Sunday - Moulin de Nitray
You are met at 4:30 pm at the TGV railway station at St. Pierre des Corps and transferred to Nymphea where a "Champagne Welcome" awaits you at our mooring opposite the 17th century Moulin de Nitray. Dinner on board.
Monday - Moulin de Nitray to Larcay
After a continental breakfast we follow the Cher river by bike, downstream twenty kilometres, to visit the chateau and amazing gardens of Villandry. Cycling back is optional as the car and trailer meet us there after the visit. After lunch on board we cruise past the hamlets of Azay and Vallet. After a couple of little private chateaux on the left bank the small town of Blere appears ahead, and careful navigation is the order of the day under the many arched bridge, pilings of a 10th century mill left underwater pose a considerable obstacle. It's always comforting to arrive for supper in the lock to the cheery welcome from the lockkeeper. Dinner on board. (20-40km)
Tuesday - Larcay to Vallet
After breakfast we cross over to the River Loire by bike to tour the Chateau d'Amboise and then le Clos Luce, Leonardo da Vinci's home and its basement stuffed with models of his inventions (10km). We start up the Cher again, after a late lunch and after a tricky bit of navigation under Civray bridge, we are safely into the lock. Shortly after, around the corner, we see Chenonceau castle come into view. It is one of the most visited private chateaux in France, and belongs to Mr. Meunier of chocolate making fame. We aim under the second arch from the right while being recorded for posterity in about 400 tourists' vacation photo albums. Being the only barge on the Cher has its privileges. We moor at the little village of Chisseaux and pedal back to the castle when the crowds start to die down, and see the amazingly decorated rooms with no expense spared by Thomas Bohier, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis since its conception in 1515. Chateau visiting can be thirsty work so a sip and a swirl of the regional vintages can be had in the Chateau's winery or around the corner at the Caves de Pere Auguste in Civray. Dinner on board. (15km)
Wednesday - Vallet to Chissay en Touraine
After breakfast we cruise to the village of Chissay en Touraine. In the afternoon we drive to the Chateau of Valencay, once home of Talleyrand and after our tour, take to the bikes again for a return cross country (24km) via the myriad lanes to Seigy where we taste a plethora of regional wines at Domaine Max Meunier. An optional cycle ride afterwards or trip in the sag wagon returns us to Nymphea. Dinner onshore in a regional auberge. (24km)
Thursday - Chissay en Touraine to Montrichard
A morning ride to the regional capital, Blois, to see the impressive 15th century Chateau Royale, then we pick up the bikes and cycle along the banks of the Loire to a picnic spot (15kms) where we enjoy an al fresco lunch. Those that wish can continue back by cycle (15kms), to the barge moored at Montrichard. A short walk from the next lock takes us to one of the more unusual dwellings in the Loire Valley, La Magnaneraie. The Coquillat family have grown up in this hillside troglodyte habitation, which has been in turn wine cellar, quarry for the tuffeau stone, and lastly a silkworm nursery. Returning to the barge we cruise to Montrichard where we moor for the night. Dinner on board. (15-30km)
Friday - Montrichard to Nitray
Following breakfast, a short stroll takes us to the heart of Montrichard, into the midst of one of the largest weekly street markets in Touraine. There is much to explore at the 12th century Chateau of Foulques Nerra overlooking the mediaeval town square. After an early lunch, there is a choice of transport -- bikes or our floating home as Nymphea sets off downstream again for another passage under Chenonceau arriving at the hamlet of Nitray in time to visit the Chateau and rose garden of Nitray. Meet up with the cycle party there and enjoy a pre-Captain's dinner aperitif from Nitray's vineyards. Captain's Dinner on board. (10km)
Saturday - Nitray
After breakfast, guests are transferred to the TGV railway station at St. Pierre des Corps for the 9:42 am train returning to Paris.
NOTE: On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.