Special Places Travel Barges In France:
Meanderer







Meanderer: Luxury Canal Cruises in France On The Canal De Briare And Canal Lateral A La Loire In The Upper Loire Cruise In France On The Canal De Briare And Canal Lateral A La Loire In The Upper Loire Aboard The Deluxe Hotel-Barge MEANDERER


BARGE CRUISES: SEVEN DAYS/SIX NIGHTS
Special Places Travel Logo.  EMAIL: info@specialplacestravel.com or PHONE: 1-877-642-2743 (001.443.321.3614 outside US/Canada).The 6-passenger Meanderer offers you a chance to restore mind and body with a luxury barge vacation in the Upper Loire region. Like the fine wines and produce of France, this historic countryside of France is best savored slowly, and there is simply no better way to enjoy France than to glide aboard the luxury barge Meanderer. Visit magical chateaux, savor great cuisine, discover vineyards and galleries -- a Meanderer voyage lets you have the French dream vacation on your terms. Cruise aboard the Meanderer and connect with a time and place where life moves a little more slowly and elegantly. The barge will tailor the experience that's perfect for you -- whether you prefer to bicycle or walk down country lanes, or simply lounge on board the Meanderer with your favorite vintage wine and watch one of the world's greatest landscapes go by.

Many experienced travelers are discovering canal barge cruises. France is one of the most popular destinations for this kind of adventure and the Hotel-Barge Meanderer is a perfect choice for this unique vacation. Essentially a floating luxury hotel, you view gorgeous vistas and make enchanting day trips while being pampered by the Meanderer's courteous, gifted and knowledgeable crew. The canals weave charmingly through small towns and countryside creating a perfect barge vacation. Gourmet meals are served daily by a renowned Chef, and a wide selection of regional wines and cheeses make this one of the best barges in France.

The Meanderer boasts three deluxe cabins for a total of 6 passengers. Each cabin can be configured into a king or two twin sized bed suite (your choice), and each has its own private, en-suite bathroom with shower, high windows that open and skylights to bring the enchanting outdoors inside. You will never sleep better than in these beautiful accommodations. The gentle and soothing sounds of the moving water is audible through the open windows.

The cabins, lounge and dining area are all spacious and decorated to complement discriminating tastes. An outdoor sundeck in teak is a perfect spot to watch the world go by, and an onboard spa pool adds to your relaxation and enjoyment. Nothing compares to a barge vacation for a total luxury experience, so we hope that you will make this your year to meander through the French countryside!

The Meanderer is owner-operated by George and Susan Kovalik, who we have known since 2007 when they purchased the barge. We have stayed on board and visited many times and know they will always provide a great barge experience -- a beautiful cruise route, excellent accommodations, cuisine and wines and interesting excursions. Their regular itinerary provides the best of the Canal de Briare and Canal Lateral de la Loire, east of the Loire Valley between Montargis and Sancerre. They also have an alternate northern itinerary from Montargis to Samois-sur-Seine on the Canal du Loing and Seine River, which is available on request. They also offer a guided biking tour for all levels as well as an excellent golf charter. See the itineraries below.

Video Introduction to Hotel Barge Meanderer

Video Introduction to Hotel Barge Meanderer



Features




Meanderer's Deck Plan
Meanderer's Deck Plan



Dining Aboard The Meanderer:
SAMPLE MENU



A taste of the gourmet cuisine served aboard the Meanderer. DINNER
DESSERTS
SAMPLE WINE LIST
Gigondas; Sancerre Clos de Roy; Morgan Beaujolais Cru; Coulange Les Vineause; Margaux; Pouilly Fume; Mercurey; Crozes Hermitage; Sancerre Cuvee Romble; Menetou Salon; St Emilion Grand Cru; Chablis Premier Cru; Vouvray demi-sec; Sancerre Rose 2003; Coteaux de Gienoise; Sancerre Terre Blanche; Pouilly-sur-Loire

Passenger Comments:


This is our second trip on the Meanderer and we enjoyed it just as much this time as we did the last. Everyone went out of his way to make our trip special.....and we hope to return for a third trip!
V.&T.T., MO, USA, September 2016

