Thursday, October 17, 2019

Barge cruises in Holland

See The Sights of Holland With A Bespoke Barging Cruise This Spring


Sunsets in Holland are magical

A barge cruise is definitely the way to discover Holland. The Netherlands are famous, of course, for tulips, but as a land with a rich artistic and cultural history, it has a lot more besides. The western provinces of this land of water are populated by windmills which sit above the polders and along the very river that gave its name to Amsterdam, while cities such as Haarlem and Delft are meccas for lovers of pottery and art. A barging cruise uncovers some of Holland's hidden gems and is the perfect way to experience the best the country has to offer.



Windmills

Watch the windmills in their silent majesty as you sit in the opulent saloon with a delicious Jenever (Dutch Gin) and tonic in hand, 



Explore 100 acres of flowers at the world famous Keukenhof Gardens.

Keukenhof Gardens connects people from all across the globe who come to indulge in and be inspired by the natural beauty of Holland, which is famous for its bulb fields and wide variety of flowers.



Be enchanted by the cobblestone streets and gabled houses of the 800-year old Haarlem.

After enjoying a spectacular breakfast, we cruise to the historic city of Haarlem; once a major trading port, Haarlem is an exciting maze of cobbled streets and gabled houses at the center of a major bulb growing district.



Visit Aalsmeer Flower Auction.

Aalsmeer hosts the largest floral auction in the world, with over 40 million plants and flowers from all over the globe traded here. They set the world price for flowers and plants. This happens by bringing supply and demand together by means of the auction clock. Each day, 19 million flowers and two million plants are sold through 13 clocks. The auction begins when each cart of flowers is presented to the buyers, one at a time. As soon as the carts are displayed, the famous Aalsmeer clock starts ticking down from 100, and as the time falls, so does the price of the cart. The first person to make a bid gets the cart and they have been known to sell within hundredths of a second. Buyers don't have to purchase the entire cart which is compiled of a number of crates, but the bidding continues until everything is sold.

As a visitor to Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer, you will walk over a specially designed gallery where you can enjoy the gorgeous flowers and experience the hustle and bustle of the auction.



Enjoy the excursion to Zaanse Schans during their cruise of Holland.

Zaanse Schans conservation area was created in the 1960s in order to preserve the buildings and crafts of the country's industrial revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With a dozen windmills, a collection of traditional houses and workshops and a number of museums, it offers an unparalleled insight into Dutch social and industrial history.

Learn more about the Netherlands on our web site's Destination page for Holland: CLICK HERE

CURRENT 2020 AVAILABILITY

PANACHE currently has 3 Dutch barging cruises available for 2020. Each of these weeks has a 10% discount if booked by January 6, 2020:
  • March 29-April 4 - Private charter for up to 12 guests
  • April 5-11: Cabin cruise
  • May 10-16: Cabin cruise

LA NOUVELLE ETOILE's Dutch Tulip cruises are fully booked. Book early for 2021.


About The Hotel Barge Panache

Hotel Barge Panache

The 12-passenger Hotel Barge Panache cruises in Holland & Belgium during the springtime, then through Paris to Champagne, and finishes their season in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.

HOLLAND
Cruise Highlights
  • Tour Keukenhof Gardens with the largest display of flowers in the world
  • Visit the Aalsmeer flower auction
  • Tour the fascinating conservation area at Enkhuizen
  • Visit the Royal Delft pottery to see the world famous earthenware being hand-made and painted
  • Tour picturesque Haarlem and visit a museum of the Dutch painter, Franz Hals
  • Tour the charming city of Leiden, Rembrandt’s birthplace


Panache

The 128-foot Panache is a 12-passenger luxury hotel barge of classic Dutch design, fully air conditioned with spacious public areas and six en-suite stateroms, with your choice of twin or double bed configuration. En-suite bathrooms have twin sinks and oversize showers with massage jets. Panache is traditionally furnished in an old ship style with brass and mahogany, creating a comfortable and charming ambience. The salon and dining room have large panoramic windows for viewing the passing countryside, as well as comfortable sofas, books and music, and an always open inclusive bar. The sun deck is spacious and has a heated spa pool; a perfect place to watch the sun set after dinner.

