A French barge cruise is regularly described as being one of the most relaxing ways to see this wonderful country in all its natural glory. But just what is it that makes this kind of holiday so special? Below are just a few of the many and varied reasons a French barge cruise is so rewarding.
France – a state of mind
It’s been said that France, as a concept, is much more a state of mind than a definable culture. This is something that may be hard to grasp – at least until you’ve enjoyed the delights of a French barge cruise holiday! Here, such things such as business, travel, commerce, shopping and daily life itself, are all woven around the idea of “Une Bonne Vie” – in other words, making sure that everything fits into the best life experience possible. So, with the possible exception of one or two of the largest city centres, things here happen at a much more human pace than is the norm today in the UK. Lunch, dinner, family meals, excursions and time doing things other than working to excess are all taken very seriously.
So, for example, let’s assume you’re keen to explore the Loire Valley towns east of Tours, with all their culture and history. Yes, you probably could drive very quickly from Tours to Montrichard and perhaps some British people might say the good roads and quick transit times are fantastic. Yet the locals might ask “why would you want to do so on holiday when there’s a much better route via the Cher?” It’s a very good question!
The Cher is tributary of the Loire along which sits Montrichard, a beautiful ancient town with an imposing castle and lovely churches. Embarking on a luxury French barge cruise holiday exploring this stretch of the river and the towns and villages along the way is a true joy. The question is, if you can do so in sumptuous surroundings and at a pleasant pace that allows you to see the countryside, why would you choose to do so any other way?
Comfort and cuisine
Of course, this is much more than being something about transit times. Some of the vessels used for a French barge cruise on the country’s rivers and canals are exceptionally luxurious, with their own suites and top-class dining facilities on board. There’s no suggestion here of hammocks and hard tack! These vessels are designed for the very discerning holidaymaker who enjoys the best food and getting away from it all – in a very relaxed manner.