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Upper Loire, France
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Barging in Upper Loire
|Passengers: 8||English Speaking Crew of: 6|
|Size: 128 feet long||Bicycles: 8|
|Last Visited: 2007||Air Conditioned: Yes|
|Rating: Ultra Deluxe|
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 shoulder season ratesWhole-Boat Charter for 8: $42,360
Individuals: $5,495 per person double occupancy
2013 shoulder season Dates
|March 31 - April 6||April 14 - 20 ||October 20 - 26|
|April 7 - 13||April 21 - 27||October 27 - November 2|
2013 Value season ratesWhole-Boat Charter for 8: $45,560
Individuals: $5,995 per person double occupancy
2013 Value season Dates
|April 28 - May 4||July 14 - 20 || August 4 - 10|
|May 5 - 11||July 21 - 27|| August 11 - 17|
| July 7 - 13||July 28 - Aug 3|| October 13 - 19|
2013 high season RatesWhole-Boat Charter for 8: $48,760
Individual: $6,495 per person double occupancy
2013 high season Dates
| May 12 - 18|| June 9 - 15||August 18 - 24|
| May 19 - 25|| June 16 - 22||August 25 - 31|
| May 26 - June 1||June 23 - 29|
| June 2 - 8|| June 30 - July 6|
2013 Prime season rates Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $51,960
Individuals: $6,495 per person double occupancy
2013 Prime season Dates
|September 1 - 7||September 15 - 21 ||Sept 29 - October 5 |
|September 8 - 14||September 22 - 28||October 6 - 12|
The Barge Lady and husband "Monsieur le Barge Lady" enjoyed a luxurious week-long cruise on Horizon II in July 2007.
We boarded to find Horizon II a very handsome and classic barge. The salon reminds of an English gentleman's club, decorated in rich colors, comfortable furniture and antique accent pieces. The cabins are spacious and extremely well- arranged with ingenious storage space and brand new baths with full-size shower. Horizon II is one of five vessels owned and operated by French Country Waterways. As on all of them, the greatest strength is especially experienced crew and depth of programming.
The Upper Loire route is very local in feel and cruises through charming villages. Bicycling and walking opportunities are abundant. Added to this idyllic cruise is really exceptional sightseeing - the most anticipated of which is an all day excursion to Chateau de Chambord, the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux! Other highlights includes tasting right in the famed wine village of Sancerre (with vineyards spread out before you), shopping for French faience pottery in Gien, and most memorably, floating over the river on an elegant aqueduct designed by Eiffel of Tower of fame.
As on all of the French Country Waterways barges, one dinner is enjoyed on shore at a Michelin rated restaurant. Horizon II guests have much to anticipate at Auberge des Templiers, located in an enchanting half-timbered former posthouse - now a Relais et Chateaux hotel.
Upper Loire Barge Cruise
ChatilLon-sur-Loire to Montargis
In the Upper Loire
This picturesque region has it all - idyllic cruising, adorable villages, winetasting at Sancerre - even an all day visit to Chateau de Chambord, the largest chateau of the Loire Valley. Enjoy it all in luxury on the Horizon II.
Sunday: Paris to Chatillon-sur-Loire
Meet mid-afternoon in Paris at the elegant Hotel Raphael. You will be chauffeured via private motor coach where the barge is moored in Châtillon-sur-Loire. Once on board, you'll be treated to the traditional Champagne welcome and introduction to the crew. Enjoy the first of many gourmet dinners on board.
Monday: Chatillon-sur-Loire to Ouzoer-sur-Trezee
You've seen the Tower, Now Cruise the Aqueduct, both Designed by Eiffel!
Horizon II begins to cruise - but not before the Chef brings back the village-baked pastries to grace the breakfast buffet! Enjoy a cruising high point this morning - Float right over a river on France's longest aqueduct, Pont Canal, pictured at left. This tres elegant structure was designed by Gustave Eiffel. After lunch on board, drive to the cobblestoned wine village of Sancerre, perched high over the vineyards. Enjoy the view and also taste local vintages as part of a private cellar tour. Return to Horizon II and re-live the day at dinner on-board.
