7 days/6 nights cruising on a fully-crewed hotel barge – choose from a diverse range of barges and itineraries throughout France, with an all-inclusive package!
As part of our barge program we offer cruises throughout France (6 nights/7 days duration), and private charters – perfect for family groups, incentive and rewards programs, or simply for a group of friends to spend an unforgettable week together!
We have cruised on and/or inspected all the barges in the fleet, and are extremely knowledgeable about the itineraries and regions on offer.
We meet the crews and get to know the cruise routes and the facilities on board the barge, so we can offer a very personalised insight. We can help you choose the barge to suit your interests, needs and budget.
Six night/seven day fully crewed cruises depart every Sunday, throughout a variety of different regions. All food, wine, other beverages including mixed drinks, excursions, entries and activities are included in the cruise price.
Barging is one of the most relaxing and interesting ways to explore the different fascinating regions of France. Barges of different sizes and styles operate in Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Provence and the Canal du Midi, just to name a few.
You may wish to combine your cruise with a customised itinerary in another region, or an extended stay in Paris. We can help you organise an independent itinerary when it is booked in conjunction with a barge cruise, taking advantage of our excellent hotel, car hire and train travel rates all over France.
There is more to barging than just cruising along a river!!
Fabulous wine and food are a highlight, as are fascinating excursions each day to local villages, chateaux, historic sites, markets and wine tastings.
A barge cruise is a fabulous choice of holiday for a group of friends or family group.
Celebrating a special birthday or anniversary on board the barge is a wonderful way to be pampered! And for groups, the all-inclusive package is an excellent idea as it eliminates the need to work out price-sharing dinner and drinks. The itinerary can also be customised to suit your group/family’s needs and interests.
Prices vary according to each barge and season.
On each barge page on this website we have listed prices in euro dollars. We convert to Australian dollars on the day of your booking. Ask us about discounts on full group charters. We do offer special from time to time so make sure you sign up for our mailing list (top right-hand-side of the page) and you will be advised of news and specials each month!
We also offer fully crewed barge cruises in England, Scotland, Ireland and Italy. We can also help you with a booking in any of these countries.
Go Barging! A Typical Cruise
Our trip started at the meeting point in Burgundy, an idyllic village where we caught our first glimpse of the Impressioniste, the beautiful barge on which we were to spend the next week. Welcomed by the Captain and crew, champagne and nibbles were served and then we settled into our cabins before our first taste of the mouth-watering cuisine we were to be offered each day!
Each day bought new and diverse sights and experiences. Surrounded by colourful potted flowers and comfortable outdoor furniture, you could stay on deck all day just watching the gorgeous countryside go by, reading a book, enjoying morning tea or later, a bottle of local wine.
The boat only travels at walking pace, so long relaxing ambles or cycling in the countryside are the order of the day. There was something quite magical about wandering past 14th century farmhouses, cute little lockkeepers’ cottages, picturesque villages and vineyards, with the beautiful Impressioniste, of which we grew so fond this special week, cutting majestically through the water behind us. Some of us stopped in the pretty little villages we were passing, to have a coffee in a local café or bar and a chat to the locals.
Every afternoon we would take a trip in the minivans. Our excursions were varied and interesting – one day a visit to an historic local chateau, the next a wander through a gorgeous medieval village, the next a visit to a family winery to taste their exceptional wines.
The food, prepared by our lovely chef Marie, was exquisite – worthy of a Michelin star restaurant and a highlight of the cruise. The wines were all excellent, top quality local selections chosen by James, our Captain, who as well as an extraordinarily knowledgeable tour guide, is a wine expert.
I have travelled to France every year for the past twenty years and I can say without hesitation that this was one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences I have ever had in this wonderful country!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do we get to the barge cruise?
A: Each barge has different arrangements. On the individual barge pages on this webiste we have as much as possible explained where the crew will be meeting you and in some cases specified the correct train service to take from Paris. If this is not specified, we can advise you about which are the best trains to take, where you can leave cars if you are driving, and organise accommodation should you wish to stay in the village or town of the barge departure, the night before. Apart from train station meeting points, the crew will usually have a hotel meeting point as well. If you are chartering a barge, you can specify the meeting point to best suit your group.
Q: We usually travel with a lot of luggage; do we need to restrict the size of our bags?
A: It is recommended that you take one reasonable-sized suitcase per person. When you have unpacked after arrival on board, the crew will remove your bags and store them for the week, so that they do not annoy you by taking up room in your cabin.
Q: Do we need to carry our own bags?
A: No. The crew will handle all this for you, from the meeting point and on board the barge, up until they say goodbye again at the other end.
Q: What is the electricity supply on board?
