08 February 2011
Your Guide to the Best of France
All our Afloat in France guides love La Belle France. From food and architecture to history and wine, they share their passion for its special delights.
What is special about cruising through France?
The relaxing atmosphere, the chance to discover the French countryside at walking pace - and, of course, the food and wines.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Waking up early in the morning when a fine mist covers the water, announcing a day of beautiful weather, then walking along the towpath bordered by dozens of species of wildflowers.
What are your favourite places to visit?
Dijon on market day when the local farmers bring their delicious cheeses, hams, fruit and vegetables, all amidst the stunning medieval architecture and cobbled streets - a treat not to be missed. Add to this a private wine-tasting at the Joseph Drouhin cellar in Beaune. You can weave your way through the three acres of cellars, including those built for the 13th-century church, the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy. And thirdly the stunning hilltop village of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois with its views of unspoilt countryside. Visit the 12th-century château and discover the tragic story of its châtelaine, the fair Catherine.
What are the advantages of chartering an entire boat?
The boat is yours for six days, there is no need to get to know other passengers or 'break the ice', and the ambience is relaxed from the moment you board.
Please describe a typical day for an Afloat in France guide.
The mooring ropes are slipped off the boat and, as it moves away, it's time for the guide to go shopping for any passenger requests and organise deliveries of wine. There are always new activities to investigate: a new shop, gallery or cultural attraction, wine tastings or châteaux. Returning to the boat, breakfast is over and guests are ready to disembark on that day's excursion. We usually return to the boat in time for cocktails and dinner.
How can passengers get the most out of a cruise?
Give as much detail as you can about your needs, desires and requests before you come so that we have time to arrange things. Talk to the crew, and let them know what you would like: we are very friendly and approachable and genuinely committed to making sure you have a great time.
What are your tips for making the most of an Afloat in France cruise?