French Country Waterways Offers Upper Loire Valley Cruise Aboard 8-Passenger Princess

French Country Waterways, which has offered elegant vacation experiences aboard its own fleet of luxury canal barges for more than 25 years, is returning to the Upper Loire Valley in 2011, and using its luxury eight-passenger Princess on this itinerary for the first time.  The well-appointed barge, formerly the private barge of shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig, sails between Châtillon-sur-Loire and Montargis every Sunday from April 3 through Oct. 30.

Highlights of the sailing include a private cellar tour and wine tasting in the charming village of Sancerre; dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers in les Bezards; a visit to the medieval town of Gien, a leading center for French faience; and a day trip – including lunch – to the magnificent Chateau de Chambord, the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux.  Guests are escorted via private motorcoach to and from Paris.  Prices for the weekly Sunday departures, April through October, range from $5,495 to $6,695 per person, double.

Guests aboard the Princess also enjoy a host of  luxury amenities that are par for the course on all of French Country Waterway’s cruises: creative cuisine prepared by talented young chefs, who blend classic cooking techniques with the trend to lighter fare; four-course candlelit dinners accompanied by Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines from Burgundy and other major French wine regions; all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, including one dinner ashore at a Michelin-starred restaurant; attentive service from a crew fluent in English and French; daily sightseeing excursions and private wine tastings; and time to relax on the sundeck and walk or bicycle along canal towpaths. Hot-air ballooning is also an option.

The Princess has four suites with king-size beds, a salon with large picture windows and well-stocked bar, formal dining room, separate library, powder room and canopied sundeck for relaxing and al fresco meals.  All meals are included on board, as well as the Michelin dinner and local lunch.  Wine is served at lunch and dinner as well at other time and other drinks from the well-stocked bar are complimentary.  The Princess chef shops in farmers’ markets and local bakeries each morning to provide guests with freshly baked breads, buttery croissants and local cheeses, produce, meats and fish to prepare his tempting menus.

The barges are available for individual bookings and for charter by families, friends and groups of eight to 12.  Special room rates are offered at several deluxe hotels in Paris for guests wishing to extend their stay.  Information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from French Country Waterways, Ltd., P.O. Box 2195, Duxbury, MA 02331; (800) 222-1236 in the U.S. and Canada and (781) 934-2454 in MA; or, visit www.fcwl.com.

 

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