France has many strings to its bow, but culinary excellence and charming landscapes are certainly two of its best-loved. This is precisely what our clients Gavin and Martha went in search of on their adventure through le beau pays, and that’s exactly what they found.
Sun-soaked vineyards, ancient chateaux and picture-postcard villages – a world of culinary excellence and fine wine awaits, on your luxury barge hotel along Burgundy’s historic waterways. Picture yourself lazing on a deck sun lounger, soaking in the ambience of the French countryside as you slowly glide along one of the many canals that criss cross the country.
Yes, some would argue they could have zipped through their 65km journey in only a few hours by car, but that was never their intention — this was not why Gavin and Martha came to France. They came here to really get in touch with the beguiling idyll of the local Burgundian countryside, to feel the supreme relaxation of a life lived at a slower pace, to lose themselves in this singular corner of France’s rich and verdant landscape, and of course, to sample the culinary delicacies and fine wines that have made this region so famous.
Let’s let Martha take up the story, from her own experience;
“Each day we cruised at turtle-speed past velvety-green fields of barley and bright yellow canola flowers; sweetly-scented wisteria and lilac trees in full bloom,” Martha explains, painting a picture of the beautiful, understated scenery that is characteristic of this sleepy region of France.
Aside from the cycling and walking excursions along the towpath there were ample opportunities for Martha, Gavin and the other guests onboard to explore the local area. At the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Abbaye de Fontenay, they discovered how the traditional local pastimes of wine and cheese-making have become interwoven in the rich cultural tapestry of Burgundy. At Saulieu, they savoured the delights of a century’s-old culinary history, by dining at Le Relais Bernard Loiseau Restaurant. With two Michelin stars, Chef Patrick Bertron aims to tantalise and amaze his guests with an exquisite gourmet experience.
Of course, it would be impossible to chronicle a visit to France without delving a little deeper into its wines. Burgundy wines are synonymous with rich, red, fruity undertones and velvety smoothness, which makes it somewhat surprising to discover that red Pinot Noir and white Chardonnay grapes are used in the production of the famous wines. Gavin, Martha and their new-found friends enjoyed the delights of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Meursault Charmes Premier Cru and Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru, and the famous Chablis, direct from the wine tank, while on a trip to the 400 year old Domaine Servin vineyards.
This was just a taste of what Gavin and Martha encountered on their journey, and what the broader region has to offer. Burgundy may appear slumberous, and its pace of life may seem slow, but the potential to peel back the myriad of layers to reveal the underlying essence of the region is all part of its charm.
Savvy travellers are increasingly on the lookout for immersive experiences and this type of holiday certainly delivers on all fronts. Activities on-board these barge cruises are wide-ranging and can include truffle hunting, hot air ballooning, horse riding, canoeing to name a few depending on the destination. Learning is an important part of family travel, and these itineraries are perfect for multi-generational families.
Find out more about these hotel barging adventures. We would be delighted to help you connect up with the right vessel, in the waterway that best suits your interests. Please give Caroline a call on 1300 767 237.