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Cruise Destinations

-France, Northern Burgundy on Barge La Belle Epoque-

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 12 guests
  • 126 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • English Speaking Crew of 6
  • 12 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2010

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, transfers from Paris to the barge & return, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from France, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque recently underwent a major interior and exterior renovation!

Ellen, The Barge Lady explains, “We love the whole idea of the Extreme Makeover! We’ve watched as people have been made over, then the craze moved on to homes. Now we have the first makeover of this kind for a canal barge! La Belle Epoque has entered the water as a very nearly rebuilt vessel, with major updating in its décor, systems and amenities.

A bit of personal history: I first visited La Belle Epoque in summer, 1994, when it was being converted from a cargo- carrying barge to a passenger-carrying barge. The vessel came complete with a romantic, even exciting back story: Having been owned by the same family for generations; it had cruised on most of the waterways of Europe and had even seen action in World War II! The first makeover, which took 15 months to complete, emphasized this proud nautical history with lots of varnished wood and polished brass, as well as memorabilia from classic ocean liners! After La Belle Epoque debuted in 1995, she carried 4000 passengers. It was time for a major facelift! There is scarcely any aspect of the vessel which has not been updated to current standards. Even the crew has been "made over" and will wear brand new uniforms. Please go to Floor Plan for pictures of the newly decorated interior and complete list of upgrades.

La Belle Epoque moved to her present route in 2010. We have cruised this area many times and love its romantic canals and fascinating, varied excursion list. From winetasting at Chablis to market day at one of the most enchanting villages in France to trying CHOCOLATE CANAPES in Flavigny, the town where the movie “Chocolat” was filmed: this route has it all. La Belle Epoque guests enjoy the flexibility of two vehicles and a top crew. We are very anxious to see the new La Belle Epoque and will plan to visit as soon as possible!”


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise
2017 Value Season Rates

Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $55,400
Whole-Boat Charter for 11: $56,700
Whole-Boat Charter for 12: $58,000
Individuals in a Stateroom: $5,150 per person double occupancy
Individuals in a Junior Suite: $5,350 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,900

2017 Value Season dates
April 2 - 8 April 23 - 29 August 6 - 12 October 8 - 14
April 9 - 15 July 23 - 29 August 13 - 19 October 15 - 21
April 16 - 22 July 30 - August 5 August 20 - 26 October 22 - 28

 

2017 regular Season rates

Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $63,600
Whole-Boat Charter for 11: $65,300
Whole-Boat Charter for 12: $67,000
Individuals in a Stateroom: $5,990 per person double occupancy
Individuals in a Junior Suite: $6,190 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $2,150

2017 regular Season dates
April 30 - May 6 June 4 - 10 July 9 - 15 September 10 - 16
May 7 - 13 June 11 - 17 July 16 - 22 September 17 - 23
May 14 - 20 June 18 - 24 August 27 - September 2 September 24 - 30
May 21 - 27 June 25 - July 1 September 3 - 9 October 1 - 7
May 28 - June 3 July 2 - 8
Barge Cruise

La Belle Epoque Accommodations and Amenities

  • 126 Feet Long
  • Two Junior suites with ensuite shower bath
  • Mersault -165 sq feet, queen bed
  • Nuits-St-Georges-137 sq feet,
  • 1 queen or 2 twin beds
  • Four Staterooms with ensuite shower bath
  • All 120 sq feet
  • Santenay-1 queen or 2 twin beds
  • Vougeot-1 queen or 2 twin beds
  • Sancerre -2 twin beds
  • Chablis -2 twin beds
  • Also in each cabin
  • Hair dryer
  • Bathrobes
  • In the Public Areas
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • Deck & Wheelhouse
  • Spacious teak deck with re-finished furniture
  • Jacuzzi on deck
  • 12 Touring bicycles









 

 

 

La Belle Epoque Burgundy Barge Cruise Itinerary

VENAREY LES LAUMES TO TANLAY on the canal de Bourgogne

Sunday: Paris to Venarey les Laumes
Private Chauffeured Transfer from Paris to the Barge!
In the afternoon, you will be met at the designated meeting point. From there, drive directly in the barge minivan to Veneray-les-Laumes, a tiny harbor on the Canal de Bourgogne from where your cruise begins. Estimated travel time is three hours. There will be time to take a walk into town or take the bicycles out for a spin – before the first of many gourmet dinners on board.

