Cruising in France

By Brooke Taylor April 25, 2013 07:00 AM
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Cruising in France
What better way to visit France than on a barge, slowly cruising along, enjoying the scenery. It’s the definition of a true vacation – no land tours to book, no packing or unpacking, no meals to deal with, and everything arranged and coordinated by professionals, down to the food preparation. This is luxury.Each boat has a local tour guide who is familiar with the region the guests have expressed interest in seeing. These trips are customized and take into consideration the preferences of each passenger. The smaller barges may contain a single family group who want to experience a unique relaxing holiday together. And this is a special way for parents and children to create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. It’s also an educational experience that children will enjoy.

With smaller vessels, you have a chance to see France in a more intimate way. With small little villages along the river, and you can get into the markets and away from all of the tourists. Barges can fit all budgets from mid-range all the way up to luxury lines such as Avalon Waterways.

Cruising is ideal for anyone who wants to experience the foods of the region in a personalized way. Each barge has a professional chef on board to cook for individual tastes or dietary requirements. Additionally, the chef can provide instruction for anyone wanting to learn about French food and cooking techniques and some barges are equipped with demo kitchens.

If passengers have an interest in wines, for example, they can sail into one of the areas of the countryside, such as Bordeaux, Champagne, or Burgundy, where some of the world’s best wine is produced.

The tours will visit the vineyards and sample products from each locale. The scenery and food in these regions is sensational. They may even be invited for drinks and a meal with the owners.

Or they may prefer painting, art, music, ancient Roman history, architecture, visiting chateaux, or simply a general cruise along the waterways. Whatever route is chosen offers fascinating things to see and do. These barge trips provide a combination of land and water touring, so that museums, monuments, churches, and places of interest are not only viewed but experienced in ways that a local tour guide can best arrange. Even a tourist who has been to an area can get a different perspective when taken by someone who knows that place really well.

For those wanting a more active trip, bicycles can be brought onto the barges, allowing for a bike ride during various stops along the way. Alternatively, there can be hiking, or picnicking, or whatever meets the desires of each traveler.

So for those looking for that unique, family oriented trip, this fits that description nicely. However, your cruise doesn’t need to take that form – it could be a group of friends with a particular interest, an individual with a yearning to visit France in a different mode, or a honeymoon getaway for the new bride and groom.

Brooke Taylor is a writer, consultant, and international traveler who has journeyed throughout Europe. To learn more about cruising in France, go to

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