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Cruise Destinations

-France, Upper Loire on Barge Meanderer-

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 6 guests
  • 123 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • Hosts: George & Susan Kovalick
  • English Speaking Crew of 5
  • 6 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2012

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, chauffeured 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)


Meanderer

6 passenger deluxe barge Meanderer is the inspired creation of owners George and Susan Kovalick, who provide the highest level of “luxury with a personal touch” to be found on the French canals. We were lucky enough to cruise with this chic couple in July 2012 – and were reminded what kind of wonderful experience can be provided by owners with a passion for high standards and attention to detail. Aided by four in crew, the Kovalicks are not only devoted to their guests, but also to the cruising route, where they live for part of the year and are indefatigable sources for both the major and the most local sights. For parties of four, five or six, looking for something a bit inspired, Meanderer is a wonderful choice. Keep on reading for our review of this fabulous cruise!

The Kovalicks, pictured at left, are unlikely barge owners, but their maturity and varied professional experiences make them welcome additions to the industry. This personable couple make it all look easy due to their pre-barge stints in the travel, restaurant and fashion industries. As well, their personal lives – George grew up in Paris, Susan in London – and their personal interests of bicycling, hiking, boating, cuisine, history and the arts – match them well to the lifestyle of their guests. They work together as a compatible team (As George says: “I am the Captain, she is the Admiral!”) that attends to all aspects, including cuisine, housekeeping, décor and excursions. They are very clear that they know what quality is and how to provide it.

Susan’s personal dedication shows up everywhere. For instance, she was unhappy with cheeses purchased at the local supermarket, so she upgraded to a source for artisanal cheeses. She seems to know every lock-keeper along the canal and has good personal relationships with the wine producers, the Countess at one of the chateaux, and artisans and shop owners in every town. Because Susan has the key to the church in the tiny village of Montbouy, we were able to experience a rare and beautiful stained glass window in a building full of local history.

Top cuisine is a priority on Meanderer. The chef created some of the best meals we have enjoyed in 27 years of barging. He also took the guests to a local market where we picked out fresh fruits, vegetables and fish - followed by a cooking lesson in his absolutely spotless kitchen. Here I am pictured at right at the market.

The barge itself has always been elegant, but at the same time cozy. The Kovalicks added needed upgrades, such as teak flooring on deck, internet access and flat screen televisions in the cabins. Gorgeous flower arrangements and lovely, scenic watercolor paintings are among the personal touches which differentiate Meanderer. Even the chef gets into the act, with his own herb garden!

Meanderer cruises on the Canal de Briare, an historic waterway on which construction began in 1604! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and there are many mile of absolutely pristine waterways, punctuated by adorable lock houses. It is easy to walk and bicycle on the towpaths which line the canal and on the back roads leading to villages. Sightseeing is very personalized, with two family owned chateaux, winetasting in Sancerre, and Fointainebleau, the hunting palace of French royalty. We absolutely recommend Meanderer for three couples or a family who wants top service, comfortable accommodations, and a personalized introduction to an uncommon region of France.


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

* Up to 40% discount on a private charter for April 30 and May 7, 2017 cruise weeks! 10% discount on a private charter for available 2017 cruise weeks. For all Meanderer specials, please click on  Special Offers.*

2017 value season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4: $31,150
Whole-Boat Charter of 5:
$31,650
Whole-Boat Charter of 6:
$32,150
Individuals:
$5,575 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$5,575

2017 value season dates
April 16 - 22 April 30 - May 6 October 22 - 28
April 23 - 29 October 15 - 21

 

2017 regular season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4:$33,300
Whole-Boat Charter of 5: $34,100
Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $34,900
Individuals:
$6,100 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$6,100

2017 regular season dates
May 7 - 13 June 18 - 24 July 30 - August 5 September 10 - 16
May 14 - 20 June 25 - July 1 August 6 - 12 September 17 - 23
May 21 - 27 July 2 - 8 August 13 - 19 September 24 - 30
May 28 - June 3 July 9 - 15 August 20 - 26 October 1 - 7
June 4 - 10 July 16 - 22 August 27 - September 2 October 8 - 14
June 11 - 17 July 23 - 29 September 3 - 9  

2018 value season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4: $32,700
Whole-Boat Charter of 5:
$33,200
Whole-Boat Charter of 6:
$33,750
Individuals:
$5,875 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$5,875

2018 value season dates
April 15 - 21 April 29 - May 5 October 21 - 27
April 22 - 28 October 14 - 20

