Best Ever France Barge Cruise

 

 

We’re starting a new series: BEST EVER. These articles will be about food travel experiences that we have found and engaged in ourselves. And, they will all be experiences that we feel you should add to your must-do food travel list.

Adrienne France Barge Cruise
Adrienne France Barge Cruise

 

Our first BEST EVER is a France barge cruise through Southern Burgundy on the ultra deluxe Adrienne, a member of the French Country Waterways fleet.

We took this dream cruise on my 50th birthday. To say it was a trip of a lifetime is a huge understatement. From start to finish everything was top-notch, the details were carefully looked after, and it is the kind of experience whose memories will continue to bring joy long after the journey has ended.

France Barge Cruise is the ultimate food travel experience
France Barge Cruise is the ultimate food travel experience

 

The trip is a 6 night/7 day slow and pleasurable canal cruise through the beautiful Southern Burgundy countryside. The adventure begins with a most civilized mid-afternoon private coach pick-up in the lobby of the beautiful Hotel Raphael in Paris. We opted to stay at the Hotel Raphael for 2 nights prior to the cruise. Let’s just say that it is a deliciously comfortable and luxurious Parisian hotel within walking distance of the Champs-Ellysees and many other right bank Parisian hot spots.

Hotel Raphael Lobby
Hotel Raphael Lobby

 

You start the adventure in earnest with a jaunt on the TGV, or high-speed train, to Dijon that lasts just under two hours. If you’ve never taken the TGV you’ll be impressed by the cleanliness and efficiency on this 200+ mph rail that gets you where you’re going in no time.

Bon Voyage! 

France Barge Cruise Cabin
France Barge Cruise Cabin

 

You are welcomed on the Adrienne with a champagne reception, of course! The Adrienne has 6 luxurious cabins with the choice of one King or two twin beds.  Each cabin has its own private bath with shower, much bigger than most ocean cruise suites. This means there will likely be 12 people on board. The Adrienne has an English speaking crew of 6 well-trained members, who will dote on your every need. Each guest completes a profile prior to the trip so the staff know in advance your food allergies and food and drink preferences. I happen to love vodka as well as wine so they made sure to have my favorite brand on hand in the fully-stocked bar onboard.

Chef Cyril always presented wonderful creations.
Chef Cyril always presented wonderful creations.

 

The beauty of the barge is immediately apparent.  The word barge seems very odd considering this is nothing like a typical barge you might expect to see. This opulent floating  inn has every amenity you can imagine – salon, bar and separate dining room all done in classic French decor, with lovely carpeting, carved wood furnishings, and lovely brass accents. Central air-conditioning, granite and marble bathrooms and both 110 and 220 electrical outlets in every cabin.

What’s included in the price? In a nutshell, everything! All meals breakfast, lunch and dinner, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and the use of onboard bicycles.

Be Prepared to Eat & Drink

Fine dining on the France Barge Cruise Adrienne
Fine dining on the France Barge Cruise Adrienne

 

The highlight of the cruise is definitely the food+wine. Every lunch and dinner we were offered red and white estate-bottled wines. There was an in-depth explanation of each wine and its origin. We greatly appreciated the very detailed history and in-depth knowledge the barge “captain” brought to each presentation.

Cheese Presentation on Adrienne France Barge Cruise
Cheese Presentation on Adrienne France Barge Cruise

 

We also sampled three unique local cheeses at every lunch and dinner. Some were made at tiny dairies specializing in those particular cheeses, some from area villages or monasteries, and some we’re likely never to taste again. It was a cheese and wine lovers’ paradise.

Burgundy Vineyards
Burgundy Vineyards

 

The stops during the cruise featured a visit to a Cote d’Or wine producing area featuring Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards including a private tasting with the vintner.

Michelin Starred Lameloise
Michelin Starred Lameloise

 

Also included in price of the cruise is a dinner at the Michelin three-starred restaurant Maison Lameloise in the tiny town of Chagny. This was a very special treat but we all agreed that the food on board the cruise was on par with that of the Michelin starred restaurant.

Chef Cyril of the Adrienne France Barge Cruise
Chef Cyril of the Adrienne France Barge Cruise

 

Our on-board chef, Cyril, was a young self-taught French chef who was adorable and charming and whose world-class cooking skills were quite appreciated by all on the barge. He even provided us a tour of his small but efficient galley and offered some French cooking tips.

