LUXURY TIP: French river cruising
Forget cruising on big ships with the attention of the staff being divided between hundreds of people, with BookaRiverTrip.Com you can rent a small barge to cruise the rivers of France with a dedicated crew, a perfect itinerary, and in some cases even a private chef. This is a new, luxurious way to see the French countryside with plenty of charming stops to explore all the good wine and food on offer.
For lovers of world class gastronomy a river cruise in the Bordeaux region is a must! Depending on the itinerary, truffle hunting, chateau visits, wine tasting, or eating your fill of gourmet food could all be on the table. Libourne is a bustling French town known for great food markets and the authentic French way of life. While here take a day trip to Saint-Emilion to see 12th century churches and a town so beautiful the whole thing was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dordogne is home to some quaint little wineries as well as stunning chateaux and medieval towns. Arcachon Bay is known for oyster farming and is the best place to go for freshly caught oysters.
Côtes de Rhône wine region
On a Saone-Rhone itinerary you will experience fine dining, 12th century towns, stunning scenery, and the town that inspired Van Gogh’s paintings. Beaune is a pretty little town with medieval ramparts and a foodie market full of farm grown vegetables, goats cheese, and dried sausages. Lyon has a 19th century neo-Byzantine style basilica and more Michelin star restaurants than you can shake a fork at. Past the Côtes de Rhône wine region is the charming town of Arles where Van Gogh once lived and created some of his most famous works. See the scenes that inspired him and visit the almost perfectly preserved Roman Amphitheatre. Finish up in the cobbled old town of Avignon where you can hop between boutique chapels. The Angladon Museum is worth a visit for art enthusiasts as it houses several Picasso’s as well as works by Manet, Cézanne, and Van Gogh.
Loire Valley cruises
One of our favourite cruises though is the Loire Valley, being a shallower river our boats are perfect for this itinerary as bigger river cruise ships would struggle if the water level was low. This region has been nicknamed the “Garden of France” because of the number of orchards and vineyards that line the banks of the river. Your trip to the Loire Valley will be full of wine, Cointreau, and thousands of chateaux. Nantes is a great stop for fantastic restaurants and a charming medieval quarter. Just down the river is Ancenis which is a medieval town steeped in history and complete with a castle which dates back to 934. Ancenis is also in the heart of the Muscadet wine region so is a perfect place for a tasting. Perhaps the best stop in the Loire region is Bouchemaine which has over 1000 castles within day trip distance. The jewel in the crown is Chateau D’Ussé, the castle which is said to be the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle.