Cruising in France: Day 6 on the Burgundy Canal

  On the last leg of our cruise, from Lezinnes to Tanlay, there are five more locks and some of the group wanted to make the most of the nice weather by walking most of the way. A few others took the opportunity on our last cruise day to ride bikes. Throughout the cruise, Captain Jolanda has made a point of warning everyone not to fall overboard when getting on or off the barge at the locks. …

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Cruising in France: Day 5 on the Burgundy Canal

  A sunny morning permitted the group to get out to walk on the towpath while La Belle Epoque cruised today from Ancy-le-Franc to Lezinnes, with an excursion in the afternoon to the town of Chablis. A most notable town in Burgundy is Chablis dominated by the spire of the 13th century Collégiale Saint-Martin à Chablis. The city is packed with cellars aging the namesake wine. There are 300 producers with the most prominent being Domaine Laroche. We visited …

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Cruising in France: Day 4 on the Burgundy Canal

Les Riceys is the only wine growing area of the Champagne region to have three Appellation d’Origine Contollees. It is the major supplier of grapes for Alexandre Bonnet.

  Today our cruise on the Burgundy Canal is from Ravieres to Ancy-le-Franc. Following a morning drive into Champagne to inspect the vines at a Les Riceys vineyard, we moved on to the Alexandre Bonnet winery for a demonstration of the making of Champagnes by Ervine, the future wine maker of the winery. Included was a sampling of fine Alexandre Bonnet Champagnes. A Champagne aperitif and multicourse gourmet lunch was hosted by the vivacious Baroness Segolene and …

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Cruising in France: Day 3 on the Burgundy Canal

  The cruise this morning took Le 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 …

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Cruising in France: Day 2 on the Burgundy Canal

  Aboard La Belle Epoque cruising slowly from Venarey-les-Laumes to Montbard this morning. Nine locks are along this section of the canal permitting several opportunities to get off the barge for a walk or a bike ride. The 12-passenger La Belle Epoque was constructed in 1930 as a freight barge to carry logs from Burgundy to Paris and Amsterdam. In 1973 it was converted into a state of the art luxury hotel barge designed for elegance and …

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Cruising in France: Uniworld’s Seine Super Ship

  Today I am an American in Paris, the city of light, Hemingway’s moveable feast. My wife, Jialin, and I arrived a couple of days early in France for a week-long barge tour in Burgundy and we will use our extra days to explore a bit more of Paris. This is our third time here. On our last visit I lost a rental car. Well, that’s not exactly what happened as it turned out. I had simply …

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France Cruises, Day 3: Our excursion to Narbonne

ABOARD THE ESPERANCE — At 10 a.m. we’re sailing again (well, give or take a half hour or so, but what’s the rush?!). The scenery starts to look just a bit like Tuscany and we’re suddenly sailing along vineyards and will be for the rest of the cruise. We’re in prime French wine country now. The Minervois appellation is France’s largest, according to Mathias, with the greatest output of grapes for wine. Some of the wine produced …

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France Cruises, Day 2: A slow journey to Capestang

ABOARD THE ESPERANCE — On our first full day onboard the Esperance, we find out that today is a very relaxed day. Every other day of our journey we will be met by a tour guide in the afternoon who will drive us to a destination to explore. Today, though, there will be no tour guide. Just gentle cruising and peaceful scenery. A breakfast buffet is put out each morning at 8 a.m. for the six passengers. …

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France Cruises: Could I possibly adjust to the slow paced nature of a canal barge cruise?

Could I possibly adjust to the slow paced nature of a canal barge cruise? That was the big question as we embarked on the Esperance, a hotel barge that sails through the Midi Canal in the south of France. After several months of fast-paced travel where other people and impersonal companies were always dictating my itinerary, arranging a six night stay on the Esperance was a breath of fresh air, if not just a little bit unnerving. …

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Art aboard AMALegro: Day 1

ABOARD THE AMALEGRO, Paris – – They call this an “Art Illumination” cruise — and as soon as we walked up the gangplank of this majestic riverboat we could see why: copies of famous Impressionist art are hung on the walls of every corridor. When the trip is over in seven days, the 79 passengers will have channeled their inner art talent in an attempt to replicate the masterpieces of Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and the other …

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