All of us remember the trip with GREAT pleasure. It was a week of great food, fascinating trips, and so much laughter. The service was what really made the trip. We were treated not just with respect, but with what seemed like pleasure. WOW! dinners were incredible, despite the fact that as a family we have some very difficult tastes (vegetarian and nonvegetarian, No garlic, Yes garlic, but no onions, no avocados etc.) And all the meals were beautifully presented and unusual, as well as very tasty. We went home eager to sign up for one of next year's Meanderer cruises.
L.H. PA, USA, September 2014

The Meanderer was fantastic and couldn't be any better. Max in the kitchen was incredible, the staff was wonderful and the owners a delight. I couldn't believe that Max could prepare cuisine like that on a barge. We have eaten in a lot of top restaurants in the world, and this matches up with most. Incredible! The excurions were fun and entertaining. George and Susan have studied and prepared for each one, and their knowledge and company during the excursions made them most enjoyable. When George heard that 4 of us wanted to take a morning bike ride, he showed up with his bike and led us through a nice ride in the French countryside. We caught up with the barge a few locks down. My wife thought it one of the most memorable parts of the trip. The cruise route is pretty and entertaining. It is not as pretty scenery wise as the Canal du Midi. That said, they can't make the canal more beautiful and what it lacked in comparative beauty, it made up in peacefulness. There was not as much traffic - fewer barges and much fewer rental bumper boats. The high point was of course the food. But also the bike ride with George, the attentiveness of the staff, the winery trip, and the joy of relaxing on the barge. The group liked the excursions, but two of us each took a day off to rest, wander around and enjoy the barge.
R & L W, AL, USA, June 2014

Some of the best food and wine that we have every tasted. The whole experience could have not been surpassed. Overall each tour was informative and interesting, especially the knowledge of our guide, Susan.
D & B H, GA, USA, June 2014

Spectacular in every possible way. There are not enough superlative descriptions of the people, places, food, wine and comfort. We can't wait to book another trip!! 5 star gourmet meals for breakfast lunch and dinner - fresh, local food and cheeses, and special attention paid to dietary needs and wishes. We enjoyed lovely towns, charming spots, easily accessible for excursions, bike jaunts, etc. It was wonderful to see the sights of Paris from the water too.
J & S T., NY< USA, June 2013

The trip could not have been better, extremely picturesque...we enjoyed every aspect of the trip. The food was great, the staff was wonderful and George and Susan took every effort to make our trip the best vacation ever, and the rest of the staff anticipated our every need. The trip was A+!
T.M., IN, USA, August, 2012

As good a writer as I think I am, I don't have the vocabulary to adequately describe the wonderfulness of our cruise on The Meanderer. Service was the best I've experienced in any hospitality setting. This is not an exaggeration. I'd thought Meanderer would be a nice canal cruise through rural France with a chef on board. It turned out to be a gastronomic tour de force taking place on a boat. After the first meal the canal became almost a distraction. The wine, the cheeses, the food, the presentation, the table service, the dining facility (the boat's salon) were all of the highest quality. Meals and wines were clearly the highlight of the experience -- unexpectedly so in my case. Our cabin accommodations was excellent in every respect. In fact, larger than I had expected. Plenty of closet and storage space. Great flat screen TV. Very comfortable bed. Good lighting and well located switches. The route was very well chosen to avoid the intrusions of this 21st Century. The route kept to the rural, small towns, and even wild parts of the canal. At no time were we confronted with reminders that there was a speed faster than walking.
B & C C., Washington DC, USA August 2011



MEANDERER'S ITINERARIES
NOTE: Meanderer offers a southern itinerary between Montbouy and Lere as well as an alternate northern itinerary between Montargis and Samois-sur-Seine. The northern route is available on request only and depends on the cruise weeks already booked. Please contact us for details about the northern itinerary.

SAMPLE ITINERARY
Upper Loire: "Canal de Briare & Canal Lateral al la Loire Cruise" (Southern Itinerary)*
Canal de Briare: Montbouy to Lere 2017

Welcome to the magnificent countryside of France. Our cruise itinerary is based in the fascinating region of the Upper Loire.

Originally the River Loire carried commercial barges but the constantly changing conditions rendered it unsafe for navigation, leading to the building of the Canal de Briare and later the Canal Lateral a la Loire.

We cruise the full length of the Canal de Briare, the first connecting canal built in France. Construction began in 1604 during the reign of Henry IV (who instigated the Louvre in Paris) and was completed in 1634. The Canal was built to enable produce from the Burgundy and Loire regions to be taken to Paris.

