French Country Waterways
French Country Waterways Highlights
- Intimate hotel barges with no more than 18 passengers
- Canal trips offer unique European itineraries
- Old-fashioned feel with no phone, TV, radio, Internet onboard
- Onboard cuisine features local ingredients
- French Country Waterways News: French Country Waterways Re-Launches Nenuphar
French Country Waterways Fleet (5)
The 12-passenger Nenuphar focuses on France's Champagne region. It received extensive renovations in 2006.
And the eight-passenger Princess centers on Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine; among the standouts on this voyage are a visit to the city of Reims, a tour of Strasbourg and Champagne tasting at Moet & Chandon.
In 2005, French Country Waterways launched its newest, most elegant vessel. The 12-passenger Adrienne is sailing Loire Valley canals once plied by Nenuphar, highlighted by visits to France's historical Chateau region and a cruise across the unique Briare Canal bridge, an aqueduct designed by Gustave Eiffel (of the tower fame) carrying vessels over the Loire River, a span of more than 600 meters (.4 mile).
About French Country Waterways
The company owns and operates its own fleet of five hotel barges with passenger capacities that range from eight to 18. The company has carved a niche for its more luxurious interpretation of the barge experience, one that focuses both onboard and on-land. Barges are outfitted to resemble floating country house hotels (albeit small ones!) and onshore activities ranging from dinner at Michelin-starred restaurants to hot air balloon rides are standard activities.
As befits its name, French Country Waterways offers only France-based canal trips. Its ships ply the waters of Burgundy, the Upper Loire Valley, Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine in six-night voyages (departing Sunday, returning Saturday). Cruises are offered between March and October.
Mealtime -- as one would expect on a canal cruise of France -- is a highlight of the day and onboard chefs use ingredients picked up in the village-of-the-moment. French wines are included in the fare.
Otherwise, sightseeing is the primary diversion; each barge organizes daily activities though independent-minded folk can borrow a bicycle and head off on their own.
The biggest difference between a canal cruise and a river voyage is the pace; these barges move at about four or five miles per hour (as opposed to 10 - 15).