. Luxury Barge Cruising in France - Choose From 5 of the Top Barges : ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine

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Luxury Barging - Adventures With Afloat in France

Luxury Barging - Adventures with Afloat in France

It has been said that barges are floating fantasies. For those travelers who have dreamed of escaping to the perfect world, the ultimate travel adventure may be aboard a luxury barge from Afloat in France. Each is a sumptuous traveling inn with its own personality, gracious ambiance and elegant comfort. The itineraries include magical places such as Champagne, Saône, Burgundy, Rhône, Dijon, Seine, Chablis, Beaune and Avignon.

There are five barges to choose from - the Fleur de Lys, Amaryllis, Hirondelle, Alouette and Napoléon. Cruises include candlelight dinners created by the on-board chef, tours through ancient towns, castles and vineyards, exploring country châteaux, visits of local museums, bicycle rides through medieval villages, shopping at local bazaars, and balloon rides over farm hamlets cradled in verdant valleys.

The Fleur de Lys is impeccably appointed with a gracious elegance and amenities that epitomize the concept of ultimate luxury. Similar in size to a large hotel barge (which ordinarily carries up to 22 passengers) the Fleur de Lys is completely air-conditioned and accommodates a maximum of six guests in 2500 sq. ft. of living space.

The Amaryllis, sister ship to the Fleur de Lys, is a proud addition to the Afloat in France fleet. Designed in conjunction with La Fluviale, a prominent boat company in St. Jean de Losne, it has been decorated by some of the most respected names in France and Italy. The interior exudes an uncompromising attention to detail and the specially designed window casings incorporate huge windows that panoramically frame the passing countryside.

Napoléon is Europe's finest river cruiser, combining all the amenities of a fine luxury hotel with the friendly ambiance of a quaint country inn. This year, she will cruise between Arles and Tain l'Hermitage on the Rhône itinerary and Lyon, Mâcon, Tournus, Beaujolais, Mâconnais and Côte d'Or wine regions on the Saône itinerary.

The Alouette and Hirondelle cruise some of the most tranquil and beautiful waterways in all of Europe. Burgundy and Franch-Comté are renowned for their vineyards, Gothic churches and abbeys, Renaissance châteaux and picturesque villages. It is a region of France in which gastronomic delights and the art of living have reigned supreme since Roman times. Excursions take travelers to places with storybook names and are arranged according to individual interests, whether it be to the quaint town of Dole, the famous museum in Dijon, the castle in Châteauneuf or to Besançon, birthplace of Victor Hugo, with its magnificent citadel designed by Vauban.

Afloat in France offers cruises in spring, summer and autumn through The Barge Lady Collection. Biking and Opera itineraries are available. For more information, visit www.bargelady.com or call 800-880-0071.

(Source: Maison de la France)