 

2018 regular season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4:$34,900
Whole-Boat Charter of 5: $35,800
Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $36,600
Individuals:
$6,400 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$6,400

2018 regular season dates
May 6 - 12 June 17 - 23 July 29 - August 4 September 9 - 15
May 13 - 19 June 24 - 30 August 5 - 11 September 16 - 22
May 20 - 26 July 1 - 7 August 12 - 18 September 23 - 29
May 27 - June 2 July 8 - 14 August 19 - 25 September 30 - October 6
June 3 - 9 July 15 - 21 August 26 - September 1 October 7 - 13
June 10 - 16 July 22 - 28 September 2 - 8  
Barge Cruise

Meanderer Accommodations and Amenities

  • 128 Feet Long
  • Three cabins each with ensuite bathroom/shower
  • All have choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Cabins 1 and 2 - 125 sq ft
  • Cabin 3 - 140 sq ft
  • Also in each cabin
  • Two bathrobes and hair dryer
  • Safe in the closet
  • Skylight and opening windows
  • Satellite flat screen TV
  • Video, DVD and CD player
  • Vehicles
  • 9-passenger Mercedes Sprinter
  • 5-passenger VW Toureg
  • In the Public Areas
  • Charming salon/dining/bar area
  • Framed watercolor pictures of regional scenes
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • Internet accessible laptop
  • Deck
  • Teakwood sundeck with canopy 
  • New and modern spa pool
    on deck that fits 6
  • Chef’s herb garden
  • 6 bicycles*









 

 

 

 

 

*Captain George Kovalick is a serious long-distance bicyclist and has equipped Meanderer with bicycles suitable for both casual and serious riders - they are high end touring bikes; TREK DS8.5 Series, the best bicycles found on the French barges. If you are an avid rider, ask us about the themed cycling itinerary!.




 

Meanderer Upper Loire Barge Cruise Itinerary

Montbouy to lere

Cruising, exploring and bicycling on the Canal de Briare

Sunday: Paris to Montbouy
Champagne welcome, evening cruise
We collect you from your Paris hotel after lunch for transfer by private mini-coach to Meanderer moored in a quiet and picturesque village of Montbouy (just a few miles from the regional capital of Montargis). A champagne reception and early evening cruise to the village of Montcresson and back. Relax on deck and watch the town and people pass by. Your first dinner on board.

Monday: Montbouy to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses
Magnificent Fontainebleau: Home to French Royals
During the morning we cruise to Rogny Les Sept Ecluses, a historical home of ancient 7 staircase locks considered to this day a marvel of engineering. After lunch, the excursion program begins with a visit to the magnificent Chateau de Sully or to the busy town and spectacular palace of Fontainebleau, home to generations of French royalty. Chateau Vaux le Vicomte is also an option.


Tuesday: Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses to La Gazonne
Montargis - Busy Market Town
This morning we visit the regional capital town of Montargis, the week’s best opportunity to explore a busy market town, people-watch or shop for souvenirs and exquisitely packaged confectionary from the famous Mazet Praline shop. On return to the barge, our afternoon cruise through the 6 locks, which replaced the historical 7 “staircase” locks of Rogny, brings us to the overnight remote mooring at La Gazonne in the middle of a magnificent nature preserve.



Wednesday: La Gazonne to Briare
Explore the attics of an Ancient Chateau!
We start with a morning visit to the splendid 16th Century Chateau of St. Fargeau offering a surprising and unique discovery of the rich history of this castle. An alternative excursion is available to the Medieval Village of Guedelon, an extraordinary and unique experience to observe this 25 year project recreating a defensive medieval castle being built with materials, tools and techniques of this ancient period. Afternoon cruise takes us through some of the most beautiful and rural parts of the canal to the spectacular town of Briare on the bank of the Loire River and the entrance to the extraordinary Briare Aqueduct (Pont Canal).
Thursday: Briare to Beaulieu
Nature Preserve Mooring
We shall cruise in the morning over the Pont Canal. The daily excursion program continues with a visit the town of Gien. Set on the banks of the River Loire, the pretty town holds many attractions including the famous Faience Boutique, the Hunting Museum and the Chateau de Gien. We then take a short drive to the beautiful private Chateau La Bussiere, with its incredible 18th Century gardens. An optional visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site Village of Vezelay is highly recommended as is a private visit (by appointment) to Château de Buranlure.


