Category : Food and Wine Cruises

Affordable Half Board Barge Cruises are Great for Foodies

August 29th, 2016

For the adventurous traveler who enjoys trying different restaurants and also wants the experience of dining on board their barge cruise, here is a great solution.

Often called a “half board” cruise, there are several barges which offer flexible meals plans to enable a wide variety of dining experiences. It also makes the price more affordable than the usual “all-inclusive” barge cruise. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

Savoir Vivre in Southern Burgundy

Children and Family Barge C

Savoir Vivre, an 8-passenger barge, is a favorite with breakfast and lunch on board catered by a local chef. Dinners are taken on shore in a different restaurant each night, all included in the price. This compact barge is very comfortable and highly regarded because of the fabulous crew led by French Captain Richard. Cabin or charter bookings welcome. Individual cabins or private charters available.

Magnolia in Southern Burgundy

Fun and delicious "a la plancha" grilled lunch on the deck of Magnolia

Magnolia, a 6-passenger barge, is ideal for charters of friends or family wanting a true French experience. Captain Nicolas and Tour Guide Magali are native Burgundians who love showing guests their unique style of barge cruising, complete with dinner at Magali’s parents’ farm. The half-board cruise includes all meals except 4 meals on shore at guests’ expense. Come aboard an enjoy the hot tub and “la plancha” deck top grill. Charter only.

Randle on the Nivernais Canal in Northern Burgundy

Charming 4-passenger Randle cruises the Nivernais Canal and Northern Burgundy

Randle, a 4-passenger barge, is a floating family vacation home with a double cabin and a cabin with bunk beds for the kids or agile adults. The passenger friendly wheelhouse with large dining table is great for watching the world float by. The half board cruise provides breakfast and lunch with all dinners on shore at guests’ expense. Charter only.

Caroline on the Canal du Midi

Caroline is a warm and welcoming 6-passenger barge on the Canal du Midi

Caroline, a 6-passenger barge, offers all meals except 2-3 meals on shore at guests’ expense. This is an affordable option for friends and family alike with 1 double cabin with ensuite bath and 2 twin cabins with private baths across the hall. Captain Uli and Chef Ute love sharing their barge with easygoing guests who love food, wine and local history. Individual cabins or private charters available.

Esperance  and Alegria on the Canal du Midi

The deluxe 6-passenger Esperance on the Canal du Midi delights in beautiful table settings and gourmet meals

alegria-dining

Esperance, a 6-passenger barge, and Alegria, a 4-passenger barge, are the most deluxe of the barges offering half board cruises. This is a great way to cruise on beautiful barges with spacious accommodations making this the best of dining on board and on shore. Esperance provides all meals except 4 dinners on shore and Alegria offers a half board cruise upon request. Both owner-operated with excellent crews, we consistently receive rave reviews. Charter only.

Saraphina on the Canal du Midi

Meet the creative and whimsical 4-passenger barge Saraphina on the Canal du Midi

Saraphina, a 4-passenger barge, is new to our fleet with experienced owners Captain Finnegan and Emily bringing their skill and hospitable personalities into their creative and artistic barge. All breakfasts and dinners are included with lunches taken onshore at guests’ expense. Charter only.

Ready to go barging? It would be our pleasure to help you select and book just the right barge cruise for your interests and budget.

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Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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Discover the Birthplace of Dijon Mustard on Burgundy Barge Cruises

January 4th, 2015

Mustard produced by Burgundy's La Moutardarie FallotFor centuries, many people have been slathering it on roast beef sandwiches, whisking it into sauces and adding dollops to salads without nary a thought to its history. Yes, we are talking about Dijon mustard, one of the world’s most beloved condiments. Its birthplace is one destination travelers will discover as they cruise the canals of Southern Burgundy on a barge. The place that helped give rise to the multi-billion dollar mustard industry is Burgundy’s capital city of Dijon. Located in the Cote-d’Or wine region, it has been inhabited since France’s last Stone Age, which began in 7000 BC.

