One of the favorite parts of my job is visiting my friends on the all the barges. It is a tough job....but someones got to do it!
We started our journey in England and visited with Dominic the Captain of the Magna Carta.The barge was moored in Windsor, so of course we had to visit the Windsor Castle. The Queen definitely knows how to live. What a beautiful Castle. When you cruise on the Magna Carta this is one of the excursions included. Highly recommend this visit. We were fortunate enough to see the changing of the Guards. Pretty spectacular.
From England we took the train headed to one of my favorite cities...Paris! We spent four nights here and explored the wonders of this fabulous city.
From here we went to the Burgundy region. We started off on a self drive in Saint Jean de Losne for one night. Had a lovely dinner on the Saone River and to my surprise saw one of my hotel barges moored in front of us, the Hirondelle. We said hi to the crew and admired her from the shore. They had some guests onboard enjoying their last night (Captain's Dinner), so we didn't want to intrude.
From here we made our way to the famous Canal du Bourgogne. This was a busy day, as we met with the owners of Apres Tout and cruised a bit, met with the Impressionniste and had a glass of wine onboard and then made our way to the Savoir Vivre where we spent the night. The Apres Tout was delightful, with new hydrolic bimini, lovely decor, computer room/exercise room, large deck. The owners Caroline and Rory are such wonderful hosts and it was a very nice afternoon just cruising through the locks as we watched the passing scenery of Burgundy. After seeing this barge and all the love and care they put into this vessel, I have no hesitations to recommend this to small groups of four or six. They have a great itinerary with some fun and different sites and I just fell in love with the vessel. Thumbs up from The Barge Connection.
Visiting the Impressionniste was great, as they have made some lovely improvements with the gorgeous wood flooring and decor. She was looking very nice. When I was there the guests were having a gourmet lunch at Abbay de la Bussiere. What a treat for the guests, as the restaurant is Michelin Rated and the grounds for the Abbaye are breath taking.
After visitng with James and crew on the Impressionniste we made our way to the Savoir Vivre. Captain Richard gave us a warm welcome and took such good care of us. We were a bit exhausted from our travels and he made sure we relaxed and took in the beauty of this gorgeous area of Burgundy. We had a nice dinner with Captain Richard with laughter, wine and great food. It was nice to finally meet Richard. He has been in the barging industry for ages. He was charming and delightful company. It was the perfect way to spend and evening.
After dinner we took a stroll along the towpath, where we were pleasantly surprised to see the Bonheur moored. We had an impromptu tour, as the guests enjoyed Beef Bourgogne on the lovely deck. It was a perfect night for alfresco dining. When we stepped aboard we felt like we were visiting old friends, even though this was the first time meeting. They have taken great care of this vessel and it shows. Annie was in the kitchen cooking and the aroma was intoxicating. I was ready to sit down for another meal.
After our visit we meandered back to Savoir Vivre and had a wonderful night sleep. In the morning we visited a local patiserre with Richard. Once we were back onboard we had coffee and french pastries and then started cruising. To work off some of the calories we went for a bike ride and explored the area. We wanted to stay, but we had more barges to visit.
From here we went to Auxerre and met up with four barges that cruise along the Nivernais canal. La Belle Epoque and L'Art de Vivre had a tandem cruise so they moored side by side. It was a beautiful site with Auxerre in the background. We met with the crew from both vessels and took a ton of pictures. We saw two of our other barges, just by chance. The Luciole was moored directly behind La Belle Epoque and L'Art de Vivre. The Elisabeth was moored across the water. Such good luck.
Peter and Sheena from the Elisabeth had a family charter onboard that cruise with them every year, and they did a two week cruise this year. They just love the Elisabeth and owners, as do I! We went aboard and were completely blown away by the complete interior refit. She was always a beautiful barge but now she shines even more. We had a great chat and many laughs with Peter and Sheena and then made our way to the Luciole. The crew was preparing for the Captain's dinner that night. They decorate the table with just a bit more pizazz then normal nights. They had gorgeous fresh flowers and folded napkins like you see in the movies. The crew mentioned Captain's dinner is always fun, but also a bit sad. They have to say good bye to the passengers onboard.
Another fantastic trip and wonderful visits to my barges in France. Can't wait until next time.
Clients always ask me if I go aboard the barges myself, I most definitely do. It always gives me great pleasure to see the vessels and reconnect with the owners. I just love what I do!
I put together a little video with pictures from my visits.