My September 2018 barge cruise has only one cabin left. If you’d like to grab it, head on over to Cruise With Me: Barging From Sete To Arles. As these barge trips are so much fun, I’m gearing up to do another one, two or possibly even three in 2019. Before committing to a particular region and date, however, I thought I would reach out to you, subscribers to River Cruise Advisor, to see where you’d like to barge with me in France in 2019. If you’re interested in my barge cruises, please take a moment to complete the survey below.
The Burgundy Canal – From the Rhone to the Rhine – April 11, 2019 or August 22, 2019
DAY 1: DIJON
Boarding from 6.00 p.m. in Dijon. Presentation of the crew and welcome cocktail. Dinner on board. Overnight.
DAY 2: DIJON – PETIT-OUGES
Full board on board. Excursion along the Grands Crus wine route. The touristic Grands Crus wine route passes through the finest and most prestigious of the Burgundy vineyards. Back on board and departure of the barge toward Petit-Ouges. As we float by, you will discover the magnificent lush, green landscapes of the Saône Valley. Arrival in Petit-Ouges in the afternoon and discovering of the “circuit of the three wash-houses” (2). Overnight.
DAY 3: PETIT-OUGES – SAINT-JEAN-DE-LOSNE
Full board on board. The whole day is spent cruising toward Saint-Jean-de-Losne. Take the time sit back and admire the vineyards and scenery that we slowly pass by as we cruise. Late in the afternoon, arrival in Saint-Jean-de-Losne. Overnight.
DAY 4: SAINT-JEAN-DE-LOSNE – DOLE
Full board on board. Visit of Saint-Jean-de-Losne, the capital of canal barging in France, which lies at the heart of the French waterways and canal system in southern Burgundy. Back on board. Afternoon spent cruising toward Dole that we reach at the end of the afternoon. Overnight.
DAY 5: DOLE – RANCHOT
Full board on board. Join an original and unique tour, following the “trail of the Perched Cat”. This trail refers the famous tales of a Perched Cat, written be Marcel Aymé who lived in Dole as a child. It also refers to Dole’s location, which is perched on a beautiful hillside. Back on board and departure of the barge to Ranchot. You can use the bicycles (available on board) to ride on the bike path that follows our route on the canal. Overnight.
DAY 6: RANCHOT – BESANCON
Full board on board. Morning spent cruising. In the afternoon, departure by coach to Arc-et-Senans for a tour of the Saline-Royale. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this royal factory, built between 1775 and 1779 in the shape of a semi-circle, was where salt workers traditionally lived and worked. Back on board in Besancon. Gala evening. Overnight.
DAY 7: BESANCON – Dijon
Buffet breakfast on board. Disembarkment at 9.00 a.m. Transfer by coach to Dijon. End of our services.
Loire Valley, April 7, May 30, August 15, August 22, October 3 or October 10, 2019
Cruise through the former Berry province and the Sologne region. Take a magnificent tour of delightful sites, historic cities, and prestigious vineyards.
DAY 1: Paris – BRIARE
Transfer by coach from Paris to join our ship in Briare (duration ~2:15.) Passengers are welcome to board at 6:00 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail and dinner. We’ll cruise through the Briare Aqueduct, whose 14 masonry supports were built by the Eiffel Company. Until recently, it was the longest navigable aqueduct in the world. Afterwards, we’ll return to Briare.
DAY 2: BRIARE – LERE
Join us on a visit of Briare and the Deux Marines Museum. We’ll take a tourist train to discover the village of Briare and its hidden treasures, among them the Chateau de Trousse-Barriere – an imposing 19th-century brick castle – and the town hall, a modest castle that was modified in the 18th century. Traveling along the tree-lined canal, we’ll also see locks and lock-keeper houses and the quaint bridges that cross the waterways. The 19th-century Church of Saint-Etienne was built on the site of an earlier church and combines elements taken from both Byzantine and Gothic styles of architecture. Then, we’ll visit the Deux Marines Museum and learn about the history of the Loire and its canals: the spot that was once considered the most important waterway crossroads in France. We’ll spend the afternoon cruising to Léré. Kick back and enjoy the scenery as it rolls by or borrow one of the bikes on board to ride along the canal.
DAY 3: LERE – MENETREOL-SOUS-SANCERRE
Join us on an excursion to Sancerre and a goat farm. Set in the historic Berry region, Sancerre overlooks the gorgeous Loire Valley. You’ll discover this beautiful medieval city by following the Fil d’Ariane: a red line painted on the streets taking you past the old wine-making neighborhoods, bakeries, fascinating buildings, and lovely art galleries.
The Fief Tower (optional visit with separate entrance fee; significant stairs to climb) is the only remaining tower of the 14th-century medieval castle. Afterwards, we’ll visit a goat farm and have a tasting of its trademark cheeses and the local Sancerre wine. The family on the farm is raising approximately 200 goats and 60 cows and will be happy to share their cheese-making secrets with you. We’ll spend the afternoon cruising towards Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre.
