Europe is on everyone’s wish list this summer. And, I was the first one of the plane. Most people head straight to Paris, but I was all about getting on the water and seeing the countryside.
Seeing France By Water
I was on a mission to see the French countryside, and I found out the best way to see so much in one week is by barge. European Waterways provides this once in a lifetime experience through slow travel on their hotel barges. These barges have a repurposed life. Once shipping logs from Burgundy to Paris dating back to the 1930, but today they are transformed into a deluxe hotel barge carrying a very different cargo along the very same canal. I quickly found out that barge life was for me.
We were lucky enough to experience the barge life for six days through Burgundy. Our barge was called, La Belle Epoque, and it was love at first sight. She has been designed with comfort in mind. There is something for everyone. The week was focused on immersing yourself in the french countryside through food, wine, and some history.
European waterways truly goes above and beyond with their experiences. Every lunch and dinner is curated by the chef on board, and we were lucky enough to enjoy a unique culinary experience with Chef Luis. Not only is the food out of this world, the staff pairs wine for each course and the wine represents different regions of France. We learned so much with each meal.
Also, sitting in a hot tub, sipping on champagne, and gazing over the French countryside while the sun is setting is something every human should experience in their life. Does it get much better than that?
Or, if you want some more activity, hop on one of the bikes and follow the bike path that follows the canal for some epic views. Smell the lavender, the cafes and French air while zipping around on the bike.
Meeting French Royalty
Ever dream of meeting a Count? Count Bertrand de Vogue, the current resident at Chateau de Commarin, has had the chateau in his family for 26 generations. The de Vogue family has had continuous residence since the 13th century. Just one of the experiences European Waterways has to offer.
Drinking from two-thousand year old vines
Chablis is a town dating back to Roman times. The former Monastery at Chablis is where the monks of St. Martin developed the craft of winemaking in the middle ages. It is here that Domaine Laroche created their famous Chablis wine made from Chardonnay grapes.
Chablis is an amazing wine and is very world famous. The town is straight out of a fairytale, with only a population of 2,000. Do yourself a favor and book a tasting at Laroche and taste some history.
Have you ever thought to yourself that you wanted to see more abbeys? Well, we got the one for you. Abbaye de Fontenay is the oldest preserved Cistercian abbey in the world. This UNESCO heritage site was founded in 1118 and you can just feel the history when you walk these grounds.
Chateau for Art Lovers
Chateau D’Ancy le Franc is a 16th century chateau that will make any art lover feel at home. It has France’s biggest collection of Renaissance murals. It is located on the lands of the Duke of Burgundy. The gardens surrounding the chateau are absolutely breathtaking and are well worth a stroll in the French sun.
If you have a drone, fly it straight up and see the beautiful flower patterns that can only be seen from above.
Champagne in Champagne
Do yourself a favor and have a glass of Champagne in Champagne. Champagne has to be cultivated, produced and bottled in Champagne in order for it to be called Champagne. If you do not follow these steps, you cannot call it Champagne. The region is associated with royalty starting in the 17th century, but now it is accessible to everyone.
We visited a family run Champagne house – Maison Alexandre Bonnet, as well as a 12th century vaulted cellar Chateau de Ricey-Bas.
Impress your friends on this visit and you will never look at a glass of bubbles the same.
The entire family at La Belle Epoque took such amazing care of us while on the barge. We also were joined by some great guests on board, all of which are now friends. Next time you want a new exciting unique experience book a hotel barge with European Waterways, I just might join you.
La Belle Epoque Crew:
Captain: Luke (brave man let me drive)
Tour Guide: Remi
When in Paris, my got to luxury hotel is, Hotel Westminster, centrally located in the city. The Louvre is in walking distance and you are a stone’s throw away from the Paris Opera. A lovely hotel that provides you with an unforgettable experience.
For me, Paris is always a good idea. I love to enjoy their outdoor cafes, delicious wines and historic museums for days. The Parisian streets are packed with languages spoken from all around the world. One of our favorite experiences is to walk around the banks of the Seine and sit with a bottle of wine while watching life go by.