What’s on tap for French Country Waterways during the upcoming river cruise season?
Formerly the private barge of shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig, the eight-passenger Princess is returning to the water with an itinerary in the Upper Loire Valley, where a network of canals link Paris to the fertile Loire River. Highlights on the sailing include a private cellar tour and wine tasting in the charming village of Sancerre; dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers in les Bezards; a visit to the medieval town of Gien, a leading center for French faience; and a day trip – including lunch – to the magnificent Chateau de Chambord, the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux.
The 12-passenger, all-suite Adrienne splits her season between the Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine regions. In Alsace-Lorraine, a border region with half-timbered wine villages as well as rich forests and pasturelands , excursions include a walking tour in Nancy; a visit to Place Stanislas, one of the most beautiful and distinguished squares in all of Europe; cosmopolitan Strasbourg and its 12th-century cathedral, one of Europe’s most stunning examples of Gothic architecture. In Champagne, a region known for its celebrated wine as much as its rich history, travelers will explore the Cathedral of Reims, the cellars Moet & Chandon, and the American Cemetery and World War I battlefields.
The eight-passenger Horizon II explores picturesque Central Burgundy as it cruises the Canal de Bourgogneon the route between Tanlay and Veneray-les-Laumes. Guests visit Auxerre’s St. Etienne Cathedral and historic quarter; the Abbaye de Fontenay, one of the best-preserved Cistercian monasteries; and the splendid Renaissance château of Ancy-le-Franc; as well as enjoy a private wine tasting in the vineyards of Chablis. At the Forges de Buffon, founded by 18th-century naturalist Georges-Louis de Buffon, the guests enjoy a tour before sharing a glass of wine with the current owner.
The 12-passenger Nenuphar sails the Canal de Bourgogne in Burgundy’s fabled Côte d’Or wine-growing region for 2011. Her route continues on the narrow 18th-century Canal du Centre overlooking vineyards of the Côte de Beaune and the meandering River Saône.. Daily escorted sightseeing excursions include a walking tour of Dijon with its Ducal Palace and elegant shops; medieval Clos de Vougeot, the Chevaliers du Tastevin headquarters surrounded by vineyards dating back to the 12th century; Beaune, the charming wine capital of Burgundy; the lively port of Chalon-sur-Saône; 12th-century La Rochepot castle; and a tasting of renowned Burgundies in the private cellars of a local vintner in Santenay.