Barging in France - Like Floating through a Monet Painting

River anuise in France aboard Hirondelle

We recently returned from a barge river cruise on the Hirondelle, from Chagney to Besancon, floating down the Canal Central,  Rhone and Saone Rivers, going through numerous locks, through the famous wine growing regions of Cote de Nuits and Haute Cote de Beaune.

The weather was perfect. It only rained on the day we left. The food and beverage was amazing. John, the chef, outdid himself with meeting all our demands and providing farm-fresh items daily. Sarah, our hostess/guide, researched the regional wines and paired them with our meals. During our wine tasting excursions, she paid attention to what each of us liked and later in the week, these wines were served during lunch or dinner. She was an excellent guide and had good knowledge of the region’s history. Nicola, John’s wife, outdid herself with coming up with new table settings daily. She kept an impeccable ship and provided outstanding service.

We walked or bicycled along the barge in the mornings after breakfast. We met the barge at one of the many locks before lunch. After lunch we explored the different medieval towns of Burgundy and Jura, French Comte Region: Beaune, Dole, Dijon, Chalon-sur-Saone and Besancon. We visited some of the famous Burgundy wineries: Puligny-Montrachet,  Pommard, Volnay, Vosne Romanie, Arbois, and tasted their great wines: the Grand Cru appellations as well as the Crement de Borgogne and Jura’s vin de paille.

There were two other couples on board. We had lively and interesting dinner conversations and shared our fascinating travel experiences. It felt like floating through a “Monet” painting, like time stood still, a lovely dream. It was the most memorable wedding anniversary in 27 years.