Panache has a highly professional crew of six, comprised of Master Chef, Deck Hand, Tour guide, two Housekeepers, and led by a knowledgeable and experienced Captain, who will ensure your cruise is memorable and more.





Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book PANACHE
View Panache's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

BURGUNDY: Autun in August - A Roman Festival

Cruise Southern Burgundy With Finesse
Autun in August - A Roman Festival

The approach to Autun is striking. Its cathedral steeple, golden in the setting sun is quite the contrast to the surrounding green of the Morvan hills; it really wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney film or a Tolkien novel.

The Gallic Rome

The Cathedral of Saint Lazarus of Autun

Named after the Emperor Augustus Caesar, he declared Autun “the sister and rival of Rome itself”; quite the accolade from a man who ruled Rome for 4 decades. In Roman times the town would have been home to some 100,000 people and considered a Roman capital to the Gallic people, today that number is just shy of 14,000.  Roman influence is evident throughout the town, from its amphitheatre to the Romanesque carvings found on the medieval cathedral, and it is a heritage that is proudly celebrated by the locals.

A Roman Festival

Journées Romaines Festival

Each year hundreds of “Romans” take to the town streets for the Journées Romaines Festival, literally translated as “The Roman Days”, every August it brings to life the unusual history of Autun. Re-enactments of battles from the Gallo-Roman Period, and reconstructions of what life would have been like in those turbulent times. The event invites you to partake of a Roman Market, get involved in archaeological workshops, spectate Gladiator fights and watch authentic Roman theatre, all in the spectacular sunshine of the south of France!

Come See For Yourself

What better way to experience the pastoral scenery and tumultuous history of Southern Burgundy than from the peaceful climes of the luxury hotel barge FINESSE, winding its way gently along the undiscovered canals and medieval villages at the heart of France.


About The French Hotel Barge Finesse

Finesse

Finesse is a double-decker hotel barge that was built to exacting standards with luxury in mind, enhanced by her modern public areas and very spacious cabin suite accommodation.

The well-designed public areas include a saloon with contemporary furnishings and panoramic windows where the emphasis is on making the most of the natural light. There is also a demonstration galley where guests can watch their chef preparing delicious gourmet meals. Outside, guests can relax on the large sun deck with its alfresco dining area, comfortable seating and spa pool.

The four air conditioned cabin suites, which can be in twin or double-bedded configuration, are very spacious (approximately 265sq ft including en suite bathroom).

Finesse is the perfect vessel on which to cruise the meandering waterways of Southern Burgundy past vineyards and charming canalside villages, and to discover fascinating places along the way such as Autun, Beaune and Dijon.

Cruise Highlights:
  • Visit Clos de Vougeot, home of the Chevaliers du Tastevin
  • Tour and private wine tasting at Château de Chamirey in Mercurey
  • Visit to Beaune, including Hôtel-Dieu Hospice
  • Visit to the ancient roman city of Autun
  • Lunch in the beautiful setting of the Puligny & Chassagne Montrachet vineyards
  • Excellent opportunities for walking and biking. “Biking Plus” option available
About Hotel Barge Finesse





Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book FINESSE
View Finesse's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Cruising Italy: The Medieval Magic of Ferrara

Discover the Medieval Magic of Ferrara with La Bella Vita

The city of Ferrara is situated on a branch of the beautiful Po River in Northern Italy. Its location makes the charming town an ideal stop for visitors exploring the countryside via river cruises. Italy is famous for its ancient towns steeped in intrigue, romance and drama – and Ferrara is no different! Read on to uncover this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s thrilling medieval past.


The Ancient City of Ferrara


Ferrara provides a fantastic example of a medieval European city, complete with palaces, churches, charming cloisters and outdoor courtyards. Now an ideal location for beach holidays, culture breaks and river cruises, Italy was once a dangerous melting pot of influential families vying for power. The city of Ferrara owes both its fascinating history and much of its beautiful architecture to one specific family – the House of Este.

The House of Este and the Castello Estense


In the twelfth century, a noble Italian family known as the House of Este, set up their court in Ferrara. After the locals rebelled against tax in 1377, the family fortified their palace creating an impressive military stronghold to defend themselves against angry citizens. With four towers and a deep moat, even the most violent of rioters struggled to put a dent in the brick fortress called the Castello Estense.