Amazing Itinerary

Chateau of Longecourt in Burgundy
Chateau of Longecourt in Burgundy

 

Beaunne France Barge Cruise
Beaunne France Barge Cruise

 

From our first stop in Dijon to our last stop in St. Leger every port of call had its own unique qualities and wonders to explore. We had escorted walking tours and a visit to a working Chateau where we chatted with the Count whose family has owned the Chateau for generations. We had a tour of Beaune known for its unique tiled roofs and Hospice de Beaune. And, we strolled through a 12th century castle.

The Food Travelists cycling through Burgundy.
The Food Travelists cycling through Burgundy.

 

To make the adventure even better, as the barge slowly moves from port to port you may choose to walk, run or bicycle along the canals yourself. There is a paved path along most of the canals that allows you easy access to quaint French towns along the way. We hopped on bicycles one day and experienced the smallest towns in a way we most certainly never would have even been able to otherwise, even on a driving trip through France.

Relaxing on the Adrienne France Barge Cruise
Relaxing on the Adrienne France Barge Cruise

 

If you choose, you can relax onboard and experience going through the many canal locks, watching as the crew make it look a lot easier than I think it really is.

New Found Friends

Our companions on the cruise were wonderful food and travel-loving people. We all became fast friends after our first meal together and enjoyed each others’ company throughout the journey. Sharing of the day’s tales and comparing travel stories made for some late nights over wine, scotch and other libations.

Birthday celebration on the France Barge Cruise
Birthday celebration on the France Barge Cruise

 

Since it was my special birthday, the crew made the evening we celebrated my day really special. The Chef created a wonderful birthday torte adorned with a huge spun sugar sculpture. We ate and drank ourselves silly and finished up the evening with Moet & Chandon Imperial at the barge bar while comparing pedicures. Fun was most certainly had by all.

A Trip To Remember

Cheers!
Cheers!

 

Our France Barge Cruise through the canals of Burundy was and still remains one of my most favorite food travel memories. I’ll always remember the food, the wine and the friends I made on that week-long France Barge Cruise.

Quick Bites: If you’re looking for a truly special food travel experience check out French Country Waterways France Barge Cruises. It’s a very special week filled with local food, cheeses and wine that will provide memories for a lifetime.

 

 

30 thoughts on “Best Ever France Barge Cruise

  1. One beautiful and tasty adventure. I’d love to do a barge trip one day and hope to have such great weather. A trip of a lifetime!

  2. What an incredible adventure. I learned about barge cruises for the first time last year and love that they offer such unique experiences (and delicious food!). And how fun that you can ride bikes from port to port along the canal instead of on the barge.

  3. You can’t go wrong with “best ever”! Sounds like a great luxury adventure, and a great way to see France 🙂

  4. This looks like so much fun! I would love to do a cruise like this–it seems great to have access to so many different spots every day!

  5. Sounds amazing, so glad to hear you had a wonderful 50th! Haven’t done a waterway cruise throughout Europe but everyone has been raving about them recently so I might have to look into these river cruises!

  6. This is one of those things that my wife and I go back and forth over. It looks so relaxing and sumptuous, but we are really afraid of being bored as we are usually always on the go.

    1. I hear you Arnie. We are the same way. Diana doesn’t like to sit still for long so the thought of cruising didn’t appeal to her. I will tell you that we were never bored and found that when we were docked the amount of things to do was quite enough to keep us busy and entertained.

  7. That looks and sounds so cool. I have to try that. Should be much better than those large cruise ships. More intimate!

  8. Happy Birthday! This looks like a fantastic way to celebrate a 50th birthday. The food also looks so delicious. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Far more classier looking that I would ever expect. That pudding needs to get in my belly.

  10. Sounds fantastic. We have friends who have done a few canal boat trips in France and just loved it but they rented their own boat. I didn’t know you could go on a commercially operated cruise.

    1. I know! We did a TON of research before deciding on this one. Glad we did.

  11. Thanks for the info, Sue….oh, and happy birthday. This is certainly something I would love to do in 2016 and have already written to them for next year’s cruises.

  12. What a way to celebrate a “round” (or any other) birthday! Looks wonderful. I especially appreciate that there is a cycling option to work off all that gorgeous food. Looking forward to your next “best ever”.

  13. I really want to do this – maybe next year this one’s pretty booked up already. This sounds so lovely and a whole different type of cruising.

  14. That sounds like a fabulous trip, with such a perfect combination of luxury relaxation and active travel. Must talk to my hubby about it….

  15. This barge cruise sounds like a delightful, indulgent way to experience a bit of France. I can see why it made it to your “best ever” list.

    1. Indulgent is the perfect way to describe it Donna. Thanks for stopping by!

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