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Barges In France: Nymphea
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Cruise In France On The Cher River In The Loire Valley On The First Class Hotel-Barge NYMPHEA

SEVEN DAYS / SIX NIGHTS

The-6 passenger Nymphea is a classic Dutch barge, whose shallow draft design is ideal for navigating the incredibly beautiful, yet somewhat sandy reaches of the river Cher, in the Loire valley. To date, the Nymphea is the only cruising barge navigating the fabled Loire Valley. Refitted throughout, her traditional ship's interior features a warm classic decor of rich varnished hardwoods, stained glass and a welcoming country house atmosphere. There are three charming cabins -- two with twin beds and a third that can be configured with either double bed or two twin sized beds-- provide lots of cozy comfort. Her crew, which includes the Captain, Chef and tour guide are very knowledgeable about the history of this beautiful area, and are the perfect hosts for your cruise.

Some of the cruise highlights include: a cruise under the famed Château de Chenonceau, a visit to a Troglodyte cave dwelling and silkworm nursery, an excursion to the Château d'Amboise, private tastings at Montrichard and Civray, a visit to the château of Valençay or Blois, a visit to the colorful street markets and optional hot air ballooning. The Nymphea cruises between the end of June and beginning of October.


Features

  • Size of barge: 81 ft. by 14 ft.
  • Number of Passengers: 6
  • Number of Cabins (all with private bath): 3
  • Crew: 3
  • Air Conditioning and Central Heating: Yes
  • Salon: Lower level salon has built-in seating and dining table for 6. Upper salon has picture windows and built-in seating.
  • Bar: Open bar
  • Deck: Sundeck with reclining chairs and a parasol
  • Spa Tub: No
  • Cabin Features: Chenonceau bow Stateroom: twin beds or double, approx. 91 sq. ft. with entrance from deck. Cheverny Stateroom: twin beds approx. 65 sq. ft. Chambord Stateroom: twin beds approx. 75 sq. ft. All cabins include ensuite bathroom with shower
  • Vehicle for Transfers/Excursions: 7 seater air-conditioned VW Sharan minibus
  • Accessibility: Steps from deck to salon and two cabins. Steps from deck to Chenonceau cabin.
  • Bicycles: 6 mountain bikes
  • Wi-Fi: No - limited internet access


Nymphea's Deck Plan

Nymphea's Deck Plan



Dining Aboard The Nymphea:
SAMPLE MENU



A taste of the gourmet cuisine served aboard the Nymphea. BREAKFAST
  • Freshly baked croissants, pastries and breads
  • Cereals
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Coffee and a selection of teas
LUNCH
  • Local white asparagus with crispy parmesan tuiles
  • Ripe tomatoes stuffed with basil & roasted pine nuts
  • Corn fed chicken breast coated with a duo of whole grain Dijon mustard
  • Roasted artichokes with a garlic persillade
  • Smoked salmon quiche with whole wheat pastry
  • Seared quail’s breasts with seasonal greens and cep mushroom vinaigrette
DINNER
  • Cheese soufflé with curly chickory salad and red currants
  • Roasted saddle of lamb, gratin dauphinoise potatoes and French beans with shitake mushrooms
  • Onion and potato tart, seared scallops and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Duck confit with roasted celeriac purée and red wine jus
  • Assorted cheese board may include Chèvre de Valencay, Tomme de Savoie, Roquefort, Colommiers, Epoisses, Beaufort, Brie de Melun and Affiné au Chablis
Desserts
  • Strawberries & crème fraîche
  • Dark chocolate molten cake with white chocolate ice cream
  • Apple tatin with crème Normande au Calvados


Passenger Comments:


Fabulous! I have traveled all over the US, Central America, into South America, extensively in the UK and Ireland, France, Spain, Scandinavia, Italy, Greece, and Egypt. This was by far the most relaxing and enjoyable trip I have ever had!
M.H., OH, USA, September 2012

It was a lot of fun.! Our daily trips were also everything you would want. SPT was outstanding, probably the best group I have worked with when planning a trip.
A & J F., WA, USA, October 2011

Nymphea exceeded our expectations. The excursions were great fun. A little bit of exercise, a lot of history and culture, and some gorgeous sights. The crew service was beyond reproach -- elegant, friendly, entertaining. We have never felt so pampered! Meals were fantastic, gourmet fare with a wonderful variety of offerings. There was something to tickle the palate of the most discriminating diners! Our cabin was comfortable, clean, and inviting. The vase of flowers was a special and unexpected touch. To sum it up; this cruise was fun, relaxing, informative, companionable, and delicious!
P & J K., NH, USA, September 2011

The Nymphea excursions were well planned and very interesting. Meals and wines were delicious. We listed the food in our journal as it was one of the high points of the trip. Caroline, our chef, was a genius in a tiny kitchen. We enjoyed the deck, upper level lounge and lower level lounge and dining area, they gave a variety of locations during the day, good for different weather conditions.
K.I., CO, USA, July 2011

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
The Loire Valley: Cher River
Moulin de Nitray to Montrichard 2014

Sunday - Moulin de Nitray
Guests are met at the designated meeting point (St Pierres des Corps TGV Station) and transferred to Nymphea where the crew and a champagne welcome awaits you at our mooring opposite the 17th century Moulin de Nitray. Dinner on board.

