Saturday, September 04, 2021

Special Offers on Barge Cruises 2021

Save on Barge Cruises for September & October 2021
French Hotel Barge Finesse
We have updated our special offers page for the remaining barges cruises of the 2021 season. If you have been dreaming about barging, perhaps now is the time.


We have many special offers that may be of interest

Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:


Thursday, August 05, 2021

US Passport Renewal

Do You Need To Renew Your Passport?

The State Department is struggling with a backlog of passport applications, just as many Americans are making plans to travel abroad. The department says mail delays, a shutdown of their online booking system, and staffing shortages are part of the problem -- CBS News, July 23, 2021.
Most countries demand that you have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months when you arrive in their country. Please take this into account when booking your charter.

Let's Go Barging !

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

French Hotel Barge Rendez-Vous News

French Hotel Barge Rendez-Vous
French Barge Rendez-Vous — Barge cruises in Southern Burgundy, France
We are excited to announce that the French Hotel Barge Rendez-Vous will be converted into a 4-passenger barge for the 2023 season, resulting in two larger guest cabins.
The high level of service, cuisine and experience will be maintained, as well as the inclusion of round-trip, chauffeured transfers between Paris and the barge.

The 2023 charter rate for 4 guests will be $30,000 and select high-season weeks in the autumn will be $32,000 for an all-inclusive, 6-night barge cruise in Burgundy France.

An updated floor plan and cabin dimensions are not yet available but we will keep you updated as the news of this refit evolves.
Enjoy a French Canal Cruise

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Monday, July 26, 2021

RECIPE: Gruyère de Comté and Poppy Seed Lollipops

Gruyère de Comté and Poppy Seed Lollipops
A great choice for show-stopping canapés or a wonderful homemade gift for your loved ones, these Gruyère de Comté and poppy seed lollipops are sure to be a festive favorite.

  • 2 large baking trays
  • 10 lollipop sticks
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Cellophane wrap and string or polystyrene block for decoration (optional)


  • 80g Gruyère de Comté finely grated (you can use Italian Parmesan or Swiss Gruyère as alternatives)
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  1. Preheat your oven on a high heat, at around 220 °C (425°F)
  2. Get two large flat baking trays and line with greaseproof paper
  3. Combine the Gruyère de Comté, poppy and sesame seeds together in a bowl
  4. If you have a 9cm chef’s ring or cookie cutter, place on the baking paper and add a thin layer of the mixture (approx. 1-2cm thick). Alternatively, you can draw a circle around the base of a circular mug or glass to use as a template. When baking, the mixture spreads so ensure there’s plenty of space between each one!
  5. For added magic, place a lollipop stick on top, with the tip in the centre of the cheese disc. If you have any spare Gruyère de Comté – cover the tip of the stick so it’s extra-secure
  6. Repeat the process – you should have around 10 lollipops in total
  7. Bake for 5 minutes on the middle shelf until golden and bubbling
  8. Once baked, slide the discs onto a cooling rack to avoid a soggy bottom!
  9. When cooled, place the lollipop in a small cellophane bag and tie with festive string for the perfect homemade present, or for a fabulous centerpiece, decorate a styrofoam block and pierce each with a lollipop stick!

Ready for a Barge Cruise?

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Friday, July 16, 2021

UPDATE: Save 30% with Savoir Vivre in Burgundy, France

 French Hotel Barge Savoir Vivre

 Burgundy, France

UPDATE: Another cabin week has been added
The French Hotel Barge Savoir Vivre, cruising the Canal du Bourgogne in southern Burgundy, now has four weeks open for the 2021 barging season.
1) August 29 - September 4, 2021 (value season)
  • 1 cabin available with a 30% discount bringing the price down to only $2,800 per person, double occupancy, for an all-inclusive, 6-night cruise.
2) September 5-11, 2021
  • 1 cabin available with a 30% discount bringing the price down to only $2,975 per person, double occupancy, for an all-inclusive, 6-night cruise. Yes, a discount for a week in September.
3) September 12-18, 2021
  • 2 cabins available with a 30% discount bringing the price down to only $2,975 per person, double occupancy, for an all-inclusive, 6-night cruise. Yes, a discount for a week in September.
One charter week is still available for this season
October 24-30, 2020: available for a full-boat charter (4 cabins open). This is a value season priced week:
  • 4 guests = $28,000
  • 6 guests = $29,000
  • 8 guests = $30,000

About Savoir Vivre
The luxury crewed French Hotel Barge SAVOIR VIVRE offers both cabin cruises and private barge charters along the Canal de Bourgogne in the Burgundy region of France.

