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My French holiday on European Waterways

La Belle EpoqueWhat a relaxing way to start our holiday. Travelling by Euro Star from London to Paris really was quick and easy. We travelled Standard Premier Class which was a good service. As we travelled on the 854am service we were given breakfast, a hot drink and some fresh juice.

On arrival we took a taxi (long queue but whilst we thought this would take a long time it was roughly a 15 minute wait). 10euros later and we arrive at our Hotel, The Westminster on the Rue de Paix. A super 4 star Hotel which was steeped in French history and compassionately decorated throughout. We were shown to our suite which was stunning. With lounge, separate bedroom and traditional French bathroom.

Depending on your time in Paris we would suggest you pre purchase a 2 day open top bus pass. This will not only provide you with a full guide to this wonderful city, ensuring you get a glimpse at all the main attractions, but will also give you transport to whichever part of the city you want. Using taxis all the time will become costly!

We found a fab bistro called Vagenende. Which is located in the St-Germain area of Paris. We had a super meal – the food and the ambience was so typically French.  I would thoroughly recommend.

Our next day we were met and collected from our hotel by Anna who was to be our tour guide for the week on board La Belle L’Epoque.  A 2 and a half hour drive and then we set eyes on our home for the next 6 nights. A stunning barge that already from the roadside looked better than the brochure portrays! And then when we enter the barge I am so impressed and excited about the days ahead. We were greeted with a champagne reception as we are introduced to our team of 6 crew. Cook; tour guide; Captain; 1st mate and 2 hostessescleaners. A relaxing lounge and dining room with large open bar!  The outside deck area has a hot tub, cycles for all guests and a large area to relax or dine!   We are then shown to our rooms which are more than adequate but please remember you are on a barge! We have a good sized double bed, wardrobe, 2 under bed draws and 2 small side tables, there are 4 port hole windows giving good light, a bathroom with excellent shower wash basin and WC. There are nice bathrobes, slippers and a hair dryer

For me waking up to frogs croaking each morning along with the birds singing was fantastic.  The scenery, the fact that relaxation, nature and good food and wine were all part of our day made the trip more special.

• We saw otters playing in  the water, fish jumping, heron, swallows, Hawks, donkeys, cows, horses, a snake (yes a snake) frogs, magpie,

• Binoculars are a must for this holiday

• Wine tasting before each meal – we sampled some stunning red, white, rose and sparkling wines, all from the region.  It was so interesting to learn all about the home of the wines and where they were made.

• We enjoyed a huge array of French cheeses with EVERY meal and again were given factual information about the origins and local relevance of each cheese we tasted.

• Each meal was a delight with the meal being explained to us in full by our chef at the start of each meal.  Attached is a list of all our meals we enjoyed!

• We walked the canal path, we cycled the canal path, we drove the canal path and we cruised the canal path – whilst cruising we relaxed in the sun, we eat lunch cruising the canal, we had a hot tub whilst cruising the canal, we took part in opening and closing the locks and even had a go at steering this magnificent vessel – just 32 tonnes, and cruising along at an average of 5kms an hour.. Tranquillity really is the perfect word for this delightful holiday.

• Exploring Abbeys, Chateau’s and French villages and towns were made all the more enjoyable with the help of our tour guide who was so informative and made the history interesting and enjoyable. I would thoroughly recommend this holiday …..

For me I will be going again!






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