If you’ve never tried a barging holiday you’ll find it’s quite different from most other holidays. You get to stay in a boutique hotel environment that moves. The food and wine are of gourmet standard. Every day we plan an excursion to places of local interest we pass along the route. You get a deep dive into local culture. It can be as active or inactive as you want it. But, if it’s your first time, you’ll probably have some questions. Here are some of the more common ones.
HOW DO I GET TO THE BARGE AND BACK?
Most guests need to do two things to get to us. Firstly they get themselves to Paris. Then they get themselves to one of the wonderful Parisienne railway stations and hop on a TGV train. TGV stands for ‘tres grand vitesse’ which translates as ‘very great speed’. French trains are as wonderful as they are fast, and within an hour or so of leaving you’ll be getting off at a station in Burgundy or the Loire where we’ll meet you in our air-conditioned minibus to take you to the barge. When it’s time to leave most guests make the same journey in reverse – although some go on to follow their own itinerary. Of course, it is possible to drive to meet us – there is always parking at the ports.
DO I NEED TO WEAR A LIFE-VEST?
No. We move at a tranquil pace and there are railings around the deck areas.
WHAT IF I HAVE SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?
No problem – our chef freshly prepares all meals every day and can cater for all clients. Just let us know when you are booking.
WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING
Summer in France is generally warm and can get quite hot in July and August, so dress as you would for a normal summer holiday. It does rain too however so bring something light and waterproof. We’re very casual on board but one day a week we tend to dine in a really good restaurant onshore and you might like to bring something smarter to feel more at home.
IS BARGING A GOOD HOLIDAY FOR FAMILIES?
We don’t recommend barging for small children but once the kids get to the age of 8 or so it’s a great sharing holiday, especially for normally busy dads who want to reconnect with their children. See our Burgundy Barging for Families page.
WILL I GET SEASICK?
Canals are very placid stretches of water – backwaters really – through which our barges move at a serene and stately pace. It’s most unlikely you will feel any adverse effects.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET ILL?
France has a very modern and efficient medical system. Should you become ill or injured we will immediately take you to the local doctor or hospital. French pharmacies are also very good for minor problems.
ARE BARGES ACCESSIBLE FOR WHEELCHAIRS OR PEOPLE WHO ARE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED?
Because barges have narrow gangplanks and steep staircases, we have to admit that they don’t really suit those who need an easily accessible environment.
HOW OFTEN CAN I GET OFF THE BARGE?
Because the flow of water is regulated by locks we make plenty of stops as we rise up and drop-down levels. These make easy getting off places and in many areas locks are quite close together so you can stroll between them and rejoin the barge at a later stage.
DO YOU PROVIDE ANY LEISURE EQUIPMENT?
We carry bikes for all guests – cycling the flat tow paths is easy and good exercise.
WHAT ENTERTAINMENT DO YOU HAVE ON BOARD?
We have a hi-fi system with a selection of CDs and a rather eclectic library, mostly made up of books previous guests have left behind. We’re always happy for guests to swap books to keep the library ticking over. We also have a selection of board games.
DOES THE BARGE HAVE WI-FI AND A CELL PHONE SIGNAL?
The best answer to this is ‘at least part of the time’. French canals may have once been transport super-highways, these days they really are off the beaten track. So, it rather depends on whereabouts we are cruising. It’s generally fair to say that when we’re moored up evenings and mornings you should be able to find good connectivity.
DO I NEED TO CARRY CASH?
Rural France is slowly catching up with technology, but it will be some years yet before it becomes a cashless society. Carrying cash is good. In the bigger towns cards work fine and most ATMs are free to use.
WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT TIPPING?
Treat this like you would any other holiday – if you feel the crew have given you the sort of service that goes above and beyond they’ll be very happy if you show your appreciation.