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The Enduring Allure Of A French River Cruise—See Why This Luxury Activity Is Becoming Popular Again

Late evening—eight, maybe, or nine past. The day has gone a deep purple, broken in intervals by streaks of blue cloud. The sun hangs no longer in the hues of the night sky, having long since set behind the browning bricks and warm glow of fiery lamp posts that line the streets of Paris. The faint smell of river water hangs in the air but you can hardly smell it, not past the glass of fine French wine you are swirling beneath your nose as music sings softly from the piano bar behind you. You breathe in deeply, and sink into your seat as you succumb to a serene summer evening on the Seine. This is a French river cruise.

 

 

River cruises have been a staple tourism activity for many river-bound cities for the longest time. This year, however, their popularity has greatly risen, with tourists rushing to the banks of the greatest rivers, often booking months in advance. The river cruise has become a vital activity for those on the hunt for slow tourism, as their laid-back nature promises an experience catered to those looking to prioritize relaxation. France is among the frontrunners of the river cruise industry—and once you’ve seen the view from the countries’ greatest waterways, it’s easy to see why.

Luxury is the brand of many of the French river cruise ships, and stepping aboard is almost like walking into five-star arrangements. Warmly-lit lounges and dining halls are floored with wood and embroidered carpet. Depending on the cruise you’ve booked, ships range from the ultra-modern to the comfortably classic. Fine dining—French cuisine, of course—is offered according to the set schedule, at a slow and steady pace so as to let you enjoy every moment of your experience. The rooms can get a little claustrophobic, but that’s hardly a problem—lush pillows and mattresses mesh with exquisite fixings and unhindered views of the French countryside as it floats past, so it’s a wholly relaxing experience even if it’s a little on the tight side.

 

 

The river cruise itself is similar to the great oceanic cruises that ply the open seas. Most cruises last several days, aboard long boats that can seat hundreds of passengers. Hotel boats are also available for those looking to extend their stay, and smaller groups can avail of tour boats made out of repurposed barges, with a seating capacity between six to 24. Like cruise ships, these river cruises also have fixed itineraries for guests to follow. In between scheduled meals and live performances are shore leaves at France’s many storied cities and quaint townscapes, making the river cruises a great way to explore the French countryside.

 

 

This could be you, traveling luxuriously through the scenic canals of #Europe on a barge cruise... One of our favorite booking companies in the market is Barge Lady Cruises, a family owned company that’s been in business since 1985. One of their upcoming cruises will be #perfect for fans of the epic Tour De France, the most famous bike race in the world! Hop aboard the deluxe 6-passenger barge Savannah from July 22nd til the 28th, and head to #Carcassonne, in time to experience stage 15 of the tour. This is an exciting opportunity that you won’t want to miss, especially as barge season approaches. Stay tuned for more information in our next We Hear video, available on our YouTube channel. Click the link in our bio to subscribe for the latest updates on news, notes, and deals. Travel savvy, and we’ll see you soon! Photo by: Joe deSousa on Flickr . . . . . . #luxury #takemehere #escapewinter #frenchcruise #bargeladycruises #sunset #gorgeousviews #luxurytravel #tourdefrance #summertimevibes #postcardsfromaroundtheworld #traveladdict #livingeurope #traveloften #travelalways #travelsavvy

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Watching the #AmaKristina peacefully drifting along the #Rhine (??: @williontour)

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The season for French river cruises is long, lasting from late March to November. There are four main routes: the Seine route from Paris; the route along the Rhone and Saône from Chalon sur Saône to Avignon; the Rhine cruise from Basel in Switzerland; and the Gironde cruises, famous for their trips through the Bordeaux wine country. It’s slow, yes, but slow holidays often make for the best vacations.

If you’d like to learn more about the river cruises of France, or of river cruises offered all across the world, check out www.cruisecritic.com.

 

Photos from @decorinparis and @travelsavvytv