Savoir Vivre is 80 feet long, air conditioned (central heating, too), and has 4 identical guest cabins which can be configured with a queen or two twin beds, each having ensuite private bathrooms.

Savoir Vivre is a bit different to the other hotel barges that we represent as they do not have an onboard chef. Pastries for the continental breakfast are supplied by the local baker. Lunches are freshly prepared and provided by private chef who meets up with the boat with their prepared meal. Dinners are off the boat in locally selected restaurants (included in charter fee).
Treat Yourself to a Relaxing French Canal Cruise

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

A History of Western Provence Wines

A History of Western Provence Wines
Want to know more about Western Provence wines? This handy little guide will reveal everything you need to know… 

The city of Massalia, (modern day Marseille), was founded by the Phoenicians in 6th century BC. Traders from the east plied the Mediterranean and brought vines and wine to the area, planting grapes throughout the south of France. The wines produced during this period were not "red" as we think of red wine today. Grapes were pressed and processed very quickly, giving the wines a pale color.
When the Romans took control of the region in the 2nd century, the pink wines of Massalia were already famous and coveted throughout the ancient world. Having access to the Roman Empire’s trade network only spread the wine’s popularity. The Romans created Provence without greatly changing the Italian mode. Their cities and monuments are still its grandest features. The name Provence comes from the Latin “Nostra Provincia” meaning “our province”. Provence wines on the other hand, was, until very recently, nothing special: largely overstrong and under-flavored rosé. The region was argued over by rulers of Barcelona, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Holy Roman Empire and was dominated by the Catholic Church. Each culture contributed to the vast array of grapes now grown in Provence, but it was the Catholic monks who designed the vineyards and developed winemaking techniques which today are so important.
Despite its place in history, Provence is in the shadow of more prestigious areas – but things are changing! Sales of rosé, particularly in the United States, are on the upswing, growing faster than other styles of wine. Once again, "pink wine" is chic and Provence is the benchmark for rosé. Ambitious, stylish and wealthy immigrants are often drawn to Provence’s legendary countryside and climate, and many have reinvented Provence wines. An increasing proportion of its rosé wines are gently made, intriguingly perfumed and dry enough to be perfectly paired with the garlic and olive oil which characterises the region’s cuisine. The second largest, and most western, AOC in Provence, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence is heavily influenced by the famous Mistral winds, and its landscape is as soft and undramatic as the wines tend to be. The vineyards here date back as far as 600 BC and were prized by the Royal Courts of Europe in the 15th century.
Today, rosé is king and is usually a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah and Counoise. Cabernet Sauvignon is grown here too. Perhaps one of the most interesting domains in Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence is the Château Vignelaure. Acquired by Georges Brunet of Bordeaux just after the Second World War, the winery sought to pioneer Provençal blends of Syrah and the non-native Cabernet Sauvignon. In the west of the region, producers use a higher concentration of Cabernet Sauvignon, which helps distinguish their wines. The vintners around Les Baux produce some exceptionally good wines, and many of their vineyards are organic.
Between Aix and the River Rhône is the sub appellation Les Beaux de Provence which was created in 1995 and named after the extraordinary hilltop village of the same name. Les Baux de Provence is probably the warmest part of Provence and its home to the Val d’Enfer or the “Valley of Hell”. Vineyards lie on the hillsides of the Alpilles mountains and, although the climate and rugged terrain are inhospitable, the conditions are perfect for grapes. On average, vines need a minimum of 1,400 hours of sunshine per year to produce ripe fruit. Les Beaux averages 2,700-3,000 hours per year. The AOC regulations now permit white Les Beaux de Provence, made mainly from Clairette, Grenache Blanc and the ever-growing-in-popularity Vermentino. Warmed by the sea and buffeted by Provence’s famous Mistral, this area is even better suited to organic viticulture than the rest of Provence. The Mistral wind keeps everything dry, so rot is not a problem and the average 3,000 hours of sun doesn’t hurt either! Today, 41% of the Provence wine-makers have "gone green".