 

 

 

The origins of Dijon mustard

Mustard plant and flowers by La Moutardarie FallotIts oceanic climate and soil would prove to be ideal for growing mustard plants and grapes for vinegar. During the 1700s, one of the renowned families involved in both agricultural pursuits was headed up by Francois Naigeon. The patriarch had his own successful gourmet food business and often elicited the help of his family members. One of them, Jean Baptiste Naigeon, was the man responsible for combining Francois’ fine verijuices with mustard to create what the world would come to know as Dijon mustard. Travelers interested in learning more about him and the region’s other mustard masters, including the family initially behind the Grey Poupon brand, may want to read Rosamond Man and Robin Weir’s tome, The Mustard Book.

According to Rare Seeds, who provides two recipes for making your own Dijon mustard, “The most famous modern Dijon mustard brand was founded in 1777, when Maurice Grey (who had developed a recipe for a strong mustard made with white wine) formed a partnership with Antione Poupon (who supplied the financial backing to manufacture the product). They revolutionized mustard making by introducing the first machines to automate its production. Their original store still stands at 32 Rue de la Liberte in the heart of Dijon.”

Mustard cultivation in Burgundy today

Because of economic reasons, the French stopped growing mustard seed in Burgundy and were importing seeds from North American to produce their products. Since that time, Dijon mustard has become a generic term with products being made under that name in many countries. To reinstate the history and lore of mustard made in Burgundy, that has since changed thanks to the Burgundy Mustard Association and mustard-makers like La Moutarderie Fallot. Now, there are a few French farmers growing mustard seed, and France has given products made with those crops “Protected Geographical Indication” status under the name of “Moutarde de Bourgogne.”

Bmblem of authenticity and quality by La Moutardarie Fallot

The Indication Geographique Protegee emblem provided by La Moutardarie Fallot

Other culinary delights produced in Dijon

Of course, the city of Dijon has much more to offer travelers in the way of culinary history than just mustard. It’s also home to Kir Royale cocktails, blackcurrant liquor, assorted vinegars, wines and a very special gingerbread made with honey instead of molasses. All five remain popular to this very day and are often available for purchase throughout the region.

To discover more about the capital city of Dijon and cruise the canals of France on a barge in absolute comfort, please contact us today. We offer barge vacations in Southern Burgundy from April through October, all of which include a visit to Dijon.

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Whenever you’re ready to go barging, we’re ready to help. Happy travels,

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
Contact

 

Barge Cruises Help Foodies Taste French Cheeses Like Pros

December 22nd, 2014

Do you love exploring a country through its cuisine? Barge cruises in France offer not only gourmet cuisine and fine wines, but also plentiful opportunities to learn about cheese tasting. There’s a degree of skill and etiquette attached to it, much like tasting olive oils and wines. So we’ve assembled a few cheese tasting basics to help our valued passengers prepare.

Cheese plate on deluxe Burgundy barge Apres Tout

Deluxe 6-passenger Burgundy barge Apres Tout cheese plate

 

French cheese flights

French cheese flights are normally served on a platter or board. They may be accompanied by a series of cheese knives, tongs and dainty forks. The knives are traditionally used to taste all of the cheeses with the exception of those that have been marinated. The prongs on special cheese forks and knives are normally used to transfer the samples from the platter to individual tasting plates.

Sometimes the French cheeses are served with regional breads, olives, crackers, fruits and wines to help add depth and breadth to the tasting session. If that’s the case, tasters should consider sampling the cheeses alone first to get a feel for their unique flavors. Otherwise, the accompanying delights may overpower the cheese or alter its flavor. Most often, cheeses are tasted from the mildest to the strongest to savor the more delicate flavors first.

Deluxe barge Saint Louise cheese board

Deluxe 6-passenger barge Saint Louis serves a variety of French cheeses at lunch and dinner

Cheese tasting etiquette

Tasting etiquette dictates that French cheeses should be visually examined and sniffed before being placed in the mouth. Once in the mouth, the taster should make a mental note of the cheese’s texture and nuanced flavors. In serious cheese tastings, it is also vital to note that clean forks and knives should be chosen before every bite to avoid cross contamination between the cheeses.

Proper technique for cutting French cheese

On occasion, barge cruisers will be presented with whole cheeses and allowed to cut their own samples. If that happens, there is additional etiquette involved. For example, it is generally considered good form to cut from the center of the cheese out towards the rind. The center tip of the cheese’s wedge is normally the prized part whereas the area nearest to the rind is often avoided. Therefore, many professional cheese tasters recommend slicing the pointed tip off of the wedge first and sharing it with all of those at the tasting table. If that is not possible, each taster should ideally be given a chance to sample tips from the other cheeses included in the flight. We’ve been taught NOT to cut off the nose of a wedge of cheese, but rather cut at a diagonal so all tasters can sample a morsel of the soft interior.