Friday: Beaulieu to Lere
Sancere Region Winetasting
This morning we continue along the Canal Lateral de la Loire on the way to the charming town of Léré, our final mooring port. The scenery of flat fields and pastures slowly changes to the hills of the vineyards. Afternoon excursion takes us to the world famous wine region of Sancerre with the opportunity to sample the local wines and explore the charming hill-top village. A visit to the extraordinary town of La Charité sur Loire, surrounded from all sides by the Loire River is a special treat. For early risers the best market visit of the region at Cosne sur Loire with our chef is an option. The real wine aficionados have the option to visit 2 wineries that afternoon; Sancerre as well as Pouilly Fume.

Saturday:
Lere to Paris
A Sad Farewell
Depart after breakfast at 9:00 am for your chauffeured transfer back to one location in central Paris, one location at Charles de Gaulle airport or one location at Orly Airport. Estimated arrival time at Orly and in central Paris is 11:00 am; estimated arrival time at CDG is 11:30 am to noon. Please make all onward travel plans the day of departure on the basis of this timing. Guests booked in a whole-boat charter must transfer together; ie, ALL members of the party to central Paris , CDG Airport or Orly Airport. Guests booked on an individual cabin basis will be returned to the Hotel Concorde Lafayette at 3, Place du General Koenig, 75017 Paris from where they can easily get a cab to their Paris hotel or to either airport. We hope your Meanderer cruise provides lasting memories!

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 Barging on the canals and waterways of France Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071





Meanderer Sample Menus

Ellen, The Barge Lady and her husband enjoyed these menus onboard Meanderer.

Dinner
Foie Gras Marinated in Cognac with
Figs and Red Wine Jam
* * *
Filet of Beef in a Shallot Sauce
Gratin Dauphinois, Haricots Verts
* * *
Cheese Platter
Epoisses (Bourgogne)
Roquefort (Midi-Pyrenees)
* * *
Profiteroles, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
* * * *
~ Wines ~
Vendange de la St Luc, Domaine Henri Bourgeois
*
Puligny-Montrachet, Domaine Pillot
*
St Emilion, Chateau Pindefleurs
* * * * *

Lunch
Salmon baked in a Rock Salt Crust
Green Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
*
Rice Salad with Olives and Sweet Corn
*
"Market" Salad
* * *
Cheese Platter
Camembert au Calvados (Haute Normandie)
Mimolette (Nord Pas de Calais)
* * * *
~ Wines ~
Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Ormarine
*
Coulanges la Vineuse, Chateau D'Escolives
* * * * *

Dinner
"Escargots Montgolfière" Snails Cooked in a Cream Sauce,
Cherry Tomatoes in Puff Pastry
  * * *
Filet of Lamb with a Thyme Sauce
Ratatouille, Herbed Polenta
* * *
Cheese Platter
Brie de Meaux (Ile de France)
Maroilles (Picardi)
***
Cherry Clafoutis
Strawberry and Cherry Coulis, Crème Chantilly
* * * *
~ Wines ~
Sancerre la Bourgeoise, Domaine Henri Bourgeois
*
Pernand-Vergelesses, Domaine Rapet
* * * * *

Lunch
Quiche Lorraine with
Celeriac with Apple, Coriander and Marscapone
Curry Sauce
* * *
Pasta with Avocado,
Vegetables and Shrimp in a Cognac Sauce
* * *
Endive Salad
Roquefort Dressing
* * *
Cheese Platter
Chaource (Champagne)
Salers (Limousin)
* * * * *
~ Wines ~
Pouilly-sur-Loire, Caves de Pouilly-sur-Loire
*
Saumur Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux
* * * * *

Picture a Barge Cruise on Meanderer

 A cruise in upper Loire France on hotel barge Meanderer

Meanderer Guest Book

"Our time on the Meanderer was magical. Captain George and Tour Guide Susan are wonderful owners/hosts, and have assembled a great crew. Our excursions with them were just right for timing, interest, and variety, and they catered to our cycling desires adroitly. Chef Martin is an absolutely awesome chef and could be at home in any Michelin-starred restaurant. He was more than willing to have us observe, and his range of cuisine was remarkable. Matelot Declan and Hotsess Aishling were bright, engaging, and have wonderful travel and hospitality skills. All in all were are hereby officially 'barge addicts' and are already discussing our next canal cruise! All of the logistics, communication, and little things that the Barge Ladies do were once again exemplary. Thanks again to the Barge Lady for helping us discover a truly wonderful way to travel, learn, laugh, eat, drink, and enjoy life."

