Wine Cruises in France
If you enjoy a glass of fine wine - perhaps a crisp, flinty Chablis, or a smooth, well-rounded red Burgundy from say, Santenay or Meuraul, these cruises are for you. Charter a deluxe hotel barge - the elegant and spacious Renaissance in the Upper Loire or the newly-launched Finesse in Southern Burgundy. Perfect for a group of friends or family, both 8-guest barges offer luxury air-conditioned en-suite cabins, spacious lounge, and sun deck with spa pool. An absolutely fabulous way to celebrate a significant birthday or anniversary with family or a small group of friends!
The Upper Loire itinerary on Renaissance features tours of chateaux such as Fontainebleau and traversing Eiffel's magnificent aqueduct over the River Loire at Briare. It also include visits to some top producers of Sancerre, Chablis and Pouilly Fume wines for private tastings. This cruise departs Chatillon-sur-Loire to Montargis.
For Finesse, her voyage along the River Saone and Canal du Centre will pass right through the heart of Southern Burgundy, past famous wine-growing villages such as Santenay. There will be private tastings at renowned domaines in Nuits St George, Puligny-Montrachet and Mercurey, as well as tours of the charming towns of Autun and Beaune. This cruise departs St-Julien-sur-Dheune to St-Jean-de-Losne.
A professional wine guide will lead the winery tours and tastings and a selection of Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines will be served on board during the cruise.
SOUTHERN BURGUNDY ABOARD FINESSE St-Julien-sur-Dheune to St-Jean-de-Losne
Day 1: St-Julien-sur-Dheune Guests are met in Lyon and transferred by air-conditioned minibus to Finesse for a Champagne Welcome and the opportunity to meet the crew. Then there is time to wander along the towpath and admire the classic Burgundy scenery before dinner on board.
Day 2 St-Julien-sur-Dheune > St-Leger-sur-Dheune This morning, we begin our voyage through Southern Burgundy along the Canal du Centre through undulating countryside to moor at the little village of St-Leger-sur-Dheune. We descend a series of locks with plenty of opportunities to disembark and explore the villages along the way. Late morning, our expert wine guide joins the barge to give an introductory talk on the vineyards of Burgundy and during an on-board wine tasting of a selection of appellations, ensures that everyone has mastered their tasting technique! After lunch, we visit the nearby vineyards of the Cote Chalonnaise. Although this wine-growing region is lesser-known than its illustrious neighbours, some wonderful wines are produced in the villages of Rully, Givry and Mercurey. We enjoy a tour and private tasting of premier cru wines at one of the best domaines in Mercurey, the delightful 17th century Chateau de Chamirey in Mercurey, owned by the Devillard family for five generations. Dinner on board.
Day 3 St-Leger-sur-Dheune > Remigny After breakfast, we head to Autun, a town of ancient origins with Roman gates and a 17,000 seat amphitheatre. The 12th century cathedral is also renowned for its architecture and its position on the pilgrims' route from Vezelay to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. We return to the barge for lunch, then we cruise to the rural setting of Remigny, passing along the route the famous wine-producing village of Santenay. Dinner on board.
Day 4: Remigny > Rully This morning, we enjoy a leisurely cruise further along the canal past the charming little town of Chagny, to our mooring near the village of Rully. After lunch on board, our wine guide takes us on a visit to the world famous vineyards of the Cote de Beaune where we enjoy a tour and private tasting of Puligny, Meursault and St Aubin wines at a renowned, family-run domaine in Puligny Montrachet. Dinner on board.
Day 5: Rully to Fragnes After breakfast, we set off on a drive through the Cote de Beaune vineyards to the town of Beaune itself, capital of Burgundy wine country where we visit the fascinating 15th century Hotel-Dieu Hospice and explore the quaint shops of the town, before enjoying a gastronomic lunch at Michelin-starred restaurant Le Montrachet. After lunch, we return to the barge for an afternoon cruise past the charming little town of Chagny, to our mooring near the village of Fragnes. Dinner on board.
Day 6: Fragnes > St-Jean-de-Losne This morning, we embark on our final cruise, joining the River Saone at Chalon-sur-Saone and then passing delightful little ports such as Verdun-sur-le-Doubs and Seurre en route, to arrive at St-Jean-de-Losne. After lunch on board, we set off on a drive through some of the greatest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world. After paying homage at the fields of Romanee Conti, we visit the cellars of a top domaine in Nuits St George for a private tasting of its premier cru wines and also Gevrey Chambertin. There should also be time for a visit to Clos de Vougeot, headquarters of the esteemed Chevaliers du Tastevin, who annually award prized special labels to the finest Cote d'Or vintages. Back in St-Jean-de-Losne, time perhaps to wander along the quaysides before the Farewell Dinner on board.
