Briare, Loire Valley: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Briare (Loire Valley, France)
Briare is south-east of Orleans, towards the eastern edge of the Loire valley (centre) region. On the banks of the Loire River, the river is crossed here by the Canal de Briare and activities on and around the waterfronts are the main attractions in the town.
Exploring Briare river and canal
Start your visit to Briare in the Port de Plaisance leisure port, whose tranquil setting makes for a pleasant stroll along the waterfront admiring the scenery and the pleasure boats lining the waterside - the best view of the pleasure port is from the Henry IV bridge.
It is possible to take a canal boat trip from Briare - the shortest is a one hour trip along the old canal (about 5 euros each) but longer trips are available, and you can even take a cruise that includes lunch or dinner (at about 35-40 euros per person this is a bit too expensive for me to check out for you, but sounded very tempting!) You can also hire boats to explore at your own speed.
Continue your exploration with a walk along the quiet banks of the canal. Be sure to cross the bridge that carries the canal over the river (the bridge has pedestrian access). At 660 metres long the bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) and is the longest metal bridge of its type in France.
Strolling along the tree-lined canal you can also see the associated locks and lock-keeper houses, and some quaint little bridges across the waterways.
Buildings and monuments
Moving away from the waterways there are a couple of monuments and buildings of note to visit in the town. These include the Chateau de Trousse-Barriere, an imposing 19th century castle in red-brick with ornate balconies, now used for occasional exhibitions. See also the town hall in the town centre (next to the tourist office of Briare), a modest castle that was much modified in the 18th century.
The 19th century Church of Saint-Etienne in Briare was built on the site of an earlier church and combines elements taken from both byzantine and gothic styles of architecture. It has some decorative elements of note on the facade above and below the large rose window, made using the highly reputed local ceramics (historically an important local industry for Briare).
There is also a small tourist train that is another relaxing way to explore Briare.
If you are able to visit Briare in late spring - summer you will also notice the number of flowers in Briare - it is a 4* ville fleurie (the highest rating awarded).
Friday morning is weekly market day in Briare, and is held in the large open area next to the Church of Saint-Etienne.
Although this is not the most visited part of France there are some interesting attractions not too far away from Briare. Thes include the efforts to build a castle using only techniques available in medieval times at Guedelon, about 40 kilometres east of the town, and the chance to sample the famous wines of the region around Sancerre, a similar distance south of here.
Map of Briare and places to visit
Visit near Briare with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Loiret
Briare is classified as a village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Briare, Montargis, Loiret, Loire Valley, 45250, France || GPS: latitude 47.6389, longitude 2.74
Plan your visit to Briare, Loire Valley
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Potager du jardin du château de La Bussière: remarkable garden (15km)
- Arboretum national des Barres: remarkable garden (22km)
- Aubigny-sur-Nere: ville fleurie 4* (28km)
Market days in Briare, France
Regular market(s) are held in Briare each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Briare (Francais)