Cruise Burgundy: onboard a hotel barge with European Waterways
Cruise through Burgundy with European Waterways on its luxury hotel barge L’Art de Vivre.
On the way visit beautiful medieval towns and villages, chateaux and cathedrals, while back onboard, enjoy meandering the canal and the facilities. Guests have an all-inclusive experience with meals, drinks and excursions included.
L’Art de Vivre is the oldest barge in the European Waterway’s fleet at 100 years old. It was built by women in the UK during the First World War as a supply vessel to the allied troops fighting in the Somme. Since then, it has had other uses including transporting wine barrels and passengers down the Seine. The boat was bought by the owner of European Waterways in 1972 and transformed into a hotel barge.
Today, it cruises one of the longest canals in France, the Canal du Nivernais. It has retained its traditional style, with original wood and brass features. The four compact cabins (for 8 passengers) have en suite facilities and there is a saloon with dining table, small bar, small library, and a comfy seating area. On the sun deck, guests can use the spa pool for relaxation, plus there’s a seating area and bikes for discovering the towpath and surrounding villages and towns when moored or cruising,
A private chauffeured minibus picks passengers up from the Hotel Westminster in Paris for the transfer to the L’Art de Vivre in Auxerre.
Following a Champagne welcome and introduction to the crew of four – captain, tour guide, chef, hostess – there’s a tour of the boat, then free time to explore the medieval town of Auxerre or walk along the bank of the River Yonne before dinner.
Auxerre to Vincelles
Starting around 8.30am, it’s a morning cruise through locks and past vineyards and hillsides to a rural mooring at Vincelles. Hop off for a walk or bike ride at the locks and jump back onboard at any point. Alternatively, stay on the sun deck and enjoy the scenery. After lunch the afternoon excursion is to Chablis for a taste of the famous white wine in one of the town’s aged cellars. Head back to the boat for dinner. Each evening excellent quality meals and wines are served and dinner finishes with a cheese board. The hostess gives interesting and detailed descriptions of the local wines and cheeses throughout the cruise.
Vincelles to Mailly-la-Ville
After breakfast, there’s an excursion to Auxerre, the original capital of Lower Burgundy. The tour takes guests to see Renaissance houses, churches and a cathedral tour. Return to the boat for an afternoon cruise southwards past pasturelands and the grazing Charolais cattle to the quiet village of Mailly-la-ville after lunch.
Mailly-La-Ville to le Saussois
The day starts with a morning excursion to the gorgeous 14th century medieval market town village of Noyers-sur-Surein, said to be one of the most beautiful villages in France. Visit the market, artisan shops, stop for a coffee and wander through the pretty streets. The crew buys local produce from the market which is served onboard for a picnic-style lunch including quiches, pies, pates, salad. In the afternoon cruise past the cliffs at Le Saussois, a natural setting with a climbing centre. The scenery becomes more beautiful as you pass rock formations and beautiful farmland. Join the captain at any point of the cruise to experience driving the barge. In the evening, guests are joined by the captain and taken to dinner at a chateau.
Le Saussois to Lucy-sur-Yonne
A morning cruise through the Yonne Valley to the mooring at Lucy-sur-Yonne, a picturesque small village and a very peaceful spot. Following lunch, the excursion is to the pilgrimage town of Vezelay, where there’s the famous Burgundy Romanesque Basilica of St Mary Magdalene. Visit craft shops, antiques, and enjoy views of the countryside after reaching the top of the village. After heading back to the barge, if there’s good weather, it is a good opportunity to jump in the hot tub. In the evening, there’s entertainment from a band followed by dinner.
Lucy-sur-Yonne to Chevroches
This morning it’s the longest cruise of the week – four hours through countryside to the pretty village of Chevroches. It’s a good time for a walk, jog or cycle ride on the towpath. There’s a a local farm shop along the way selling wine, cider, fruit and veg, pickles and jams. In the afternoon visit the Chateau de Bazoches which was built in the 12th century and once visited by Richard the Lionheart. It was later remodelled by Marechal Vauban. That evening it’s the captain’s farewell dinner.
After breakfast, guests are transferred to the Hotel Westminster in Paris.
The cruise is an education – guests learn about local food, wine, history and culture. It’s also an extremely relaxing experience, with the opportunity to be as active as you wish. The wonderful crew are friendly and nothing is too much trouble for them to help guests enjoy the holiday. Meals by the onboard chef are of excellent quality.
Prices for a 6-night cruise aboard hotel barge L’Art de Vivre are from £2,990pp in a twin/double cabin, including all meals, wines, an open bar, excursions and transfers to/from the barge. Full barge charters are also available for families and groups.