Monday: Venarey les Laumes to Montbard
Village where 'Chocolat" Was Filmed!
After breakfast we cruise through woodlands and rolling fields with biking and walking opportunities. We pass the tiny canal side villages of Nogent, Courcelles and Les Granges. After lunch, enjoy a stroll around the hilltop village of Flavigny sur Ozerain, where the film ‘Chocolat’ was set, or a tour of the medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois, pictured above. From the summit of Mount Auxois, we also look at Alesia, where the last battle between the Gauls and Romans took place in 52 B.C. and visit the impressive museum. Dinner on board.

Tuesday: Montbard to Ravieres
Ancient Abbeye, Beautifully Preserved
Morning cruise the Forges de Buffon and then after lunch we escort you to the exquisite World Heritage Unesco site of Abbayé de Fontenay, pictured above, founded by St Bernard in 1118, pictured at left. Representing a distinctive example of early Cistercian architecture and virtually intact, Fontenay allows an exceptional glimpse of early Cistercian life and industry with its peaceful gardens and ponds and fascinating cloisters, dormitories and scriptorium. Return to the barge and cruise to Ravieres. Dinner aboard.

Wednesday: Ravieres to Ancy-le-Franc

Village Life at its Finest
The medieval village of Noyers sur Serein is one of France’s most enchanting towns. Half-timbered houses line the pretty cobblestones squares, while local craft and souvenir shops beckon. Today join locals at the outdoor market and browse among the many stalls offering vegetables, fruits, cheeses and breads, see at left. Then, back on board, relax the day away on a lazy cruise to Ancy le Franc. Or walk the towpath or explore by bicycle: the choice is always yours! Dinner ashore tonight.

Thursday: Ancy le Franc to Lezinne
Beautiful Cruise - Then Winetasting!
This morning we visit Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. This beautifully symmetrical, 16th century masterpiece contains France’s biggest collection of Renaissance murals and is set in magnificent gardens and parkland. In the afternoon, a gentle cruise as your hotel barge continues along the Burgundy Canal and descends through the picturesque locks to moor at Lezinnes. Dinner on board.

Friday: Lezinne to Tanlay
Surrounded by a Moat, a Renaissance Chateau
After breakfast we enjoy a leisurely cruise to our final mooring at Tanlay, with the opportunity to cycle or walk into the picturesque village of Saint Vinnemer. Following lunch, we tour the vineyards and town of Chablis, dating back to Roman times and enjoy a private wine tasting at a renowned winemaker such as the family-run Domaine Régnard, which makes the most of the region’s wonderful local terroir to produce high quality wines, before returning to the barge for Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday: Tanlay to Paris
A Sad Farewell
Your chauffeured transfer back to the Hotel Westminster departs at 9:00 am, and estimated arrival time into Paris is noon. URGENT: Please make all onward travel plans out of Paris today on the basis of this timing. Breakfast is your last on board meal.

Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks.Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Barge cruises in BurgundyOr call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.

La Belle Epoque Sample Menus

Lunch
Pastry Crust with Contal Cheese and Mustard
* * *
Marinated Tomatoes Couscous Salad
* * *
Marinated Cabbage with Shallots and Parsley
* * *
Proscuito wrapped Melon
* * *
Cheese Platter
Papillon Roquefort
Delice de Bourgogne
Fresh Fruit
* * *
Iced Hazelnut Mousse with Raspberry Coulis
* * * * *

Dinner
Assorted Hors d'Oeuvres
* * *
Sautéed Chicken Livers with Parsley Mousse
* * *
Veal Filet in Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
Saffron Tagliatelli, Sauteed Leeks and Tossed Salad
* * *
Cheese Platter
Epoisses
Mowtin de Charontais
* * *
Chocolate Almond Cake in a Cointreau Sauce
Cointreau Ice Cream
* * * * *

~ Sample Wines ~
Domaine Jaffelin, Vosne - Romanee
Domaine Jaffelin, Nuits-St-George
Saint Veran Cuvee Prestige, 2005
Fers Saint Eloi Grande Cuvee, Fleurie 2007
Montagny Premier Cru, Monteuchot 2006
Domaine Michelot, Mersault 2004

Picture a Barge Cruise on La Bell Epoque

 a week cruise on france barge la belle epoque

La Belle Epoque Guest Book

guests on barge cruise La Belle Epoque, France

"First rate and first class in every respect.The crew was extraordinary in every way. They couldn't do enough for everyone, and continually prodded us to make sure to ask for something if it wasn't available as a matter of course. As Arnault, the Captain, continually said to us, 'Anything is possible.' We went to the market in Noyers and everybody picked out their favorite ingredients for what would ultimately become that day's lunch- -- the biggest meal of the week!

