An Introduction to French Canal Barge Cruising
A relaxing cruise along France’s hidden waterways is a unique way of discovering the authentic France, away from the crowds and at a civilized pace. Originally built to move cargo before the advent of the railroad, France’s inland canals today are peaceful, serene passages through the countryside where the fortunate traveler can enjoy authentic hospitality, the best of French food and wine, and unique historical and cultural experiences not available to the public at large.
Your home for a week is a comfortable canal barge, accommodating between four and twelve guests in a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. Whether you choose to travel with other like-minded guests, or to charter the entire barge for yourself and your group, you’ll enjoy an intimate onboard ambiance that allows you to truly relax and enjoy the experience. Your stateroom will be comfortable, air-conditioned, with full ensuite facilities.
Each day, your floating boutique hotel transports you from town to town at a walking pace, giving you the opportunity to simply relax on deck and take in the passing scenery, or perhaps go for a stroll or bike ride along the towpaths and nearby pathways. Enjoy your breakfast coffee and croissant al fresco on the deck, or a full breakfast in the comfort of the barge’s main salon.
After lunch, accompanied by a delicious regional French wine, you’ll embark on an escorted excursion to a nearby off-the-beaten-path attraction, such as a historic chateau, a vineyard for a private tasting, a local market where you can join your chef in shopping for the evening meal, or perhaps something more adventurous…like truffle hunting!
Unlike river cruises, your canal barge cruise will cover a shorter distance, never traveling at night, so you won’t miss a scenic moment.
Each evening’s dinner is prepared by your onboard chef with the freshest and finest local ingredients, accompanied by regional wines and chesses. You’ll not only have the opportunity to taste, but you’ll learn as the barge’s staff explains the characteristics of each wine and cheese as they are served.
A French canal barge cruise includes accommodations, gourmet meals prepared by your onboard chef – or, occasionally, an evening onshore in a Michelin starred gourmet restaurant, daily escorted tours, fine wines, an open bar, and highly personalized service from an experienced crew.
Barging is the perfect vacation for couples seeking an intimate, gentle voyage through France’s countryside. It’s also great for solo travelers and families seeking to spend quality time together, with all of the details taken care of.
Canal barges operate in the Loire Valley, the Burgundy wine region, Champagne, and along the Canal du Midi in southern France. Each barge is unique, and each itinerary offers you an opportunity to discover a different side of this fascinating and beautiful country.
If you’ve longed to discover the authentic side of France, and if you appreciate the finest in food, wine, and genuine hospitality, a French canal barge cruise is perfect for you! French canal barge cruises can be combined with other adventures in France or Europe, such as a stay in Paris, Barcelona, or on the French Riviera.
Contact me for more information on this wonderful, gentle way of traveling and to start planning your French voyage!