There’s something idyllic, luxurious and perfectly relaxing about seeing a destination from the vantage point of a river. Drifting gently down the waterway, you can appreciate flora and fauna, rustic villages, and the fresh air at a slower, more poetic pace. Few places offer more picturesque and memorable adventures by barge than France. The country’s many splendid rivers wend through storybook villages, magnificent cities, vineyards bursting with bounty, and countryside bursting with both wildlife and history. Read on for the 5 top reasons to embark on a high-end France boat tour– and float away on a private adventure you won’t soon forget. Whether you opt for an entirely private river cruise or a luxurious, all-inclusive cruise that includes accommodations and meals, we’ll make sure your trip is truly extraordinary.
What could be more relaxing, and luxurious, than drifting down the river, taking in stunning landscapes and perhaps enjoying a fine glass of wine? There are so many reasons to enjoy a high-end boat cruise in France; opting for a bespoke tour with us guarantees you an extraordinary experience.
The main reason so many luxury travellers are drawn to high-end boat tours and cruises these days? The offering has gained considerably in sophistication in the past years, with cruise liners such as Viking offering river cruises that rival their open-sea counterparts in terms of amenities and prestige.
Touring France by river no longer means enduring hours on an uncomfortable, rickety barge: instead, you can float downstream in genuine peace and luxe. If group cruises aren’t your style, we can charter a prestigious and well-equipped vessel that offers plenty of amenities and comforts, from kitchen and sommelier service to high-end decks where you can lie back and truly relax.
There are countless boat tours operating around France, from the Rhine to the Canal du Midi and the Loire– but these often involve sharing cramped, uncomfortable quarters with other travellers and having no choices as to your stopovers and the time you’e allowed for each one. Hiring an expert travel planner to carefully design your bespoke river itinerary and secure the perfect private barge or other river vessel will bring the experience to a whole new level of relaxation and luxury.
For anyone looking to bask in wild nature and beautiful countryside, a luxury river excursion can offer ample opportunities to get in touch with France’s sublime flora and fauna. The Loire river, for example, is teeming with wild birds. Why not enjoy a private river safari that includes birdwatching, as well as familiarizing yourself with some of the other magnificent local species of plants and animals that inhabit the region’s many estuaries, wetland ecosystems and wildlife reserves?
The Dordogne river, meanwhile, is one of France’s best-preserved ecosystems; nature enthusiasts will revel in the opportunity to witness wild animals such as beavers and otters, peregrins, ravens and many species of large predatory birds. The Vézère river is equally magnificent and wends its way to the dramatic gorges of the same name. These are in close reach of some of France’s most important prehistoric sites and cave paintings: who says humans aren’t a part of nature, after all?
Whatever your interests, from birdwatching and spotting land and water mammals in their natural habitat and learning more about France’s teeming river ecosystems, a cruise will allow you to take in natural wonders at a relaxed and un-demanding pace. This is also a good option for visitors with reduced or limited mobility who still wish to to enjoy fresh air and natural surroundings.
Taking a high-end river cruise also affords you the opportunity to explore some of France’s nicest towns, villages and cities. From quaint and rustic to glamorous and metropolitan, stopovers allow you to take in regional color, interact with locals, encounter breathtaking historical places, and taste some of the best products the region has to offer.
Touring the Seine or Marne rivers, you can spend a day–or several– in Paris, city of light, luxury, art, architecture and gastronomy. This is also an opportunity to explore the guinguettes– riverside cafes– of the Marne, which were favorite subjects of impressionist painters. Many of the smaller towns along the Seine and Marne are quaint, quiet places worth stopping for at least an hour or two, perhaps to taste some local cheeses and wine (see below for more ideas on wine and food tours).
A luxury cruise on the Rhine river, meanwhile, will give you an opportunity to explore– on foot or by bicycle– some of the storybook-charming little villages of Alsace, with its timbered houses, vineyards, traditional taverns and festive French Christmas markets. Of course, the impressive French cities of Cologne and Strasbourg are also idyllic stops, with their breathtaking gothic cathedrals, fascinating markets, world-class restaurants and more.
Floating down the Loire river, you’ll be able to stop at mythical Loire Valley chateaux such as Chenonceau and Chambord, as well as visit vibrant local cities and villages such as Tours and Saumur.
Stopovers in other regions are also entirely possible. Just let us know what your dream itinerary might be, and we’ll work closely with you to bring it to life, whether on a private boat or on a luxury river cruiser.
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Have we inspired you to hop aboard, and enjoy a luxurious adventure that’s equal parts rustic and relaxing? If so, get in touch with us now so we can design the ideal cruise through some of France’s most beautiful waterways. We can incorporate wine tastings, bike tours, country walks, or stays in gorgeous places along the way. Let us help you make your dream a reality.
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