper deck is home to a salon and the dining area. The “Luciole” also boasts a raised sundeck that offers elevated views of the countryside surrounding the Nivernais Canal. 

Cabins

In addition to three double cabins, there are two with twin beds and another two that can accommodate single travelers. All come with openable porthole windows, individually controlled air conditioning, and plenty of storage space. The ensuite bathrooms are equipped with toilets, showers, hairdryers, and safes, as well as towels and toiletries from Molten Brown. 

Salon

With its expansive windows, the salon is the social heart of the “Luciole” and includes a bright dining area and comfortable seating. Drinks are served from the well-stocked bar and there is a library with a diverse range of reading material. Wi-Fi is provided complimentarily onboard the vessel. 

Sundeck

There’s no better place for morning coffees or evening sundowners than the raised sundeck, which offers elevated views of the rural properties and lock houses lining the canal. Bicycles and helmets are stored just below for those wanting to explore the towpaths on two wheels. 

Barge Dimensions:
    •    Length 114 ft (34.7 meters), Beam 17 ft (5.18 meters)

Throughout:
    •    220v electricity
    •    Air conditioning & heating

Saloon:
    •    Large picture windows, comfortable sofas, and chairs, dining area, Wi-Fi, open and well-stocked bar, library, sound system

Cabins:
    •    3 doubles (or twins), 3 twins, 2 singles that all include: portholes/windows, USB charging points, ample storage, personal safes

En-Suite Bathrooms:
    •    Showers, heated towel rails, Molton Brown toiletries, towels, hairdryers

Exterior:
    •    Large raised teak sundeck, table, and chairs, bicycles, and

Staterooms

Ship Photos

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sundeck on french barge
breakfast table on luciole barge
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Deck Plans

FAQ & More

Are transfers to and from Paris included in the trip?

Yes! 

PARIS TRANSFERS
Free transfers between Paris and the Luciole are included in our cruise prices
We rendezvous on Sunday afternoons at the Hotel Mansart in central Paris
Left luggage facility provided for those arriving early

Pick up
Our Sunday rendezvous is at 2.15pm at the Hotel Mansart in central Paris, located one street away from the Place Vendôme and a stone’s throw from the Paris Opéra.

The hotel reception staff receive passenger names in advance and will direct our guests to the rendezvous point. We kindly request that passengers gather for the rendezvous no earlier than 1.30pm.

The Luciole Tour Guide, will meet and drive passengers in our bus to the barge, travelling in the region of 100 miles and arriving at the Luciole for a Kir Royal reception between 5 and 6pm. A rest-stop to stretch your legs will be made halfway along the route.

Arriving early?
A free left-luggage facility for Luciole passengers is provided at the Hotel Mansart for those arriving early and wishing to explore the area unencumbered. Breakfast at around 15 Euros is also available, which is particularly nice for passengers arriving very early to the hotel from overnight flights.

Drop off
At the end of each cruise, we provide a transfer service back to Paris, to the Place Vendôme, where taxis are available for onward travel. The estimated arrival time is at 1pm, allowing for a rest-stop along the route.

Charter groups
For Charter Groups we are able to organise a group rendezvous and drop-off at a location of your choice in Paris or at an airport. Please do not hesitate to ask.

Independent travel
Passengers preferring to join the Luciole, without making their way to Paris, are welcome to arrive directly at the barge. When the Luciole is moored in Clamecy, at the southern end of our route, our bus can make a small detour on the way there from Paris to meet passengers in Auxerre. Private car parking can also be arranged in Auxerre.

For on-going car hire in the region, Auxerre is the most suitable location. At the end of each cruise we are able to drop passengers directly at the car hire office of their choosing.

Onward travel
We expect to arrive in Paris between mid-day and 1pm, under normal conditions, though this can not be guaranteed.
We strongly recommend that flights are booked after 5pm and Eurostar trains after 3pm.
With regret, the Luciole transfer service is unable to take responsibility for any missed travel departures.

Does the Luciole crew speak English

The majority of the barge crew are English and also speak French. The Captain however, is from Chile and speaks Spanish, as well as English and French.

Can you accommodate dietary requests?

We are easily able to accommodate dietary requests. It is always useful to know in advance, so our chef can prepare suitable alternatives. Once on board the Luciole, the crew will double check to ensure all is covered.

What about motion sickness while cruising?

There is very little motion that you would experience while cruising. The Luciole is a very stable boat. Although the Nivernais Canal combines river and canal sections, since the waterway is not deep there really is no rocking, she gently glides through the water and a flat hull means people are suprised by her very good stability.

Does the Luciole have air conditioning and heating?

The barge has air conditioning and heating throughout. Cabin temperatures can be individually controlled by our passengers.

Can I charter the barge?

The Luciole can be booked for family and friends charter weeks. During these weeks we are very happy to accommodate children and our chef is always able to cook meals for the young ones.

We can also change and adapt the tours if requested to include different interests and children based activities

Should I purchase travel insurance?

We highly recommend that you purchase travel and medical insurance for your trip at the time of paying your cruise deposit.

