Boat tours in Loire Valley

Traditional sailboats of the river Loire, France. Boat tours in Loire Valley

For starters, a little bit of history. Navigation on the river Loire reached its peak in the 19th century. The Loire and its tributaries were dotted with the small white sails of vessels transporting passengers and goods. 

A former fluvial highway...

Salt and imported goods from the colonies came up from Nantes, andwine, lumber and silk from Lyon came from upstream. Traditional barges known as gabares, toues and fûtreaux were made of wood and designed with a flat bottom for better handling on the shallow river. Navigation was complex, constantly subject to the vagaries and dangers of the river. Trips were long and trade developed naturally around the ports where the vessels stopped along the Loire. With the advent of steam boats (making navigation possible on the Seine) and the railroad, the 20th century saw the end of these ancestral sailing practices.

... converted to yachting

Fast forward to the 21st century! A growing number of enthusiasts have revived the sailing tradition on the river Loire and its affluents. In Candes-Saint-Martin, Amboise, Chinon, Savonnières… you are invited to embark on these lovely wooden boats. Why not take a guided trip for a few hours, or enjoy a hearty dinner on board, or even go on a "trek" for several days, a unique opportunity to explore the Loire and its landscapes. The bargees know the banks like the back of their hands and you won't find a more exceptional view than from the deck of their boats! An excellent experience that shouldn't be missed.

Boat rides

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The E.U. supports tourist sites’ Quality approach