To learn more about French cheese tasting etiquette and cheeses served with lunch and dinner on barge cruises in France, please contact us today.

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Whenever you’re ready to go barging, we’re ready to help. Happy travels,

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
Contact

 

Discover the Taste of Chablis Wine on Northern Burgundy Canal Cruises

November 30th, 2014

Nestled in Northern Burgundy’s Valley of the River Serein (the French word for “serene”) is the town of Chablis, a favorite excursion on French canal cruises. It is part of France’s Yonne Department and is known for its monastic history and viticulture. Legend has it that the monks of the Abbey of Pontigny, a Cistercian monastery on one of the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela, were the first inhabitants to make a conscientious effort to grow grapes for wine making. The abbey is the largest standing abbey of its kind in Europe and celebrated its 900th birthday in 2014.

The wine town and vineyards of Chablis

The wine town of Chablis nestled in the vineyards

The origin of Chablis wine

The Chardonnay grapes planted on the abbey’s pastoral grounds are well suited to the micro-climate and soil of the Chablis wine region. They thrived and soon the monk’s highly acidic, flinty wines were quite popular with the local populations. Consequently, centuries later, Chablis wines produced in the area now hold four appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) designations.

PIcking grapes in Chablis. Photo by Barge Randle

Grapes are mostly picked by hand in Chablis

The Chablis, Grand Cru, Petit Chablis and Premier Cru appellations

Wine tasting in Chablis

A private wine tasting is included on all Northern Burgundy barge cruises

Interestingly enough, each appellation has its own levels of classification as well. They are traditionally based on two key factors. The first factor has to do with the soil composition and the second focuses on the slope where the grapevines are located. Passions run high as to which one is best and whether one should consume a bottle of Chablis from a vineyard that’s rife with Kimmeridgean soil and located close to the mouth of the Yonne River or one that’s tucked away in the outlying areas, where Portlandian soil is prominent. Personally, we think that most travelers aboard French canal cruises will find something nice to say about them all.

Barges such as the ultra-deluxe C’est La Vie, the deluxe La Belle Epoque and the first class Elisabeth include visits to Chablis and the surrounding vineyards.

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To learn more about Northern Burgundy canal cruises, please contact us today.

A votre sante,

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
Contact

 

Celebrate Champagne’s Sparkling Wine and History on Barge Trips in France

October 24th, 2014

Barge trips in Champagne celebrate the only sparkling wine that can officially be called Champagne, as it was here that Champagne was born. The 514 kilometer long River Marne passes right though this wine growing region rich with history and refined culture.

The Village of Hautvillers

Wrought iron signs grace the buildings in HautvillersThe village of Hautvillers is a well loved excursion on Champagne barge cruises. Long considered by many to be the birthplace of Champagne, the village of Hautvillers is a centuries old site perched high on a hill with expansive views of the Marne Valley and vineyards. Many of the houses and buildings have wrought iron signs depicting the profession or activity of its inhabitants. It is a photographer’s dream to wander the streets and alleys to capture artistic photos.

 

The Abbey d’Hautvillers

The restored Abbey d’ Hautvillers dates back to 650 and includes a church, circa 1600s arcade entrance, gardens and two tombs. The church, affectionately known as Saint Sindulphe, boasts a great deal of handcrafted, artistic detailing and historical items. Among them is a 17th century gallery pipe organ that includes a trio of keyboards and more than 400 pipes. There are also outdoor sculptures onsite too but that’s not what draws foodies to this site.

The restored Abbey d'Hautvillers
At one time, it was home to Dom Perignon, the monk who gave the world its first taste of what would go on to be  one of the most beloved champagnes. He was born in the 1600s to family with strong ties to Champagne’s viticulture and died during the fall of 1715. Thus, it should come as no surprise that he had so much to contribute towards the perfection of both 18th century wine and champagne making techniques.

The abbey and gardens are private and can be visited by invitation only. The church is always open to the public.