- Ron and Carol Waeckerlin, cruised May, 2016 (repeat Barge Lady guests)

"It was a true vacation from EVERYTHING — we had to make no decisions at all as we were seamlessly, attentively, and unobtrusively being cared for and ushered about by the delightful crew. They couldn’t have been more hospitable and competent, and they were very fun and interesting, to boot. We were completely pampered without it being at all obvious. Things felt as if they 'just happened' for you — the mark of exquisite hospitality.

The quality of the dining experience was simply stunning. EXCELLENT in all respects. It was beyond all expectations. Great fun to be exposed to so many new wines and cheeses. Appreciated that portions were small enough to not feel you were gorging yourself. Chef Martin prepared our food not only with remarkable skill, but also with very apparent joy in what he was doing. I ate it with great pleasure and deep appreciation for his efforts.

The excursions were a nice balance of different things, and not too much of it. The Gian ceramics factory was a special treasure, as was the Henri Bourgeois winery. The technology we got to see at the winery blew me away. I’ve never seen anything like it in the fairly large number of wineries I’ve visited. The crew's personal relationships with many of the folks at the places we visited added a nice touch. Thanks to the Barge Ladies for your role in creating an experience I can add to my list of 'best trips I’ve ever taken."

- Anne Van Kleek, cruised May, 2016

"I cannot say enough good things about the owners of the Meanderer, and their crew. Our cabin was clean and well furnished, and the shower was excellent. In addition, our bed was turned down each night with candies for both Dolores and myself. I liked that the excursions were done in a reasonable amount of time and not far from the Meanderer. In addition, what we saw was a variety of different things which made the activities more enjoyable. As far as cuisine goes, we went to Paris the following week and the meals on the Meanderer were hands down far better than anything we had in Paris. The pre-trip information provided us was excellent. In addition, I believe that we received a MapEasy’s Guide to Paris in our boarding documents, which was greatly appreciated! This map was extremely helpful as it simplified Paris roads and gave interesting information on all the sites of Paris. The barge cruise on the Meanderer was the highlight of my trip to Europe -- and I would love to do it again."

- John Blackmore, cruised July, 2015

"I can not imagine a more wonderful crew. Every single person, from the owners to the Chef, became our friends. We even invited Matelot Declan and Hostess Ashling to visit with us when and if they get to New England in the USA. Bernard, the new Pilot, fit right in with this friendly and happy crew. I enjoyed talking with him whenever we had the chance. Martin, the Chef, is not only an excellent skilled chef, but a very personable guy to spend a week with. His cuisine far exceeded our expectations, and he even took me into the kitchen to show me the finer points of cooking fish.

Captain George and Tour Guide Susan are wonderful owners. You feel and know that everything will be taken care of by a delightful couple. Each individual would have personal choices with respect to sightseeing excursions. However, without a doubt our group loved the country biking with Captain George, and Susan's private tours to the chateaus and towns exceeded my expectations. I had originally planned to skip a few of her tours, and remain on the barge to just enjoy cruising, but after a half day tour with Susan I wisely decided to join in with all her private excursions.

The Barge Lady staff was always there to answer any question, and provided us with complete information prior to the cruise. Our pre-trip information was extensive and excellent. We received just the right amount of information, and your tourist map of Paris was very useful.

Our trip on the Meanderer, from The Barge Lady preparation right down to the last moment of our time with the Meanderer crew, was one of the finest trips we have ever taken."

- Robert Durkin, cruised July, 2015

"What a fantastic trip! The crew of the Meanderer was great. Everyone was friendly, helpful, efficient, and accommodating. The excursions were interesting and perfectly scheduled with just the right amount of time off the boat. Cuisine was delicious and beautifully presented. We were extremely happy with the cabin, as it was spotless and spacious. The pre-trip information packet covered everything and it was extremely helpful. Overall, we cannot imagine a better experience!"

- Karen Tobin, cruised June, 2015

 

 

Meanderer 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!

Strawberry Millefeuille - A Most Sophisticated Sweet
Barge Lady's How to Holidays Guide wraps up on a sweet note with this delicious Strawberry Millefeuille dessert recipe, courtesy of Meanderer's talented chef.

 

 

Happy Crew Year!
Ever experienced and personable owners George and Susan Kovalick make sure Meanderer guests feel welcomed! A spotlight on the hardworking and personable crew who help make barge cruises extraordinary experiences with happy memories.

