Cruising in France: Day 3 on the Burgundy Canal


The cruise this morning took La Belle Epoque from Montbard to Ravieres.

For breakfast, individually prepared poached eggs were prepared by Chef Bryan who gave instructions on how to properly cook the eggs (the secret is to boil the eggs for ten seconds in their shells so the whites will adhere to the yolks before cracking them open and boiling them in the swirling water of large pot).

A unique character, Bryan began his fascinating culinary life when he made the decision to become a chef at age eleven in the UK. His professional experience includes stints in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The proof of his expertise in French cooking and as a pastry chef was evident in every meal, most introduced with one of his favorite stories about the food and/or preparation of it.

The arched entrance to Abbaye de Fontenay and windows added thirty years ago. The pattern in the windows is one that is said to have inspired Coco Chanel, who grew up as an orphan in a convent, to design her corporate logo using the same pattern.

In the afternoon the group traveled in minivans to Abbaye de Fontenay, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded by Saint Bernard in 1118. The lives of the Cistercian monks in the monastery there was a quite austere one arising daily at 4 AM from their beds of straw on the floor of a large and quite stark dormitory. Amid the impressive architecture, cloisters, and peaceful ponds and gardens, the monks maintained simple lives in contrast to their surroundings.

Our group of photographers in a cloister of the Abbaye de Fontenay.

Upon returning to La Belle Epoque, our group was met on board with foot-stomping musical entertainment by the Riverboat Ramblers Dixieland band.

Riverboat Ramblers performing on deck and in La Belle Epoque’s bar.

A busy day concluded with a dinner of Chef Bryan’s pork fillets stuffed with apricots accompanied by bottles of white and red burgundys from the Beaune du Chateaux.

Story and photos courtesy of Dennis Cox

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