As might be expected of a region with a history of wine growing dating back to Roman times, Provence harbors some well-established wine zones. Perhaps the most historic is Palette on the north-facing, limestone-influenced bank of the River Arc just east of Aix, where the Rougier family of Château Simone have been making wine for over 200 years. Cassis, centered on the small port to the east of Marseille, also makes a serious effort with its distinctive, herbal-scented white wines which can be perfectly paired with the infamously local dish bouillabaisse.
Discover Provence

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Friday, July 09, 2021

Meet Enchanté Chef, Sylvain Moretto

Meet Chef Sylvain Moretto
 French Hotel Barge Enchante

Classically-trained French chef, Sylvain Moretto, has been the master chef aboard Enchanté for ten seasons, with an additional three seasons aboard Renaissance. Read about life as a barge chef on the tranquil Canal du Midi…
What is your favourite dish to make on board? 
I love making my ‘saumon en croûte de sel’ (salmon in a salt crust) because it’s a show for the guests from start to finish. On the barge, I like to stage it as a cooking demonstration so that guests can try it at home and impress their friends and family. I’ve had quite a few email discussions with former guests about how it went with that and other recipes I’ve shared. I love it when the guests really take an interest in cooking.
What’s the inspiration behind it? 
Early in my professional career, I worked for two years in the Dijon restaurant ‘Saumon Cook’, which as you can guess, specialised in salmon cooked many different ways. I first adapted one of the recipes by adding fresh vegetables and herbs to impress my first barge chef boss. It worked! I’ve continued to tweak the recipe since.
Which destinations have inspired you, and how has that inspiration translated into your cooking/menus? 
I have Italian blood and I love Italy (though don’t speak Italian, alas). It’s a classic answer but I love the food in Rome. They use fresh ingredients to make simple, homemade food,with a Roman flair and they take such a pride in their cuisine. I’d describe my cooking style as ‘classic Burgundy fused with light Mediterranean’.

Who do you consider to be your culinary hero?
The late Jean-Pierre Coffe was an inspiration to me. He was a great French chef but not only that, becoming also a celebrated radio and TV presenter. He was what we call an ‘epicurean’. He brought his genuine personality to his cooking and was never too serious, loving to eat and laugh.
Who would you compare your cooking style with? 
I don’t really like to compare my food to other chefs as over the past 20 years I’ve strived to create my own style based on my classic French training. However, it was Jean-Christophe, that first barge chef boss, on the Abercrombie barge in Burgundy, who first taught me the specific art of ‘barge-cheffing’ and that has stuck with me.
In terms of the style of how I work, I aspire to compare myself to the aforementioned Jean-Pierre Coffe as I love working in my open kitchen in front of the guests and enjoy sharing the cooking process  and a laugh with them.
What is your favourite food city? 
I travel a lot and always sample the local cuisine. Its very difficult to pick just one city. I particularly enjoy the flavours found across the Asian continent, particularly in Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
In Europe I’d say Rome, for the reasons above. Consistently simple, fresh flavours and passion for food.
Name 3 ingredients you cannot live without 
  • Olive oil
  • Cream fraîche
  • Fresh herbs are essential in any dish I make. Chives, tarragon and mint I use the most. With those you can make sauces, give taste and cook healthy, dishes.
Next big foodie trend? 
This is a good question for a French chef, as French cuisine had always been considered a world standard, based on its consistent quality. However, this never encouraged innovation and ‘trends’ and so while a lot of fads and fashions took off around the world, French cuisine didn’t change much until recently.
The classic French ‘haute cuisine’ style you learn at trade school is based on just 3 different ways of cooking: fried; slow and covered; and fried then slow: ‘Concentration, expansion et mixte’.
Now, we are seeing a lot more fusion on the scene as the French are starting to travel abroad more and bring back ideas, There’s smoked slow cooking, wok-based dishes, different types of bread, non-European herbs, African hibiscus etc.
In the food world in general, with increasing awareness of world problems, there seems to be a trend towards more organic, less meat and sugar and also less plastic packaging.
Describe life as a barge chef in 3 words 
  • Opportunity
  • Freedom
  • Sharing