+ - Overview

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 6 guests
  • 123 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • Hosts: George & Susan Kovalick
  • English Speaking Crew of 5
  • 6 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2012

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, chauffeured 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)


Meanderer

6 passenger deluxe barge Meanderer is the inspired creation of owners George and Susan Kovalick, who provide the highest level of “luxury with a personal touch” to be found on the French canals. We were lucky enough to cruise with this chic couple in July 2012 – and were reminded what kind of wonderful experience can be provided by owners with a passion for high standards and attention to detail. Aided by four in crew, the Kovalicks are not only devoted to their guests, but also to the cruising route, where they live for part of the year and are indefatigable sources for both the major and the most local sights. For parties of four, five or six, looking for something a bit inspired, Meanderer is a wonderful choice. Keep on reading for our review of this fabulous cruise!

The Kovalicks, pictured at left, are unlikely barge owners, but their maturity and varied professional experiences make them welcome additions to the industry. This personable couple make it all look easy due to their pre-barge stints in the travel, restaurant and fashion industries. As well, their personal lives – George grew up in Paris, Susan in London – and their personal interests of bicycling, hiking, boating, cuisine, history and the arts – match them well to the lifestyle of their guests. They work together as a compatible team (As George says: “I am the Captain, she is the Admiral!”) that attends to all aspects, including cuisine, housekeeping, décor and excursions. They are very clear that they know what quality is and how to provide it.

Susan’s personal dedication shows up everywhere. For instance, she was unhappy with cheeses purchased at the local supermarket, so she upgraded to a source for artisanal cheeses. She seems to know every lock-keeper along the canal and has good personal relationships with the wine producers, the Countess at one of the chateaux, and artisans and shop owners in every town. Because Susan has the key to the church in the tiny village of Montbouy, we were able to experience a rare and beautiful stained glass window in a building full of local history.

Top cuisine is a priority on Meanderer. The chef created some of the best meals we have enjoyed in 27 years of barging. He also took the guests to a local market where we picked out fresh fruits, vegetables and fish - followed by a cooking lesson in his absolutely spotless kitchen. Here I am pictured at right at the market.

The barge itself has always been elegant, but at the same time cozy. The Kovalicks added needed upgrades, such as teak flooring on deck, internet access and flat screen televisions in the cabins. Gorgeous flower arrangements and lovely, scenic watercolor paintings are among the personal touches which differentiate Meanderer. Even the chef gets into the act, with his own herb garden!

Meanderer cruises on the Canal de Briare, an historic waterway on which construction began in 1604! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and there are many mile of absolutely pristine waterways, punctuated by adorable lock houses. It is easy to walk and bicycle on the towpaths which line the canal and on the back roads leading to villages. Sightseeing is very personalized, with two family owned chateaux, winetasting in Sancerre, and Fointainebleau, the hunting palace of French royalty. We absolutely recommend Meanderer for three couples or a family who wants top service, comfortable accommodations, and a personalized introduction to an uncommon region of France.


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

* Up to 40% discount on a private charter for April 30 and May 7, 2017 cruise weeks! 10% discount on a private charter for available 2017 cruise weeks. For all Meanderer specials, please click on  Special Offers.*

2017 value season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4: $31,150
Whole-Boat Charter of 5:
$31,650
Whole-Boat Charter of 6:
$32,150
Individuals:
$5,575 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$5,575

2017 value season dates
April 16 - 22 April 30 - May 6 October 22 - 28
April 23 - 29 October 15 - 21

 

2017 regular season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4:$33,300
Whole-Boat Charter of 5: $34,100
Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $34,900
Individuals:
$6,100 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$6,100

2017 regular season dates
May 7 - 13 June 18 - 24 July 30 - August 5 September 10 - 16
May 14 - 20 June 25 - July 1 August 6 - 12 September 17 - 23
May 21 - 27 July 2 - 8 August 13 - 19 September 24 - 30
May 28 - June 3 July 9 - 15 August 20 - 26 October 1 - 7
June 4 - 10 July 16 - 22 August 27 - September 2 October 8 - 14
June 11 - 17 July 23 - 29 September 3 - 9  

2018 value season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4: $32,700
Whole-Boat Charter of 5:
$33,200
Whole-Boat Charter of 6:
$33,750
Individuals:
$5,875 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$5,875

2018 value season dates
April 15 - 21 April 29 - May 5 October 21 - 27
April 22 - 28 October 14 - 20

 

