Most travelers know that barge cruising offers serene floating on France’s most beautiful and rural waterways…gourmet cuisine freshly prepared by your private chef…sightseeing to villages, chateaux, and vineyards. Pampered, privileged, private: these are the adjectives that apply to the barge cruise experience. But did you know that barging is also FUN?! Yes, FUN! Barge Lady guests know how to have a great time on the French canals.
Here are The Barge Lady’s 5 MOST FUN things to enjoy on a barge cruise:
JUMP IN THE HOT TUB… and sip champagne while you are at it!!!
What could be more fun (and feel more luxurious at the same time) than lazing in the hot tub on your ship’s decadent sundeck while gorgeous countryside scenes float slowly by. It’s the ultimate in on board opulence! The locals out walking on the towpath will salute you; jealous guests aboard other ships will hail you; the birds are chirping — and you are calling for…more champagne, s’il vous plait! Many barges in France have hot tubs, so please do inquire if this is of special interest, and bring your swimsuits! Above, guests enjoy the hot tub on Prosperite while sipping vino.
BICYCLE: Tour de French Countryside! – With cycle-friendly towpaths running right alongside the French canals, grabbing a bicycle from the boat’s deck and jumping on for a spontaneous ride deep in the French countryside is nothing short of exhilarating! What a fantastic way to explore the sights, sounds, and scenes of the barging lifestyle, including the adorable lockhouses, pastoral landscapes, and expansive skies. Everyone is welcome to take a leisurely bike ride to the next lock, or even the next four locks!
Barge Lady Bicycling Tip: be sure to take pack the appropriate sportswear and closed-toed shoes to fully take advantage of this exciting and active amenity.
WINE TASTING… and drinking! When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When on a barge in France, sip and savor wine as the French do! The wonderful world of French wine and its many pleasures opens up to barge guests in the most fun ways, with excursions to prestigious wineries, exclusive tours of vineyards, and once-in-a- lifetime wine tastings sure to delight even the most educated of oenophiles. Nightly wine pairings at dinner compliment the wine-centric experience, with many barges offering vintages and appellations found only in their cruising region. Pour another glass, mes amis, and let’s have a toast the Barge Lady!
MINGLE WITH THE LOCALS AT FRENCH MARKETS Lively local markets in small towns are one of the highlights of the French barge cruising experience. What could be more fun that attending a thriving community market full of seasonal produce, fresh meats, and boutique cheeses, exactly as the locals do? Gastronomes will revel in the regionally diverse cuisine, while those looking for the most special and gifts are sure to find the best souvenirs at the small craft stalls. The luckiest of Barge Lady guests will attend the market with their on board gourmet chef and help choose the ingredients for the evening’s meal. A few barges offer a cooking demonstration with the chef! A perfect activity for the bon vivants on barges!
VISIT YOUR CAPTAIN IN THE WHEELHOUSE – Wheelhouses are always a great spot on the ship to get the best perspective of the canal, locks, and scenery. Guests are always encouraged to join the Captain there for a friendly chat — and the chance to steer the barge down the waterways of France! As the individual responsible for the vessel, passengers, and crew, the Captain often has remarkable insight about the route and region. Above, guests cruise the Canal du Nivernais with Captain Francisco of barge Luciole. An afternoon in the wheelhouse is a highlight for guests especially interested in the geography, history, and happenings along the canals.