We’re all individuals, so the things we love (and hate) about holidays will be completely different depending on who you ask. On one kind of ‘slow travel’ experience, however, there are certain things that come up time and time again in response to the question: ‘what did you love about it?’ |
A French barge trip has so many positives it’s difficult to narrow down the top things that make the experience so wonderful, but let’s give it try!
Here are the most-cited reasons people absolutely loved their French barge trip.
These wonderful vessels offer something for everyone, with accommodation on board ranging from traditional and cosy, right up to out-and-out luxury. Whichever one you choose however, if you book with a reputable operator you can be sure the facilities will be top-notch and your home-from-home will be well-equipped and offer everything you need.
The fabulous food is very often what people remember most about their French barge trip – it’s that good! The on board chefs work hard to design and implement menus that showcase seasonal local produce and represent a range of French and international cuisines. The chef will quite often come out at dinner to speak with guests, and this kind of intimate dining experience, where the provenance of the food is explained and celebrated, is definitely one to remember.
A French barge trip caters to small numbers of passengers (rarely more than about 20), so it provides plenty of opportunities to spend time with like-minded travellers and quite often make life-long friends. The social nature of the experience allows for free and easy conversations over good food, great wine and fascinating culture. As well as your fellow travellers, because of the slow, relaxed nature of the cruises there are a lot of chances to meet the local people of the regions through which you travel, and get to know the authentic way of life through this interaction.
Friendly, discrete, yet always on hand, the staff are focused on making the trip the best it can be for each and every passenger. Guest feedback shows that this is one of the most valuable and appreciated aspects of their holiday – knowing that no question was too small, no request too hard. Because of the intimate nature of the vessel, getting to know the captain and the rest of the crew is often a highlight for guests.
The range and quality of the destinations visited on a French barge trip itinerary with a quality operator is one of the reasons so many people come back year after year! While the names of places like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Gascony and Canal du Midi may be familiar, due to the nature of barge cruising, itineraries include many off-the-beaten track towns and villages other people never get to see.
In truth, these five points barely scratch the surface of what’s to love so much about exploring the countryside of France on a slow moving barge. If you think the experience might be for you, get in touch with an established and well-respected operator and be inspired to find your own things to love…
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of the best itineraries for a French barge trip. 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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