Aboard Renaissance: Final thoughts on cruise

ABOARD RENAISSANCE- Rain dampened the deck, streets and roads but not our memories as we hugged the crew and piled into our trusty van with deck man, driver, guide and captain-in-training Arnald Poussin for the three hour-drive to Paris. More hugs as he dropped us of at European Waterways’ Paris meeting center, Hotel Westminster. Just enough time for lunch, to tour the Eastern Antiquities collection at the Louvre (a weak but heart-felt gesture of scorn for the …

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Aboard Renaissance: Briare

ABOARD RENAISSANCE-The weather gods seemed to be exacting their due as we woke in Briare to gray skies that threatened rain. Carol and I checked out the market behind the church of Saint Etienne and found just about everything one could possibly need to sustain life – vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, cheese, bread, milk, plants, medicinal herbs, clothing from underwear to shoes, furniture, beds, mattresses, even a suite of purple pots for cooking. Few villages or small …

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Aboard Renaissance: Chateau de la Bussiere

ABOARD RENAISSANCE-Quiet and leisurely start to the morning; chef Luke’s breakfast special, pain perdu, French toast. We had to have it, right? We cruise along normally until one door of the lock at Ouzier-Sur-Trezes refused to open enough to let us exit. The lockmaster, our captain and deckman try unsuccessfully to fix the problem. Three more men arrive – lock keepers no longer inhabit the houses alongside but drive to one lock after another within their district …

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Aboard Renaissance: A visit to the famous faience factory in Gien

ABOARD RENAISSANCE-Cannot believe how fortunate we are weather-wise. Predictions had been for cool temperatures for one sunny day between rain and clouds. Instead it has been warm and sunny. All the better to sun and lunch on the foredeck. We have been alternating morning excursions one day with afternoon ones the next. Quite civilized, especially when nothing except breakfast begins before 9 a.m. Today we are moored, with a number of other barges, at the village of …

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Aboard Renaissance: Visiting Chateau Sully-Sur-Loire

ABOARD RENAISSANCE-The church bells of Montbouy woke us all at 7 a.m. and after breakfast we piled into the van for the drive to the Castle – or Chateau, the French use the terms interchangeably – of Sully-Sur-Loire, built and built on from 1000 A.D. Whereas Fountainebleau had been so grand and sprawling that none of us could imagine what life was like there, Sully fit cozily into our imaginations. It also has a moat which to …

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Aboard Renaissance: Visiting Fountainebleau

ABOARD RENAISSANCE-I have a new definition of bliss: sitting on deck as the Renaissance slowly slides through the Loire countryside, watching as we hit our first lock of the day, then returning to the cabin for Chef Luke’s blueberry pancakes before hitting the deck again for more observation of the French way of life. Spring is springing here, with fresh green leaves sprouting, the many flowering trees laden with pink and white blossoms and the greenswards filled …

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Aboard La Renaissance: First Day aboard

ABOARD THE LA RENAISSANCE-A thickness settles on the brain after a transatlantic flight that even a sunny day in Paris cannot lift, although we certainly tried. Lunch at the elegant Cafe de la Paix overlooking the gloriously ornate Paris Opera came close. A walk down to the still being renovated Ritz at the Place Vendom helped. Meeting our barge mates for the next six days stirred the juices as did the impromptu tour of the Tuilleries, Parc …

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Preparing for cruise of Burgundy region of France on European Waterways’ La Renaissance

Slowly, smoothly barging through the valleys and canals of Burgundy, encountering the Loire, Saone and Seine Rivers. Disembarking to explore vineyards, famous, family-owned wineries and medieval villages. Visiting historic chateaux like Chateau de La Bussiere or “fisherman’s castle,” Chateau Sully-sur Loire where Joan of Arc and Voltaire were exiled and the royal and imperial Chateau de Fountainbleau, home for seven centuries’ of royal residents. Meanwhile, the chef shops and prepares gourmet meals of local, seasonal specialties to …

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