Mid-year round-up & some attractive promotions


After working on the hotel barges in France during the eighties we came home to NZ in 1987, but the allure of France was strong and four years later we returned with our first escorted tour. That was based around a 10 day barge cruise and next year we are loosely repeating that formula with Taste France 2019. We will be cruising in Aquitaine on the barge ROSA, which famously featured in Rick Stein’s French Odyssey TV series. Tour One is already fully booked, but Tour TWO has four vacancies and is solo traveller friendly. Tour TWO consists of six nights ashore in Bordeaux and Sarlat and six nights on board the Rosa on the Canal de Garonne and the dates are 19 to 31 August 2109. Most meals are included and the fare is 7300 Euros per person, share twin, or 8000€ for single accommodation. Send for your brochure with the daily itinerary.

We specialise in boating holidays and hotel barge cruises have to be the prefect boating experience. Who would not love a week of being pampered, wined and dined while gently floating past an ever-changing landscape or visiting chateaux, vineyards and medieval villages on private excursions ashore? This season European Waterways need some extra people, so you can save up to 20% on some barges, and the single supplement is waived on selected cruises, plus you can enjoy a free gondola ride through Venice with the Bella Vita cruises departing on 9 & 30 September 2018. Venice is a magical boating destination and La Bella Vita explores the lagoon and and the Po Valley up to Mantua.

The elegant charter barge, Le Papillon, is offering a discount of US$1000 per person for parties of 4, 5 or 6 people on August departures. These are all-inclusive, six night cruises along the beautiful Ouche Valley in Burgundy and include transfers from Paris. This exceptional offer reduces the total charter rates to US$25,500 for six guests, US$23,400 for five guests and US$23,000 for four guests. What a bargain!


Luciole Saussois Cliffs

Our long association with the Luciole and its regular refits and refurbishments make it our favourite barge, cruising our favourite route in Burgundy. Currently they have several cabins available on their 23-29 September special Wine Cruise, which combines visits to the Cote d’Or vineyards and the Upper Loire vineyards of Sancerre with their usual itinerary along the Nivernais Canal. Two single cabins are available as well as double/twin and they are all the same price – GB£3600 per person.

We love boating and have regularly hired rental boats to explore new waterways or revisit the canals that we worked on in the eighties. We know virtually all the inland waterways of France and have twice cruised the Venice lagoon, so last year we ventured into Britain on the rather lovely Kennet and Avon Canal and next year are planning to cruise the Great Glen in Scotland, where Le Boat has a base at Laggan, near Fort William.

Le Boat have the largest fleet of rental boats and one way cruise options and currently have 20% discounts on most of their boats for bookings for 7 nights or longer. Plus they are accepting reservations for 2019 with tempting early booking discounts.

Locaboat are also taking bookings for 2019 and up to 5 July they are increasing their early bird discount to 12% (up from 7%) and when combined with other offers this can build up to 20%. That is a very good reason to book now.

Other rental boat operators such as Nicols, Canalous and France Afloat, keep coming up with short term specials on selected boats, so tell us what you want and we’ll find you the best deal on the best boat.

While many clients come to us because of our expertise in boating holidays, we often build an itinerary around the boat or barge cruise. That can be as simple as adding accommodation with train tickets, or a fuller itinerary with local guides. We can also include car rentals and currently Europcar are offering up to 15% off car hire in France, Germany and Portugal.

Other options are our self-guided cycling & walking holidays, Backroad Discovery. After being largely ignored in previous seasons, Alsace has been popular this year, especially for walking.

For an escorted walking holiday with fine food and wine we highly recommend James of the Walking Party. He still has vacancies for the Saint James Way walks starting on 1 September in Le Puy-en-Velay and from Figeac on 8 September. Book both walks and we’ll round the price down.

Also available is the Basque Pyrenees walk – 26 September to 4 October.

These walks are suitable for anyone of average fitness as donkeys carry the essential supplies and the back-up minibus transports your bags and can rescue weary walkers. James is an exceptional tour leader; both entertaining and very knowledgeable about the history, culture, flora and fauna of the regions.

Lastly for groups of six or more, consider chartering a barge, or enjoying a week of food, wine and fun at Domaine de Cromey in Burgundy, or let us create a customised package just for you.