Inside the Heart of France


By Susan Farewell

Imagine a week of floating on the narrow waterways through the French countryside, days punctuated by multi-course meals, vineyard tours, wine tastings and chateau visits.

Barging in France Afloat in France, which is part of Orient Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises—just might be the most romantic way to explore this poetic landscape.
The company has five exquisitely appointed barges with select itineraries on canals and rivers through Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, Franche-Comté, Languedoc-Roussillon, and the Rhône-Alpes and Provence Alpes-du-Sud.

While three of the barges are reserved for private charters (accommodating between four and eight people), two can be booked on a hotel basis or hired exclusively.Each one has an enthusiastic crew that caters to your every need.

Barge trips in FrancePerhaps the most surprising aspect of all is that guest “cabins” are actually stately bedrooms with plenty of room to spread out and sexy marbled bathrooms you’d expect to find at five-star hotels on terra firma.

The barges move slowly along the waterways, in some cases, passing through locks. While there are many opportunities to get out and walk or bike alongside, it’s tempting to simply stay put and take in the pastoral scenes while you sip local wines and take an occasional dip in the plunge pool.



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