In fact, the food was quite good and certainly plentiful throughout the week. Servings were appropriately 'modest' which, as was the case at lunches, was a very good thing. I don't think anybody on board desired the trip to devolve into the kind of 'food coma' that can characterize large ocean cruises. We were all thankful, instead, to be able to enjoy high quality and inventive cuisine in 'reasonable' portions.

Breakfasts always featured baskets of breads and pastries from the local patisseries on the route--and additional breakfast items such as oatmeal, eggs, smoked salmon, cheeses, and meats were always offered as well. Lunches generally consisted of a sandwich, a tartlette, salad, cheese and/or soup except for the Noyers market day lunch which consisted of an endless array of meats and salad creations from our shopping trip.

Dinners, like the lunches, were varied and usually very, very good. The dinners all included an appetizer, main course, cheese course, and desert. As with the lunches, we always had a different white and red wine -- what a joy -- and the day's lunch and dinner cheeses would number 3-5. The wines and cheeses always paired well with what was being served and were always accompanied by descriptive information from the serving hostess that was both interesting and helpful. Finally, of note, the 24 hour open bar on the barge was also a terrific amenity -- and the bar's collection of choices went well beyond our expectations. We also were pleased to be given a printout of our week's luncheon and dinner menus, to include a listing of all of the wines and cheeses we had sampled.

The excursions were generally all interesting, informative and, well, fun. I particularly enjoyed visiting the Abbye de Fontenay where the guided tour was excellent, the market in Noyers as well as the walk through that beautiful town, the visit to the Chateau d'Ancy Le Franc which is stunningly restored and where we pretty much were the only people touring, and our time in Chablis -- the vineyards, winery, and free time in town. Perhaps the best facet of the excursions was how varied they were. Cabins were fine, clever engineering generally and for storage in particular, relatively spacious, bathroom and shower at least as functional and spacious as in many boutique European hotels. Very comfortable bed and bedding.

Barge Lady's services were excellent. Both Ellen and Caroline were easily accessible and quick to respond to questions as they arose. I think the most helpful and well done facet of the Barge Lady's services occurred in the earliest planning stages for our trip when we described the kind of experience we were seeking and, as importantly, that we were not seeking. The Barge Lady's knowledge of the different itineraries and different vessels operating in Burgundy was really helpful in arriving at a group of barges to consider and, ultimately, to our choice of La Belle Époque which proved to be a perfect 'fit' for us.Thanks so much with all of your help in the planning of this very memorable vacation."

- Elliot Slotnick, cruised April, 2016

"The barge cruise was very enjoyable, enhanced by good weather, which allowed us to bike or walk every day and enjoy lunch on the deck. The crew were personable and extremely helpful. They exceeded our expectations, and the cuisine was very good. We found nothing was unclear or confusing prior to our barge cruise, as the Barge Lady's information was extensive and very helpful."

- Bill and Penny Jenkinson, cruised September, 2015

"Dear Caroline -- I would love to provide you with a list of improvements that could be incorporated to make the cruise more enjoyable, but sadly that list is blank! What an amazing experience and crew. I had high expectations, which were exceeded in a big way but, the one thing that continues to amaze me is that no one on the crew seemed to be 'cracking the whip' to ensure that things were done right...they just were! All six crew members were exceptional at their jobs and appeared to genuinely strive for excellence on their own. And Hanna, our Chef, was an absolute magician, creating masterpieces at every meal, out of a very tiny kitchen. We had a blast.  Thank you so much for organizing our recent cruise on La Belle Epoque. 

- Bill Fraser, cruised September, 2015

"We enjoyed ourselves immensely. The crew were wonderful! Very friendly, helpful, and knew all the passengers by name very quickly. We felt very well taken care of. The winery tour and tasting was the best! All of the excursions were fun and Tour Guide Florian was very informative. Cuisine was delicious! Best food I have eaten, the presentation was beautiful, and the wines and cheeses were all so very good. Gained five pounds even with all the exercise of biking and walking. The cabin was very nice, the bed was very comfortable, and the air conditioning worked very well. It was a wonderful week!"

