Nievre travel guide

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Visit Nievre (Burgundy-Franche-Comté, France)

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It is above all for the natural highlights, the wooded valleys, forests and small scale agriculture, lakes and waterways, that visitors come to the Nievre department with the Morvan Natural Parc in particular being a popular and attractive region for walking, cycling and appreciating the Burgundy countryside.

Nievre tourism

A little off the beaten track compared with some of the more visited parts of Burgundy, the Nievre department is in the south-west of the region. The capital of Nievre is Nevers.

It is the natural environment that is the main attraction for visitors to Nievre, but there are towns and villages of interest that you will come across as you explore, and some interesting castles and gardens.

Natural highlights

The Morvan Regional Parc occupies a large part of eastern Nievre (the parc extends also into the Cote d'Or department) and contains a great deal of attractive rural scenery, woodlands and lakes, and is a lovely place for walking and cycling and appreciating the unspoiled French countryside.

Canal Nivernais, NievreIn the heart of the Morvan Park, Panneciere Lake is surrounded by forest and covers more than 500 hectares (1200 acres) and is popular with hikers and anglers, mountain bikes and sailing.

The other two most popular natural scenic regions in the Nievre follow the two main watercourses in the department:

  • the Loire River passes along the western border of the Nievre
  • the Canal du Nivernais passes from north to south through the centre of the department.

Each of these watercourses offers a different experience, but both pass through pretty countryside and many small towns and villages en route. The Nivernais canal is popular with visitors taking canal boating holidays.


Eastern Nievre, Morvan Park & Chateau-Chinon

The main town in this part of the department is Chateau-Chinon. We enjoyed a short stroll around the small town of Corbigny as we were travelling northwards from here. Further north you will find an interesting medieval town centre around the Collegiale Church of Saint-Martin in Clamecy, to the west of Vezelay (itself in the Yonne department) in the north-east of the Nievre department.

bazochesThe most famous castle in Nevers is the Chateau de Bazoches, a grand house sitting quietly on a wooded hillside at Bazoches, between Vezelay and Corbigny that dates from the 12th century - although substantially reconstructed in the 16th-17th centuries. Both the setting and the castle itself add equally to the pleasure of a visit.

In the other direction, heading south from Chateau-Chinon, you can visit the village of Moulins-Engilbert which developed around a medieval castle (you can still see the ruins).

Garden enthusiasts will want to visit the gardens at the Chateau de Limanton, a short distance west of Moulins-Engilbert and the nearby park and garden at the Chateau du Chatillon en Bazois, both of which are officially clasified as 'remarkable gardens'.

Continuing south you will reach the town of Saint-Honore-les-Bains, which was an important spa town even in Roman times and where thermal spa treatments continue to be the main attraction for visitors.

Western Nievre & Nevers

NeversThe town of Nevers, the most important town in the department and to the west of the Nievre contains some notable monuments such as the Duke's Palace and the cathedral.

To the south-east of Nevers you can visit Decize, interesting because it is built on an island in the Loire river and which still contains some remnants of its embattled past.

A short distance south-west of Nevers a popular site on the Allier river is the Bec d'Allier, meeting point of the Allier and Loire which has a marked trail along the river and is popular with nature lovers and birdspotters.

Heading north from Nevers you will enjoy a stroll around the historic centre of La Charite-sur-Loire and a look at the abbey-church.

Other villages of interest in north-west Nievre include a riverside walk through Pouilly-sur-Loire and a stroll through the historic centre of the village of Donzy, while slightly east of here the small village at Varzy has a lovely group of buildings set around a lavoir and pond.

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French version: Nievre (Francais)