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Sample Autumn’s Bounty on French Canal Cruises

October 2nd, 2014

Autumn with its clear blue skies and cool nights is a splendid time to visit France. Our September and early October French canal cruises book quickly, and there’s a reason for this. Here are some of the seasonal delights you can experience when you book one of our autumn cruises.

Nivernais Canal in Burgundy

Colors changing on the beautiful Nivernais Canal in Burgundy

Amazing farmers’ markets

While local produce is available year-round at these markets, many of which have been happening in the same place for hundreds of years, unsurprisingly autumn is the best time for abundant produce. Whether you wish to sample freshly roasted chestnuts and mushrooms or photograph a pheasant—still dressed in its colorful plumage—the farmer’s markets are a feast for all the senses. All our barge cruises include side trips, whether into tiny medieval villages or large modern town, most of which have a farmer’s market to enjoy.

Mushrooms at a French market

Mushrooms are delectable in Burgundy and France

Fresh seasonal cheeses

There are many French fromages which are newly available in the fall. For example, the new season for the oozing Vacherin or Mont d’Or begins in September, and fresh goat cheeses are at their peak in September and October.

Cheese stores abound in France

Cheeses are served with lunch and dinner on French canal cruises

Tarte tatin and other apple delights

Apples are the quintessential fall fruit, and the French know how to take advantage of them. Whether you indulge in the caramelized flavors of tarte tatin, an upside-down apple pie, a rustic apple cake infused with rum or calvados, or the sculptural masterpiece called Tarte de Pommes a la Normande, the French know how to coax every bit of flavor from fresh autumn apples.

Tarte tatin

Tarte tatin, a yummy upside down apple pie. Photo by Robyn Lee on Flickr.

Seasonal chocolates

One of the joys of wandering through French towns is discovering the local chocolatier, who will be crafting gorgeous and scrumptious fall chocolates in the shapes of acorns, leaves, mushrooms and other iconic autumn images.

Chocolate dessert on barge Luciole

Luscious chocolate desserts by barge Luciole in Burgundy

So if you’re ready to savor France at its’ gastronomic peak, contact us today to plan ahead and reserve your spot for the most popular time for barge cruising!

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Whenever you’re ready to go barging, we’re ready to help. Happy autumn!

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988

Barge and Burgundy Wine Connoisseurs Cruise

March 19th, 2014

Do you love tasting a new wine? Do you subscribe to Food and Wine or Wine Enthusiast and savor the pairings and posturings about the greatest new find or old world vintage rediscovered? If so, then you are the perfect passenger for one of our Burgundy Wine Connoisseurs Cruise on the barge Apres Tout.

Learn about French wines on barge cruise excursions

Chateau de Clos du Vougeot

Chateau de Clos du Vougeot

Imagine being able to get authoritative answers to all the wine questions that cross your mind as you peruse the pages of those magazines, or try to detect the differences between two vintages. Savor the opportunity to experience French gourmet food and local wine pairings. Enjoy touring Grand Cru vineyards and tasting their wines—and even enjoy lunch with a maker of Grand Cru wines! All of this is included in this fabulous wine-themed cruise. From the Kir Royale of Dijon to the “wine and war” tour in the Burgundian capital of Beaune, your cruise week will be filled with a number of unforgettable tastes, smells and sounds of France.

Fine wines and gourmet dining on board the barge Apres Tout

Happy guests on board the barge Apres Tout

Gourmet dining and fine wines are an intricate part of barge cruising.

And then there’s the excitement of cruising the Burgundy Canal! Aboard the deluxe barge Apres Tout, you will observe the beautiful countryside and scenic villages along the Burgundy Canal from the elegant teak sundeck of your barge. With central air conditioning and heat, generous suites with ensuite bathrooms, a library and a hot tub on board, this luxurious home away from home has all the amenities you could desire, from heated towel racks to bicycles for getting closer to the idyllic countryside. The demonstration kitchen gives you the chance to ask even more questions about both wine pairings and cooking with wine.

So whether you have memorized the list of Burgundy Grand Crus or need some help understanding the difference between a Grand Cru and Premier Cru, this cruise is the ultimate chance to answer all your questions, tantalize your taste buds with unforgettable vintages and even ship your favorite wines home so you can host a tasting of your own for your friends or local wine club.

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To book this unique Burgundy Wine Connoisseurs Cruise, contact us today.

