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C'est la Vie
Barging in Burgundy
|Passengers: 8||Your Hosts: Olivier and Deb Megret|
|Size: 126 feet long||English Speaking Crew of: 5|
|Last Visited: 2011||Bicycles: 8|
|Rating: Ultra Deluxe||Air Conditioned: Yes|
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)
2013 LOW Season RatesWhole-Boat Charter for 6 or less: $38,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 7: $39,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $40,000
Individuals: $5,750 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $2,450
2013 LoW Season dates
|April 14 - 20||April 21 - 27||October 27 - November 2|
2013 Value Season ratesWhole-Boat Charter for 6 or less: $40,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 7: $41,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $42,000
Individuals: $5,850 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $2,650
2013 Value Season dates
|April 28 - May 4||July 14 - 20||August 11 - 17|
|May 5 - 11||July 21 - 27||October 13 - 19|
|May 12 - 18||July 28 - August 3||October 20 - 26|
|July 7 - 13||August 4 - 10|
2013 regular Season ratesWhole-Boat Charter for 6 or less: $42,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 7: $43,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $44,000
Individuals: $5,950 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $2,850
2013 regular Season dates
|May 19 - 25||June 16 - 22||August 25 - 31||September 22 - 28|
|May 26 - June 1||June 23 - 29||September 1 - 7||September 29 - Oct 5|
|June 2 - 8||June 30 - July 6||September 8 - 14||October 6 - 12|
|June 9 - 15||August 18 - 24||September 15 - 21|
We are thrilled to visit the C'EST LA VIE, owned and operated by Olivier and Deb Megret, a remarkable couple, pictured at right, with deep roots in the barge industry and a reservoir of talent that will assure C'est La Vie as a top, top quality operation! Olivier and Deb have worked for distinguished barge operators in a variety of roles; chef, captain, guide and hostess. In addition, Olivier is a certified balloon pilot and enjoys wine as a hobby. Their longstanding dream of owning their own vessel has come to fruition with C'est La Vie, the former Lone Star. Olivier knows the barge and the route well having served as captain to previous owners for many years.
Olivier hails from one of France’s top “barging families,” the Megret clan. “For the past 25 years, I have enjoyed life on the barges, having the pleasure of showing my country to our wonderful passengers,” he says. Deb is British and started in the narrow boat industry there, eventually moving to France and working for top companies. It was on one of these vessels that she met Olivier. They were married in 2006.
C'est La Vie was designed as a private floating getaway for an American family and as a result, “feels” very welcoming! The window-lined salon-dining room is really a place to relax and watch the world go by! Décor is in warm shades of blue and cream, while the furniture is of the comfortable variety. Colorful table settings both in the dining room and on deck reflect the warmth and fun of C'est La Vie. The four extremely spacious cabins are paneled in ash and cherry wood and offer such amenities as individually controlled heating/air conditioning units, 110 AND 220 volt electricity in the bedroom and bath, and ample storage space. The en-suite baths have a full-size standing shower and enough counter space that you will be reminded of home.
The itinerary unveils many classic Burgundy vistas. There is ample opportunity to walk and bicycle, and sightseeing offers a full range of gorgeous chateaux – Ancy-le-France is one of our favorite places of beauty in all of France – winetasting and classic towns with markets and squares in which to linger. Chauffeured transfers to and from Paris is a service that is fast becoming rare in barging, but of course, it is part of the C'est La Vie experience!
Go to Guestbook for a writeup of the Barge Lady’s cruise in June, 2011.
C'est la Vie - Burgundy Barge Cruise Itinerary
Ravieres to St. Florentin
On the Canal de Bourgogne
Sunday: Paris to the C’est la Vie moored in Ravieres
If your party has chartered C’est La Vie, a member of the crew will meet you at 3:00 pm in the lobby of your Paris hotel – one pickup location for the whole group, please. If you have booked on an individual cabin basis, you and the rest of the guests will be met in the lobby of the Hotel Concorde Lafayette. From either location, you’ll be chauffeured to the barge, moored in the tiny village of Ravieres. Estimated travel time is two and a half hours. Owner-hosts Deb and Olivier Megret will welcome you warmly with the traditional Champagne reception – and the first of many gourmet dinners on board.
