French Country Waterways

French Country Waterways
Reflections of a wonderful journey along the Burgundy Canal. Spring was in full swing when we boarded Horizon II in Tanlay, where this photo was taken. © Ralph Grizzle

Earlier this month I spent one of the best weeks of my life on French Country Waterways Horizon II. Indeed, an intimate barge cruise on the Burgundy Canal is a lifelong aspiration for many, and a lot would have to go wrong for someone to step off Horizon II at the end of the week and be disappointed.

American-owned French Country Waterways delivers something akin to a dream, offering a barge experience that is as close to perfect, and as idyllic, as it gets.

It is almost impossible to convey in words, pictures and videos just how wonderful the experience is, but I’ve certainly tried to do so in the eight posts and video that you’ll find links to below. To sum up what makes the experience special, however:

First, there is the intimate setting: only eight guests and six crew. Second, Horizon II features luxury facilities: large (by barge standards) staterooms with elegant bathrooms, complimentary bar open 24/7,  lounge and dining room. The latter three are all combined in one largish room with cherry interior, provincial furnishings and antique brass accents.

Third, Horizon II features exquisite dining and included fine French wines (and champagnes) for lunch and dinner, as well as the memorable three French cheeses served after each meal. Fourth, the six crew members offer an outstanding level of service, equal, or perhaps even surpassing, the level of service at the finest luxury hotels. Fifth, and certainly not last but least, is Burgundy itself, a culturally rich region of impressionable beauty.

We also enjoyed the slow and easy pace of barging, the ability to step off at a lock and walk — or bicycle — to the next lock or even far beyond.

Take a moment to view the video below, then, if you’re interested, continue reading the posts below. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about barge cruising or French Country Waterways. I can highly recommend the experience, and just as it did for me, a barge cruise in France will likely deliver one of the best weeks of your life.

Dining on French Country Waterways

Beginnings, A Rendezvous In Paris

Our French Country Waterways Burgundy Canal adventure started in Paris, where eight of us gathered at the Hotel Raphael, near the Arc de Triomphe, for a 2.5-hour escorted transfer south of the City of Light to the luxury barge awaiting us. For five full days, I lived with plentiful joie de vivre on a luxury barge chugging along the Canal de Bourgogne — during April, no less … Continue Reading ?

Scenery, French Country Waterways

Welcome Aboard Horizon II

We reached the barge on a beautiful spring day in the village of Tanlay, near Chablis. Yesterday, I wrote about a rendezvous in Paris to begin our French Country Waterways barge cruise through Burgundy. We left Paris at around 3 p.m. and just before 6 p.m. reached the village of Tanlay, which was wearing spring colors — picture-postcard perfect. Matthew, our host, guide and captain, pulled the Mercedes van up next to Horizon II. … Continue Reading ?

Scenery, French Country Waterways

A Day On The Canal

Life on the barge is slow and ultra-relaxed. Caution, low bridge. Albert navigates us under a bridge and ourFrench Country Waterways Burgundy Canal adventure begins.  Barging is about disconnecting. I’ve already mentioned there was no television on the barge.  Continue Reading ?

Scenery, French Country Waterways

Bicycling And Barging In Burgundy

Barging on French Country Waterways compares to luxury cruising in many ways: We are being pampered; everything is taken care of, we needn’t lift a finger; dining is top notch; all beverages are included. One key difference, however, is the range of activities offered. Yesterday we spent the morning enjoying the canal . . . Continue Reading ?

Cheese, French Country Waterways

A Damp Day In One Of France’s Most Beautiful Villages

Yesterday, we enjoyed Bicycling And Barging On French Country Waterways on a gorgeous day in Burgundy. Today, we awakened to a light rain, but that would not stop us from enjoying the planned activities, which typically went as 1) do something interesting; 2) lunch; and 3) dinner. One of France We hopped in the Mercedes van to visit Noyers sur Serein, designated as one of the most beautiful villages  . . . Continue Reading ?

Service, French Country Waterways

What’s Dining Like On Horizon II?

Today, we have another special treat in store: dining in a Michelin Three-Star restaurant. Now I don’t know about you, but I know little about the Michelin ratings. Why only three stars? Why not five? Or six? What I learned is that three stars is as good as it gets. This is how Wikipedia describes the Michelin star system: One star indicates “very good cuisine in its category;” a two-star ranking represents “excellent cuisine, worth a detour;” and a rare three stars is awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” Continue Reading ?

Tour, French Country Waterways

The Final Day Of Our Beautiful Barge Cruise Through Burgundy

Yesterday, on our French Country Waterways barge excursion along the Burgundy Canal, we stepped off the boat and into a Michelin three-star restaurant. To read that mouth-watering tale, see Dining On French Country Waterways Horizon II. Today would be the last full day of our barge trip. We’d enjoy a morning at the open-air markets in Montbard, where Horizon II was moored . . . Continue Reading ?

Want to learn more about barge cruises? See these posts on our sister site River Cruise Advisor.

Stay tuned as we barge through Burgundy this week on Avid Cruiser.