2018 regular season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 4:$34,900
Whole-Boat Charter of 5: $35,800
Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $36,600
Individuals:
$6,400 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement:
$6,400

2018 regular season dates
May 6 - 12 June 17 - 23 July 29 - August 4 September 9 - 15
May 13 - 19 June 24 - 30 August 5 - 11 September 16 - 22
May 20 - 26 July 1 - 7 August 12 - 18 September 23 - 29
May 27 - June 2 July 8 - 14 August 19 - 25 September 30 - October 6
June 3 - 9 July 15 - 21 August 26 - September 1 October 7 - 13
June 10 - 16 July 22 - 28 September 2 - 8  

Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

Meanderer Accommodations and Amenities

  • 128 Feet Long
  • Three cabins each with ensuite bathroom/shower
  • All have choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Cabins 1 and 2 - 125 sq ft
  • Cabin 3 - 140 sq ft
  • Also in each cabin
  • Two bathrobes and hair dryer
  • Safe in the closet
  • Skylight and opening windows
  • Satellite flat screen TV
  • Video, DVD and CD player
  • Vehicles
  • 9-passenger Mercedes Sprinter
  • 5-passenger VW Toureg
  • In the Public Areas
  • Charming salon/dining/bar area
  • Framed watercolor pictures of regional scenes
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • Internet accessible laptop
  • Deck
  • Teakwood sundeck with canopy 
  • New and modern spa pool
    on deck that fits 6
  • Chef’s herb garden
  • 6 bicycles*









 

 

 

 

 

*Captain George Kovalick is a serious long-distance bicyclist and has equipped Meanderer with bicycles suitable for both casual and serious riders - they are high end touring bikes; TREK DS8.5 Series, the best bicycles found on the French barges. If you are an avid rider, ask us about the themed cycling itinerary!.




 

Meanderer Upper Loire Barge Cruise Itinerary

Montbouy to lere

Cruising, exploring and bicycling on the Canal de Briare

Sunday: Paris to Montbouy
Champagne welcome, evening cruise
We collect you from your Paris hotel after lunch for transfer by private mini-coach to Meanderer moored in a quiet and picturesque village of Montbouy (just a few miles from the regional capital of Montargis). A champagne reception and early evening cruise to the village of Montcresson and back. Relax on deck and watch the town and people pass by. Your first dinner on board.

Monday: Montbouy to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses
Magnificent Fontainebleau: Home to French Royals
During the morning we cruise to Rogny Les Sept Ecluses, a historical home of ancient 7 staircase locks considered to this day a marvel of engineering. After lunch, the excursion program begins with a visit to the magnificent Chateau de Sully or to the busy town and spectacular palace of Fontainebleau, home to generations of French royalty. Chateau Vaux le Vicomte is also an option.


Tuesday: Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses to La Gazonne
Montargis - Busy Market Town
This morning we visit the regional capital town of Montargis, the week’s best opportunity to explore a busy market town, people-watch or shop for souvenirs and exquisitely packaged confectionary from the famous Mazet Praline shop. On return to the barge, our afternoon cruise through the 6 locks, which replaced the historical 7 “staircase” locks of Rogny, brings us to the overnight remote mooring at La Gazonne in the middle of a magnificent nature preserve.



Wednesday: La Gazonne to Briare
Explore the attics of an Ancient Chateau!
We start with a morning visit to the splendid 16th Century Chateau of St. Fargeau offering a surprising and unique discovery of the rich history of this castle. An alternative excursion is available to the Medieval Village of Guedelon, an extraordinary and unique experience to observe this 25 year project recreating a defensive medieval castle being built with materials, tools and techniques of this ancient period. Afternoon cruise takes us through some of the most beautiful and rural parts of the canal to the spectacular town of Briare on the bank of the Loire River and the entrance to the extraordinary Briare Aqueduct (Pont Canal).
Thursday: Briare to Beaulieu
Nature Preserve Mooring
We shall cruise in the morning over the Pont Canal. The daily excursion program continues with a visit the town of Gien. Set on the banks of the River Loire, the pretty town holds many attractions including the famous Faience Boutique, the Hunting Museum and the Chateau de Gien. We then take a short drive to the beautiful private Chateau La Bussiere, with its incredible 18th Century gardens. An optional visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site Village of Vezelay is highly recommended as is a private visit (by appointment) to Château de Buranlure.