- Kathleen and John Thomas, cruised June, 2015

"Dear Ellen, our family's barge cruise on La Belle Epoque was a grand success from beginning to end. Our group was delighted and enthusiastic. Moreover, our crew appeared to have a good time, too. We were a happy ship. Weather throughout couldn’t have been better. Our barge, a sturdy old lady named 'La Belle Époque', was well appointed with no space wasted. The craftsmanship was European. Each stateroom had bathroom with shower, comfortable beds and the essentials.  Perrine, our Captain, operated a well-run, happy crew. The crew knew their various jobs and helped others as needed. Tour Guides Florian and Judith handled with aplomb the daily excursions, morning baguette delivery and so forth. The meals were imaginative and delicious. Oh, those breakfast croissants and the brioches! Local cheeses and wine at lunch and dinner. Our family are cheese lovers. We demolished the entire cheese course that first night to the crew’s amusement.  Two standout excursion memories are the Alesia hill and museum, where Julius Caesar demolished the Gauls in 52 BC, and the lovely Fontenay Abbey (1118 AD). We had a good time. Our thanks and complements to Perrine and her crew.

Yours truly, Fred Hayes

P.S.- Ashling, Perrine’s assistant, when she returned home to Ireland, mailed to Mike a leather correspondence folder that we had forgotten and she had found in our stateroom desk. That was a lovely gesture."

- Hayes Family, cruised September, 2014

 

La Belle Epoque Blog Posts, Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

 

 

Top 5 Fun Things to do on a Barge Cruise in France
Barge Lady guests know how to have a great time on the French canals. Take a look and see The Barge Lady's Top 5 Fun things to do on your barge cruise.

 

French Fridays: Ancy le Franc
Situated in the heart of Burgundy's Yonne department, Ancy le Franc is one of many cultural treasures found along Northern Burgundy cruise routes.

 

 

European Waterways Brass Visits the Barge Lady in Chicago
The Barge Ladies are always delighted to welcome our colleagues from European Waterways, a company which owns six barges in France, including Northern Burgundy barge La Belle Epoque.

 

+ - Overview

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 12 guests
  • 126 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • English Speaking Crew of 6
  • 12 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2010

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, transfers from Paris to the barge & return, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from France, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque recently underwent a major interior and exterior renovation!

Ellen, The Barge Lady explains, “We love the whole idea of the Extreme Makeover! We’ve watched as people have been made over, then the craze moved on to homes. Now we have the first makeover of this kind for a canal barge! La Belle Epoque has entered the water as a very nearly rebuilt vessel, with major updating in its décor, systems and amenities.

A bit of personal history: I first visited La Belle Epoque in summer, 1994, when it was being converted from a cargo- carrying barge to a passenger-carrying barge. The vessel came complete with a romantic, even exciting back story: Having been owned by the same family for generations; it had cruised on most of the waterways of Europe and had even seen action in World War II! The first makeover, which took 15 months to complete, emphasized this proud nautical history with lots of varnished wood and polished brass, as well as memorabilia from classic ocean liners! After La Belle Epoque debuted in 1995, she carried 4000 passengers. It was time for a major facelift! There is scarcely any aspect of the vessel which has not been updated to current standards. Even the crew has been "made over" and will wear brand new uniforms. Please go to Floor Plan for pictures of the newly decorated interior and complete list of upgrades.

La Belle Epoque moved to her present route in 2010. We have cruised this area many times and love its romantic canals and fascinating, varied excursion list. From winetasting at Chablis to market day at one of the most enchanting villages in France to trying CHOCOLATE CANAPES in Flavigny, the town where the movie “Chocolat” was filmed: this route has it all. La Belle Epoque guests enjoy the flexibility of two vehicles and a top crew. We are very anxious to see the new La Belle Epoque and will plan to visit as soon as possible!”


