Through the canals of Burgundy

Luxury Travel Tips

Today I want to talk about France again, but the topic will be quite unusual. Namely, a trip on a luxury barge through the canals of France. I once made such a trip through the canals of Central Burgundy – on a barge (or a yacht, if someone prefers it that way, although, strictly speaking, this is a barge) Horizon II. And I must say that this is just a brilliant opportunity to look at France from an unusual point of view. This year, closer to May, I’m going to take the same week-long walk around Champagne. In total, there are three routes and three super-barges, respectively. These routes are marked in blue, light blue and crimson. The one marked in blue is the one I tried. And I’ll tell you briefly about it now.

In general, there are about 1000 km of rivers and canals in Burgundy. After all, this is the very center of the Seine, Loire and Rhone river basins, and therefore, back in the 17th century, canals were built here to connect the rivers.

The Horizon II yacht can accommodate 8 passengers. Its length is 40 meters. These are four magnificent cabins. As well as a pleasant bar, a luxuriously furnished lounge (which is so nice to sit to read, or play something interesting with someone, or just talk), a restaurant and a gallery.

HorizonII-Salon

One of the Horizon II barge suites

The route along which this wonderful boat goes gives a chance to see from the windows or from the deck the most beautiful places in Burgundy. In less than two hours, we were already enjoying the views of vineyards, villages, towns, farms, pastures. We have never seen anything like this, driving through Burgundy many times.

Returning to the conversation about French wines started in the last post, I will note that in Burgundy they create the very wines that can be called masterpieces. Great wines. The most expensive wines in the world. However, no. It would be more accurate to call them Priceless. If you do not agree, then keep in mind that the city of Beaune hosts a periodically wine auction from Christie’s. And this in itself is an objective evidence that these wines are valued on a par with works of art. Once, Jean Reno bought a barrel of red for 200 thousand euros … And he had already drunk, probably, he didn’t wait for me! Well, Uncle Jean, I’ll remember it for you!

Beaune was chosen by Christie’s for a reason. They make wines such as Clos de Vougeot, Chambertin (Napoleon Bonaparte especially appreciated it) and Romanay-Conti (sung by Alexandre Dumas). Of course, we looked at both Chablis and Beaujolais (although, you know, I may destroy your illusions, but I must say that if it is worth talking about wine from Beaujolais, then it is not at all about Beaujolais Nouveau, about which we are remembered in Russia as soon as it comes to Beaujolne: there is nothing particularly good in Beaujolais Nouveau, it is not an exquisite wine at all, but rather a mass-market brand, but oh well, more on that separately somehow).

And, of course, the Horizon 2 travel package includes all kinds of private tastings, and we tasted the most expensive and finest wines.

What else? We were given a hot air balloon tour. We drank wine and enjoyed flying over the Burgundy vineyards. This was also part of our journey … Well, then we arrived at Le Relais Bernard Loiseau, a restaurant in Salle, with three Michelin stars. The name of Bernard Loiseau, who created this institution, is familiar to many, and, unfortunately, does not always evoke the most positive associations. The fact is that Bernard has already left us, and his death was very tragic. In 2003, the great chef shot himself with a hunting rifle. The reasons are different – either bureaucratic turmoil and financial problems, or – downgrading of the rating of his main restaurant in some gastronomic guide (I think, in GaultMillau). One way or another, something happened there from the area “the soul of the poet could not bear it” …

Legendary Bernard Loizeau

Now the case is run by his widow. And the business is flourishing.

For example, try grouse legs with mashed potatoes, garlic and parsley. This is a signature dish and probably the most famous:

grouse legs, Bernard Loiseau

Or a rack of lamb:

rack of lamb, Bernard Loizeau

In principle, it is enough to look at the photos of the dishes that are created here to understand that they are all incredibly tasty. Here, for example, is another dish, I can’t resist not to show it. This time – langoustine:

loiseau4

We also visited the legendary Fontenay Abbey. The monastery was built in the 12th century, but is still active. Church, refectory, sleeping quarters, bakery and smithy. In a word, a typical community of Cistercian monks. The French Revolution turned the abbey into a paper mill, but after it was bought by Montgolfier (one of the brothers who invented the balloon) and restored. Now protected by UNESCO.

Fontenay Abbey, France

And I also remember from this trip the Renaissance castle in Annecy-le-Franc. A very beautiful place, miraculously preserved the spirit of the era.

Annecy-le-Franc, France

All in all, I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. Relax and get a lot of pleasant emotions.

Annecy-le-Franc, France

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