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Loire canoeing

March 4, 2017

Nevers to Blois

(Not paddled most of this – cribbed from the internet – but I will in May). This stretch passes medieval Orleans, the china factories of Gien, three of the four Loire nuclear power stations, and some magnificent canal engineering at Briare. The big chateaux are mostly set well back, but the river touches many vineyards; the famous Pouilly and Sancerre, and the less famous Coteaux du Giennois, Orleans-Clery, and Cheverny. The finish at Blois is just upstream of the Coteaux de Touraine and three more famous Appellations of Vouvray, Chinon and Borgeuil, as well the source of sparkling Crémant de Loire, at least as nice, and quite a bit cheaper than champagne. The Canal latéral à la Loire has followed the left bank from Digoin and continues to do so till crossing at Briare.

carte_vignoble_val_de_loire

0 km – Nevers-sur-Loire. Camping left bank (click here), upstream of the bridge (1832). A few yards from the campsite, the Nevers branch of the canal latéral ends in a marina.

Tricky step below bridge. Launch downstream or shoot right (click here).

nevers-pont_sur_la_loire-cathedrale_saint_cyr_et_sainte_julitte-20160502  nevers-weir1 nevers-weir2

nevers-weir3 nevers-weir4

200 metres – Nevers Railway bridge (1946)

nevers_railway-bridge

7 km – River Alliers joins left With similar length and flow to the main river, some argue that the Loire is a tributary of the Allier!

allier-loire-confluence

8 km –  Iles-de-Marzy Main channel left.

13.5 km – Fourchambault Givry bridge  Givry left. Fourchambault right.  Camping de la Loire right bank just above the bridge (click here)

givry-forchambeux-bridge    fourchambault-givry-bridge

14 km – Canal du Givry joins left. A branch of the canal lateral

givry-canal-loire-junction

21 km – Marseilles-les-Aubigny left The canal du Briare, running along the left bank, is close here.

28 km – La Marche right

Iles-du-Voluray. I think main channel right

LaBlancherie left. Weir. Shoot channel left to pass left of Charité island and under the new bridge. Stay right for the beautiful old bridge, the oldest crossing of the Loire.

31 km – N151 bridge. New bridge (1951) over left channel.  Old bridge (original 1520. This one 1731) right. La Charité right. The Abbey was an important stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route from Scandinavia and Germany.  Shoot 3rd arch from right.

charite-new-bridge   charite-sur-loire-grand-pont

charite-weir1 charite-weir2 charite-weir3

Camping (click here) on the island downstream of the bridges

45 km – Pouilly-sur-Loire bridge (1902) P-s-L right. The vineyards right behind the town mostly grow sauvignon blanc for Pouilly-Fumé. A minority grow the chasselas grape for the slightly inferior Pouilly-sur-Loire wine. (Click here for more)

pouilly-sur-loire-bridge pouilly-sur-loire-bridge2 pouilly-sur-loireview-from-bridge   pouilly-fume-chateaux-de-tracy

55 km – Saint-Thibault-sur-Loire bridge The walled town on the hill left is Sancerre, surrounded by the famous vineyards.

saint-thibault_sur_la_loire-bridge2 saint-thibault-sur-loire-bridge sancerre  sancerre-les-monts-damnee

55.5 km – Junction canal left The river lock is no longer working and the junction canal is now a marina. Followed immediately on left bank by Flower Camping Les Portes de Sancerre (click here)

60 km – Port Aubry railway bridge (1893)

viaduc_de_port-aubry

63 km – Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire suspension bridge (1959) Camping left bank just upstream of the bridge (click here)

cosne-cours-sur-loire-bridge   cosnee-sur-loire-camping-de-lile2-2-900x450

75 km – Belleville nuclear power station left The beautiful cooling towers, among the largest ever built put most of the water it uses back in the river.

belleville-27987

76 km – Pont de Neuvy-sur-Loire (1984) Bellevue power station left

neuvy-sur-loire-bridge

82 km – Bonny-sur-Loire suspension bridge (1902) Bonny-s-L right. Beaulieu-sur-Loire left

bonny-sur-loire-bridge

86 km – Ousson-sur-Loire right  Weir left. Main channel right.