Monday - Moulin de Nitray to Larcay
A morning cruise through two locks takes us to the quaint town of Larcay where we moor under the weeping willows for lunch. In the afternoon we enjoy an excursion to Chateau de Villandry, with its world-renowned Renaissance gardens. Dinner on board.

Tuesday - Larcay to Vallet
After a morning cruise past no less than six private chateaux, we tie up opposite the hamlet of Vallet, a cluster of classic Tourangeau architecture grouped around its 18th century mill. After lunch we transfer by minibus to Amboise on the banks of the Loire, where we visit the Royal Chateau D'Amboise and the Clos Luce, Leonardo Da Vinci's home. Dinner on board.

Wednesday - Vallet to Chissay-en-Touraine
While cruising in the morning we pull in to the tiny landing stage next to Domaine de Chateau de Fontenay. A two minute walk brings us to their courtyard where we can taste their range of Touraine wines as an aperitif before lunch moored at Blere. In the afternoon we cruise under the 5 arch bridge of the impressive Château de Chenonceau and moor at Chisseaux. From there we depart by minibus to visit the Chateau. Upon our return we cruise upstream to Chissay-en-Touraine. We have dinner tonight in one of the local restaurants specializing in Loire regional cooking.

Thursday - Chissy-en-Touraine to Montrichard
A morning cruise takes us towards the troglodyte village of Bourré. We tie up at the lock, a short walk from which is one of the more unusual dwellings in the Loire Valley, La Magnaneraie. The Coquillat family have grown up in this hillside troglodyte habitation, which has been in turn wine cellar, quarry for the tuffeau stone, and lastly a silkworm nursery. After lunch we drive east to Valencay, one of the most splendid chateaux of the Loire and the home of Napoleon's foreign minister, Talleyrand. Returning to the hotel barge we cruise to Montrichard where we moor for the night. Dinner on board.

Friday - Montrichard to Nitray

Following breakfast, a short stroll takes us to the heart of Montrichard, into the midst of one of the largest weekly street markets in Touraine. There is much to explore at the 11th century Chateau de Foulques Nerra overlooking the medieval town square. Before lunch we can visit the local vineyard of the Meriau family, to taste the regional Touraine vintages. After an early lunch, Nymphea sets off downstream again, for another passage under Chenonceau and arrives at the hamlet of Nitray in time to visit the Chateau and rose garden of Nitray. Enjoy an aperitif from their vineyards before the Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday - Nitray
After breakfast, disembark and return to the designated drop off point (St Pierres des Corps TGV Station).
On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction.

Note:This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.

SAMPLE "BIKE and BARGE" ITINERARY*
The Loire Valley: Cher River
Moulin de Nitray to Montrichard Cycling Charter Cruise 2014

Sunday - Moulin de Nitray
You are met at the St Pierre des Corps TGV station near Tours and transferred to Nymphea where a "Champagne Welcome" awaits you at our mooring opposite the 17th century Moulin de Nitray. Dinner on board.

Monday - Moulin de Nitray to Larcay
After a continental breakfast we follow the Cher river by bike, downstream twenty kilometres, to visit the chateau and amazing gardens of Villandry. Cycling back is optional as the car and trailer meet us there after the visit. After lunch on board we cruise past the hamlets of Azay and Vallet. After a couple of little private chateaux on the left bank the small town of Blere appears ahead, and careful navigation is the order of the day under the many arched bridge, pilings of a 10th century mill left underwater pose a considerable obstacle.  It's always comforting to arrive for supper in the lock to the cheery welcome from the lockkeeper. Dinner on board. (20-40km)

