Migennes to Tannay was the route we chose for our 6th barge trip. This trip goes up the River Yonne and Canal du Nivernais. There are 49 locks along the route from Migennes to Tannay and the total cruising time expected is 26 hours.
Getting To Migennes
I would suggest that you arrive in Paris the day before your barge trip from Migennes to Tannay starts. There are not many places to stay in Migennes, and frankly, the ones we did see did not look great. We love Paris and have stayed in numerous arrondissements. We found a taxi driver who was most accommodating and if you don’t want to make use of the metro then contact Ben on +33 6 59 91 60 64. If you are going to use the metro keep in mind that not all of them have elevators / escalators to and from street level. The best train to catch is from Paris-Bercy to Laroche-Migennes. The station at Bercy is a breeze as all the platforms are on ground level. When you arrive at Laroche-Migennes you will have to go downstairs from the platform, and then upstairs to exit the station. It is a short, and easy walk to the base.
Why Start In Migennes?
We chose the route from Migennes to Tannay for a variety of reasons but mainly for the markets in Auxerre and Clamecy. Another reason to start here is that the supermarket is extremely close to the base. You can take the trolley from the supermarket to the barge so make sure when you do your shopping that you load up on water, alcohol, toilet paper and any other non-perishable items that you will need. Stock up on fresh items that have a shelf life, such as fresh pasta, milk, cheese and eggs. The supermarket closes at 12h30 on a Sunday so book an early check-in if you want to leave the basin that day. This route goes up but the locks are super easy and the lock keepers friendly and helpful. We could have managed just the two of us.
There are 5 locks from Migennes to Gurgy and at the 3rd one you will see a floating platform on your left-hand side. These make the up locks a breeze as you hook your ropes to the platform which rises with you. The trip took us 2 hours and 50 minutes which meant spending the first night away from the base. Regardless of what time you leave Migennes, this is an ideal first stop. Electricity costs €6 for 12 hours and there are small kiosks alongside the moorings where you can buy cheese and gougères. The following morning walk to the 3rd best bakery in France – Boulanger Aux Mains Couler de Blé – just off Rue de Gué, for freshly baked pastries and baguettes. There is a very small supermarket here which is not well stocked but perfect if you discover, like we did, that you forgot to buy an essential item in Migennes.
Another 5 locks to navigate means an easy day. This route is 3 hours and 10 minutes from Gurgy so if you did not leave the base the first day, you can still make this as an overnight stop. Try and tie up on the right bank – opposite Esplanade Suzanne Lacore is perfect. The office is easy to get to across the river via a pedestrian bridge. The mooring cost was €18 (for our size barge) and electricity cost us €5.40 for 16 hours. There is also a city tax to pay of 20c per person. Make sure you spend enough time in Auxerre, walking around the historical city centre. The market is open on a Tuesday morning but do not fret if you are not here that day. The Monoprix is amazing and has a very good fresh produce market. If you are, catch the electric bus to and from the market to save time. Maison Eric Roy is the best boulanger in France and this is where we went for coffee and to buy our freshly baked goodies for the day. On the other side of the street is Boucherie du Pont Patricia et Bruno.
If I were to do this trip again I would make the third stop at Cravant. There is electricity and water here making it a better overnight stop than Vincelles. It will take you 6 hours and 15 minutes to get there, and 10 locks, but I think that it worth it. Just be sure to leave Auxerre before lunch time if you do so. If you are not going to make it that far, stop off at Caves de Bailly for the night instead.
I would not bother going up the canal to Vermenton. There are very few moorings here and you might not even be able to tie up.
We chose to overnight at Prégilbert which was the wrong choice. We had wanted to visit Pisciculture De Crisenon but it was already closed when we got there, and then the next morning it was raining. Had we not gone up to Vermenton we would have made it to Prégilbert in time to buy some fresh fish. If you want to do this, tie up at the bollard after the guard lock and before the bridge at the start of the town. Also, do not rely on écluses des Dames bistro being open for you to purchase local produce. Make Mailly-la-Ville your stop for the night. From Cravant it is 4 hours and 6 locks so also within easy reach of Caves de Bailly.
On your way to Châtel-Censoir you will go across a very narrow causeway and then the Suissois rocks will be on your left hand side. It will take you 3 and a half hours and 6 locks till you get to Châtel-Censoir. The centre of the village is an easy uphill walk and from there it is a bit of a steep climb to St. Potentien Collegiate Church. The effort is worth it, just for the view alone. There is a bakery and small supermarket in the village as well as a pub with very friendly staff.
This historical town centre deserves a good visit. Aim to be there as soon after lunch as possible as there are very few moorings with electricity and water. It took us 3 hours and 40 minutes to get there (and 8 locks) and mooring is free of charge. A visit to Portal Emmanuel for pastries is a must. There is a very good Carrefour within easy walking distance, and next to it is a boulangerie. On Saturday mornings there is an indoor market opposite the Church and this one is worth a going to.
This is the quietest base you can imagine with not much close to do. There are 9 locks from Clamecy to here, with the penultimate one being a double lock. It took us 4 hours and 45 minutes to get to the base so we could have spent more time in Clamecy. Or we could have walked up to Tannay in the afternoon. It is a seriously steep climb up to the village and busses are infrequent. But the village is very pretty. If you just feel like getting a drink then head in the opposite direction to Flez-Cuzy. The pub is 500m down the road!
* times given do not make allowance for lunch stops which are an hour. They have however taken into consideration waiting at the locks where we had to.
This is the trickiest part of the journey. The train leaves Tannay at 06h17 which is not practical. During the week and on a Saturday, SNCF run a vehicle service from Tannay to Clamecy at 10h06 and then you can catch a train to Paris. The pick up point is on the road, next to the train station and is not very well indicated. Just stand there with your luggage at the right time and they will stop for you. If you need to leave the base on a Sunday then ask Le Boat to arrange a taxi for you with Lionel Riost, to take you from the base to Clamecy. The cost was €57 for 4 of us with 6 pieces of luggage.
Due to the rain, we did not explore every village from Migennes to Tannay. However, if you prepare properly you don’t need to worry about the lack of proper supermarkets on this route. Buy as much as you can in Migennes. Just keep in mind the size of the fridge and the storage space you have. You will be able to shop in Auxerre and there is a supermarket in Vincelles which we did not go to. There is a tiny but adequate grocer at Mailly-la-Ville and she keeps freshly baked baguettes. We walked to the large supermarket in Vermenton which was not too far away from the moorings. You will also be able to stock up with basics in Châtel-Censoir and do a final proper shop in Clamecy.
I would suggest that you get a Sim card when you arrive in France if you are not from another EU country. For our entire trip (15 days) I used less than 2GB of data and this included publishing my blog posts with photos, uploading to instagram, and work related stuff as well as WhatsApp calls. I can send you a free Sim card if you want me to, just pop me a mail. Download the oui.sncf App before your trip and load the details of everyone travelling with you. Use it to purchase train tickets a few days before your trip. Depending on the size of the barge, storage space could be at a premium. Pack only what you need, keeping in mind you cannot do laundry unless you do it by hand.
Make a booking
Take a look at the barge options and make your choice to suit your needs. We have been on a variety of barges and on our trip from Migennes to Tannay we found that the Royal Mystique works really well for 2 couples. If you would like a discount on your trip you will need to do the following:
Send an email and quote ‘RECFR’ with my name and this booking reference: 14896664. Once you have your discount let me know the booking reference number you have been given. It’s as simple as that.
I am in Johannesburg and will have limited access to the internet while I am gone. Please forgive me if I don’t reply to comments straight away. I will be back at work on the 3rd of June.