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise
2017 Value Season Rates

Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $55,400
Whole-Boat Charter for 11: $56,700
Whole-Boat Charter for 12: $58,000
Individuals in a Stateroom: $5,150 per person double occupancy
Individuals in a Junior Suite: $5,350 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,900

2017 Value Season dates
April 2 - 8 April 23 - 29 August 6 - 12 October 8 - 14
April 9 - 15 July 23 - 29 August 13 - 19 October 15 - 21
April 16 - 22 July 30 - August 5 August 20 - 26 October 22 - 28

 

2017 regular Season rates

Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $63,600
Whole-Boat Charter for 11: $65,300
Whole-Boat Charter for 12: $67,000
Individuals in a Stateroom: $5,990 per person double occupancy
Individuals in a Junior Suite: $6,190 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $2,150

2017 regular Season dates
April 30 - May 6 June 4 - 10 July 9 - 15 September 10 - 16
May 7 - 13 June 11 - 17 July 16 - 22 September 17 - 23
May 14 - 20 June 18 - 24 August 27 - September 2 September 24 - 30
May 21 - 27 June 25 - July 1 September 3 - 9 October 1 - 7
May 28 - June 3 July 2 - 8

Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

La Belle Epoque Accommodations and Amenities

  • 126 Feet Long
  • Two Junior suites with ensuite shower bath
  • Mersault -165 sq feet, queen bed
  • Nuits-St-Georges-137 sq feet,
  • 1 queen or 2 twin beds
  • Four Staterooms with ensuite shower bath
  • All 120 sq feet
  • Santenay-1 queen or 2 twin beds
  • Vougeot-1 queen or 2 twin beds
  • Sancerre -2 twin beds
  • Chablis -2 twin beds
  • Also in each cabin
  • Hair dryer
  • Bathrobes
  • In the Public Areas
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • Deck & Wheelhouse
  • Spacious teak deck with re-finished furniture
  • Jacuzzi on deck
  • 12 Touring bicycles









 

 

 

La Belle Epoque Burgundy Barge Cruise Itinerary

VENAREY LES LAUMES TO TANLAY on the canal de Bourgogne

Sunday: Paris to Venarey les Laumes
Private Chauffeured Transfer from Paris to the Barge!
In the afternoon, you will be met at the designated meeting point. From there, drive directly in the barge minivan to Veneray-les-Laumes, a tiny harbor on the Canal de Bourgogne from where your cruise begins. Estimated travel time is three hours. There will be time to take a walk into town or take the bicycles out for a spin – before the first of many gourmet dinners on board.

Monday: Venarey les Laumes to Montbard
Village where 'Chocolat" Was Filmed!
After breakfast we cruise through woodlands and rolling fields with biking and walking opportunities. We pass the tiny canal side villages of Nogent, Courcelles and Les Granges. After lunch, enjoy a stroll around the hilltop village of Flavigny sur Ozerain, where the film ‘Chocolat’ was set, or a tour of the medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois, pictured above. From the summit of Mount Auxois, we also look at Alesia, where the last battle between the Gauls and Romans took place in 52 B.C. and visit the impressive museum. Dinner on board.

Tuesday: Montbard to Ravieres
Ancient Abbeye, Beautifully Preserved
Morning cruise the Forges de Buffon and then after lunch we escort you to the exquisite World Heritage Unesco site of Abbayé de Fontenay, pictured above, founded by St Bernard in 1118, pictured at left. Representing a distinctive example of early Cistercian architecture and virtually intact, Fontenay allows an exceptional glimpse of early Cistercian life and industry with its peaceful gardens and ponds and fascinating cloisters, dormitories and scriptorium. Return to the barge and cruise to Ravieres. Dinner aboard.

Wednesday: Ravieres to Ancy-le-Franc

Village Life at its Finest
The medieval village of Noyers sur Serein is one of France’s most enchanting towns. Half-timbered houses line the pretty cobblestones squares, while local craft and souvenir shops beckon. Today join locals at the outdoor market and browse among the many stalls offering vegetables, fruits, cheeses and breads, see at left. Then, back on board, relax the day away on a lazy cruise to Ancy le Franc. Or walk the towpath or explore by bicycle: the choice is always yours! Dinner ashore tonight.

Thursday: Ancy le Franc to Lezinne
Beautiful Cruise - Then Winetasting!
This morning we visit Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. This beautifully symmetrical, 16th century masterpiece contains France’s biggest collection of Renaissance murals and is set in magnificent gardens and parkland. In the afternoon, a gentle cruise as your hotel barge continues along the Burgundy Canal and descends through the picturesque locks to moor at Lezinnes. Dinner on board.

