French Country Waterways Launches its 30th Season in April
In Honor of Its 30th Anniversary, 30 Reasons to Book a French Country Waterways Vacation
French Country Waterways , the only American-owned company to offer luxury barge cruises along France’s canal system, will embark on its 30th season this spring.
In honor ofthis milestone, what follows is a list of 30 reasons to book a French Country Waterways vacation. Six-night trips on each of the company’s four barges depart on Sundays from April through October; rates for the 2014 season start at $5,495 per person, double.
Comfortable Vessels : Each barge is fully air-conditioned, with guest rooms that feature private baths and individual temperature controls. Common areas include indoor lounges, a pleasant dining room and a relaxing outdoor deck.
The Crew: Each team of six is focused entirely on guest comfort and safety, and they do everything in their power to ensure that passengers have a superb stay in France.
True Small-Ship Cruising : Each barge accommodates just eight or 12 passengers … so the ratio of crew to guests is exceptional.
Adrienne: This barge features hand-crafted French provincial-style furnishings and a spacious canopied deck. It can accommodate 12 passengers in six king suites* as it visits Burgundy Cote d’Or.
Horizon II : This barge features a split-level design that makes it an ideal choice for guests who want to limit how much they navigate stairs. Eight passengers can stay in four king suites* as they explore the Upper Loire Valley.
Nenuphar : This barge features a richly paneled salon on its main deck as well as a charming dining room. It hosts 12 passengers in three king and three queen suites* as it travels Central Burgundy.
Princess: This barge offers the ultimate luxury, hosting eight passengers in two grand king suites and two king suites* as they experience either Alsace-Lorraine or Champagne.
On-Board Dining: Each crew includes a chef who combines classic French cooking techniques with the modern trend toward lighter, healthier fare. Each day brings a continental breakfast, buffet lunch and four-course, candlelit dinner.
Wine: Guests are offered more than two dozen wines during their cruise. More than half of these will be from Grand Cru or Premier Cru vineyards, but passengers will also sample vintages from family-owned properties whose limited production is rarely exported.
Cheese : At both lunch and dinner, passengers are offered an array of French cheeses … and the stories behind their production.
Bread: Each morning the crew picks up fresh croissants and baguettes from local bakeries, ensuring that guests always have the freshest (and most delicious) breads to accompany each meal.
Chocolate and Confections : A special treat at the end of most meals is the selection of chocolates and other sweets from local shops.
Complimentary Bar : Each barge offers a bar stocked with a selection of favorite spirits, liqueurs, beers and soft drinks.
Michelin-Starred Restaurants : Each itinerary features a dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, at which the chef creates a special menu and the sommelier selects appropriate wines to accompany each course.
Canals : The French canal system dates to the early 17th century and once offered a way to connect the countryside to major trade centers, transporting everything from timber to wine. Today the French Navigation Authority continues to maintain the canals because of their historic importance and intrinsic beauty.
Locks : Passengers can watch the crew and lock-keepers work these engineering marvels … and occasionally even lend a hand, if they’d like.
Towpaths : Each barge maintains bicycles that guests may take out for a ride along the canal towpath or to explore nearby villages. Those passengers who prefer to walk along the path instead will find it peaceful and pleasant exercise, as well.
Countryside: There’s no better way to see the beauty of the French countryside than on these slow-moving barges that allow countless photo opportunities and give guests plenty of chances to disembark and explore on their own.
Alsace-Lorraine Itinerary : Alsace looks like it comes straight out of a fairytale, and Lorraine is home to both the famous quiche and the delicious madeleine cookie.
Burgundy Cote d’Or Itinerary : Dijon, the historic capital of this area, is the starting point for a trip that explores some of the country’s most famous wineries.
Central Burgundy Itinerary: Burgundy is located in the heart of France and also represents its culinary epicenter.
Champagne Itinerary : Home to the world’s most celebrated wine, this region has also played key roles in French history.
Upper Loire Valley Itinerary : This region, known as the “Garden of France,” is the gateway from Paris to the nation’s famed chateau country.
Daily Excursions: Each day the captain takes passengers on an excursion via private motorcoach, giving guests a chance to explore historic towns, charming castles and other points of interest.
Winery Visits : Each itinerary includes at least one stop at a winery, where guests meet with the vintner, learn about local production and specialties, and – of course – try some samples.
Hot-Air Ballooning : French Country Waterways works with Air Adventures to provide hot-air balloon rides for guests, weather permitting. (At least four guests must participate and this is at an additional charge, but there’s no better way to get the perfect view of the French countryside … and it includes a beret!)
French Culture: The crew is eager to introduce guests to glimpses of life in France. For example, they might set up a game of pétanque, the French sport similar to bocce, and engage passengers by explaining the rules of this game.
English Spoken Here : As an American-owned company that caters to U.S. passengers, French Country Waterways hires a fully bilingual crew. Guests will feel comfortable communicating with everyone on board, though the crew is also happy to speak or teach French if passengers desire.
Stay Connected … Or Not : Each barge is equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing guests to remain in touch with friends, family or business associates. But a lot of passengers choose to “check out” during their time aboard, preferring to enjoy the scenery and relaxation rather than checking e-mails.
Lifelong Friends: Passengers may start as strangers, but they quickly become friends. After sharing a week of adventures, food and wine, it’s not uncommon for guests to form friendships that last well after they return home.
*Twin beds are available upon request.
Information, reservations and the company’s new brochure can be obtained from French Country Waterways, Ltd., P.O. Box 2195, Duxbury, MA 02331; calling 800-222-1236 in the U.S. and Canada and 781-934-2454 in Massachusetts; or visiting the website .