Travellers on French river cruises that take in the beautiful region of Picardy are in for a real treat. The Canal du Nord is the main waterway in the region and as it weaves its way through the ancient city of Lille and in and out of meandering bends that take in many of the famous memorials, battlefields and monuments of the Great War, guests have the opportunity to see some incredible sights. Despite lying just north of Paris, the area is itself often overlooked, which is a real shame as this pretty destination is possibly one of the country’s best kept secrets. |
Reasons to Visit Picardy on French River Cruises
It is not surprising that most people who arrive into this region make a beeline for Paris, but for those who do stick around, there is much to enjoy. Travelling on one of the luxury French river cruises that take in the area gives you the opportunity to enjoy everything at a slower pace and visit off-the-beaten-track areas that benefit from the lack of tourists. Beauvais is a charming town with picture postcard houses, gorgeous flower studded gardens and a striking Gothic cathedral, which is the tallest in medieval France. If you get a chance to hop off the barge and explore, it is definitely recommended.
Fabulous Food and Wine
As with many regions in this gastronomic country, Picardy delights when it comes to food and drink. Fresh seafood features on many menus, as does the regional organic lamb and a much-loved local p?te. Desserts are complemented with the famous Chantilly cream, which no doubt you will be treated to regularly by the chef on your barge holiday. The mussels are second to none as well, so don’t miss out!
This area was affected by WWI in a way that left it almost unrecognisable. Home to some of the bloodiest of battles, Picardy saw more than a million men killed or injured in the Battle of the Somme, which took place from July to November in 1916.
Baie de Somme
Picardy is well known for its nature reserves and the Baie de Somme is the most famous. You can go on guided tours of the area and maybe even see the resident seal population, which is thankfully being gradually replenished after almost disappearing.
Can you imagine riding on a horse through the grounds of a beautiful château? Well, you can do just that at the Château de Chantilly, the town’s biggest attraction. The Great Stables and the Living Museum of the Horse can also be found here. History tells us that the Duke of Bourbon (in the 1700s) convinced himself that he would be reincarnated as a horse. Of course, he then needed to build a grand stable that was fitting of a horse that had once been a duke. The stables certainly are a sight to behold and are home to 240 horses and 500 hounds.
Don’t forget to taste the Chantilly cream here too. Delicately flavoured with sugar and vanilla, the hand-whipped cream is best tried where it was first invented: the Château de Chantilly’s La Capitainerie restaurant.
Quiet and unassuming but picture perfect and blessed with interesting history and natural beauty, Picardy is a region perfectly suited to French river cruises. As you relax and unwind in the comfort and luxury of your floating hotel, you can lap up everything this wonderful place has to offer.
Book with a recommended travel operator that specialises in French river cruises and you can rest assured that the finer details will be taken care of, leaving you free to look forward to and enjoy your trip.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK`s most respected provider of all-inclusive luxury barge holidays. If you`re looking for the best French river cruises or cruises to other great destinations they are the go-to experts. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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