The Loire region is often referred to as the "Garden of France", a typically French landscape with peaceful, rolling countryside. Our cruise begins at Montbouy, the northern end of the Canal de Briare close to the regional capital of Montargis. The picturesque town of Montargis welcomes visitors with fabulous floral displays. The canal, once the lifeblood of the capital, winds through the heart of the town passing 17th century buildings and crossing the many smaller waterways which dissect the narrow streets.

The section of the canal beyond Montargis follows the course of the River Loing through villages and hamlets, many of which pre-date the canal.

At Montbouy, the remains of the Roman Baths and Amphitheatre are clearly visible as a testimony to the heritage of this prosperous region. In Chatillon-Coligny the original riverside washhouses make way for the imposing feudal castle, once home to the Counts of Champagne. Although almost destroyed during the French revolution, the labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and the imposing keep still remain.

The original flight of seven locks at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses (the highest point of the canal) is now preserved as a National Historic Monument. The new course of the canal takes us via a shorter flight of locks to the village of Rogny itself, considered by many to be the most unspoiled village of the region.

The magnificent lakes of the Puisaye at the summit of the canal supplied the water for the canal before modern pumping stations were installed to allow uninterrupted use of the locks. The Puisaye is famous for the clay used by local tradesmen to produce some of the finest pottery in Europe.

A gentle descent to the town of Briare takes us through majestic woodland and open farmland to the most famous waterway landmark in France. The 700 yard long aqueduct, which carries the canal across the River Loire at Briare, was built by the great engineer Eiffel (better known for the famous Parisian tower) to replace the original crossing. Our cruise comes to a close in the town of Lere on the Canal Lateral de la Loire on the banks of the imposing River Loire.   

Our cruise itinerary is designed to allow as much flexibility as possible. The following is an example of the tour itinerary but we will always try to accommodate any specific group requirements.
A typical itinerary includes:

Sunday - Paris to Montbouy
We collect you from your Paris hotel after lunch for transfer by private mini-coach to Meanderer moored in a quiet and picturesque village of Montbouy (just a few miles from the regional capital of Montargis). A champagne reception and early evening cruise to the village of Montcresson and back. Relax on deck and watch the town and people pass by. Your first dinner on board.

Monday - Montbouy to Rogny Les Sept Écluses
During the morning we cruise to Rogny Les Sept Ecluses, a historical home of ancient 7 staircase locks considered to this day a marvel of engineering. After lunch, the excursion program begins with a visit to the magnificent Chateau de Sully or to the busy town and spectacular palace of Fontainebleau, home to generations of French royalty.  Chateau Vaux le Vicompte is also an option.

Tuesday - Rogny les Sept Écluses to La Gazonne
This morning we visit the regional capital town of Montargis, the week's best opportunity to explore a busy market town, people-watch or shop for souvenirs and exquisitely packaged confectionary from the famous Mazet Praline shop.  On return to the barge, our afternoon cruise through the 6 locks, which replaced the historical 7 "staircase" locks of Rogny, brings us to the overnight remote mooring at La Gazonne in the middle of a magnificent nature preserve.

Wednesday - La Gazonne to Briare
We start with a morning visit to the splendid 16th Century Chateau of St. Fargeau offering a surprising and unique discovery of the rich history of this castle.  An alternative excursion is available to the Medieval Village of Guedelon, an extraordinary and unique experience to observe this 25 year project recreating a defensive medieval castle being built with materials, tools and techniques of this ancient period.  Afternoon cruise takes us through some of the most beautiful and rural parts of the canal to the spectacular town of Briare on the bank of the Loire River and the entrance to the extraordinary Briare Aqueduct (Pont Canal).

Thursday - Briare to Beaulieu
We shall cruise in the morning over the Pont Canal. The daily excursion program continues with a visit the town of Gien. Set on the banks of the River Loire, the pretty town holds many attractions including the famous Faience Boutique, the Hunting Museum and the Chateau de Gien.  We then take a short drive to the beautiful private Chateau La Bussiere, with its incredible 18th Century gardens. An optional visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site Village of Vezelay is highly recommended as is a private visit (by appointment) to Château de Buranlure.