Monday: Ravieres to Ancy le Franc
Morning cruise to the village of Ancy le Franc, which will allow you time to walk off a breakfast of locally baked croissants and other pastries. After a buffet lunch you will be driven to the Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay, pictured below, founded by St Bernard. Dating back to the 12th Century it is listed on the Unesco World Heritage site. Returning to the “C’est La Vie” for dinner.
Tuesday: Ancy le Franc to Lezinnes
Gorgeous Renaissance Chateau, Dinner Ashore
You can walk or be driven for this mornings visit to the gorgeous Renaissance chateau of Ancy le Franc, pictured at right. Renowned for its 16th-century wall paintings and frescos (which are said to rival Fontainebleau), Ancy-le-Franc has been extensively and sensitively renovated. Return to the “C’est La Vie” for lunch and an afternoon cruise to the small town of Lézinnes from where you will be driven to the town of Chablis for your dinner ashore at the charming restaurant "Hostellerie des Clos".
Wednesday: Lezinnes to Tanlay
Medieval town and local market
Morning visit to the medieval town of Noyers, pictured at left. Where you can walk through the cobbled streets enjoying the local market and discover the old ramparts and half timbered buildings from the 15th/16th centuries along the banks of the river Serein. Drive back to the “C’est La Vie” through fields of wheat and grazing animals for lunch and an afternoon cruise on the Burgundy Canal to Tanlay now lined by poplar trees, a perfect moment to put on your walking shoes and explore the towpath and small villages along the way. Dinner aboard
Thursday: Tanlay to Flogny la Chapelle
Winetasting in Chablis
We take a morning cruise and pass through the old town of Tonnerre with buildings from many eras, including Roman and Medieval, before our afternoon visit to the town of Chablis, where you can taste some of the famous white wines of this region in one of their local cellars and enjoy a drive through vineyards which cover the hill sides for as far as the eye can see. Returning to the “C’est la Vie" for another gourmet dinner aboard
Friday: Flogny la Chapelle to St Florentin
Explore Historic Auxerre
This morning’s cruise will take us past beautiful villages and countryside, see above, to the town of St Florentin by early afternoon. After lunch drive to the town of Auxerre. On the banks of the river Yonne this historic town, first settled by the Romans boasts a Cathedral, an Abbey and a Church. With buildings dating back to medieval times this is the ideal place to stroll along its narrow streets and window shop or just sit and relax with a coffee in one of its many cafés reflecting on Napoleon, Joan of Arc or Charles VII who all passed through this elegant town. Return to the “C’est La Vie” for the Captain’s Dinner, which ends your cruise in style.
Saturday: St Florentin to Paris
A Sad Farewell
You will depart after breakfast at 9:00 am. Charter passengers will be returned to the one Paris hotel location of their choice. Individually booked guests will go back to the Hotel Concorde Lafayette. (Cabs line up there and it will be easy to get to your next Paris destination.) Estimated arrival time is noon. Please make all onward travel plans on the basis of this timing. We hope you have many happy memories of your C’est La Vie cruise – and we hope to see you back on board in 2014 when C’est La Vie will be based in the Champagne region for the latter half of the season.
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 in Burgundy on the canals and waterways of France Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.
C'est la Vie Guest Book
"After nearly ten days off the barge, I'm still in a "glow" about the experience we had. We've already begun discussing with our same group of friends if and when we can take our next C'est La Vie cruise."
Linda Millert, cruised May, 2013
“C’est la Vie is the most luxurious barge cruise we have taken (compared to two others). Guide Glenn is devoted to the area and fired us with enthusiasm. Chef Joe’s food was worthy of a Michelin star, as was the service, and Captain Olivier friendly and visible. His wife Deb and Hostess Isabelle worked very hard to insure us restful, delicious, and attentive service. We now have a greater appreciation and knowledge for French wines. We also were taken out one night to Chablis for dinner at a local restaurant. Who knew such a lovely place existed in the French countryside? Our trip was filled with laughter and fun. It was an over the top cruise.”