Moet & Chandon Champagne House

Dom Perignon champagne is owned by Moet and Chandon in EpernayThe 270 year old house of Moet & Chandon located in Epernay now owns the Abbey d’Hautvillers. It is a perfect place to stop before or after a trip to the famed abbey. Barge passengers are typically invited to sample champagne flights and explore the site’s 28-kilometer long cellars with a guide. During the guided tour, you will learn about the adult beverage’s connection to the infamous Marquise de Pompadour, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the brand’s founders.

To find out more about the barges which cruise the Champagne region such as C’est la Vie and La Nouvelle Etoile, please contact us today.

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Here to help you from booking to boarding. Happy travels,

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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Sample Autumn’s Bounty on French Canal Cruises

October 2nd, 2014

Autumn with its clear blue skies and cool nights is a splendid time to visit France. Our September and early October French canal cruises book quickly, and there’s a reason for this. Here are some of the seasonal delights you can experience when you book one of our autumn cruises.

Nivernais Canal in Burgundy

Colors changing on the beautiful Nivernais Canal in Burgundy

Amazing farmers’ markets

While local produce is available year-round at these markets, many of which have been happening in the same place for hundreds of years, unsurprisingly autumn is the best time for abundant produce. Whether you wish to sample freshly roasted chestnuts and mushrooms or photograph a pheasant—still dressed in its colorful plumage—the farmer’s markets are a feast for all the senses. All our barge cruises include side trips, whether into tiny medieval villages or large modern town, most of which have a farmer’s market to enjoy.

Mushrooms at a French market

Mushrooms are delectable in Burgundy and France

Fresh seasonal cheeses

There are many French fromages which are newly available in the fall. For example, the new season for the oozing Vacherin or Mont d’Or begins in September, and fresh goat cheeses are at their peak in September and October.

Cheese stores abound in France

Cheeses are served with lunch and dinner on French canal cruises

Tarte tatin and other apple delights

Apples are the quintessential fall fruit, and the French know how to take advantage of them. Whether you indulge in the caramelized flavors of tarte tatin, an upside-down apple pie, a rustic apple cake infused with rum or calvados, or the sculptural masterpiece called Tarte de Pommes a la Normande, the French know how to coax every bit of flavor from fresh autumn apples.

Tarte tatin

Tarte tatin, a yummy upside down apple pie. Photo by Robyn Lee on Flickr.

Seasonal chocolates

One of the joys of wandering through French towns is discovering the local chocolatier, who will be crafting gorgeous and scrumptious fall chocolates in the shapes of acorns, leaves, mushrooms and other iconic autumn images.

Chocolate dessert on barge Luciole

Luscious chocolate desserts by barge Luciole in Burgundy

So if you’re ready to savor France at its’ gastronomic peak, contact us today to plan ahead and reserve your spot for the most popular time for barge cruising!

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Whenever you’re ready to go barging, we’re ready to help. Happy autumn!

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
Contact

Wine Lovers Taste the Flavors of France on Canal Cruises

May 29th, 2014

There are many reasons to go to France: stunning landscapes, splendid architecture, a rich history and culture, and unparalleled cuisine. Then, there is the wine. If you’re headed to France as an oenophile, eager to try a variety of wines, consider French canal cruises as a means not only of showing you different sides of the country but also of immersing you in the wine culture of any given region.

Wine Regions of France

Burgundy.  Probably the most well known wines of this area are the legendary red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) and the white Burgundy (Chardonnay) wines found in the Cote d’Or region near Beaune. Other wines not to be missed are from Beaujolais and Chablis. Beaujolais is made from the Gamay Noir grape and is featured in a traditional dessert of the region where sliced wild peaches and black currants are doused in the wine. Chablis, made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, goes well with poultry and seafood dishes. Barge cruises in Southern Burgundy

Cote d'Or vineyard, Burgundy, France

Vineyards in the Cote d’Or wine region of Burgundy, France

Bordeaux. The most westerly wine region in France is known mainly for its red wines from the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. From strong tannin content to more mellow fruit flavor, these wines are great accompaniments with any kind of meal. And don’t forget to try some of the world’s best sweet dessert wines, the Sauternes, that are also produced here. Uniworld river cruises in Bordeaux.

Champagne. The only sparkling wine that can officially be called Champagne is mostly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes with a little Pinot Meunier to round out the flavors. As you float past the rich vineyards, the gently rolling hills dotted with old stone churches, raise a glass of real Champagne to celebrate your ongoing discovery of France. Barge cruises in Champagne.

