The Loiret by Water is a triangular itinerary.
It is made up of the Loire between Briare and Orléans, the Canal d'Orléans between Orléans and Montargis and the Canal de Briare between Montargis and Briare.
It can be explored on foot, by bike or by boat on certain sections, or you can do the whole circuit or just part of it.
Activities and visits are offered along this watery route.
Built at the end of the 17th century, it links the Loire (east of Orleans) with the Briare and Loing canals (at Montargis). This rather wild part of the Loiret by the water is 78 km long, crosses
the forest of Orleans and is marked by almost 30 locks.
You can also visit 2 charming villages linked to its history (Combleux and Grignon) and 2 leisure centres (L'Etang de la Vallée and L'Etang des Bois).
All along the Canal d'Orleans there are 14 ponds that supply water to the canal and are perfect places to observe local wildlife.
This part of the Loiret by the water can be explored by bike (it is a "Voie Verte") and on foot.
By boat for some parts (near Orleans, at Combleux or at Vieilles Maisons sur Joudry aboard a Flûte Berrichonne called Belle de Grignon).
Canoeing is also possible, but be aware that there are many locks to negotiate...
A little anecdote: it is not named after the city of Orléans, but after Duke Philippe d'Orléans.
Brother of Louis XIV, it was he who initiated its construction in 1676, mainly to transport wood and coal. The canal was inaugurated in 1692.
The Briare Canal is the oldest canal in the Loiret and one of the oldest in France. Commissioned by Sully in 1605, it was not completed until 1642. Its purpose was to transport goods from the
provinces to the capital between the Loire and the Seine. It is 54 km long and has 35 locks.
It can be travelled on foot, by bike (Scandibérique cycle route - Eurovélo 3) or by boat (many boats for hire).
At the intersection with the Loire, the Loiret by the water will take you to visit the charming town of Briare and of course its magnificent canal-bridge (it is only 7 km from L'Échappée Belle). Enamels are the speciality of the town. Below is an example of a piece that you can admire in the Briare enamel museum.
Other places to visit on your journey are Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses and Montargis below. In the latter, the Girodet Museum is of great quality for lovers of romantic art.
Other unusual sights on this part of the Loiret by the water include the Gallo-Roman Amphitheatre in Montbouy and the historical Museum of Franco-Chinese Friendship in Montargis, which will make you understand why many Chinese people visit Montargis after visiting Paris.
There is no need to introduce the Loire, the longest river in France, known as the "wild river".
It crosses the Loiret for 155 km, but the distance on the Loiret by water is about 70 km between Briare and Orléans. It should be noted that this stretch of the Loire is part of the Unesco World Heritage.
On this part of the water triangle you will find a succession of magnificent landscapes and remarkable monuments.
In addition to Briare and its canal bridge, you will pass through Gien, its earthenware factory and its castle (pictured above), Sully sur Loire with its superb castle, Saint-Benoît sur Loire and its abbey, Germigny des Prés with its Carolingian oratory, Chateauneuf sur Loire and its Loire navy museum, and the city of Orleans, which is famous for its cathedral.