- Ellen Browning, cruised May, 2013 repeat Barge Lady guest
"C'est la Vie was the trip of a lifetime! That is saying a lot because my husband and I have traveled extensively on our own in Europe. This was our first experience being on an organized "tour" in Europe and it has definitely set a high bar for any future visits. Glenn was an excellent guide due to his knowledge and enthusiasm. The excursions were very well presented, and we especially enjoyed the Ancy de France and the Cistercian Abbey. However, all were well worth our time and very interesting. I also enjoyed immensely the ability to walk and bike during the cruise.
Olivier, Deb, Glenn, Gerry and Jo made the trip very memorable. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The meals were over the top regarding quality and variety. Presentation and quality of the food ranked with the best restaurants. The wines were very well selected and well paired with the food. The cabin was fabulous; just like a 4 star hotel and very spacious. The Barge Lady asked about any special requests that we had, and that was a very nice touch - the fact that the barge staff always remembered them was even better. I have been wanting to go on a barge cruise for 30 years. It finally came together this year and it exceeded all of my expectations in every way. Everything was perfect."
- Walter and Jeri Muller, cruised September, 2012
"The barge trip went very well, and The Barge Lady is to be thanked for making all the arrangements. Our hosts Deb and Olivier made sure that the experience was perfect, constantly asking about our preferences. I was intrigued by the operation of the locks, but we also got to walk on the towpath and bicycle at a faster pace, exploring a few of the nearby villages due to our ability to go faster than the boat.
Every meal had several wines and cheeses both served and explained. Hostess Jo was a treasure, serving the meals with skills found only in the finest restaurants. Somebody has trained her very, very well! She and Deb worked together as though governed by one mind, and one or the other would straighten out our cabin nearly every time we stepped out, even just for breakfast. Gerry was a fantastic chef, with one meal after another being every bit as good as the finest restaurants. I wondered aloud how he could possibly surpass his daily offerings with a super Captain's Dinner, but the surprise there was not so much the food but the chocolate cake celebrating our anniversary. Glen was a first rate guide. It was like having a history professor along with us... who also had deep understanding of wines and how they are created. We visited abbeys, chateaus, churches and more, and we had enough free time to explore a few towns on our own. He had years of experience with this, and it showed.
We were surprised at how large the staterooms were on the C'est la Vie and how well designed they were. Almost as much personal space as we have at home! The bed was comfortable and the 110 volt outlet was handy for recharging my camera batteries. C'est la Vie pampers guests and spoils everyone, such that no other boat can compare favorably. Thank you to the crew and The Barge Lady for a perfect experience."
- Bruce and Karin Gast, cruised August, 2012
"Dear Ellen and Caroline, the pre-trip information that you sent us was most useful, and I cannot think of anything that could/should have been added. As we had not barged before, the FAQs were particularly helpful. The cruise greatly exceeded our expectations. Our cabin, like all of the rest of the barge, was both very spacious and always immaculate. The food, prepared by chef Gerry, was varied, interesting, invariably fresh, and truly excellent. The 23 different wines and cheeses served during the week were uniformly excellent, and the explanations given by Olivier, Deb, Alan or Jo were always interesting and informative. All of the crew were extremely proficient, helpful and genuinely friendly. The sightseeing excursions were well organized and varied, and Alan was a most knowledgeable and interesting guide. He soon appreciated what would be of greater or lesser attraction to us and the other guests, and tailored the visits accordingly. As an added treat, we had the pleasure of meeting Ellen Sack, The Barge Lady, and her husband in dinner one night in Paris. We have possibly a greater appreciation than most of your clients of the behind-the-scenes job that she and you do, and we greatly enjoyed meeting and talking to them. We honestly cannot think of anything that The Barge Lady could do to improve the service. Thank you for everything!"
