What is canal barging?

Hirondelle_Cruising_in_Burgundy A barge trip may not be the first type of European river cruise that comes to mind, but don't discount these relaxing and romantic journeys. Unlike large cruise vessels, barge trips in France and other European countries such as Belgium offer a chance to see an area in depth, all while enjoying a leisurely voyage on the continent's inland waterways.

The Barge Connection specializes in barge trips, long and short, big and small. In business since 1998, The Barge Connection works with more than 100 barge vessels. We welcome your questions and inquiries. Let us show you why we love barge trips and why you will too.

Advantages to a Barge Trip
There are many reason to choose a barge trip. Europe offers a wealth of quiet inland waterways and canals that are ideal for exploration with a smaller vessel. Barge trips also travel near to the shoreline, giving passengers the opportunity to view the passing countryside up close or use one of the on board bicycles and explore the canal-side villages.

Dinner_on_Fleur_de_LysFood is another reason to take a trip on a barge. Barge trips are noted for their fine cuisine and meals are a pleasant way for passengers to share the day's events over wine and dinner from the local region prepared by your gourmet chef.

Like larger cruises, passengers on river barge trips need only unpack once to see multiple destinations. There's no rushing to the airport or putting your bags out for the bus before dawn. The pace on a barge trip is unhurried.

Life on a Barge
A typical day on a barge trip begins with breakfast, usually coffee or tea accompanied by pastries or rolls. After breakfast, passengers are invited to explore the countryside on their own with bicycles or join one of the several organized shore excursions to wineries, historic sights, or other points of interest. Canal barge trips offer the added benefit of having towpaths that parallel the waterway, an ideal place for riding bicycles. Of course, you can choose to remain on the barge and immerse yourself in a good novel or do nothing at all.

Cruising_Canal_in_BurgundyDinner brings barge trip passengers back together, where you share a candlelight dinner made from the freshest local ingredients and accompanied by the superb local wines. The day ends in the lounge with an after dinner drink and more shared adventures.

What's Included in River Barge Trips
Prices for barge trips include most vacation components. Price includes accommodations; transportation to and from the vessel; all meals on board; beverages including wine and, in most cases, bar drinks; use of bicycles; and entrance fees for guided sightseeing. Some vessels also include a special meal ashore, at a Michelin-rated restaurant, for instance. Guests also have use of the ship's facilities, which often include a Jacuzzi, exercise equipment, library and bicycles to explore the canal-side villages.

Not included in the barge trip price is airfare, gratuities to the barge crew (normally 5-10% of cruise cost), and meals taken off of the barge (unless specified otherwise.)

SD_PictureExplore France with a Self Drive Barge
If you’d like to enjoy the perks and benefits of a canal barge without having to follow a specific itinerary, you should consider the option of renting a self-drive barge for your own personal use. This is a phenomenal way to see France on your own terms. You will bask in the fun of steering your very own canal barge along some of France’s most delightful waterways. There is no license required and you are at the helm. As far as barge vacations go, this has to be one of the most enticing and unique opportunities available – and it’s a lot more affordable than you may suppose!

Barge trips are available throughout Europe. In England, barges ply the Thames river, through London and beyond. Barge itineraries in Germany include sailing on the Rhine River, past castles and islands. French barge trips include journeys in the wine region of Burgundy, the chateau country of the Loire, and the waterways of sunny Provence in the South of France. A French barge trip is a great way to learn about that country's many wine regions.

Fleur_de_Lys_InteriorThe Barge Connection has the experience and the relationships to make memorable river Barge trips. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and our attention to detail. Whether you're considering a first barge trip or the latest of many, let us help you create a river barge trip that's perfect for you.