Alsace. As you enjoy the potent mix of French and German cultures in this region, be sure to drink some Riesling, a dry white wine that goes well with a wide variety of foods. The 7 varieties of Alsatian grapes are white, comprised of the Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling varietals, all dry wines versus their German counterparts. They go well with seafood dishes, salads and are great for sipping on the deck of your canal barge. Barge cruises in Alsace.

Barge cruises in Champagne, France

Underground cellars, Champagne region of France (Courtesy of Barge Panache)

Upper Loire. In this playground of monarchs, studded with magnificent chateaux, you’ll find the world class wines of Sancerre, Vouvray, Pouilly-Fume, made from the Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet and Chenin Blanc grapes. Many of these wines go well with goat cheese, and you’ll enhance your understanding of what wines pair well with different foods, whether it’s grilled fish or veal with morels. Barge cruises in the Upper Loire.

Provence and Rhone Valley. Nestled in the southeastern area of France, the valley along the Rhone River grows primarily the Grenache, Syrah and Viognier grapes. The wines have a vast range of taste, and are usually much less expensive to purchase. This variety provides plenty of food pairing options to your meals. One of the most renowned appellations, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is found in the southern part of the Rhône Valley near Avignon and is visited on your Provence barge cruise. Barge cruises in Provence.

Barge cruises in Cotes du Rhone, France

The Cotes du Rhone, France

Languedoc
Along with parts of Provence, Languedoc is the oldest wine region in France dating back to the 5th century B.C. It is also the largest wine region in the world and produces more than a third of France’s wine. Numerous grape varieties are grown in Languedoc where interesting blends and boutique wineries continue to improve the quality of what was once a region known for table wine. Vin du Pays d’Oc, Blanquette de Limoux and the sweet aperitif wine, Muscat, are just some of wines to be discovered. The Canal du Midi meanders through the beautiful vineyards of Languedoc immersing passengers in local wine culture. Barge cruises on the Canal du Midi.

Described here is just a taste of what you’ll experience when you travel through France by barge. You will be traveling at a leisurely pace through the countryside itself, stopping at small villages and vineyards to enjoy firsthand the best products of each region you visit.

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Ready to learn more about the wines of France? Contact us for more details about planning your ideal barge trip through France, including the kinds of wine you’d enjoy in every location.

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
Contact

 

Barge and Burgundy Wine Connoisseurs Cruise

March 19th, 2014

Do you love tasting a new wine? Do you subscribe to Food and Wine or Wine Enthusiast and savor the pairings and posturings about the greatest new find or old world vintage rediscovered? If so, then you are the perfect passenger for one of our Burgundy Wine Connoisseurs Cruise on the barge Apres Tout.

Learn about French wines on barge cruise excursions

Chateau de Clos du Vougeot

Chateau de Clos du Vougeot

Imagine being able to get authoritative answers to all the wine questions that cross your mind as you peruse the pages of those magazines, or try to detect the differences between two vintages. Savor the opportunity to experience French gourmet food and local wine pairings. Enjoy touring Grand Cru vineyards and tasting their wines—and even enjoy lunch with a maker of Grand Cru wines! All of this is included in this fabulous wine-themed cruise. From the Kir Royale of Dijon to the “wine and war” tour in the Burgundian capital of Beaune, your cruise week will be filled with a number of unforgettable tastes, smells and sounds of France.

Fine wines and gourmet dining on board the barge Apres Tout

Happy guests on board the barge Apres Tout

Gourmet dining and fine wines are an intricate part of barge cruising.

And then there’s the excitement of cruising the Burgundy Canal! Aboard the deluxe barge Apres Tout, you will observe the beautiful countryside and scenic villages along the Burgundy Canal from the elegant teak sundeck of your barge. With central air conditioning and heat, generous suites with ensuite bathrooms, a library and a hot tub on board, this luxurious home away from home has all the amenities you could desire, from heated towel racks to bicycles for getting closer to the idyllic countryside. The demonstration kitchen gives you the chance to ask even more questions about both wine pairings and cooking with wine.

So whether you have memorized the list of Burgundy Grand Crus or need some help understanding the difference between a Grand Cru and Premier Cru, this cruise is the ultimate chance to answer all your questions, tantalize your taste buds with unforgettable vintages and even ship your favorite wines home so you can host a tasting of your own for your friends or local wine club.

