This past May, June and July members of the Special Places Travel team spent time in France, touring the countryside visiting with barges and their crews. After driving approximately 1,100 miles, and stopping to see 33 barges, Special Places Travel is up to date with all of the details of these beautiful canal and river barges. We toured northern and southern Burgundy, enjoying hospitality and graciousness at every barge that we visited. We were treated to a great dinner and breakfast, while being hosted by George and Susan aboard the Meanderer. We would like to offer a special thanks to Phil and Hannah, former owners of the Maria, for a wonderful birthday meal and celebration, and we wish them continued success with their new endeavor francemotorhomehire.com. Congratulations!
On this trip we were happy to have met Paul and Annie Roberts, a charming young couple, and owners and operators of the lovely barge Bonheur. Bonheur is a 4-passenger First-Class barge, which offers a half board cruising experience. Guests will enjoy breakfasts, lunches and three dinners aboard the barge, as well as three meals ashore at local restaurants (taken at their own expense). The Bonheur is a lovely boat, with a spacious salon with comfortable sofas and a wood burning stove. The cabins are well appointed, with queen sized beds or two twins. We were very impressed with the love and care that the Roberts have put into their barge, and the charm and friendliness that they expressed at our meeting. We are pleased and excited to offer the Bonheur for charters up to four passengers.
Also on our tour of Burgundy, we were fortunate to befriend James, the owner of the sprite new barge, the Savoir Vivre. This newly built barge is sleek, and mindful of contemporary style and comfort, with an attention to design and efficiency. the Savoir Vivre's cabins excel in comfort. Along with captain Francois and his partner June, who are operating the Savoir Vivre, we dined at La Ferme de Rolle, a very intriguing restaurant, in the highlands overlooking the Ouche valley. Popular with the locals, La Ferme de Rolle is a real treat, with its rustic charm and delicious fare, this restaurant is a true glimpse into the cuisine and character of life in Burgundy. La Ferme de Rolle is also one of the restaurants that passengers visit while on a cruise aboard the Savoir Vivre and their unique dining out itinerary.
From Burgundy, where we left a few clouds behind, we drove to Provence, and our sun soaked rendezvous with the Le Phenicien in Arles. Welcomed aboard by owner Bertrand, and his crew Michel, Nicola, and their super talented chef Thierrey, we joined a group of passengers cruising on the Rhone River. Le Phenicien can host up to 18 passengers and cruises between Avignon and Aigues Mortes on the Rhone River and the Canal du Rhone a Sete. The meals served aboard Le Phenicien are truly an epicurian delight.