The Canal de Briare – Part 3


 Part 3: Places of Interest
on the Briare Canal
picturesque Canal de Briare, one of the oldest canals in France,
connects the valleys of the Seine and the Loire. The Canal de Briare
begins just north of Montargis at Buges. The section of the canal
between Montargis and Rogny follows the valley of the River Loing. Many
of the villages and hamlets date earlier than the origin of the canal. 


The Château de Saint-Fargeau is a 17th-century, Renaissance
château, originally built as a hunting residence in the 10th century.
Destroyed in the 15th century, a castle replaced it. This castle was
itself destroyed by fire but promptly rebuilt in the 17th century, with
additions and major improvements made in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Château de Saint-Fargeau has a distinctive design. From above, the
château’s curtained walls and towers form an irregular pentagon, the
corners of which are formed by six towers of pink brick. Lanterns top
five of the towers. Designated as a historic monument in 1945, the
château has been open to the public ever since. The château has
organized a sound and light show each year to raise funds for additional
restorations. The spectacle lasts two hours and spans ten centuries of
history, from the end of the 10th century through the Liberation in 1944
by the American army. This production has taken place for more than 35
years and involves over 700 actors and 50 horse riders from the
surrounding community.
The Château of Sully-sur-Loire was first built
as a defensive fort to protect one of the few places to ford the Loire.
Today it is one of the most impressive and picturesque châteaux in the
With its origins in the 11th century, the Château de Ratilly was
built on existing foundations in the 13th century. Today, Ratilly is a
creative Center for the Arts and a pottery workshop, continuing a local
tradition which has existed since the Roman occupation of France. The
château transformed into a fine residence during the Renaissance when
many of its defenses were no longer needed. Arrow slits changed into
large windows and some towers were modified for other purposes. Visit
the magnificent Château de Ratilly on your cruise with the barge
Renaissance on the Canal de Briare.

What may seem like a rather small and uninteresting little church is, in
fact, one of the most important in Burgundy. The church of Saint Peter
and Saint Paul in the village of Moutiers-en-Puisaye started life
as a priory, built by monks in the 10th century in the Romanesque
style. An 8th century hospice on the site took care of pilgrims,
especially those from Brittany and England, who were traveling to Rome
to visit the tomb of Saint Peter. The derivation of Moutiers is from the
French word for monk, moine.

During the Hundred Years War, a band of marauding Bretons traveling
south destroyed the priory and the hospice but left the church standing.
In the 19th century, it was one of many studied by the French architect
Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc and, in 1862, became classified as a historic
monument. What Viollet-le-Duc didn’t know, however, was that under the
whitewashed plaster walls, the church was hiding an incredible secret.

In the spring of 1982, after an especially dry warm spell, cracks
appeared in the plaster and parts crumbled and fell off, revealing color
and images. Over 10 years, an expert restorer of medieval iconography,
Isao Takahashi, worked, in part, in the restoration of the 12th century
murals and frescoes.
The 200m² of painted murals are some of the most important in Burgundy
today. They describe in great detail scenes from the Bible, including
Genesis, the Great Flood, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, as well as the
life of Christ from the Nativity, the Baptism in the river Jordan, and
His subsequent crucifixion.
La Bussière takes its name from the wood it once grew, with
Buxeria being Latin for a plantation of trees. The village lies on the
edge of the old Roman road, the Via Agrippa. Several Roman artefacts
were found in its locale. The château was built in the 12th century by
the local Lord, Stephen de Feins. Well situated on the road running from
the Loire Valley and Paris, the village soon became a postal stop and a
commercial hub, with much of its income going to the estate of the
During the French Wars of Religion of the 16th century, La Bussière was a
Catholic stronghold, whereas the neighboring town of Gien was largely
Protestant. In 1567, a group of Huguenots attacked the village and
killed 17 Catholic priests, damaging the château in the process. Rebuilt
in the 17th century, the château was enclosed by the pond and gardens,
designed by Louis XIV’s chief gardener André Le Nôtre. After the French
Revolution, the castle changed hands several times until eventually sold
to the current owners, who have lived on and maintained the property
for over 200 years.

 Lavishly decorated by the finest craftsmen and architects in Europe, the Château de Fontainebleau
was truly the greatest residence of the Kings of France. Francis I
brought the Italianate style, known as the Renaissance, to France while
overseeing the construction of the palace, whereas Henri IV created
magnificent gardens in and around the forest which surround it. Every
monarch from Louis VII to Napoleon III has put their mark on the palace
and today it radiates with the Kings’ ideals of wealth, luxury and


 Moret-sur-Loing is a fortified town on the banks of the River
Loing. Once part of the Royal Domaine, it found its fame while the
Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley lived within its ancient walls in
the 19th century. Sisley painted many rural and industrial scenes around
Moret-sur-Loing and today is recognized as one of the most important
English Impressionist artists.

Once the capital of the Province of Berry, the city of Bourges
has an intriguing architectural history. While the Cathedral, considered
as one of the earliest examples of the high Gothic style in the 13th
century, the palace built for Jacques Coeur, is still one of the finest
examples of medieval architecture in France. The city has remained well
preserved, with many half-timbered buildings and fine townhouses. 

Orléans on the River Loire, is most famous for being the home of
Joan of Arc and as the site of the Siege of Orléans which began the end
of the Hundred Years’ War. Today it is a shining example of French
medieval architecture and the 13th century cathedral is one of the most
beautiful in France.
Perched high on a hill overlooking its famous, eponymous, wine-growing region, Sancerre
was first founded by the Romans. Its name is thought to come from the
phrase “San Caesar”, meaning Caesar’s Temple. During the Religious Wars
of the 16th century, Sancerre was a Protestant stronghold and fought off
many Catholic attempts to besiege it. During the French Revolution, the
town was a Royalist stronghold. Sancerre was the local command center
for the French Resistance throughout the Second World War and, although
the Germans occupied the area, the resistance still continued their
Built in the 19th century by Compte Lafond in a variety of architectural
styles, including Renaissance, Bavarian and Gothic, the Château du Nozet
is one of the most romantic châteaux of the Loire. It has been the seat
of the Ladoucette family for over 200 years and over 160 hectares of
some of the most prestigious vineyards in the Loire surround it.


Situated on the ancient pilgrimage route to Saint James of Compostella in western Spain, La Charité-sur-Loire is a beautifully preserved medieval town and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


About The French Hotel Barge Renaissance

has been designed to carry her guests in ultimate luxury along the
Canal de Briare, France’s oldest canal and steeped in history on a
cruise route that features elegant chateaux, small countryside villages,
and the famed wine-growing region of Sancerre.

Cruise Details:

Cruise Highlights:

  • Visit the “time capsule” studio home of 19th century artist Rosa Bonheur and a private lunch in her salon
  • Private “behind-the-scenes” tour of the magnificent Château de Fontainebleau
  • 7-lock flight at Rogny-Les-Sept-Ecluses, a national historic monument
  • Cruise across the aqueduct at Briare, built by Gustave Eiffel over the River Loire
  • Private wine tasting at the renowned Sancerre winery of Henri Bourgeois
  • Excellent opportunities for walking and biking
  • “Biking Plus” option available

Learn More: 

Ready to Explore the Canal de Briare?

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book RENAISSANCE
View Renaissance’s online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

  #barginginfrance #loire-burgundycruises #bargerenaissance #bargecharters


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