About The French Hotel Barge Enchante

Enchanté moored in Le Somail
Sample Chef Sylvain's cooking aboard Enchanté 

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Thursday, July 08, 2021

Foodie Barge Cruises in France

French Foodie Barge Cruises

If you are a lover of fine food and particularly how and where locally-grown ingredients are sourced, our culinary cruises will really tickle your taste-buds. Enjoy tasting world-class cuisine and sampling fine wines in picturesque surroundings aboard a luxury hotel barge.
Our fabulous collection of French Foodie Cruises feature enhanced, more immersive wine and food excursions, daily gourmet dining, and onboard cooking classes presented by talented master chefs.  Read on to find out why these limited tours sell out year after year…
Culinary Heaven
Cruising the idyllic countryside, far from the crowded streets of major cities and tourist traps, these specially-designed cruises include a series of hand-picked gourmet experiences such as “vine dining” at local wineries, “shopping with the chef” for evening ingredients, and meals paired with local wines that reveal the fascinating history and cuisine of the cruise regions.  You can even go truffle hunting in the nearby hills and visit an escargot farm!
Our 6-night ‘Foodie Cruises’ are available on a selection of luxury hotel barge, including the elegant L’Impressionniste in Southern Burgundy and the stylish Enchanté on the historic Canal du Midi.

Cheese and Truffles with Enchanté 

Ultra-deluxe Enchanté is a stylish, 8-passenger double-decker hotel barge with an open-plan kitchen, where guests can observe their skilled master chef at work preparing gastronomic masterpieces.  Itinerary highlights include a visit to a goat farm for a comparative tasting of young and mature goat cheeses.  Guests will also visit an olive press and taste the famous Lucques green olives, as well as Picholine or Ascolana tapenades, which are made with puréed, or finely chopped olives. Similarly, you will visit the medieval fortified city of Carcassonne, where you’ll discover speciality chocolate and other sweet offerings produced by the city’s many artisanal confectioners.  It’s all capped with a stop at a local boulangerie – or bakery – to enjoy freshly baked bread and pastries.
Also on this foodie cruise itinerary is the market in Narbonne, a former Roman Mediterranean capital, where guests will accompany the hotel barge chef in picking ingredients for the evening meal.  This will be followed by an educational tour and wine tasting at Château Pique Perlou in Minervois.  Another day will be dedicated to truffles, with guests experiencing the art of cavage, or truffle hunting, in the hills of Minervois, after which you’ll taste the famed white variety, known as “white gold”.  You’ll also tour La Cargolade farm, named after the traditional Languedoc dish of snails.  The farm specializes in the Petit Gris variety of escargot, as well as olive oils and seasonal vegetables. Guests then return to the hotel barge to watch a cooking demonstration with the truffles found that day.
Savouring the Moments with L’Impressionniste
The 12-passenger hotel barge L’Impressionniste cruises Southern Burgundy, with an elegant décor that includes hardwood flooring, comfortable leather sofas, and large picture windows for a perfect view of the French countryside as it rolls by. Among the culinary highlights is a visit to the Abbaye de Citeaux, home to Cistercian monks. The monks have been making cheese for over a century, using the milk of the white Montbéliarde cows that graze in their meadows.
New to the itinerary is a drive through the slopes of Côte de Beaune, home to the great names of Burgundy wine.  This is followed by a private tour and tasting at Domaine Chanson, one of Burgundy’s most historic producers, and a gastronomic lunch in the Domaine’s château.  You will also visit the Chevaliers du Tastevin, the famed fraternity of wine enthusiasts, located in the wall-enclosed Grand Cru vineyard of Clos de Vougeot.
A walking tour of old Dijon is a popular excursion, with a visit to its mustard shops and indoor food market to select ingredients for the next meal.  Guests will then visit the Edward Fallot Moutarderie mustard mill; a family-run establishment that has been making the spicy condiment since the 1840s.  The tour includes a private tasting of their diverse mustard-based products.
Along with the Midi region, Burgundy also enjoys a reputation for fabulous cheeses. This can be explored with a visit to the Gaugry Fromagerie, a famed specialist that still produces the traditional raw milk Époisses, as well as Plaisir au Chablis, a soft and mellow cheese matured with Chablis.
Book With Confidence
The health and safety of our guests is a top priority, with strict protocols in place that include crew and passenger temperature checks as well as deep cleaning and disinfecting of all cabins and public surfaces on the barges. For more information, read our Safe Cruising Protocols.
Don’t forget, our flexible booking policy allows guests to reschedule 2021 cruises up to 30 days prior to departure, if Government regulations prevent travel. See details HERE.

We have many special offers that may be of interest

Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: