For 2015, French Country Waterways has lengthened the route on its Upper Loire Valley itinerary aboard the Horizon II luxury barge.
This year, the route will be extended from Chatillon-sur-Loire to Saint-Satur, with visits to two additional chateaux - Chateau de Sully-sur-Loire and Chateau Guedelon - along the way. Pricing for these all-inclusive journeys, which operate from April through October, begins at $6,095 per person, based on double occupancy.
A six-day cruise along two canals of the Upper Loire Valley gives guests opportunities to visit medieval towns, castles, gardens and churches, as well as a winery or two. Highlights of this trip include a visit to Pouilly-sur-Loire for a wine sampling; a cruise over the Loire River on an aqueduct designed by Gustave Eiffel (better known for creating Paris’ landmark tower); a visit to Chateau Guedelon, which is in the midst of a 25-year renovation completed by craftspeople using only medieval tools and techniques; and a stop in the town of Montargis, nicknamed “Little Venice.”
Onboard, the barge's chef will prepare two meals per day to be eaten in the barge's dining room or sundeck. Meals on the barge include an array of local wines and cheeses, and guests receive lists of all the delicacies they enjoy during their journey. Buffet breakfasts include fresh breads and pastries picked up in the villages along the way. On one night guests visit the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers in the town of Les Bezards for an on-shore dining experience.
The Horizon II is a 128-foot barge that is home to up to eight guests in four king suites, plus six crew members. It has cherry interiors, traditional furnishings and antique brass accents in its split-level design. When not participating in the daily excursions, all of which are included in the price of the trip, guests can hop off the barge and walk or cycle along the canal towpaths. Because the Horizon II moves at a leisurely pace, guests can often get to the next town before the barge, leaving time to explore. Another highlight offered on all French Country Waterways itineraries – weather conditions permitting and if enough guests want to participate – is an optional hot air balloon excursion (which comes at an additional price).
Each of French Country Waterways’ barges is available for individual bookings and for charter groups. Special room rates are offered at designated meeting point hotels in Paris and / or Strasbourg for guests wishing to extend their stay.
Information, reservations and the company’s 2015 brochure can be obtained from French Country Waterways, Ltd., P.O. Box 2195, Duxbury, MA 02331; calling 800-222-1236 in the U.S. and Canada and 781-934-2454 in Massachusetts; or visiting www.fcwl.com.