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 Elysses, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Marigny and Bois de Bologne offered by our guide and driver Arnault Poussin.
Driving by the industrial detritus surrounding any city gave time for catnaps but when we hit the fields of golden yellow rapeseed, it was eyes open until we arrived at our destination, Montargis, the Venice of France.
European Waterways’ Renaissance, a hotel barge carrying eight guests, waited for us, all of four passengers, ready for its first voyage of the season. The crew was on deck with trays of Champagne and hors d’’oeuvres.
Can you imagine a more propitious start to a week of slow cruising and in-depth excursions paired with cheerful coddling, wine and gourmet meals?
A walk around the bridges and canals of Montargis before dinner of smoked salmon blini, roasted lamb rump, cheeses and a deconstructed rhubarb crumble accompanied by appropriate wines sent us happily into the arms of Morpheus.
April 19, 2015