Friday - Beaulieu to Lere
This morning we continue along the Canal Lateral de la Loire on the way to the charming town of Lere, our final mooring port.  The scenery of flat fields and pastures slowly changes to the hills of the vineyards.  Afternoon excursion takes us to the world famous wine region of Sancerre with the opportunity to sample the local wines and explore the charming hill-top village.  A visit to the extraordinary town of La Charité sur Loire, surrounded from all sides by the Loire River is a special treat.  For early risers the best market visit of the region at Cosne sur Loire with our chef is an option.  The real wine aficionados have the option to visit 2 wineries that afternoon – the afore mentioned Sancerre as well as Pouilly Fume.

Saturday - Lere to Paris
This morning after breakfast we depart for the return transfer to Paris.

Note: Cruises run in reverse direction alternate weeks. It may be necessary to vary the itinerary from day to day according to local conditions.


SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Upper Loire: Canal de Briare & Canal Lateral a la Loire
Montargis to Sancerre (Montbouy to Léré)
Golf Cruise



Sunday – Paris to Montbouy
We collect you from your Paris hotel after lunch for transfer by private mini-coach to Meanderer moored in the quiet and picturesque village of Montbouy (just a few miles from the regional capital of Montargis). After a champagne reception we take an early evening cruise to the village of Montcresson and back. Relax on deck and watch the town and people pass by. Your first dinner on board. GOLF: Introduction and discussion of different courses and other activities. Changes and adjustments, subject to availability.

Monday - Montbouy to Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses
During the morning we cruise to Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses, a historical home of an ancient seven-stage staircase lock, considered to this day a marvel of engineering. After lunch, the excursion program begins with a visit to the magnificent Château de Sully-sur-Loire or to the busy town and spectacular palace of Fontainebleau, home to generations of French royalty or to the Château Vaux le Vicomte with its extensive and pristinely preserved formal gardens. GOLF: Golf de Fontainebleau (55 min drive)

Tuesday - Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses to La Gazonne
This morning we visit the regional capital town of Montargis, the week's best opportunity to explore a busy market town. People-watch or shop for souvenirs and exquisitely packaged confectionary from the famous Mazet Praline shop. On return to the barge, our afternoon cruise through six locks, which replaced the historical seven staircase lock of Rogny, brings us to the overnight remote mooring at La Gazonne, in the middle of a magnificent nature preserve. GOLF: Chateau d'Augerville (1 hr drive)

Wednesday - La Gazonne to Briare
We start with a morning visit to the splendid 16th century Chateau of St. Fargeau, offering a surprising and unique discovery of the rich history of this castle. An alternative excursion is available to the Medieval Village of Guedelon, an extraordinary and unique experience to observe this 25 year project recreating a defensive medieval castle, which is being built with materials, tools and techniques of this ancient period. Our afternoon cruise takes us through some of the most beautiful and rural parts of the canal to the spectacular town of Briare on the bank of the Loire River and the entrance to the extraordinary Briare Aqueduct (Pont Canal). GOLF: Roncemay Golf and Country club (1 hr drive) or Domaine et Golf de Vaugouard a Montargis (41 min drive)

Thursday - Briare to Beaulieu-sur-Loire
We shall cruise in the morning over the Pont Canal. The daily excursion program continues with a visit the town of Gien. Set on the banks of the River Loire, the pretty town holds many attractions including the famous Faience Boutique, the Hunting Museum and the Château de Gien. We then take a short drive to the beautiful private Château de La Bussière, with its incredible 18th Century gardens. An optional visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site Village of Vézelay is highly recommended as is a private visit (by appointment) to Château de Buranlure. GOLF: Cely Golf & Country Club (1 hr drive) or Golf Club de Sully sur Loire (45 min drive)

Friday - Beaulieu to Léré
This morning we continue along the Canal Lateral de la Loire on the way to the charming town of Léré, our final mooring port. The scenery of flat fields and pastures slowly changes to the hills of the vineyards. Afternoon excursion takes us to the world famous wine region of Sancerre with the opportunity to sample the local wines and explore the charming hill-top village. A visit to the extraordinary town of La Charité sur Loire, surrounded on all sides by the Loire River is a special treat. For early risers the best market visit of the region at Cosne-sur-Loire with our chef is an option. The real wine aficionados have the option to visit 2 wineries that afternoon; Sancerre as well as Pouilly Fume. GOLF:
Golf de Sancerre, Sancerrois (15 min drive)

Saturday – Léré to Paris
This morning after breakfast we depart for the return transfer to Paris.