Tuesday: Ouzoer-sur-Trezee to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses
French Faience in Gien
Another leisurely morning begins as Horizon II casts off. Why not bicycle into the next village, walk the towpath - or just sit on deck and watch this idyllic region slip by! Our mooring is the charming ville of Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, named in the set of the 16th century locks still in view. Today, its off to Gien, a larger town with a Medieval core and home to the famed Gien China Factory. Shop and stroll before going back to the Horizon II for dinner on board.
Wednesday: Moored in Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses
A Gorgeous Loire Valley Chateau
After breakfast, depart Horizon II for a day trip to the magnificent 16th century Château de Chambord, pictured below. Chambord was commissioned by Francois I as a hunting lodge in 1518 - although in his entire reign he only spent 42 days there! It is the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux - a confection built in the 16th century Rennaissance style - which still exudes beauty and harmony. Many personalities are associated with Chambord, including Leonardo da Vinci. Enjoy lunch at an auberge overlooking the chateau and grounds. You will return to Horizon II for dinner on board.
Thursday: Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses to Montbouy
Dine in a Michelin-starred Restaurant
Morning visit to the village and chateau of St. Fargeau. Tour the 15th century château, once home to Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans, cousin of Louis XIV. Afternoon cruise to the village of Montbouy. Dine ashore tonight at the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers, located in an enchanting half-timbered former posthouse - now a Relais et Chateaux hotel.
Friday: Montbouy to Montargis
Montargis: Is this town the Venice of France?
Take a last idyllic cruise to our final mooring in Montargis - a town criss-crossed by flower-bedecked canals! Walk the town and visit Sainte Madeleine's Church with its impressive stained-glass window designed by master craftsman, Leopold Lobin. There's chocolate prailines! We'll taste these tasty bites at Mazet de Montargis. Return to Horizon II for the Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
A Sad Farewell
After breakfast, depart Horizon II at 9:30 AM via private transfer back to Paris at the Hotel Raphael, arriving approximately 11:00 AM. Please make all onward travel plans based on this timing. We hope to see you back on another French Country Waterways barge - what about cruising in Burgundy next time?
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 and river cruises in France. Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.
Horizon II Guest Book"The Horizon II was marvelous! Chef Catherine was great, and Captain Anna was exceptional. The barge exceeded our expectations in every way."
-Mary Lou and Don Shearn, 2010
"This was my fourth barge cruise experience. It was the best! Even the weather was good!"
-Sam and Mary Alice Hall, 2010
"From the moment we met our driver, Mark, in Paris until we said good-bye six days later, it was an experience of a life-time. The food, wine, flowers, excursions, conversations with fellow passengers and staff, lounging on deck, leisurely walks on tow paths, colorful lockkeepers, walks into town, hot air balloon ride, and enjoying the beautiful scenery were all PRICELESS!"
-Diane Williams and Philip Piser, 2009
"Our trip was fantastic, from start to finish. The crew on Horizon II was extraordinary; wonderful people with a real commitment to service, but not ostentatious. The food was superb. Jean-Yann, our chef, created meals that were among the best we've ever had, rivaling our off-the-boat dinner at one of France's finest restaurants, a Michelin 3-star. The wine on the barge was magnifique, as was the opportunity to sample six different excellent French cheeses each day. Matthew, the Captain and our tour guide, was knowledgeable, affable and engaging. Our visit to the Forge at Buffon and our parlor discussion with Jacquline was one of the highlights of our trip.
We quickly lost any apprehension we might have had about spending a week on a small boat with two couples we didn't know. We now have new friends in Kansas City and Connecticut!"
-Rick Knapp and Ellen Mattingly, 2009
"Excellent salon area, excellent deck to lounge on and excellent wine and cheese! Since it travels slowly and has to go through so many locks, it was great to be able to get off and walk along the canal and through the villages and then get back on."
-Gail Wyman and Bob Barker, 2008
Horizon II Floor Plan
128 Feet long
Four Suites approximately 170 sq ft
-Choice of one King or two twin beds
-Ensuite bath with shower
In the Public Areas
-Beautiful salon and dining room with large windows
-Classic English decor
One speed, unisex bicycles with hand brakes, especially made for the Horizon II (Guests may elect to have a 21 speed bicycle delivered to the barge at additional cost. This must be arranged before your cruise.)