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

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. The Nymphea is operated by its owner Leigh Wooten. The 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.

We have cruised on the Nymphea and visited it several times and think that it offers wonderful excursions, great cuisine and wines and a unique perpective of the Loire Valley. Gliding on the Cher River aboard Nymphea as it passes directly beneath the Chateau de Chenonceau where the Chateau spans the river is one of our lifetime best memories, a stunning experience that only the Nymphea provides.


Nymphea's Deck Plan
Nymphea's Deck Plan

Jun 24 thru Oct 6
Stateroom (per person, double occupancy)
Single Occupancy Supplement
Honeymoon Charter for 2
Charter for 4
Charter for 5
Charter for 6

Jun 23 thru Oct 5
Stateroom (per person, double occupancy)
Single Occupancy Supplement
Honeymoon Charter for 2
Charter for 4
Charter for 5
Charter for 6

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

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

2018 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Jun 24 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 1 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Jul 8 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 15 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Jul 22 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 29 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 5 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Aug 12 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 19 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Aug 26 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 2 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Sep 9 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 16 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Sep 23 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 30 Nitray-Montrichard Regular

2019 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Jun 23 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jun 30 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Jul 7 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 14 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Jul 21 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Jul 28 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 4 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Aug 11 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Aug 18 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Aug 25 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 1 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Sep 8 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 15 Nitray-Montrichard Regular
Sep 22 Montrichard-Nitray Regular
Sep 29 Nitray-Montrichard Regular

*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.

The Loire Valley: Cher River
Moulin de Nitray to Montrichard 2018

Sunday - Moulin de Nitray
Guests are met near Tours and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to hotel barge Nymphea where the crew and a Champagne Welcome await you at our mooring opposite the 17th century Moulin de Nitray. Dinner on board.

Chateau de Villandry
Chateau de Villandry

Chateau du Clos Luce
Chateau du Clos Luce

Chateau Chenonceau
Chateau Chenonceau

Chateau Valencay
Chateau Valencay

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 Château de Villandry, the last of the great Renaissance châteaux to be built on the banks of the Loire. The château is world-renowned for its amazing array of ornamental, water, vegetable and herb gardens. Dinner on board.

Tuesday - Larcay to Vallet
After a morning cruise past no less than six private châteaux, we tie up opposite the hamlet of Vallet, a cluster of classic Tourangeau architecture grouped around its 18th century mill. From there we drive to Amboise on the banks of the Loire, where we visit the Royal Château d'Amboise, a royal residence of the Kings of France for 200 years. We also visit Château du Clos Lucé nearby, Leonardo Da Vinci's home for the last 3 years of his life. Dinner on board.

Wednesday - Vallet to Chissay-en-Touraine
While cruising in the morning we may pull in to the tiny landing stage next to Domaine de Fontenay. A two-minute walk brings us to the courtyard where we can taste their range of Touraine wines as an aperitif before lunch. In the afternoon we cruise under the 5-arch bridge of the impressive Château de Chenonceau and moor at Chisseaux. From there we take a short drive in the air-conditioned minibus to visit Chenonceau, often called "the ladies château", after those such as Henry II's mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who added the bridge over the River Cher and the beautiful gardens. Upon our return we cruise upstream to Chissay-en-Touraine and 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 and we moor near one of the more unusual dwellings, La Magnaneraie. The Coquillat family have grown up in this hillside troglodyte habitation, which has been in turn a wine cellar, a quarry for the tuffeau stone, and lastly, a silkworm nursery. After lunch we drive to Valencay, one of the most splendid châteaux of the Loire. We then cruise to Montrichard where we moor for the night. Dinner on board.

Friday - Montrichard to Moulin de Nitray
Following breakfast, a short stroll takes us to the heart of Montrichard and into one of the largest street markets in Touraine. We also explore the 11th century château overlooking the medieval town square. Before lunch we can visit the local vineyard of the Meriau family, to taste the regional Touraine vintages. In the afternoon, we enjoy another passage under Chenonceau and arrive at the hamlet of Nitray in time to visit the château and rose garden. Enjoy an aperitif from their vineyards before the Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday - Moulin de Nitray
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the drop-off point near Tours.

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

Dining Aboard The Nymphea:

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Strawberries & crème fraîche
  • Dark chocolate molten cake with white chocolate ice cream
  • Apple tatin with crème Normande au Calvados

Château de Fontenay; La Reserve de Jean; Château de la Grille; Chinon; Domaine de la Renaudi; Touraine Blanc; Château de Nitray; Cabernet Franc; Les Meuriers

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

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This page last updated August 3, 2018