87 km – Mantelot lock left Prior to the opening of the Briare aqueduct, boats coming from the south on the Canal Lateral a Loire crossed the river here to reach the Canal de Briare on the other bank.

chatillon-lock-mantelot chattelot-eclusemantelot-w580

88 km – Chatillon-sur-Loire bridge (1951)

chatillon-sur-loire-bridge

91 km – Aqueduct de Briare (1896)  Briare right

briare-aqueduct briare-aqueduct2 briare-aqueduct3

92 km – Briare canal lock right No longer in much use since the aqueduct opened. But looks like it still functions

briare-canal-loire-lock2 briare-loire-lock

The vineyards on the low hills to the right are the Coteaux de Giennois, the tiniest Loire appellation. The red and white wines are collector’s pieces according to Hugh Johnson, but ery little ever leaves France. The winery Domaine Poupat in Briare (click here) is the place to buy them.

98 km – Gien D951 bridge (1980) Home of Gien china (click here)

gien-bypass-bridge

99 km – Gien bridge (1734)

gien-bridge gien-bridge2

Camping Gien left bank 200 metres downstream of bridge. (Click here)

100 km – Railway bridge (1893)

gien-railway-bridge

106 km – Weir. Inflow channel to Dampierre nuclear power plant right. I think you can portage/line down left end of the weir. See below taken from here

dampierre-portage  dampierre dampierre2

117 km – Sully-sur-Loire road bridge (1986). Followed by rail bridge. S-s-L left. Saint-Pere-sur-Loire right

sully-sur-loire-bridge  sully_bridge    sully-sur-loire-rail-bridge    sully-sur-loire-railway-bridge

Le Clos d’Argerie right

132 km – Chateauneuf sur Loire bridge (1946)  Chateauneuf sur Loire right. Campsite La Maltournee left bank about 100 metres upstream of the bridge (click here). No good local wine is made here, but one of the few small breweries on the upper Loire, La Brasserie des Ecluses (click here) is a couple of miles up the road at Vitry aux Loges.

chateauneuf-sur-loire_bridge

138 km – Jargeau bridge (1988)  Jargeau left. Saint Denis de l’Hotel right

jargeau-bridge2     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

146 km – Checy right. Camping municipal right (click here) between the river and canal D’Orleans. (Click here)

148 km – Combleux right.  The canal d’Orleans runs along the right bank from here to Orleans. The right bank of the river is the Orleans Appellation Controlle. A few small vineyards around Checy. Not a very special AC (details here), although a few locals are making an effort (click here)

152 km – Vierzon railway bridge (1947) followed by Pont Rene Thinat (1977)

vierzon_railway-bridgeorleans     rene-thinat-bridge_orleans

Canal d’Orleans junction right

153 km -George V bridge (1763) Orleans centre right.

george_v_bridge-orleans

154 km – Marshal Joffre bridge (1958)

marechal_joffre_bridge-orleans

155.5 km – Europe bridge (2000)

europe-bridge-orleans

Camping right about 200 metres upstream of motorway bridge (click here)

157 km – A71/E9 motorway bridge (1980)

a71-loire-bridge

Saint Ay right. The right bank from here on is AC Orleans again. Left bank AC Orleans-Clery (red wine mainly from cabernet franc). One of the best is Clos Saint Fiacre.  None of the vineyards are along the bank. Most are located in or around the village of Mareau-aux-Prés.

orleans-clery

168 km – Meung-sur-Loire bridge (1948) Meung-sur-Loire right. Chateau Meung-sur-Loire (click here)

Shallows at site of old bridge/ford about 200 metres above the new suspension bridge

meung-sur-loire-site-of-old-bridge-ford    meung-sur-loiresite-of-old-bridge    SONY DSC

meung-sur-loire-bridge meung-sur-loire-bridge2 meung-sur-loire-bridge3

174 km – Beaugency bridge (14th century)  Beaugency right. Camping on left bank just upstream of the bridge (Click here)

beaugency-bridge beaugency-bridge2

179 km – Weir. Not sure how to portage. Suspect portage right. Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power station left.

saint-laurant-weir

La Pouperie right

186 km – Muides-sur-Loire bridge (1932). Left bank is now AC Cheverney. Domaine du Croc du Merle, farm and vineyard (click here) lies on the left bank. There is also a special Appellation Cours-Cheverney for wine made from the traditional grape, Romorantin, not found anywhere else.

muides-sur-loire-bridge2   muides-sur-loire-bridge

200 km -Blois. Charles-de-Gaulles (D174) bridge (1970)

blois-charles-de-gaulle_bridge

201 km – Blois Jacques Gabriel bridge (1724)

blois-jacques-gabriel-bridge blois_pont_jacques_gabriel

201 km – Francois Mitterand (D766) bridge (1994)

blois_francois_mitterrand_bridge

Jim Thornton

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