What is included in my cruise cost?

The cruise rate includes:

Transfer from Paris to the Barge Luciole and return to Paris at the end of your cruise. Our crew greet you with Champagne and Canapes.

All meals commencing with sunday evening dinner through to saturday morning breakfast, including all wines, open bar with a wide range of spirits.

Lunch on shore, in a classic French restaurant.

All excursions off the Barge in our air conditioned Mini Bus. All entrance fees to tours.

The use of our on board bicycles.

Is there Wi-Fi onboard?

The Luciole has an WI-FI internet facility on board. However, due to the fact that it is a mobile connection and we are often cruising through remote areas, there is occasionally a slow download response. During the majority of our tours there is also access to internet cafes.

What should I wear?

Regarding attire, the Luciole has a relaxed ambiance: our crew do not wear a uniform and we hope everyone quickly feels at home. Casual comfortable clothes are the best to bring and in any of the seasons, be it late spring, summer or early autumn, layers of clothes are always the most useful to have with you.

For gentlemen during the day: trousers/shorts, shirt/T shirt and jumper. In the evening, occasionally, a jacket may be worn and even sometimes a tie, but we would certainly not say this is the norm, probably just a change of shirt for supper, should you wish.

For ladies during the day: trousers/shorts/skirt, blouse/T shirt and jumper with a change of top for the evening, possibly a change of trousers but not always.

For the last evening onboard, guests might wear something a little dressier, but again it is certainly not necessary. Low-heeled comfortable shoes are the most suitable for the boat and tours while a rainproof is a good idea too.

We do hope this helps you with your suitcase packing!

Are toiletries provided?

Molton Brown toiletries are provided in each cabin, consisting of: soap, shower gel, shampoo, body lotion and a useful travel kit.

Are hairdryers provided?

Yes, hairdryers are available - just ask when you arrive onboard.

Will our cabin be cleaned daily?

Yes, your cabin and bathroom are cleaned every day and fresh towels provided.

Is smoking permitted?

Smoking is strictly forbidden inside the Luciole. We request that passengers who do smoke on the deck or off board, do so with due consideration for fellow guests.

What is the electric voltage and what about plug sockets?

The Luciole has 220 volt electricity.

Are plug sockets are standard European fittings. So electrical equipment will require adaptors if travelling from outside the EU or UK and we recommend you pick an adaptor before you leave home or when passing through the airport, as we cannot provide then onboard.

Is there a luggage limit?

There is no luggage limit on the Luciole. However, we are always grateful when passengers pack compactly. Once unpacked, suitcases can be stored in the bow for the duration of the cruise.

What kind of entertainment can we expect on the Luciole?

The Luciole has a music system in the saloon, with a good collection of CDs. Alternatively passengers are welcome to plug in their own streaming devices.

There is a library on board with a good selection of reading and reference books. Cards and board games are also available and for charter groups with children, there are many other toys available upon request. 

What can of activity or exertion lever can we expect on the off boat activities?

Auxerre - a walking tour

The first part of the tour is up via Place St Nicholas to the Cathedral of St Etienne. This is a steep walk initially but flattens out at the cathedral and remains so for the 5 - 10 minutes into the town centre, part of which is over large flat cobbles. For passengers with walking difficulties, we are able to take them up to the cathedral in our bus and can easily bring them back down the hill again by bus if required.

Chablis - visit to the winery of Brocard and then into the vineyards

The winery of Servin has easy access for visitors, since there is very little walking and it is all on the flat. Chairs are readily available for those who find standing for too long a problem. The visit to the vineyards will be adapted accordingly to suit everyone.

Noyers sur Serein - walking tour of the market town

A lovely easy walking tour on the flat around the medieval town. For those not wanting to walk too far there are cafés where we can drop passengers at the beginning of the tour and meet up with them again 30 minutes later. Its very much a do as you wist visit with free time to wander and absorb the atmosphere - sit in a café to watch the world go by or of course do both!

Vézelay - visit to the Basilica of St Mary Magdalene on the Eternal Hill

Our tour is able to drive up the Eternal Hill where there is an optional short walk to the panoramic view from the ramparts, followed by a tour of the Basilica. After the tour passengers are able to stroll and browse the delightful shops down the hill or call into one of the many cafés. Passengers with difficulties, however, can enjoy the café at the top of the hill, near the Basilica.

Bazoches - tour of the chateau, home to the Marquis of Vauban

It has to be said that this is the trickiest of our tours. Access is through the gardens and via the imposing outside stairway to the ground floor of the chateau. There is a stone spiral staircase, with hand-rail to the first floor and towards the end of the tour a staircase down, followed of course by the descent back into the gardens. Our tour guide will do all he can to enable every passenger to see as much as possible but, should anyone find the ascent to the first floor too challenging, the ground floor armoury room and the chateau courtyard are delightful places to absorb the chateau atmosphere while the group proceeds through the remaining chateau rooms.

We sincerely hope this answers your queries and should you have further concerns, do speak to our Tours Guide, when you arrive on barge Luciole.

Custom or Private

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