Friday: Beaulieu to Lere
Sancere Region Winetasting
This morning we continue along the Canal Lateral de la Loire on the way to the charming town of Léré, our final mooring port. The scenery of flat fields and pastures slowly changes to the hills of the vineyards. Afternoon excursion takes us to the world famous wine region of Sancerre with the opportunity to sample the local wines and explore the charming hill-top village. A visit to the extraordinary town of La Charité sur Loire, surrounded from all sides by the Loire River is a special treat. For early risers the best market visit of the region at Cosne sur Loire with our chef is an option. The real wine aficionados have the option to visit 2 wineries that afternoon; Sancerre as well as Pouilly Fume.

Saturday:
Lere to Paris
A Sad Farewell
Depart after breakfast at 9:00 am for your chauffeured transfer back to one location in central Paris, one location at Charles de Gaulle airport or one location at Orly Airport. Estimated arrival time at Orly and in central Paris is 11:00 am; estimated arrival time at CDG is 11:30 am to noon. Please make all onward travel plans the day of departure on the basis of this timing. Guests booked in a whole-boat charter must transfer together; ie, ALL members of the party to central Paris , CDG Airport or Orly Airport. Guests booked on an individual cabin basis will be returned to the Hotel Concorde Lafayette at 3, Place du General Koenig, 75017 Paris from where they can easily get a cab to their Paris hotel or to either airport. We hope your Meanderer cruise provides lasting memories!

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 Barging on the canals and waterways of France Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071





+ - Menu

Meanderer Sample Menus

Ellen, The Barge Lady and her husband enjoyed these menus onboard Meanderer.

Dinner
Foie Gras Marinated in Cognac with
Figs and Red Wine Jam
* * *
Filet of Beef in a Shallot Sauce
Gratin Dauphinois, Haricots Verts
* * *
Cheese Platter
Epoisses (Bourgogne)
Roquefort (Midi-Pyrenees)
* * *
Profiteroles, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
* * * *
~ Wines ~
Vendange de la St Luc, Domaine Henri Bourgeois
*
Puligny-Montrachet, Domaine Pillot
*
St Emilion, Chateau Pindefleurs
* * * * *

Lunch
Salmon baked in a Rock Salt Crust
Green Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
*
Rice Salad with Olives and Sweet Corn
*
"Market" Salad
* * *
Cheese Platter
Camembert au Calvados (Haute Normandie)
Mimolette (Nord Pas de Calais)
* * * *
~ Wines ~
Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Ormarine
*
Coulanges la Vineuse, Chateau D'Escolives
* * * * *

Dinner
"Escargots Montgolfière" Snails Cooked in a Cream Sauce,
Cherry Tomatoes in Puff Pastry
  * * *
Filet of Lamb with a Thyme Sauce
Ratatouille, Herbed Polenta
* * *
Cheese Platter
Brie de Meaux (Ile de France)
Maroilles (Picardi)
***
Cherry Clafoutis
Strawberry and Cherry Coulis, Crème Chantilly
* * * *
~ Wines ~
Sancerre la Bourgeoise, Domaine Henri Bourgeois
*
Pernand-Vergelesses, Domaine Rapet
* * * * *

Lunch
Quiche Lorraine with
Celeriac with Apple, Coriander and Marscapone
Curry Sauce
* * *
Pasta with Avocado,
Vegetables and Shrimp in a Cognac Sauce
* * *
Endive Salad
Roquefort Dressing
* * *
Cheese Platter
Chaource (Champagne)
Salers (Limousin)
* * * * *
~ Wines ~
Pouilly-sur-Loire, Caves de Pouilly-sur-Loire
*
Saumur Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux
* * * * *

Picture a Barge Cruise on Meanderer

 A cruise in upper Loire France on hotel barge Meanderer

Meanderer Guest Book

"Our time on the Meanderer was magical. Captain George and Tour Guide Susan are wonderful owners/hosts, and have assembled a great crew. Our excursions with them were just right for timing, interest, and variety, and they catered to our cycling desires adroitly. Chef Martin is an absolutely awesome chef and could be at home in any Michelin-starred restaurant. He was more than willing to have us observe, and his range of cuisine was remarkable. Matelot Declan and Hotsess Aishling were bright, engaging, and have wonderful travel and hospitality skills. All in all were are hereby officially 'barge addicts' and are already discussing our next canal cruise! All of the logistics, communication, and little things that the Barge Ladies do were once again exemplary. Thanks again to the Barge Lady for helping us discover a truly wonderful way to travel, learn, laugh, eat, drink, and enjoy life."

