Modern, luxurious barge vessels offer an intimate and immersive journey through France, traversing canals and narrow rivers that are inaccessible by larger ships.
These purpose-built vessels allow you to explore many of the quaint waterside villages you wouldn’t see on the standard tourist trail.
Barge cruises typically range from as little as four to 25 passengers, but, while a smaller ship means fewer passengers, it doesn’t mean you have to skimp on space.
Relax in open outdoor and indoor areas, sunbathe on an alfresco deck, drink in a salon-style bar, or kick back on deck chairs while the French countryside slowly rolls past.
Barges such as MS Anne-Marie and Ms Deborah boast heated open-air hot tubs and bicycles for exploring the countryside.
Cabins are equipped with an ensuite with walk-in shower, TV, telephone, safe for valuables and Wi-Fi.
Barge cruises generally last seven days while covering around 50-kilometres (31-miles) of canal networks each day.
The vessels maintain a comfortable, steady pace, giving you ample time to soak up the scenery. If you feel like a change of pace, you can take one of the on-board bicycles and ride alongside the barge between locks.
Guided sightseeing tours take place every day and usually include cultural experiences like wine-tastings at family-owned vineyards, browsing local markets and visits to historic churches.
Regular barge cruisers will tell you to expect quality dining on board. You’ll enjoy fresh-baked croissants and pastries for breakfast and seasonal soups and gourmet cheese platters for lunch.
At dinner, expect a multi-course meal of delicious French classics.
The food experience continues with exclusive culinary activities like cooking demonstrations and shopping for seasonal ingredients with the on-board chef.
Many barges also boast private dining rooms.
You’ll be surprised at how much there is to see and do on these unique holidays, even over the shorter distances.
Mesmerising artwork, historic villages, ancient architecture and beautiful scenery await you with each sunrise.
You will also have plenty of free time to shape your own adventure.
But, where should you cruise?
This may be the toughest question you face when you’re considering barge cruising in France as every region has its own unique appeal.
If you love wine-touring, a canal cruise round-trip from Paris along canals in the Loire Valley includes a tour to La Tower du Pouilly-Fumé, a sensory tour in the middle of the vineyards, and a visit to Apremont-sur-Allier, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
For delicate olive oils, sumptuous seafood and the finest of French cheeses, the Rhone in France’s south along the Mediterranean Sea is a must.
Visit the fortified city of Aigues-Mortes and the salt marshes, indulge in fresh oysters in Étang De Thau, and stopover in Arles to sample traditional olive oil production.
Book now when you speak with our friendly Cruise and Travel Solutions Specialist at Cruise Megastore on 1300 657 948.
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