We took our first barge trip in France 20 years ago. We remember clearly the day we departed Paris for the Loire Valley coincided with the night that Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in the same tunnel we drove through.
We were on quite a number of barge trips over the next 10 years (we have lost count of the number). This year we decided to enjoy another barge trip after having been on cruise ships for the past 10 years.
Our flight from Newark to Paris on Delta was perfect. No waiting at either airport and security checks were easy. Overall the best experience we have had flying since 9/11. We stayed in Paris near the Vendôme for 3 nights before being transported with the 7 other guests on the trip via a small bus to the Hotel Barge Luciole which was located in Clamecy, about a three hour drive. Our cruise was on the Nivernais Canal from Clamecy to Auxerre for six nights.
The barge was very comfortable with an excellent staff of six people for 9 guests. We were a compatible group of passengers consisting of six Americans, one Australian gentleman and two charming English ladies. The canal consisted of many locks which offered ample opportunities for walking the towpaths or riding bikes through the countryside. The food was outstanding, but a bit rich in calories for our tastes, especially by the last night.
Overall this was an excellent experience, although the scenery was not as spectacular as some of the other barge canal trips we have taken. Link to Luciole Barge
We returned to Paris at the conclusion of the barge trip for a 10 night stay. Unfortunately the weather turned cooler and rainy. We were not detered as we brought the proper clothing. Eleanor enjoyed shopping, while I would sit in cafes drinking coffee and reading Mark Twains "Innocents Abroad".