- John and Rosemary Talbot, cruised June, 2012
"C'est la Vie exceeded our expectations, it was simply superb in every respect. The barge was beautiful, beautifully maintained and extremely well laid out. Was just a perfect set up. Captain Olivier was extremely fussy about even the smallest details of the boat and every aspect of the trip. Food and wine were simply out of sight. The cabin was huge and beautiful. So clean could eat off the carpet. The food was better than “Excellent”. Best food I’ve ever eaten. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the barge trip on the Ces’t la Vie. Don’t know how it could be better."
-Richard and Nancy Garberson, cruised July, 2012
"The pre-trip information that The Barge Lady sent was very informative and useful, particularly the map. The pick up in Paris was easy and seamless. Overall, C'est la Vie exceeded our expectations, and it was superb in all regards. All the crew were very responsive to our requests. Our cabin exceeded our expectations with regards to size, decor and comfort. The 4 cabins each were the full width of the barge, and there were portholes on both sides. Roomy and very comfortable bathroom. The chef was outstanding, and the guide was exceptionally informative about history, culture, geography, etc. I can't imagine any barge that does it better."
- Michael Deverell and Susan Muscatell, cruised June, 2012
“We have enjoyed many barge cruises over the past 25 wonderful years, but can honestly say that C’est La Vie rates as among the very most outstanding! Starting with the accommodations; We have NEVER been in such comfortable and spacious cabins and with a wealth of storage space besides. The bathroom is large, with adequate floor space, counter space and walk-in shower. Moving on to the public areas, again, comfortable and spacious without being 'over the top.’ We relaxed completely in the salon and on deck, which features a retractable awning. The wood paneling everywhere gives C’est La vie a classically nautical look and feel.
We boarded having met owners Deb and Olivier several times, so we felt we were returning to visit friends. This is a couple who knows how to operate a barge cruise in a low-key manner. They are industry veterans with great contacts and so are able to attract top crew. Chef Katherine Frelon offered absolutely divine cuisine (she will be cooking for the fall, 2011 season - lucky guests!) and in addition, gave us a cooking lesson and welcomed us into her kitchen for informal chats. We asked for foie gras at the beginning of the week with the result that she juggled her menus to provide pate de foie gras at the Captain’s Dinner. NOTHING was too much trouble!
The guide Glen is also very senior in the industry and is one of the few 'scholar guides’ we have experienced on the canals. His great interest is World War I, but he has visited and studied French history and cultural sites of every era. His tour of Chateau Ancy-le-Franc was incredible; he is so well thought of at the chateau that he is given the key and was able to take us through entirely privately. In Sens, he presented the famed Gothic cathedral, which is gorgeous and the premier sight in town, but then led us for a walk and pointed out buildings from periods ranging from the Medieval to World War II.
Back on board, Olivier arranged a chamber music concert. As the sun set over the canal, our lovely lady musicians - one playing the flute, the other on violin – transported us to another era. This kind of care and thought that went into arranging this concert is typical of the operation as a whole. We were delighted with our cruise on C’est la Vie and look forward to returning soon again!”
- Ellen Sack, the Barge Lady with Nick Sack, Monsieur Le Barge Lady
Cruised June, 2011
C'est la VieEllen enjoyed these menus on board
C'est la Vie Floor Plan126 Feet long
Cabin 1 = 226 sq feet
Cabin 2 = 226 sq feet
Cabin 3 = 220 sq feet
Cabin 4 = 236 sq feet
-Choice of Twin or King Beds
-Three windows on each exterior side
Also in the Cabins
-Beautiful cherry wood wardrobe with lots of storage
-Hair dryer in bathrooms
-110 and 220 volt electrical outlets in both cabin and bathroom
In the Public Areas
-Large and window-lined salon and dining area
-Teak deck with awning if needed
-Large wheelhouse with guest seating
-Wifi on board
-Two bathrobes in each cabin
B’Twin make with 21 gears and Chomano brakes.
A selection of men’s and lady’s bicycles