The family founded a university in the city a few decades later which was a key step in heightening their power and influence. Soon members of the Este Court could be found in the most important circles across Europe. However, the family was made infamous by a certain young boy called Nicolò III who became head of the household in 1393.


The Legend of Nicolò III

Nicolò became master of the family at just 10 and got married at the tender age of 14. Despite his age, marital fidelity was not his style and he is said to have kept an astonishing 800 mistresses. Even with so many women around, Nicolò only had about thirty children all of which were brought up in a ramshackle manner in Castello Estense.

Nicolò’s cheerful, chubby cheeks disguised a jealous and controlling disposition. After catching his beautiful wife in the arms of her stepson – Ugo – he had them both brutally beheaded in the dungeons of his castle. This thrilling tale was famously immortalised by the British poet, Lord Byron.

Difficult family relations seem to be a tradition for the House of Este, with two of Nicolò’s grandsons blinding their brothers in a fit of jealousy. The two blighted siblings plotted to take over the throne and were thrown into the cells beneath Castello Estense for their troubles – they were left there for years and years!

In Ferrara you can see the sites of these dramatic historical happenings with your own eyes. Take advantage of the area’s wonderful river cruise aboard La Bella Vita.





About The Italian Hotel Barge Bella Vita


Italian Hotel Barge La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita is a stylish 20-passenger vessel with a typically modern Italian interior, reflected in the use of vibrant colors throughout to create an atmosphere of casual relaxation. There is an inviting bar area in which to enjoy a glass of Prosecco and a spacious dining room with louvre doors that open to give a perfect view as you are served delicious Italian specialities and wines.

There are two main deck junior suites and eight lower deck staterooms, all air-conditioned and with en suite facilities. The upper deck has a huge sun deck with a large canopy and comfortable loungers to relax and watch the world drift by.

Enjoy delicious regional cuisine, fine Italian wines and the services of an attentive crew that will make this an unforgettable cruise. 

La Bella Vita offers 6-night, all-inclusive private charters, as well as cabin cruises. Themed cruises such as family, golf, opera, and wine appreciation are available for private charters.








Let's reserve your spot !




Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book LA BELLA VITA
View La Bella Vita's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 

Monday, September 16, 2019

French Hotel Barge Anjodi's New Provence Cruise

Anjodi's New Provence Cruise
Following in the Footsteps of Van Gogh



French hotel barge Anjodi is offering a unique Mediterranean cruise in the south of France which will include visits to the historic cities of Avignon & Arles. This special Provence-Camargue Itinerary between Avignon to Marseillan, France will take place the week of July 5-11, 2020.


Pretty as a Picture


The beauty of the Provence countryside is legendary. Visitors instantly recognize why it held such fascination for painters like Cézanne and Picasso, and why Van Gogh painted more than 300 of his works here. In addition to the natural charm of the region, there is a great deal of historical and architectural intrigue surrounding the ancient palaces, gardens and arenas of the sun-drenched cities along the way.


Itinerary highlights on the Anjodi Provence-Camargue cruise include a visit to the medieval city of Avignon, located on the banks of the Rhône River. Avignon was the seat of Catholic popes for more than 300 years during the Middle Ages. Guests will climb the gentle steps to the famed Rocher des Doms and its picturesque, English-style public gardens that feature numerous fountains and grottos.  This is followed by a tour of the 14th century Palais des Papes, or the Pope’s Palace, considered one of Europe’s largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings.

Arles & Aigues Mortes


There is also a visit to the city of Arles, famed for its association with Van Gogh. Guests will explore the 1st century Roman Arena, the St. Trophime Basilica and the museum of Provencal life.  Cruising a little further through the wetlands of the Camargue National Park, with its pink flamingos and white wild horses, Anjodi will moor at the walled city of Aigues Mortes. One of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities, in the 13th century Aigues Mortes was the port by which many crusaders embarked for the Holy Land. Here guests can visit the 12th century Constance Tower and enjoy dinner at one of the town’s many local restaurants specializing in regional cuisine.