DAY 4: MENETREOL-SOUS-SANCERRE – HERRY
We’ll leave by coach for a visit of Pouilly-sur-Loire, where we’ll visit the Tour de Pouilly-Fumé: a wine-tourism center located in a beautiful setting. We’ll visit the vineyards, the wine cellar and enjoy a tasting. Afterwards, we’ll return on board and continue towards Herry. Take advantage of this moment to ride along a portion of the EuroVélo 6, the bike route traveling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea.
DAY 5: HERRY – MARSEILLE-LES-AUBIGNY
We’ll leave by coach for a tour of La Charité-sur-Loire and an authentic farm. We’ll begin our visit with the priory, one of the most important restoration sites in Burgundy for the past 15 years. We’ll then visit a farm deep in the countryside, where we’ll experience the rustic calm and authenticity that can be found only in France. Afterwards, we’ll return on board and spend the afternoon cruising. During our journey, discover the unique abundance of nature, culture and heritage. You’ll have an outstanding view of the Val de Loire Natural Reserve. Tonight is our gala evening.
DAY 6: MARSEILLE-LES-AUBIGNY – NEVERS
We’ll leave by coach for the visit to the Fontmorigny Abbey, a privately-owned French historical monument. Now one of the main cultural sites in the area, it is testimony to over 8 centuries of French religious heritage. The contemporary stain-glass windows are not to be missed. We’ll continue on to visit Apremont-sur-Allier and its floral garden. Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, this small medieval jewel on the bank of the Allier is an absolute must-see. The village offers a stunning point of view of the castle that overlooks it, also a nice stroll along the Allier river. We’ll return on board at the end of the morning and cruise to Nevers through the afternoon. At nightfall, we’ll leave on a romantic tour of Nevers with lanterns.
DAY 7: NEVERS – Paris
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. Transfer by coach from Nevers to Paris (duration ~2:15.) End of our services.
Cruise on the Marne-Rhine Canal from Strasbourg to Lagarde or reverse April 12, April 19, October 11 or October 25, 2019
Adored by boating tours, this part of the canal, also known as the Green Way, meanders through the plain between Alsace and the Vosges. It links Strasbourg to Saverne, the gateway to Alsace at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, and continues through a grand forest to Lutzelbourg in the Moselle region. Its spectacular architecture and many structural works include the ‘Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane’ (the only one in Europe), where boats are hoisted up a steep incline through the Vosges, before reaching Xouaxange, a charming small town in the Moselle.
DAY 1: STRASBOURG
Passengers are welcome to board our ship at 6:00 p.m. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner followed by a panoramic boat tour of Strasbourg.
DAY 2: STRASBOURG -WALTENHEIM
This morning will be spent cruising towards Waltenheim-sur-Zorn through the Brumath Forest. In the afternoon, join us on an excursion to hike along the hops trail in Wingersheim. With a heritage of wine-growing and beer-brewing, Alsace will give you a new perspective by showing you how hops are grown. We’ll return on board before leaving for dinner to taste the tarte flambée, a local specialty, at a restaurant in Waltenheim (included).
DAY 3: WALTENHEIM – SAVERNE
This morning will be spent cruising towards Saverne. Enjoy this bucolic journey passing the towns of Schwindratzheim, nestled on a hillside, and Hochfelden, a typical local village. During the morning, feel free to stroll or bike on the paved trails alongside the canal. In the afternoon, join us on a tour of the Château du Haut-Barr, nicknamed “The Eye of Alsace”, where you will discover a splendid view over the Alsatian plains.
DAY 4: SAVERNE – LUTZELBOURG
We’ll set out on a guided tour of Saverne. Virtually unknown by the usual tourist routes, the city offers a wide range of places to discover. We’ll return on board and cruise towards Lutzelbourg. The canal winds through the Vosges Mountains before joining the Lorraine region. Late in the afternoon, we suggest you to set off on foot to marvel at Lutzelbourg Castle.
DAY 5: LUTZELBOURG – Arzviller Inclined Plane – XOUAXANGE
We’ll set off for an excursion to the Arzviller inclined plane. Along the way, we will stop at the crystal glassworks near the inclined plane. We’ll learn about this time-tested tradition, and watch crystal blowing and cutting demonstrations. The boat will cruise through the Artzviller inclined plane – an incredible experience. A fabulous structure, this transverse system boat “elevator” is one-of-a-kind in Europe. The inclined plane replaces 17 successive locks over 2.5 miles that once needed a full day to navigate.
DAY 6: XOUAXANGE – LAGARDE
This morning will be spent cruising towards Lagarde, passing through the Réchicourt lock, one of the largest in France, before continuing our journey through the lakes. In the afternoon, join us on a visit of Sarrebourg that will take us on the Chagall trail. Tonight is our gala evening and dinner.
DAY 7: LAGARDE – Strasbourg
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. Transfer by coach back to Strasbourg, arriving late in the morning. End of our services.