Friday: Lezinne to Tanlay
Surrounded by a Moat, a Renaissance Chateau
After breakfast we enjoy a leisurely cruise to our final mooring at Tanlay, with the opportunity to cycle or walk into the picturesque village of Saint Vinnemer. Following lunch, we tour the vineyards and town of Chablis, dating back to Roman times and enjoy a private wine tasting at a renowned winemaker such as the family-run Domaine Régnard, which makes the most of the region’s wonderful local terroir to produce high quality wines, before returning to the barge for Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday: Tanlay to Paris
A Sad Farewell
Your chauffeured transfer back to the Hotel Westminster departs at 9:00 am, and estimated arrival time into Paris is noon. URGENT: Please make all onward travel plans out of Paris today on the basis of this timing. Breakfast is your last on board meal.

Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks.Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Barge cruises in BurgundyOr call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.

+ - Menu

La Belle Epoque Sample Menus

Lunch
Pastry Crust with Contal Cheese and Mustard
* * *
Marinated Tomatoes Couscous Salad
* * *
Marinated Cabbage with Shallots and Parsley
* * *
Proscuito wrapped Melon
* * *
Cheese Platter
Papillon Roquefort
Delice de Bourgogne
Fresh Fruit
* * *
Iced Hazelnut Mousse with Raspberry Coulis
* * * * *

Dinner
Assorted Hors d'Oeuvres
* * *
Sautéed Chicken Livers with Parsley Mousse
* * *
Veal Filet in Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
Saffron Tagliatelli, Sauteed Leeks and Tossed Salad
* * *
Cheese Platter
Epoisses
Mowtin de Charontais
* * *
Chocolate Almond Cake in a Cointreau Sauce
Cointreau Ice Cream
* * * * *

~ Sample Wines ~
Domaine Jaffelin, Vosne - Romanee
Domaine Jaffelin, Nuits-St-George
Saint Veran Cuvee Prestige, 2005
Fers Saint Eloi Grande Cuvee, Fleurie 2007
Montagny Premier Cru, Monteuchot 2006
Domaine Michelot, Mersault 2004

Picture a Barge Cruise on La Bell Epoque

 a week cruise on france barge la belle epoque

La Belle Epoque Guest Book

guests on barge cruise La Belle Epoque, France

"First rate and first class in every respect.The crew was extraordinary in every way. They couldn't do enough for everyone, and continually prodded us to make sure to ask for something if it wasn't available as a matter of course. As Arnault, the Captain, continually said to us, 'Anything is possible.' We went to the market in Noyers and everybody picked out their favorite ingredients for what would ultimately become that day's lunch- -- the biggest meal of the week!

In fact, the food was quite good and certainly plentiful throughout the week. Servings were appropriately 'modest' which, as was the case at lunches, was a very good thing. I don't think anybody on board desired the trip to devolve into the kind of 'food coma' that can characterize large ocean cruises. We were all thankful, instead, to be able to enjoy high quality and inventive cuisine in 'reasonable' portions.

Breakfasts always featured baskets of breads and pastries from the local patisseries on the route--and additional breakfast items such as oatmeal, eggs, smoked salmon, cheeses, and meats were always offered as well. Lunches generally consisted of a sandwich, a tartlette, salad, cheese and/or soup except for the Noyers market day lunch which consisted of an endless array of meats and salad creations from our shopping trip.

Dinners, like the lunches, were varied and usually very, very good. The dinners all included an appetizer, main course, cheese course, and desert. As with the lunches, we always had a different white and red wine -- what a joy -- and the day's lunch and dinner cheeses would number 3-5. The wines and cheeses always paired well with what was being served and were always accompanied by descriptive information from the serving hostess that was both interesting and helpful. Finally, of note, the 24 hour open bar on the barge was also a terrific amenity -- and the bar's collection of choices went well beyond our expectations. We also were pleased to be given a printout of our week's luncheon and dinner menus, to include a listing of all of the wines and cheeses we had sampled.

The excursions were generally all interesting, informative and, well, fun. I particularly enjoyed visiting the Abbye de Fontenay where the guided tour was excellent, the market in Noyers as well as the walk through that beautiful town, the visit to the Chateau d'Ancy Le Franc which is stunningly restored and where we pretty much were the only people touring, and our time in Chablis -- the vineyards, winery, and free time in town. Perhaps the best facet of the excursions was how varied they were. Cabins were fine, clever engineering generally and for storage in particular, relatively spacious, bathroom and shower at least as functional and spacious as in many boutique European hotels. Very comfortable bed and bedding.