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To book this unique Burgundy Wine Connoisseurs Cruise, contact us today.

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
Contact

Restaurant Guide for All-Inclusive Savoir Vivre Barge Cruise

January 31st, 2014

A variety of restaurants while cruising on Savoir VivreExcellent dining on barge cruises is one of the highlights, usually taken on board with your own chef. The barge Savoir Vivre offers another way with its all-inclusive dinners on shore in a variety of local restaurants. You can choose from the menu and 1/2 bottle of wine per person is included in the cruise price.

To whet your appetite for this unique dining experience where you can mingle with the locals and sample six different restaurants, enjoy the restaurant dining guide provided by James Waggott, owner Savoir Vivre.

Our clients have loved the variety, authenticity and exceptional quality of the restaurants selected. Transportation is provided, too!

“L’Auberge Gourmande” in Fleurey

A friendly and warm welcome awaits you by Delphine and Christophe Faivre at the L’Auberge Gourmande. Situated in Velars-sur-Ouche.

Their goal is no less than “to satisfy all your desires and we will spare no effort in doing so. We want our guests to enjoy quality service and we strive to offer all the comfort you deserve.”

The restaurant is located on a quiet street in this typical village and has two rooms with elegant décor, air conditioning and a pleasant terrace outside.

Head Chef Christophe learned his craft at the Moulin de Saint Remy Martorey, Guy Savoy, Negresco, Girardet in Switzerland as well as spending seven years abroad (Tel Aviv, Israel, Rio, London, and on a private yacht for a billionaire Englishman). So his credentials speak volumes.

The result of all this effort? A recent restaurant critic declared that this restaurant offers a “pleasant setting for a restaurant that is going places, the food was exquisite”.

Menu Highlights – Specialities include eggplant tartare with balsamic vinegar, espuma melon lemon balm.  Cromesquis fried ham with parsley, Burgundy escargot, hummus, and wild garlic. Confit of lamb shoulder in kefta stuffed with tomato reduction, rosemary and paprika.

Its no surprise that this restaurant is tipped for big things, we’ve caught it during its ascendency, we think this is the “Savoir Vivre” time to visit.

L’Abbaye De La Bussiere – Le Bistrot des Moines

Le Bistrot des MoinesTo demonstrate our commitment to offering new levels of experience and value, we are offering dinner in the renowned L’Abbaye De La Bussiere for our 2014 passengers. The setting is magnificent and the head chef, Emmanuel Hébrard, is a genius.

We dine at the more relaxed Bistrot section of the restaurant – i.e. the Savoir Vivre way to dine in such a magnificent setting. Just as in the more formal gourmet restaurant, it uses the best products of the season and is of the same quality.

This is an indulgent and exciting restaurant which significantly enhances our already unique experience. We are delighted to offer it for all of our 2014 passengers.

“Chez Camille” in Arnay le Duc

It is common in France for authentic restaurants to sit within a hotel. Moreover, it is not unusual for the restaurant to be the star of the show! This is exactly the case with Chez Camille, a traditional, elegant and interesting restaurant set within the building of the modest Chez Camille Hotel located in the centre of Arnay le Duc, itself a quaint and pretty town.

Proprietor Arman Poinsot is as French as they come with the style and composure straight out of Disney’s Ratatouille!

Head chef Pascal Godillot’s kitchen works in step with Mr Poinsot – the food is traditional with occasional complex highlights to attract the eye of the sophisticated and adventurous diner.

The dining area is fabulous with traditional round tables but with decidedly untraditional features such as a tree canopy and glass viewing areas to the kitchen where a team of crisp white clad chefs are hard at work.

This restaurant offers a French dining experience at its most traditional routes. The building, décor, ambiance, proprietor, and menu all hark to an era which so many restaurants around the world strive to emulate. This is a rare example of the real thing and is an essential cast member of our dining experiences.

Menu HighlightsHow about a caramelized pineapple and vanilla zabaglione with gingerbread and rum sorbet?!

Sorry we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

Other highlights include everything from traditional Burgundian favourites such as Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon to more adventurous dishes such as walnut sweetbread cutlet with juice reduction, spinach, mushrooms and parmesan crust.

“Ferme de Rolle” in Rolle

Restaurant La Ferme de Rolle ChefLong before her Michelin Star grade owners took residence, the site of the Ferme de Rolle experienced a fascinating history involving peasants, pig farmers, and soldiers gaining a strategic advantage.

