Traveling to Europe in preparation of trip aboard European Waterways L’Impressionist

They say time flies as you get older. I suppose that is true. It seems as though it was a short time ago that I celebrated a milestone birthday and my son and daughter-in-law invited me to share a June trip to London with them as a birthday gift. Lovely gift, don’t you agree? I’m truth my birthday was six months ago. Judy, Michael and I leave today. BUSSES, PLANES AND TRAINS I came up to Orlando …

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MSC Splendida, Day 1: Am I the only American on board?

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA – There will be no waffling or wondering where the life preservers and the lifeboats are should an unforeseen accident happen while we’re cruising on the MSC Splendida this week. The first thing we received from the crew, even before we got to our cabins, was a notice of the Compulsory Safety Briefing that we had to attend to learn about how to put on our life preservers and where to meet should …

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Slow and Easy Aboard L’Impressioniste

  Slow and easy, relaxing and delicious are some of the adjectives that describe my barge cruise aboard European Waterways’ 12-passenger L’Impressioniste. My holiday — a six-night itinerary through France’s Lower Burgundy Canal – began with a one-night stay in the Hotel Westminster in Paris. This was a special treat as it allowed for a good rest after the overnight flight from New York, as well as the opportunity to do a little sightseeing in the City …

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A family tour of a Paris neighborhood with a local guide

PARIS — Green, red or purple? Not crayons, French Macarons, the best cookie you could ever taste. We’re in Gerard Merlot, a shop famous for macarons in the St Germain district of Paris, with Genevieve Robert, who we’ve met through a terrific company called Tours by Locals. You correspond ahead of your trip with a local guide who can tailor a tour to your liking—food, design, architecture, kids… I like that the guides are all locals and …

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A visit to the town where Vincent Van Gogh spent his final most prolific days

Auvers sur Oise, France — I’m literally walking in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps to the field where he painted the famous paintings like the Wheatfield of Crows and where he shot himself. Such a sad story. Van Gogh, of course, was only 37 when he died and not yet famous.  He had come to the town of Auvers sur Oise, a short distance from Paris on the train because Dr. Paul Gachet, lived here.  A great friend …

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In Rouen, France — where Joan of Arc died and Monet painted a famous cathedral

Rouen, on the Seine River in Normandy — She was a teenaged girl who was seeing things.  Centuries later, she is the national symbol of France. Joan of Arc was born in 1412 to a family of farm laborers. When she was a young teen, she started to hear voices telling her to help the dauphin regain the throne.  From the start of the Hundred Year’s War in 1337, the English and French fought over that throne …

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A cruise with a difference — along the Seine River in Normandy

ON THE SEINE RIVER BETWEEN PARIS AND NORMANDY — We’re gliding along a field dotted with daisies; at lunch I watched a family of swans. I’m on a different kind of cruise—a River Cruise on the Seine in France on Avalon Waterways Creativity—just 140 passengers on this 361-foot long barge and with just 70 staterooms and two suites.  (The newest Avalon ships will be all-suites.) “You get to know people here… and it’s nice that you unpack …

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Cruising on the Seine River – a stop at Monet’s Garden in Giverny

ON THE SEINE RIVER BETWEEN PARIS AND NORMANDY — I’m walking in Monet’s glorious gardens at Giverny on sunny day thinking about a little girl skipping over the famous green Japanese Bridges a big smile on her face. That was my daughter Melanie, 7 at the time, who was enamored of the book Linnea in Monet’s Garden, so from the time we announced we were going to France in 1998, she announced we must visit Monet’s Garden.  …

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French Country Waterways offers a truly indulgent way to explore France’s Champagne region this spring

American travelers who dream of being truly immersed in Champagne region of France should look no further than French Country Waterways to deliver an uniquely authentic experience.  American-owned and operated French Country Waterways has been cruising the canals and rivers of France for 29 years, offering guests all-inclusive luxury tours that include gourmet cuisine, exclusive wines and an insider’s perspective of provincial France.  This year the eight-passenger luxury hotel barge Princess takes guests to Champagne, the region …

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Compagnie du Ponant Goes All-Inclusive!

Looks like some more restructuring is happening for Compagnie Du Ponant, a small French luxury river cruise line.  Compagnie recently sold two of its ships: the 3,500-ton, 90-passenger Le Levant went to Paul Gauguin Cruises and has been renamed Tere Moana, to sail in the South Pacific. The 8,282-ton, 226-passenger expedition ship Le Diamant has been chartered to Quark Expeditions, who will rechristen it Ocean Diamond and sail her to both poles. This leaves the luxury line just …

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