Barge Lady's services were excellent. Both Ellen and Caroline were easily accessible and quick to respond to questions as they arose. I think the most helpful and well done facet of the Barge Lady's services occurred in the earliest planning stages for our trip when we described the kind of experience we were seeking and, as importantly, that we were not seeking. The Barge Lady's knowledge of the different itineraries and different vessels operating in Burgundy was really helpful in arriving at a group of barges to consider and, ultimately, to our choice of La Belle Époque which proved to be a perfect 'fit' for us.Thanks so much with all of your help in the planning of this very memorable vacation."

- Elliot Slotnick, cruised April, 2016

"The barge cruise was very enjoyable, enhanced by good weather, which allowed us to bike or walk every day and enjoy lunch on the deck. The crew were personable and extremely helpful. They exceeded our expectations, and the cuisine was very good. We found nothing was unclear or confusing prior to our barge cruise, as the Barge Lady's information was extensive and very helpful."

- Bill and Penny Jenkinson, cruised September, 2015

"Dear Caroline -- I would love to provide you with a list of improvements that could be incorporated to make the cruise more enjoyable, but sadly that list is blank! What an amazing experience and crew. I had high expectations, which were exceeded in a big way but, the one thing that continues to amaze me is that no one on the crew seemed to be 'cracking the whip' to ensure that things were done right...they just were! All six crew members were exceptional at their jobs and appeared to genuinely strive for excellence on their own. And Hanna, our Chef, was an absolute magician, creating masterpieces at every meal, out of a very tiny kitchen. We had a blast.  Thank you so much for organizing our recent cruise on La Belle Epoque. 

- Bill Fraser, cruised September, 2015

"We enjoyed ourselves immensely. The crew were wonderful! Very friendly, helpful, and knew all the passengers by name very quickly. We felt very well taken care of. The winery tour and tasting was the best! All of the excursions were fun and Tour Guide Florian was very informative. Cuisine was delicious! Best food I have eaten, the presentation was beautiful, and the wines and cheeses were all so very good. Gained five pounds even with all the exercise of biking and walking. The cabin was very nice, the bed was very comfortable, and the air conditioning worked very well. It was a wonderful week!"

- Kathleen and John Thomas, cruised June, 2015

"Dear Ellen, our family's barge cruise on La Belle Epoque was a grand success from beginning to end. Our group was delighted and enthusiastic. Moreover, our crew appeared to have a good time, too. We were a happy ship. Weather throughout couldn’t have been better. Our barge, a sturdy old lady named 'La Belle Époque', was well appointed with no space wasted. The craftsmanship was European. Each stateroom had bathroom with shower, comfortable beds and the essentials.  Perrine, our Captain, operated a well-run, happy crew. The crew knew their various jobs and helped others as needed. Tour Guides Florian and Judith handled with aplomb the daily excursions, morning baguette delivery and so forth. The meals were imaginative and delicious. Oh, those breakfast croissants and the brioches! Local cheeses and wine at lunch and dinner. Our family are cheese lovers. We demolished the entire cheese course that first night to the crew’s amusement.  Two standout excursion memories are the Alesia hill and museum, where Julius Caesar demolished the Gauls in 52 BC, and the lovely Fontenay Abbey (1118 AD). We had a good time. Our thanks and complements to Perrine and her crew.

Yours truly, Fred Hayes

P.S.- Ashling, Perrine’s assistant, when she returned home to Ireland, mailed to Mike a leather correspondence folder that we had forgotten and she had found in our stateroom desk. That was a lovely gesture."

- Hayes Family, cruised September, 2014

 

+ - More!

La Belle Epoque Blog Posts, Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

 

 

Top 5 Fun Things to do on a Barge Cruise in France
Barge Lady guests know how to have a great time on the French canals. Take a look and see The Barge Lady's Top 5 Fun things to do on your barge cruise.

 

French Fridays: Ancy le Franc
Situated in the heart of Burgundy's Yonne department, Ancy le Franc is one of many cultural treasures found along Northern Burgundy cruise routes.

 

 

European Waterways Brass Visits the Barge Lady in Chicago
The Barge Ladies are always delighted to welcome our colleagues from European Waterways, a company which owns six barges in France, including Northern Burgundy barge La Belle Epoque.

 


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