Blending scenic cruising aboard an intimate barge by day with a fine hotel stay by night provides the perfect way to discover stunning river scenery and less-visited traditional French towns and villages. Spend each morning gliding along sleepy waterways, disembarking for afternoon visits to places of great heritage including the fine city of Nevers, Burgundy’s impressive book town of La Charité-sur-Loire, and the wine region and hilltop town of Sancerre. There will be lots of time to experience the history and craft of waterways life as we pass through 22 locks in the course of the week, including the double lock and aqueduct where the Loire's canal crosses the River Allier west of Nevers. Such is our pace of travel that you will be able to spend time walking or cycling the towpaths if you wish – there are bikes on board that are available on request. We enjoy short-range coach excursions that help to further bring to life the beauty and history of central France including visits to the ‘Plus Beaux Village’ of Apremont-sur-Allier, the spectacular Château de Sagonne; the Bourbonnais capital of Moulins, and a scenic drive into the remote Morvan Regional Park.