A: All the barges are wired for 220 and 240 volts but not 110 volts. We suggest you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds, to the standard French (two pin plugs). If you wish to use an electrical appliance on board, please ask one of the crew when you arrive on board to ensure that it is suitable to the barge’s electrical system.
Q: Do the size of the cabins vary?
A: Yes, on some barges they do, while on others they are exactly the same. The deck plans on each barge page on this website give an indication, but please ask our advice when considering which cabin to book.
Q: Will we be guaranteed a Queen sized/Double bed?
A: No. Some cabins on some barges only allow twin bed configuration, and therefore you can request this according to availability. Please ask us when you are booking which cabins are available and what the configuration can be.
Q: Do all the cabins have private bathrooms?
A: Yes. In all barge categories each cabin/stateroom has private en-suite facilities. Except in the Deluxe category, the bathrooms are quite small, but always very well appointed with marble or wod fittings, Occitane toiletries and hair dryers. Ask us about whether the barge/cabin you are interested in has walk-in shower or shower over bath.
Q: Do you cater for special diets?
A: Yes. We just need to let the crew know in advance so please advise us at the time of booking.
Q: How does the “Open Bar” work?
A: There is an open bar available 24 hours a day serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (the crew will serve you at mealtimes and the rest of the time it is “self-serve” – the bar and fridge are always fully stocked). Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk, are offered with all meals. All wines provided with meals and a Champagne welcome are included. Some vintage wines and Champagne, other than at the welcome, will not be included although we can arrange to purchase these for you at an additional cost if you notify us in advance. Bottled water is always available on board.
Q: I want to cycle and walk as much as I can; is this possible?
A: Passengers are welcome to walk or cycle using the on board bicycles as often as they like. Most people choose to disembark the barge at a lock and then visit local villages and then return to the canal and meet the barge a little further along. The barge travels very slowly and therefore “catch up” will not be a problem.
Q: What medical attention/medications are available during the cruise?
A: The crew is unable to administer medicines to you during the cruise but can accompany you to a chemist for you to purchase necessary medicines. Due to our cruises being in rural locations we highly recommend that you bring the necessary medication with you. If you are unwell or in an emergency the crew will arrange for you to see a doctor or take you immediately to the nearest hospital. Please advise us of any specific medical conditions before departure; this is not to refuse your participation in the cruise but simply so that we can advise the crew.
Q: Is there laundry facilities on board?
A: Laundry facilities are limited. It is advisable to bring sufficient clean clothing for your cruise. We generally cruise through rural areas and launderettes are few and far between.
Q: What is the dress code on board?
A: There is a casual dress code on board and it is very much up to the individual what they bring to wear. Dress codes for dinner are relaxed and informal; however, for the Captain’s Dinner, gentlemen may opt to wear a jacket and ladies a dress or coordinated outfit. Do not forget your sun hat for a relaxing time on deck with a glass of wine. On some barges there are jacuzzis on deck so if that is the case on your barge don’t forget to bring bathers!
A sweater or lightweight jacket for evenings and air-conditioned interiors is a good idea. During spring and autumn cruises, medium-weight clothing will be necessary (of course this will vary according to the specific regions so please ask our advice). Comfortable walking shoes with low or no heel and textured soles are also recommended for excursions and towpath walks.
Q: I am travelling on my own and the single supplement is a lot extra. Why is this?
A: Unfortunately this is unavoidable. The barge company must charge a set price for a cabin whether there are one or two people in it, and this means that the price per person will be a lot more for a single traveller than for a couple or two friends sharing. This is frustrating for single travellers and we do try to keep our single supplements as low as possible, but there is little we can do to alleviate this problem.
Q: Is smoking allowed?
A: The barges have a strict non-smoking policy. We ask smokers not to smoke inside the barge as this may give offence to your shipmates. We categorically do not permit smoking in the cabins for safety reasons. If you would like to smoke we request that you smoke outside on deck away from fellow passengers.
Q: Do you feel claustrophobic or “on top of one another” being in the confined space of the barge?
A: Definitely not! The barges are generally much more spacious than one expects – particularly in the Deluxe and First Class categories (see “Barge Categories”). Also, rarely is everyone together, as people walk or ride along the towpath, sit on deck or in the lounge, and on excursions there is often time allowed to independently explore and get away on one’s own should you so desire.
Q: Where can we organise travel insurance?
A: We can organise travel insurance for you and offer competitive rates. You MUST have travel insurance before travelling to France.
Q: Can I organise my other travel arrangements for my holiday through Toujours France?
A: We offer pre- and post tour accommodation in Paris at either the hotel being used on the tour, or if your budget requirements are different, at a wide selection of other hotels and apartments. We also offer transfers and local sightseeing, a very large selection of hotels and apartments throughout France, airfares, train travel, car hire and travel insurance.