Note: Cruises run in reverse direction alternate weeks. It may be necessary to vary the itinerary from day to day according to local conditions.

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Upper Loire: Canal de Briare
Montbouy to Lere 2017
Cycling Cruise

Our cruise itinerary is designed to allow as much flexibility as possible. The following is an example of the tour itinerary but we will always try to accommodate any specific group requirements. However, there is only one guide available and therefore the majority rules (GPS are available). The area between Briare and Sancerre is a true bikers' paradise. It is a part of the fabulous network of biking paths and trails known as Loire à Vélo - http://www.loireavelo.fr/

Sunday - Paris to Montargis (Montbouy)
Introduction & bike allocation and fitting.

Monday - Montbouy to Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses


Tuesday - Rogny-Les-Sept-Écluses to La Gazonne


Wednesday - La Gazonne to Briare


Thursday - Briare to Beaulieu-sur-Loire


Friday - Beaulieu to Léré


Saturday - Léré to Paris
This morning after breakfast we depart for the return transfer to Paris.

Note: Cruises run in reverse direction alternate weeks. It may be necessary to vary the itinerary from day to day according to local conditions.



Meanderer
2017 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Apr 16 Montbouy-Lere Value
Apr 23 Lere-Montbouy Value
Apr 30 Montbouy-Lere Value
May 7 Lere-Montbouy Regular
May 14 Montbouy-Lere Regular
May 21 Lere-Montbouy Regular
May 28 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jun 4 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Jun 11 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jun 18 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Jun 25 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jul 2 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Jul 9 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jul 16 Lere-Montbouy Regular
       
Cruise Schedule* ... continued

Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Jul 23 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jul 30 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Aug 6 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Aug 13 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Aug 20 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Aug 27 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Sep 3 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Sep 10 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Sep 17 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Sep 24 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Oct 1 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Oct 8 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Oct 15 Montbouy-Lere Value
Oct 22 Lere-Montbouy Value

2017 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Apr 16 Montbouy-Lere Value
Apr 23 Lere-Montbouy Value
Apr 30 Montbouy-Lere Value
May 7 Lere-Montbouy Regular
May 14 Montbouy-Lere Regular
May 21 Lere-Montbouy Regular
May 28 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jun 4 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Jun 11 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jun 18 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Jun 25 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jul 2 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Jul 9 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jul 16 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Jul 23 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Jul 30 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Aug 6 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Aug 13 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Aug 20 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Aug 27 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Sep 3 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Sep 10 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Sep 17 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Sep 24 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Oct 1 Montbouy-Lere Regular
Oct 8 Lere-Montbouy Regular
Oct 15 Montbouy-Lere Value
Oct 22 Lere-Montbouy Value

*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.


Hotel Barge Meanderer's cruise route, highlighting the southern Montbouy to Lere route on the Canal de Briare and the Canal Lateral a la Loire amd the alternate Samois sur Seine to Montargis route.
Hotel Barge Meanderer's cruise route, highlighting the southern Montbouy to Lere route on the Canal de Briare and the Canal Lateral a la Loire and the alternate Samois sur Seine to Montargis route. For a more detailed look at the cruise route, view our map of the Canal de Briare and the Canal Lateral a la Loire.



MEANDERER
2017 SEASON PRICES in US DOLLARS
TYPE VALUE
Apr 16 thru May 6
Oct 15 thru Oct 28
REGULAR
May 7 thru Oct 14
Cabin (per person, double occupancy)
$5,575
$6,100
Single Occupancy Supplement
$5,575
$6,100
Charter for 4
$31,150
$33,300
Charter for 5
$31,650
$34,100
Charter for 6
$32,150
$34,900


What's Included
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge in cabins with private bath
- Transfers from Paris to the barge and return
- All meals beginning with dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Saturday
- All wines with lunches and dinners
- Open bar
- All escorted side-excursions (hot air ballooning, golf clubs/buggy at additional cost; golf green fees/cart included)
- Use of bicycles

What's Not Included
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Suggested 7-10% gratuity for the crew, to be paid in equivalent Euros to the captain




Please visit our ... Special Offers Page ... to see potential discounts for this barge or many others.




CONTACT US


Call (US/Canada): 1-877-642-2743
Outside US: +1-443-321-3614
Email: info@BargesInFrance.com
Submit our Contact Reply Form





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Last Update: April 18, 2017