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988

Restaurant Guide for All-Inclusive Savoir Vivre Barge Cruise

January 31st, 2014

A variety of restaurants while cruising on Savoir VivreExcellent dining on barge cruises is one of the highlights, usually taken on board with your own chef. The barge Savoir Vivre offers another way with its all-inclusive dinners on shore in a variety of local restaurants. You can choose from the menu and 1/2 bottle of wine per person is included in the cruise price.

To whet your appetite for this unique dining experience where you can mingle with the locals and sample six different restaurants, enjoy the restaurant dining guide provided by James Waggott, owner Savoir Vivre.

Our clients have loved the variety, authenticity and exceptional quality of the restaurants selected. Transportation is provided, too!

“L’Auberge Gourmande” in Fleurey

A friendly and warm welcome awaits you by Delphine and Christophe Faivre at the L’Auberge Gourmande. Situated in Velars-sur-Ouche.

Their goal is no less than “to satisfy all your desires and we will spare no effort in doing so. We want our guests to enjoy quality service and we strive to offer all the comfort you deserve.”

The restaurant is located on a quiet street in this typical village and has two rooms with elegant décor, air conditioning and a pleasant terrace outside.

Head Chef Christophe learned his craft at the Moulin de Saint Remy Martorey, Guy Savoy, Negresco, Girardet in Switzerland as well as spending seven years abroad (Tel Aviv, Israel, Rio, London, and on a private yacht for a billionaire Englishman). So his credentials speak volumes.

The result of all this effort? A recent restaurant critic declared that this restaurant offers a “pleasant setting for a restaurant that is going places, the food was exquisite”.

Menu Highlights – Specialities include eggplant tartare with balsamic vinegar, espuma melon lemon balm.  Cromesquis fried ham with parsley, Burgundy escargot, hummus, and wild garlic. Confit of lamb shoulder in kefta stuffed with tomato reduction, rosemary and paprika.

Its no surprise that this restaurant is tipped for big things, we’ve caught it during its ascendency, we think this is the “Savoir Vivre” time to visit.

L’Abbaye De La Bussiere – Le Bistrot des Moines

Le Bistrot des MoinesTo demonstrate our commitment to offering new levels of experience and value, we are offering dinner in the renowned L’Abbaye De La Bussiere for our 2014 passengers. The setting is magnificent and the head chef, Emmanuel Hébrard, is a genius.

We dine at the more relaxed Bistrot section of the restaurant – i.e. the Savoir Vivre way to dine in such a magnificent setting. Just as in the more formal gourmet restaurant, it uses the best products of the season and is of the same quality.

This is an indulgent and exciting restaurant which significantly enhances our already unique experience. We are delighted to offer it for all of our 2014 passengers.

“Chez Camille” in Arnay le Duc

It is common in France for authentic restaurants to sit within a hotel. Moreover, it is not unusual for the restaurant to be the star of the show! This is exactly the case with Chez Camille, a traditional, elegant and interesting restaurant set within the building of the modest Chez Camille Hotel located in the centre of Arnay le Duc, itself a quaint and pretty town.

Proprietor Arman Poinsot is as French as they come with the style and composure straight out of Disney’s Ratatouille!

Head chef Pascal Godillot’s kitchen works in step with Mr Poinsot – the food is traditional with occasional complex highlights to attract the eye of the sophisticated and adventurous diner.

The dining area is fabulous with traditional round tables but with decidedly untraditional features such as a tree canopy and glass viewing areas to the kitchen where a team of crisp white clad chefs are hard at work.

This restaurant offers a French dining experience at its most traditional routes. The building, décor, ambiance, proprietor, and menu all hark to an era which so many restaurants around the world strive to emulate. This is a rare example of the real thing and is an essential cast member of our dining experiences.

Menu HighlightsHow about a caramelized pineapple and vanilla zabaglione with gingerbread and rum sorbet?!

Sorry we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

Other highlights include everything from traditional Burgundian favourites such as Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon to more adventurous dishes such as walnut sweetbread cutlet with juice reduction, spinach, mushrooms and parmesan crust.

“Ferme de Rolle” in Rolle

Restaurant La Ferme de Rolle ChefLong before her Michelin Star grade owners took residence, the site of the Ferme de Rolle experienced a fascinating history involving peasants, pig farmers, and soldiers gaining a strategic advantage.

Over a century ago sixteen households (pop. 30) lived in and around the current building – three wells assured water supply to the modest community.