Over a century ago sixteen households (pop. 30) lived in and around the current building – three wells assured water supply to the modest community.

In 1933 the buildings and surrounding land were converted into a pig farm. A Mr George Flacelière developed and later sold the farm to a Mr Denvin. However, during the Second World War, in addition to his pigs, Mr Denvin played host to the Canadian allies. The site held a strong position being very close to the farm of La Belle Emélia Saint-Jean-de-Boeuf, occupied by the German army.

In 1975 the entire site was given a new lease of life through its conversion into a fabulous restaurant which it has remained ever since. Since spring 2004, the Sangoy family, who previously owned the Michelin Star awarded ‘Gevrey-Chambertin’, have taken the restaurants to new gastronomic heights.

Menu HighlightsThe house speciality is ham roasted over an open spit right in front of you. This hearty traditionally prepared dish compliments this wonderfully historic restaurant, don’t miss out on it!

This is a very special restaurant in the countryside of Burgundy and “the Route des Grands Crus”, it quite rightly sits at the heart of our restaurant selection.

“Le Spuller” in Sombernon

Restaurant Le Spuller in SombernonRather like the Chez Camille (above) ‘Le Spuller’ is set within the ‘Hotel le Spuller’. It is located in Sombernon, a village of approximately 800 residents nestled in a location equidistant from Dijon, the Côte-d’Or vineyards, Chateauneuf and Beaune, talk about location location location!

On top of this are the views offered by its hillside location, they are absolutely magnificent!

However, It is the restaurant itself that really caught our attention and that of many local residents. The dining area offers panoramic views of the valley below – it is a perfect setting to enjoy a lovely dinner while afternoon turns to evening. The food is of an excellent standard with charming staff and a menu which offers something for everybody.

Captain Richard explaining a menuOur 2013 guests have universally adored Le Spuller. The combination of quality, setting and exceptionally friendly and amiable service hits all the marks.

Menu Highlights – The food at Le Spuller is unashamedly simple. Elegantly, authentically, and tastefully so. This is in contrast to some of our more avant-guard restaurants and sits nicely in our selection.

This includes Oeufs en Meurette and other Burgundian classics.

Other highlights include roast trout with Emmental and ginger cream and the ”Salade Spuller” made with an Epoisse cheese gougère pastry.

ps – the kitchen is also very flexible here, a simple child-friendly pizza can be catered if so desired!

“I’Orre du Bois” in Chateauneuf

Chateauneuf en AuxoisChateauneuf en Auxois is a rarely beautiful place. This hilltop medieval village is one of the last remaining examples of 14th century Burgundian military architecture. During the Hundred Years War, towers and curtain walls were built to defend the village and the Auxois plains. Many still stand to this day.

From the 14th-17th centuries wealthy Burgundian merchants built houses at Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. One such house is now home to “l’Oree du Bois”! This gem of a restaurant sits comfortably in this fascinating location.

Rather than focus on traditional Burgundian cuisine, “l’Oree du Bois” (roughly translated ‘Edge of the Woods’) has chosen to focus on another French culinary bastion, the ‘crêperie’.

Those unfamiliar with this type of restaurant need not worry, we’re not just talking about Nutella and Grand Marnier pancakes here! Authentic French creperies started in the Brittany region but later became widespread across France and are now considered a national dish. It would be a shame not to visit one on a culinary tour of France!

A creperie in BurgundyAuthentic creperies offer a wide range of savoury (and sweet) crepes each made with skill care and attention using locally sourced ingredients.

The restaurant itself is barely noticeable from the outside with its ancient historic building perfectly and correctly untouched. Once inside, however you are greeted with vaulted ceiling with a very pleasant central fireplace and mezzanine dining level.

A quiet amble around Chateauneuf is the ideal way to finish off your evening. We can suggest a spectacular vantage point just one minute’s walk from l’Oree du Bois from where, weather permitting, you will have a stunning view of the green and lovely land that is Burgundy.

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At times restaurants may be unavailable due to special occasion bookings, seasonal closures etc. In these instances we have several other high quality restaurants to choose from, all of them are up to our standards.

To cruising calm waters…

James Waggott
Savoir Vivre Owner, Author, Guest Blogger

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Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988
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