A Taste of the Med


Bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, Provence is one of the most popular vacation destinations in southern France, renowned for its lush lavender fields, ancient olive groves and vast stretches of vineyards. Anjodi's guests will tour the famous Chateau Neuf du Papes vineyard and indulge in a private tasting at a renowned wine maker. Fresh oysters with a sea view are also on the menu as the cruise continues across the Thau Lake (Etang de Thau) to Villeneuve les Maguelones, with the boat mooring just a short walk to a Mediterranean beach. This is followed by a tour of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey of Valmagne, a former Benedictine monastery and one of the oldest vineyards in the region. Afterwards, guests will stop at a local oyster farm for some fresh seafood and a glass of Picpoul de Pinet, a delightful white grape which has been grown near the Etang de Thau for centuries.

The Art of Fine Dining


For food lovers, the 8-passenger Anjodi is an attraction in itself having appeared numerous times on Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, a popular television series that followed the famous chef on his culinary adventures through Southern France. Onboard, guests can be assured of Rick Stein standard cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients that include fresh seafood from the nearby Mediterranean.

This cruise aboard Anjodi is the perfect way to appreciate art, be it the culinary creation on show around the dining table each evening, or the roman architecture and sweeping natural vistas that inspired Van Gogh and Picasso.




About The French Hotel Barge Anjodi



French Hotel Barge Anjodi
 
Sporting a classic Dutch design, the 8-passenger Anjodi offers a choice of four air-conditioned staterooms which can be configured as either twins or double according to your preference, each with full en-suite facilities. The sun deck is spacious and has a heated spa pool (hot tub) — the perfect place, to watch the sun set after dinner on a warm Mediterranean evening.

Anjodi's highly professional crew of four is comprised of Master Chef, Tour Guide and Host/Hostess, led by a knowledgeable and experienced Captain who will ensure your cruise is memorable and more. Their knowledge of the region combined with the 8 bikes provided, will allow you to explore the areas you cruise through in as much detail as you desire.

Anjodi


Standard Classic Cruise Highlights:
  • Tour Carcassonne, the most complete medieval fortified city in existence
  • Narbonne's Archbishop's Palace and colorful market
  • Explore the spectacular hilltop village of Minerve
  • Private wine tasting at the 14th-century Château de Perdiguier
  • View the Pyrenees mountains across the vineyards and discover Cathar history
  • Cruise through the world's oldest canal tunnel at Malpas
  • Excellent towpath for walking and cycling
  • "Biking Plus" option available


Book now! Contact Paradise Connections
CLICK HERE


Learn More: Click for Anjodi's online brochure

See Special Offers: Click for current special offers on barges



 Don't Miss This Special Sailing



Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book ANJODI
View Anjodi' online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tasting the Wines of Alsace

Tasting the Wines of Alsace with Panache


One of the enjoyable experiences you’ll be offered on a French hotel barge cruise in Alsace will be the opportunity to enjoy private wine tastings when cruising through the Route des Grand Vins.


The Route des Grands Vins


Officially established in 1953, the Route des Grands Vins winds through the valleys in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains for some 170 kilometres. Stretching from Marlenheim in the north to Thann in the south, a journey along the Route takes in over 1,000 wine producers.

Many vineyards and wineries along the Route des Grands Vins welcome visitors for tasting sessions. When you're travelling through Alsace aboard the Barge Panache, you’ll have the chance to attend wine tastings during the onshore day trips.

To reassure the novice and to refresh the more experienced wine connoisseurs, here are some tips for tasting etiquette so that you get the most from your visits to these vineyards.


Tasting Protocol


Wine tasting may seem a little intimidating to the average, casual drinker, but with a few pointers it is easy to learn the basics. You don’t need loads of expert knowledge to get started – all you need are your senses!


Sight

The very first thing you’ll need to do is give your wine a thorough visual once-over. Swirl and tilt the glass to catch the full range of a wine’s color.

Alsace is a mainly white wine-producing region, so expect to find a lot of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris (with the occasional Pinot Noir for the red-loving crowd). With the white wines you’ll be looking for color tones that are tawny, golden or yellowy-green. You should make sure it is clear and sparkling, not murky and dull.


Next, the smell test

A few quick sniffs should tell you everything you need to know about a wine’s bouquet. Experienced connoisseurs might talk of grapefruit and musk, but focus on specific bouquet groups to get started. Is it fruity? Herbal? Flowery? From dry to sweet, fruity to herbal, you’ll find a spectrum of bouquets in Alsace.


