Imagine a week full of France…festivity…and FOOD! On “Barge and Bistro” cruises, guests enjoy a combination of lunches and dinners taken onshore at local cafes and small auberges, exposing them to the unique pleasures of France’s famous cuisine culture.
A popular choice for those who wish to truly experience the authenticity of France’s gastronomy, this option also appeals to value-seeking travelers, or for those for whom experience is more intriguing than onboard amenities.
Feast your eyes on 5 of our favorite “Barge and Bistro” cruises for foodies!
1) Savoir Vivre – 3-star, 6 guests, Southern Burgundy
Gastronomes and Francophiles, rejoice! A Barge Lady favorite for foodies, the Savoir Vivre’s “Barge and Bistro” program is the ultimate canal cruise for lovers of gourmet French cuisine. While breakfasts and lunches are catered onboard, all six dinners are eaten ashore at charming and authentic bistros in delightful towns along the cruise route. Your Captain makes all the arrangements, and the cost of all dinners, including wines, are covered in the cruise price. Dine with the locals like a local! While not feasting on the most appetizing of French food, guest enjoy the Savoir Vivre’s cruise route, which showcases the region’s top sights.
2) Mam Goz — 3-star, 6 guests, Provence
Southern cuisine and approachable wines are front and center on this casual and charming barge! Owned and operated by one of the most hospitable couples in barging, Chef Eric and Hostess Christel Cochennec, the Mam Goz’s “Barge and Bistro” program offers a fantastic choice for parties of four, five, or six looking for high quality cruising at an affordable price. Two lunches, inclusive of the cruise fare, are enjoyed ashore; dining venues feature locally-owned auberges in adorable villages. When not feasting on regional specialties both onboard and ashore, guests explore area attractions, lively towns, and historical highlights.
3) Esperance – 4-star, 6 guests, Canal du Midi
Aboard the Esperance, gourmet cuisine and a lavish lifestyle come together for a luxurious cruise along the iconic Canal du Midi. This dynamic dining program showcases the complex tastes and succulent “savuers” found in the south of France, and includes two dinners on the Esperance, all and breakfasts and lunches thereafter. Four dinners will be at passenger’s expense in small local bistros along the route, carefully selected and recommended by your Captain, for a genuinely regional French dining experience. Guests will also enjoy a freshly pressed olive oil tasting as one of the day’s excursions!
4) Randle – 3-star, 4 guests, Northern Burgundy
Gastronomes and gourmands are in for a real treat aboard this petite barge, thanks to the perfect pairing of catered breakfasts and onboard lunches paired with gourmet dinners ashore! Breakfast and lunch are provided by Chef Gael, who creates hearty meals such as savory smoked fish paired with potato pancakes, and flaky crust flatbreads with sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Five dinners are taken ashore, at the expense of guests, ranging from sophisticated Michelin-starred restaurants to Northern Burgundy’s delightful local auberges. 5) La Vie en Rose – 3 star, 6 guests, Southern Burgundy
Love to talk about ingredients, cooking, and cuisine? Then the “Barge and Bistro” dining plan on La Vie en Rose is perfect or you! The pleasures of the table are front and center, as authentic and approachable French fare is served onboard. A private Chef crafts gourmet meals made with seasonal ingredients, and guests are welcome to pull up a chair in the open kitchen for informal cooking demonstrations. Two lunches and two dinners taken ashore, at the guests’ expense, complete the culinary exploration of Southern Burgundy’s legendary gastronomy. Life “in pink” on La Vie en Rose is delicious!