In September we did an all-ladies cruise on “Panache” – and did we have some fun together! But this is an exceptional barge whether you are travelling as a group of friends, a family charter or simply as a couple booking one cabin. Here’s why!
I have loved this barge ever since I began cruising on her five years ago. Panache is a wonderful barge for so many reasons. Taking a group on board is perfect because all the cabins are exactly the same dimensions and layout – so no-one is getting a better or worse room! The salon is large, beautifully appointed and the furniture exceptionally comfortable, as is the dining area. The deck is just beautiful – colourful potted plants, quality outdoor furniture and of course the jacuzzi! I love getting into the bubbles as we cruise along, with a glass in my hand… if I had to name one of my favourite things to do in France – this would be it! Jacuzzi… French countryside… French champagne – BLISS!
Left to right: Panache cruising; our brilliant chef Holly; bubbles in the jacuzzi; jazz on board on a beautiful evening in Saverne
One of the other reasons I love Panache is that we can offer a variety of wonderful itineraries on this beautiful barge. Panache begins the season in Holland, where she cruises for 8 weeks celebrating the Spring tulip season. She then meanders her way down through Paris to Champagne where she cruises for 6 weeks on a gorgeous itinerary in this most stunning of wine regions, before ending the season in Alsace from July right through until October.
In Champagne, you will visit 800 year old Reims cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece where the kings of France were crowned; the pretty hilltop village of Hautvillers, where the monk Dom Perignon discovered the ‘méthode champenoise’; Epernay, home to many of the renowned Champagne houses; elegant Chateau-Thierry and the American cemetery at Belleau Wood; and an exclusive champagne house with a labyrinth of medieval underground cellars, for a tour and private tasting. Combining these captivating excursions with the beautiful rolling hills of Champagne, from your base on board our beautiful Panache, this itinerary is pure heaven.
Left to right: La Petite France, Strasbourg; Arzviller boat lift; fans of Lalique; idyllic mooring in Saverne
Equally entrancing is the cruise itinerary in Alsace. One of the wonderful things about the different regions of France is that each celebrates its own very different history, culture and traditions. Nowhere is this more evident than in Alsace, which has changed hands between the Germans and the French over and over throughout the centuries! The cruise offers many highlights. You will cruise through the Arzviller Tunnels and then experience the thrill of descending (or ascending, depending on the cruise direction!) the famous boat lift, carrying the barge 450 feet down the mountainside. In Sarrebourg, the 13th century chapel containing Marc Chagall’s remarkable stained-glass windows is a magnificent sight. The enchanting town of Saverne boasts over 2,000 years of Gallo-Roman history and our mooring at the Chateau de Rohan, the “Versailles of Alsace”, is one of the most memorable of any of the barge cruises in France.
We see the Rene Lalique collection at the mountaintop village of La Petite Pierre (a superb museum full of stunning glassware and jewellery, whose gift shop sparked a frenzy of purchases amongst my ladies and I, so much so that we had to then search out the Lalique boutique in Strasbourg for more shopping!). We enjoy a fabulous wine tasting on the Route des Grands Vins, of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and Riesling wines at a long established and renowned domaine. And Strasbourg… this is one of THE most beautiful cities in France, with its incredible Gothic cathedral and La Petite France, a pedestrian area brimming with half-timbered houses, boutique shops and cafés. Like Champagne, this itinerary is very hard to beat!
Left to right: Relaxing in the salon; beautiful views along the canal; Holly’s amazing buffet lunch; private wine tasting (delicious!)
Panache ticks all the boxes! A beautifully appointed luxury barge. Captivating, diverse itineraries. Perfect for groups or individuals. Exceptionally high standard of food and wines. Idyllic waterways and moorings. This is a wonderful French vacation that stands out among the rest. Start planning now! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and availability in 2019!