Taste

Finally, the tasting. Take a small sip (not a gulp) and let it circulate through your mouth. You may want to spit the wine out if you’re planning to taste many, but swallowing the wine is perfectly all right. In tasting, you should be able to pick up the same characteristics you identified in smelling the wine, but you will also be able to get a sense of the wine’s balance and complexity.




The Ultimate Test

Remember that the best measurement of a wine is whether you actually like it. Though your preferences may evolve with more tasting experience, the best wines are the ones you would actually want to taste again.

Along the Route des Grands Vins, you will have plenty of opportunities to sharpen your tasting skills. On a Panache hotel barging cruise, the vast and varied world of Alsatian wine is open to you in this stunning corner of the world.




About The French Hotel Barge Panache

French Hotel Barge Panache

The 12-passenger Hotel Barge Panache cruises in Holland & Belgium during the springtime, then through Paris to Champagne, and finishes their season in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.



Panache

The 128-foot Panache is a 12-passenger luxury hotel barge of classic Dutch design, fully air conditioned with spacious public areas and six en-suite stateroms, with your choice of twin or double bed configuration. En-suite bathrooms have twin sinks and oversize showers with massage jets. Panache is traditionally furnished in an old ship style with brass and mahogany, creating a comfortable and charming ambience. The salon and dining room have large panoramic windows for viewing the passing countryside, as well as comfortable sofas, books and music, and an always open inclusive bar. The sun deck is spacious and has a heated spa pool; a perfect place to watch the sun set after dinner.

Panache has a highly professional crew of six, comprised of Master Chef, Deck Hand, Tour guide, two Housekeepers, and led by a knowledgeable and experienced Captain, who will ensure your cruise is memorable and more.





Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book PANACHE
View Panache's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 






Saturday, September 14, 2019

Barging Cruise in the Loire region of France - Barge Renaissance

Enjoy Serenity Aboard The French Hotel Barge Renaissance

Savouring a peaceful moment on the Canal de Briare.

Learn More

  • Hotel Barge Renaissance's online brochure → CLICK HERE





 Allons-y ! 
Cruise the Canal de Briare with French Barge Renaissance



Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book RENAISSANCE
View Renaissance's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Recipe - Venetian Frittelle or Fritoe Veneziane

Recipe - Venetian Frittelle or Fritoe Veneziane

These treats are a soft dough made with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and milk and flavored with citrus peel, peanuts and raisins.  Every Venetian family has their own recipe, which can be different in textures, aromas and stuffing, but of course, Grandma’s is the best!




Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 250 g wheat flour
  • 35 g sugar
  • 20 g brewer’s yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 20 cl milk 
  • 30 g raisins (hydrated in 1 tbsp of rum) 
  • 30 g peanuts
  • Rind of 1 lemon (washed and grated) 
  • 1 liter peanut oil (for frying)

Method
  • Take a large bowl and mix the milk and brewer’s yeast with 50 grams of flour until it becomes nice and doughy,
  • Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes in a warm, dry space.
  • After half an hour you can add all of the remaining ingredients apart from the peanut oil.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly with the dough and cover again, leave until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
  • With a small, wet spoon, mould the dough into small balls.
  • Deep fry the balls in the peanut oil for 2 to 3 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  • Drain on kitchen paper, leave to cool slightly and serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar.
  • Sit down and enjoy these tasty Venetian treats!





About The Italian Hotel Barge Bella Vita



Italian Hotel Barge La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita is a stylish 20-passenger vessel with a typically modern Italian interior, reflected in the use of vibrant colors throughout to create an atmosphere of casual relaxation. There is an inviting bar area in which to enjoy a glass of Prosecco and a spacious dining room with louvre doors that open to give a perfect view as you are served delicious Italian specialities and wines.

There are two main deck junior suites and eight lower deck staterooms, all air-conditioned and with en suite facilities. The upper deck has a huge sun deck with a large canopy and comfortable loungers to relax and watch the world drift by.

Enjoy delicious regional cuisine, fine Italian wines and the services of an attentive crew that will make this an unforgettable cruise. 

La Bella Vita offers 6-night, all-inclusive private charters, as well as cabin cruises. Themed cruises such as family, golf, opera, and wine appreciation are available for private charters.










Let's reserve your spot !




Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book LA BELLA VITA
View La Bella Vita's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com