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press releaseextract from Private Clubs Magazine
New Grand Cru Wine Cruise
by Kimberley Lovato.
It doesn’t take long to adjust to the unhurried gait of Burgundy, France. Float along one of the region’s many languid canals on a barge, and life slows to a lollygag, just the right speed for food and wine lovers. After all, why hurry in the gustatory gut of France, surrounded by acclaimed pinot noir and chardonnay villages and vineyards whose winemaking roots go back more than 2,000 years? Elegant Waterways’ new Grand Cru Cruise harmoniously marries this idea, and as I step aboard the appropriately christened Grand Cru barge, my shoulders pull away from my ears and my jaw tension loosens with the first glass of Crémant.
As a devotee of France travel for the past 30 years, I have explored much of l’Hexagone, but never by barge. Although friends who have “barged” raved, I snubbed the idea for years. Maybe the word “barge” itself soured me. It even sounds curt and uninviting, and conjures an image of sleeping in cramped bunk beds and eating canned tuna with one’s nose pressed against a tiny porthole. But the Grand Cru and its ever-smiling crew splinters every unsubstantiated opinion I had about a barge cruise — impersonal, cramped, boring, with inexplicably inferior food. I thoroughly marvel at the counter narrative I’m discovering.
The French have used more than 5,000 miles of canals and locks ... Click here to read the article.
Elegant Waterways is delighted to introduce the newest lifestyle concept in French barge cruising, the six star-rated Grand Cru. Grand Cru is the third barge to be designed and operated by Elegant Waterways, known in the industry for popular innovations on their barges Prosperite and Rendez-Vous. The Elegant Waterways team of Spencer Hayes, Rejane Hayes, and Earl and Candy Robertson noted the sophistication and service expected by today’s upscale travelers, and conceived Grand Cru as a floating French boutique hotel. Cosmopolitan cruisers will enjoy a power room on the main level, state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, aspa poll on deck, and a sommelier-selected onboard wine cellar.
Gently plying Burgundy’s inland waterways between Dole and St. Leger-sur-Dhune, the Grand Cru features excellence in all aspects of barge cruising, such as curated cultural activities, market-fresh gourmet cuisine, and stellar service both onboard and ashore. Exclusive to the Grand’s Cru’s drinking and dining program, guests will enjoy pours of Grand Cru wines with every lunch and dinner. Hand selected from every major wine-producing region of France, these Grand Cru samplings are chosen specifically for each season and menu, pairing perfectly with the Chef-driven gourmet cuisine. Other superior libations are served as well, emphasizing craft cocktails made with the “crème de la crème” of regionally-sourced spirits and liqueurs.
THE 8 PASSENGER BARGE Grand Cru
Although cruising deep within the heart of France’s iconic wine country on a beautifully preserved antique canal system, the Grand Cru’s eye-catching modern design effortlessly reflects the clean lines and open spaces of contemporary living. The beautifully appointed cabins are 260 square feet, and boast a TV and shower and bath. Modern conveniences such as a power room in the salon, and a retractable glass panels in the open kitchen (for guest privacy and/or demos) demonstrate innovation within the barge industry.
An experienced and energetic crew of six ensures guests are well looked after, and includes a private Chef, a dedicated Tour Guide, and the heart and soul of the cruise, the Captain. This crew will of course be personally selected and trained by Spencer and Rejane. .
GRAND CRU CLASSIC Cruise ITINERARYSaone to St. Leger-sur-Dheune on the Canal du Rhone au Rhin, River Saone and Canal du Centre.
SUNDAY - Arrival at Pontailler-sur-Saone - Welcome AboardIn the afternoon, you will be met by a crew member of the Grand Cru at the designated meeting point. From here, relax as you are chauffeured to the barge, moored in the delightful town of Pontailler-sur-Saone. A traditional champagne welcome and introduction to the crew awaits you, before your first gourmet dinner aboard. Perhaps enjoy a glass of Grand Cru wine after dinner while lounging under the stars.
MONDAY - Pontailler to Saint. Jean de Losne
This morning, your Tour Guide presents an insider’s visit to Chateau d’Arcelot, the first neoclassical castle of Burgundy, where you will be welcomed by the castle's owner, Madame la Comtesse de Loisy. After a tasting of locally produced gourmet specialties, return to Grand Cru for an afternoon cruise, admiring the rustic scenery gliding by. Relax on deck with a glass of wine and a good book or explore the towpath on foot or by bicycle. Tonight, enjoy socializing over cocktails and canapes before Chef serves a grand dinner.
TUESDAY - Saint Jean de Losne to Seurre
The journey continues with another cruise through pastoral countryside. Upon mooring, your Tour Guide escorts you to the charming town of Beaune, the region's wine capital, for a guided visit to the Hospice de Beaune, a preserved Medieval hospital built in the 15th century, and still in use through the 1970s. Afterwards, browse the shops and galleries lining the pedestrian area, or enjoy a coffee in the town square. Return to the Grand Cru and explore the towpath's flora and fauna by bicycle or on foot before Chef presents tonight's dinner.
WEDNESDAY - Seurre to Fragnes
Relax in the hot tub or explore the towpath as a lazy morning cruise reveals the bucolic countryside. This afternoon, your Tour Guide chauffeurs you to the historic riverside town of Chalon-sur-Saone, where the bustling Place Saint-Vincent is lined with boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Awaken your senses during a visit to an artisanal chocolate shop and watch chocolatiers master their craft. Sample and savor the creative and premium chocolates before returning to the barge where canapes and cocktails await, followed by another gourmet dinner.
THURSDAY - Fragnes to Chagny
Begin with a morning cruise towards Chagny, the home of Michelin 3* rated Maison Lameloise. A highlight of the Grand Cru's culinary experiences, enjoy luncheon ashore in this luxurious venue, recently voted one of the world’s best restaurants. Then discover the hilltop chateau-fortress of Chateau de la Rochepot, a 12th-century feudal castle of neo-Gothic-Burgundian style. Turrets galore and a rooftop covered with colorful local tiles beckon for exploration. Back onboard, enjoy another evening of drinks and dinner.
FRIDAY - Chagny to St. Leger-sur-Dheune
A leisurely cruise begins the day's adventures. Join Chef in the open kitchen for an informal cooking demonstration or explore the towpath with a bicycle ride or brisk stroll. This afternoon, your Tour Guide escorts you to the cellars the prestigious Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet for a private winetasting. Known for high quality and complex vintages, these exceptional elixirs reveal the intricate tastes of Burgundy's terrior. Then it’s back to Grand Cru where Chef presents tonight's Farewell Feast, ending your cruise in style.
SATURDAYTransfer from St. Leger-sur-Dheune After breakfast, you will be chauffeured to the designated drop off point.
After breakfast, you will be chauffeured to the designated drop off point at one location of the group’s choice in either Paris, Dijon or Geneva.
This is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions.
dole - Saint Leger
26 April - 2 May
5 July - 29 August
18 - 31 Otober
3 May - 4 July
30 AUgust - 17 October
Price for grand cru includes:
6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath - chauffeured transfers from Paris to the barge & return - all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning - all wines with lunch & dinner - open bar - daily escorted excursions - use of onboard bicycles.
These rates do not include:
• Insurance • Personal expenses • Gratuities to the crew (between 7 and 10%)
To avoid currency exchange fees,
• Australians can pay in Australian dollars by direct deposit or credit card.
• New Zealanders can pay in New Zealand dollars by direct deposit or credit card.
• US citizens will be charged in US dollars using credit card.