Tuesday - Larcay to Vallet
After breakfast we cross over to the River Loire by bike to tour the Chateau d'Amboise and then le Clos Luce, Leonardo da Vinci's home and its basement stuffed with models of his inventions (10km). We start up the Cher again, after a late lunch and after a tricky bit of navigation under Civray bridge, we are safely into the lock. Shortly after, around the corner, we see Chenonceau castle come into view.  It is one of the most visited private chateaux in France, and belongs to Mr. Meunier of chocolate making fame.  We aim under the second arch from the right while being recorded for posterity in about 400 tourists' vacation photo albums.  Being the only barge on the Cher has its privileges. We moor at the little village of Chisseaux and pedal back to the castle when the crowds start to die down, and see the amazingly decorated rooms with no expense spared by Thomas Bohier, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis since its conception in 1515. Chateau visiting can be thirsty work so a sip and a swirl of the regional vintages can be had in the Chateau's winery or around the corner at the Caves de Pere Auguste in Civray. Dinner on board. (15km)

Wednesday - Vallet to Chissay en Touraine
After breakfast we cruise to the village of Chissay en Touraine.  In the afternoon we drive to the Chateau of Valencay, once home of Talleyrand and after our tour, take to the bikes again for a return cross country (24km) via the myriad lanes to Seigy where we taste a plethora of regional wines at Domaine Max Meunier. An optional cycle ride afterwards or trip in the sag wagon returns us to Nymphea. Dinner onshore in a regional auberge. (24km)

Thursday - Chissay en Touraine to Montrichard
A morning ride to the regional capital, Blois, to see the impressive 15th century Chateau Royale, then we pick up the bikes and cycle along the banks of the Loire to a picnic spot (15kms) where we enjoy an al fresco lunch. Those that wish can continue back by cycle (15kms), to the barge moored at Montrichard. A short walk from the next lock takes us to one of the more unusual dwellings in the Loire Valley, La Magnaneraie. The Coquillat family have grown up in this hillside troglodyte habitation, which has been in turn wine cellar, quarry for the tuffeau stone, and lastly a silkworm nursery. Returning to the barge we cruise to Montrichard where we moor for the night. Dinner on board. (15-30km)

Friday - Montrichard to Nitray

Following breakfast, a short stroll takes us to the heart of Montrichard, into the midst of one of the largest weekly street markets in Touraine. There is much to explore at the 12th century Chateau of Foulques Nerra overlooking the mediaeval town square. After an early lunch, there is a choice of transport -- bikes or our floating home as Nymphea sets off downstream again for another passage under Chenonceau arriving at the hamlet of Nitray in time to visit the Chateau and rose garden of Nitray. Meet up with the cycle party there and enjoy a pre-Captain's dinner aperitif from Nitray's vineyards. Captain's Dinner on board. (10km)

Saturday - Nitray
After breakfast, guests are transferred to the St Pierre des Corps TGV station.

NOTE: On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.



Nymphea
2014 Season Cruise Schedule*
(Representative of the 2015 Season Schedule)
Week Route Season
Jun 22 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jun 29 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Jul 6 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 13 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Jul 20 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 27 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 3 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Aug 10 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 17 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Aug 24 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 31 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Sep 7 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 14 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Sep 21 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 28 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Oct 5 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
NOTE: This barge only cruises between June and October

The Nymphea's routes through the Loire Valley, from Azay sur cher to Nitray.
The Nymphea's routes through the Loire Valley, from Azay sur cher to Nitray. For a more detailed look at the cruise route, view our map of the Cher River in the Loire Valley.

*Note: Cruise directions and sample itineraries may be in reverse and are subject to change and may depend on bookings and local navigation conditions. Alternate excursions of equal appeal are substituted when needed. For charter cruises special itineraries can be arranged.



NYMPHEA
2014 SEASON PRICES in US DOLLARS
Use as reference for 2015 prices
ACCOMMODATION REGULAR
Jun 22 thru Oct 11
Stateroom (per person, double occupancy)
$4,300
Single Occupancy Supplement
$1,800
Honeymoon Charter for 2
$17,750
Charter for 4
$21,800
Charter for 5
$23,150
Charter for 6
$24,500
Cycling Charter Supplement for up to 6
$2,000
Golf Supplement (pp w/ 4 players minimum)
$500


What's Included
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge, all cabins with private bath
- transfers from Tours (St Pierre des Corps TGV station) to the barge and return
- all meals beginning with dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Saturday, including one dinner at a local restaurant
- all wines with lunches and dinners
- open bar
- all escorted side-excursions (hot air ballooning, golf, etc. at additional cost)
- use of bicycles

What's Not Included
- overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- train transfers from Paris to Tours (St Pierre des Corps TGV station) and return
- suggested 5-7% gratuity for the crew, to be paid to the captain in equivalent Euros

Please visit our Special Offers page to see potential discounts for this barge or many others.
Special Places Travel, LLC
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For booking information,
Phone (toll-free): 1-877-64-BARGE (1-877-642-2743)
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or E-mail: info@specialplacestravel.com



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Last Update: March 3, 2014

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CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association, OSSN-Outside Sales Support Network. 
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Cards Welcome