When we first imagined cruising the canals of France we figured that we’d cruise Canal de Bourgogne. At the time the Bourgogne was the only canal that we knew much about. We’d never been there but the brochure looked nice.
Locaboat, the hire boat company we had chosen, gently pushed us towards the Canal du Nivernais instead of the Bourgogne. It was a good advice. The accessible end of the Nivernais near Locaboat’s base in Joigny on the River Yonne is more appealing than the western end of the Burgundy Canal. Indeed, after we survived the first few locks on the Yonne, we very much enjoyed our time on the Nivernais. It set us on the path to Wanderlust. Nevertheless the dream of cruising the Bourgogne never faded.
In 2016 we would finally get our chance to experience the Canal de Bourgogne. Leaving Migennes we moved Wanderlust forward onto the 254-kilometer long canal. After a bend in Migennes, the canal is arrow straight for six kilometers; it is not particularly attractive. Perhaps this is the reason that Locaboat discouraged us in 2010. Fortunately the entire canal is not like this.
After Migennes our first stop was in Saint-Florentin. Though scenery along the early sections of the Burgundy Canal is uninspiring, the towns are interesting and historic. St.-Florentin is both. It is worth a pause for canal travelers.
As things transpired we decided to stay an extra day in St.-Florentin, as we weren’t sure whether the locks would be open on “la fête nationale.” (La fête nationale is what English speakers call Bastille Day.) In reality we didn’t have to wait; boats were passing through the locks on the 14th of July. Nevertheless there was no great harm in staying an extra night; St.-Florentin is a pleasant mooring. And as a bonus we had a front row spot for the commune’s fireworks display.
It is 18 kilometres and 6 locks from Migennes to Pont de Ecluse Florentin. Wanderlust traveled this segment in the 12th of July 2016. It took 4.9 engine hours. We spent three nights in St. Florentin.