. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A French Barge Cruise on the Loire – Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering a luxury cruise on a French barge in the Loire Valley, you may find the answers to some of the following frequently asked questions helpful.

Where is the Loire Valley?

It covers a large part of the width of France in an east-west direction. That’s from just south of Paris until it hits the sea at the big port city of Nantes. As a matter of convention, the term ‘Loire Valley’ is generally only applied to the areas around the historic cities of Blois and Tours.

Can you tour the entire Loire on a French barge cruise?

Some parts are not navigable; others, particularly around Nantes, are quite industrial and “grand port” in appearance and culture, so probably not very attractive to tourists.

Many French barge cruise holidays are based in the scenic areas mentioned above.

Where are the closest airports?

Paris is probably the most common destination for air travelers on this type of vacation. It’s a relatively short drive to the Loire Valley from there. There are also regional airports in cities like Tours and Nantes.

How is the summer weather?

The Loire Valley is famous for many things, including the fact that it is the north-south divider in climatic terms. In other words, in the Loire Valley, the colder climate of northern Europe gives way to the warmer systems of the south. So in the period from June to September you can normally be sure of good warm weather. Of course this is not the Mediterranean and as such good weather cannot be absolutely guaranteed even in summer. However, the luxury barges are superbly equipped and a few showers are unlikely to spoil the enjoyment of this type of holiday.

Is this a ‘tourist’ destination?

This is a resounding no. Of course, this area has been popular with visitors for decades, if not centuries, but its towns and villages are completely untouched and remain living entities where tourism is just one of many local industries. Even at peak hours, you’re unlikely to find crowds at the main stopping places.

Can you tour the vineyards?

Yes, within reason. This is a very famous and important wine producing area and many estates will have ‘degustaci√≥n’ (tastings) for visitors. Some will offer guided tours and direct sales where you can get a bargain. They are work establishments though, so don’t assume you can drive up at any time and march out demanding a turn! Your barge cruise operator may have arranged such tours so you don’t have to worry about planning.

What are the best local buys?

France has never been a low-cost vacation destination of the kind typified, say, by Greece and Spain. Although people argue about this, generally speaking you should anticipate that most prices in general will be comparable to those in the UK. Some will be more expensive and some will be cheaper, but overall things even out.

Things that are likely to be cheaper include: local wines (probably when purchased from supermarkets rather than from the vineyards themselves); fancy packaged foods like Foie Gras; High-end ceramic and glass. However, prices vary over time. Again, your French barge cruise holiday provider will be able to offer further advice at the time you are on holiday and give you some valuable advice on where and when are the best times and places to purchase such goods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *