Briare is a busy market town where the Canal Lateral a la Loire joins the Briare Canal. Briare is famous for its canal bridge over the Loire River. Built in 1897 and an engineering marvel of itís time, the 663m metal bridge, made in one piece, is the longest canal bridge in France. The Pont-Canal de Briare is made of the same green iron you see in Paris, was designed by Gustave Eiffel and weighs over 13,000 tons. Briare is also known for itís enamel making and The Mosaic and Enamel Museum covers 160 years of work dedicated to fine arts and luxury items and the porcelain buttons that made the town famous.
The Romano-Byzantine St Etienne church has enamel mosaics and is charcteristic of the period. The Maison des Deux Marines retraces the history of navigation on the river and canal for over a century. This ancient feudal castle, now the Town Hall, was modified by the Lords of the Canal who set up their headquarters there. Canal Wharf situated in the town centre on the old 17th century Briare canal is equipped with 48 anchorage rings and is the departure point of all water activities.
From here you may also visit the pretty town of Gien with its faience factories and its chateau housing an interesting Hunting Museum. Also nearby is the historic Chateau de St Brisson sur Loire. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries as a fortress, it houses many fine rooms, as well as a collection of huge catapaults, of a kind used as medieval weaponry.
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