- Ron and Carol Waeckerlin, cruised May, 2016 (repeat Barge Lady guests)

"It was a true vacation from EVERYTHING — we had to make no decisions at all as we were seamlessly, attentively, and unobtrusively being cared for and ushered about by the delightful crew. They couldn’t have been more hospitable and competent, and they were very fun and interesting, to boot. We were completely pampered without it being at all obvious. Things felt as if they 'just happened' for you — the mark of exquisite hospitality.

The quality of the dining experience was simply stunning. EXCELLENT in all respects. It was beyond all expectations. Great fun to be exposed to so many new wines and cheeses. Appreciated that portions were small enough to not feel you were gorging yourself. Chef Martin prepared our food not only with remarkable skill, but also with very apparent joy in what he was doing. I ate it with great pleasure and deep appreciation for his efforts.

The excursions were a nice balance of different things, and not too much of it. The Gian ceramics factory was a special treasure, as was the Henri Bourgeois winery. The technology we got to see at the winery blew me away. I’ve never seen anything like it in the fairly large number of wineries I’ve visited. The crew's personal relationships with many of the folks at the places we visited added a nice touch. Thanks to the Barge Ladies for your role in creating an experience I can add to my list of 'best trips I’ve ever taken."

- Anne Van Kleek, cruised May, 2016

"I cannot say enough good things about the owners of the Meanderer, and their crew. Our cabin was clean and well furnished, and the shower was excellent. In addition, our bed was turned down each night with candies for both Dolores and myself. I liked that the excursions were done in a reasonable amount of time and not far from the Meanderer. In addition, what we saw was a variety of different things which made the activities more enjoyable. As far as cuisine goes, we went to Paris the following week and the meals on the Meanderer were hands down far better than anything we had in Paris. The pre-trip information provided us was excellent. In addition, I believe that we received a MapEasy’s Guide to Paris in our boarding documents, which was greatly appreciated! This map was extremely helpful as it simplified Paris roads and gave interesting information on all the sites of Paris. The barge cruise on the Meanderer was the highlight of my trip to Europe -- and I would love to do it again."

- John Blackmore, cruised July, 2015

"I can not imagine a more wonderful crew. Every single person, from the owners to the Chef, became our friends. We even invited Matelot Declan and Hostess Ashling to visit with us when and if they get to New England in the USA. Bernard, the new Pilot, fit right in with this friendly and happy crew. I enjoyed talking with him whenever we had the chance. Martin, the Chef, is not only an excellent skilled chef, but a very personable guy to spend a week with. His cuisine far exceeded our expectations, and he even took me into the kitchen to show me the finer points of cooking fish.

Captain George and Tour Guide Susan are wonderful owners. You feel and know that everything will be taken care of by a delightful couple. Each individual would have personal choices with respect to sightseeing excursions. However, without a doubt our group loved the country biking with Captain George, and Susan's private tours to the chateaus and towns exceeded my expectations. I had originally planned to skip a few of her tours, and remain on the barge to just enjoy cruising, but after a half day tour with Susan I wisely decided to join in with all her private excursions.

The Barge Lady staff was always there to answer any question, and provided us with complete information prior to the cruise. Our pre-trip information was extensive and excellent. We received just the right amount of information, and your tourist map of Paris was very useful.

Our trip on the Meanderer, from The Barge Lady preparation right down to the last moment of our time with the Meanderer crew, was one of the finest trips we have ever taken."

- Robert Durkin, cruised July, 2015

"What a fantastic trip! The crew of the Meanderer was great. Everyone was friendly, helpful, efficient, and accommodating. The excursions were interesting and perfectly scheduled with just the right amount of time off the boat. Cuisine was delicious and beautifully presented. We were extremely happy with the cabin, as it was spotless and spacious. The pre-trip information packet covered everything and it was extremely helpful. Overall, we cannot imagine a better experience!"

- Karen Tobin, cruised June, 2015

 

 

+ - More!

Meanderer 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!

Strawberry Millefeuille - A Most Sophisticated Sweet
Barge Lady's How to Holidays Guide wraps up on a sweet note with this delicious Strawberry Millefeuille dessert recipe, courtesy of Meanderer's talented chef.

 

 

Happy Crew Year!
Ever experienced and personable owners George and Susan Kovalick make sure Meanderer guests feel welcomed! A spotlight on the hardworking and personable crew who help make barge cruises extraordinary experiences with happy memories.


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