One of the best things I ever did was a river cruise in France. So even though it was a few years ago now, I thought I would tell you a bit about it.
It was a hotel barge with about 30 passengers. It left Paris at the start and went gently down the Seine and Yonne rivers. At the end of a week, we were returned to Paris by bus – and that took only about an hour and a half so you can see that we didn’t go that far as the crow flies.
The drill was that we puttered along the river in the morning, moored up and had lunch (with 3 new cheeses and wines to try each time). After lunch we were met by a small bus and taken off to see/do something – we were never more than 20 minutes on the bus. So you had a nice mixture of riverine views in the morning and French towns/chateaux/wineries etc in the afternoon. We then had cocktails and dinner on board – and because you were moored up you could go into any nearby town etc in the evening. Dinner also involved 3 new wines. The standard of food was very good – they had a great chef on board and used very fresh local produce – which you could see being taken on board at some of the locks along the way.
All in all a grand way to travel. The name of the barge was the Anacoluthe. The cabins were small and portholed but the little bathroom within the cabin was fine. If you wanted a bigger cabin you would need to go on a Rhine or Danube cruise where the rivers are big enough for larger boats. As it was on my cruise there were several bridges where the skipper had to lower the steering house and if you were on deck you had to just about lie down so the bridge wouldn’t hit you.