In 1933 the buildings and surrounding land were converted into a pig farm. A Mr George Flacelière developed and later sold the farm to a Mr Denvin. However, during the Second World War, in addition to his pigs, Mr Denvin played host to the Canadian allies. The site held a strong position being very close to the farm of La Belle Emélia Saint-Jean-de-Boeuf, occupied by the German army.

In 1975 the entire site was given a new lease of life through its conversion into a fabulous restaurant which it has remained ever since. Since spring 2004, the Sangoy family, who previously owned the Michelin Star awarded ‘Gevrey-Chambertin’, have taken the restaurants to new gastronomic heights.

Menu HighlightsThe house speciality is ham roasted over an open spit right in front of you. This hearty traditionally prepared dish compliments this wonderfully historic restaurant, don’t miss out on it!

This is a very special restaurant in the countryside of Burgundy and “the Route des Grands Crus”, it quite rightly sits at the heart of our restaurant selection.

“Le Spuller” in Sombernon

Restaurant Le Spuller in SombernonRather like the Chez Camille (above) ‘Le Spuller’ is set within the ‘Hotel le Spuller’. It is located in Sombernon, a village of approximately 800 residents nestled in a location equidistant from Dijon, the Côte-d’Or vineyards, Chateauneuf and Beaune, talk about location location location!

On top of this are the views offered by its hillside location, they are absolutely magnificent!

However, It is the restaurant itself that really caught our attention and that of many local residents. The dining area offers panoramic views of the valley below – it is a perfect setting to enjoy a lovely dinner while afternoon turns to evening. The food is of an excellent standard with charming staff and a menu which offers something for everybody.

Captain Richard explaining a menuOur 2013 guests have universally adored Le Spuller. The combination of quality, setting and exceptionally friendly and amiable service hits all the marks.

Menu Highlights – The food at Le Spuller is unashamedly simple. Elegantly, authentically, and tastefully so. This is in contrast to some of our more avant-guard restaurants and sits nicely in our selection.

This includes Oeufs en Meurette and other Burgundian classics.

Other highlights include roast trout with Emmental and ginger cream and the ”Salade Spuller” made with an Epoisse cheese gougère pastry.

ps – the kitchen is also very flexible here, a simple child-friendly pizza can be catered if so desired!

“I’Orre du Bois” in Chateauneuf

Chateauneuf en AuxoisChateauneuf en Auxois is a rarely beautiful place. This hilltop medieval village is one of the last remaining examples of 14th century Burgundian military architecture. During the Hundred Years War, towers and curtain walls were built to defend the village and the Auxois plains. Many still stand to this day.

From the 14th-17th centuries wealthy Burgundian merchants built houses at Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. One such house is now home to “l’Oree du Bois”! This gem of a restaurant sits comfortably in this fascinating location.

Rather than focus on traditional Burgundian cuisine, “l’Oree du Bois” (roughly translated ‘Edge of the Woods’) has chosen to focus on another French culinary bastion, the ‘crêperie’.

Those unfamiliar with this type of restaurant need not worry, we’re not just talking about Nutella and Grand Marnier pancakes here! Authentic French creperies started in the Brittany region but later became widespread across France and are now considered a national dish. It would be a shame not to visit one on a culinary tour of France!

A creperie in BurgundyAuthentic creperies offer a wide range of savoury (and sweet) crepes each made with skill care and attention using locally sourced ingredients.

The restaurant itself is barely noticeable from the outside with its ancient historic building perfectly and correctly untouched. Once inside, however you are greeted with vaulted ceiling with a very pleasant central fireplace and mezzanine dining level.

A quiet amble around Chateauneuf is the ideal way to finish off your evening. We can suggest a spectacular vantage point just one minute’s walk from l’Oree du Bois from where, weather permitting, you will have a stunning view of the green and lovely land that is Burgundy.


At times restaurants may be unavailable due to special occasion bookings, seasonal closures etc. In these instances we have several other high quality restaurants to choose from, all of them are up to our standards.

To cruising calm waters…

James Waggott
Savoir Vivre Owner, Author, Guest Blogger

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Family Barge Cruises on 8 passenger Savoir Vivre in Burgundy.

For more information, have a look at Savoir Vivre’s barge page and more photos.

Ready to go barging? Please contact us today to select and book your barge cruise.

Beth Hanson
Barge Cruise Specialist since 1988