Day 7: St-Jean-de-Losne After breakfast, guest are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Lyon.
LOIRE VALLEY ABOARD RENAISSANCE Chatillon-sur-Loire to Montargis
Day 1: Chatillon-sur-Loire > Briare Guests are met at the Hotel Westminster and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the spacious Renaissance where a Champagne welcome with canapes awaits you and you meet the Captain and crew. We enjoy a short evening cruise to Briare, crossing Gustave Eiffel's magical aqueduct over the River Loire, an amazing 10,000 ton, 662 metre Pont Canal, which was completed in September 1896. Late afternoon before dinner on board.
Day 2: Briare > La Gazonne Morning visit to a renowned winery in Sancerre, such as Domaine Henry Bourgeois, in Chavignol for a tour and private tasting. This medieval hilltop village overlooks a vibrant region which has known viticulture since Roman times. After lunch, we enjoy an afternoon cruise to La Gazonne, a beautiful mooring surrounded by lakes and ponds that provide water for the workings of the Canal de Briare. Here, our expert wine guide joins us to give an introductory talk and leads an on-board wine tasting. Dinner on board.
Day 3: La Gazonne > Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses This morning, we visit Domaine Chatelain, a winery founded nearly 400 years ago on the right bank of the River Loire in St Andelain and maker of some wonderfully flinty Pouilly-Fume wines. Here we enjoy a winery tour and of course, a private tasting. After lunch back on board the barge we cruise further along the canal, with plenty of opportunities for walking or cycling along the towpath, to our mooring at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses near its 350-year-old 7 lock-flight, which is well worth exploring. Dinner on board.
Day 4: Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses > Montbouy After a leisurely breakfast of fresh croissants, baguettes and assorted pastries, we visit Gien, home of the Faience pottery, renowned for its beautifully decorated and vibrant dinnerware. There is also time to explore the bustling market. After lunch back on board, we enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruise to the lovely village of Montbouy. Dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers in Les Bezards.
Day 5: Montbouy > Montcresson An early departure after breakfast as our wine guide takes us on a tour of the vineyards and town of Chablis, dating back to Roman times, where we enjoy a private wine tasting at a winery such as the long-established Domaine Fevre. Owned by award-winners Nathalie and Gilles Fevre, the domaine makes the most of the region's wonderful local terroir to produce high quality wines. We return to the barge for a slightly later lunch on board, then leave Montbouy for a gentle cruise to just outside of the village of Montcresson and our peaceful mooring. Dinner on board.
Day 6: Montcresson to Montargis We enjoy a morning cruise through Little Venice, past flower-bedecked bridges and medieval watercourses joining France's oldest canal. Our visit this afternoon is to the splendid Chateau de Fontainebleau, a national museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. To walk through this palace is to walk through the history of France. It is the only royal and imperial chateau to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries and every French royal family has added its own architectural style and features when in residence. Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
Day 7: Montargis After breakfast, guests are transferred to the Hotel Westminster in Paris.
*These are both sample itineraries and are subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.
Renaissance (Loire) includes: • Private transfers by chauffeured Mercedes mini bus between Paris and the hotel barge (the approximate transfer duration will be 2 or 2.5 hours depending on the cruise direction) • A luxury 6 night cruise • All meals on board catered for by the on board Master Chef • An open bar 24/7 with a large range of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks • All wines served throughout the cruise • Excursions and admittance fees as per the itinerary • The services of 5 crew and use of barge facilities, which include satellite TVs and DVD players, bicycles and a spa pool.
Finesse (Southern Burgundy) includes: • Local transfers to and from the hotel barge (the approximate transfer duration is 1.5 or 2 hours depending on the cruise direction) • A luxury 6 night cruise • All meals on board catered for by the on board Master Chef • An open bar 24/7 with a large range of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks • All wines served throughout the cruise, excursions and admittance fees as per the itinerary • The services of 5 crew and use of barge facilities, which include bicycles and a spa pool.
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Finesse (Southern Burgundy)
Jul 24, 31
Renaissance (Loire) :
Jul 23, 30
Aug 7, 14, 21
Oct 9, 16, 23
Sep 4, 11, 18, 25
Aug 6, 13, 20
Oct 8, 15, 22
Sep 3, 10, 17, 24
Finesse (Southern Burgundy)
Jul 24, 31
Renaissance (Loire) :
Jul 23, 30