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Trip Report The Barge was the Best! (A Trip in 3-parts)

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It started with a phone call - would we like to join our much traveled friends for some wine and look at pictures from their latest European trip? Knowing that their prior trips are the stuff we only dream of, we drove right over. After looking at their album and hearing about their wonderful experience in the Burgundy region aboard the luxury barge Prosperite, they surprised us with this - “We had such a great time that we are doing this again next year. We plan to rent the entire barge (4 staterooms) and take our daughters and their husbands, leaving one room vacant - would you care to join us?” All thoughts of logistical difficulties flew from our heads and we said Yes! Thus was born our most recent trip - A week or so of traveling by ourselves with a week on the barge sandwiched in between. And though it was all wonderful, the Barge was definitely the Best!

The trip unfolded in thirds as I was using Delta Skymiles to get Business Elite tickets and I was unable to get tickets from Atlanta to Paris (at least not the 100,000 mile tickets). The closest I could get was Frankfurt, returning out of Nice. My husband’s daughter lives in New York so even the return through JFK became a good excuse to stop for a few days and see the family. Therefore part 1 is visit the Mosel for a few days while adjusting to European time and then join our friends in Paris for a couple of nights. Part 2 is the barge experience for 6 days out of Dijon, cruising the Burgundy Canal. And Part 3 is Provence/Nice/New York.

Part 1 - Mosel & Paris

We have been lucky enough to be able to “work the system” when it comes to Skymiles - I’m always looking for ways to get extra mileage credit. We save these to use for our Europe trips as it has been the only way that my tall husband has been able to cope (well - that and some Ambien). We had the new “lie flat” seats and found them to be more comfortable than the old tilted seats. We arrived in Frankfurt and got our rental car (used Auto Europe to get the car through Europcar) and drove to Trier. I had been second guessing myself as to where to stay along the Mosel and initially thought of somewhere like Bielstein. But after realizing that it would take much more time to get a train to Paris, we settled on Trier and I’m really glad we did. We liked the feel of the town and we were able to travel up and down the Mosel easily and see the other smaller towns. We stayed at Hotel Petrisberg which is perched up above the city with an easy 15 minute walk down and not that difficult to come back up. It was also easy to drive down to the town and back. The Petrisberg is exactly what we like in a small hotel - great buffet breakfast, free wi-fi, quiet and, compared to the rest of our trip, very inexpensive. It did not have A/C but the weather was pleasant and we didn’t have any trouble sleeping. During our stay we toured the town, drove a good part of the Mosel, tried to like the German wine (I’ll stick to beer from now on), and had good but not gourmet dinners - a perfect first two days in Europe.

We took the TGV to Paris, hopped on the Metro and easily got to the Hotel Relais St. Honore - in the 1st Arrondisement, close to the Tuilleries. Our friends were staying at the Hotel Cambon - a great looking small modern hotel but it was a little pricey for us. We enjoyed the St. Honore very much - VERY friendly staff and a good location to do the few things we had planned. We had been to Paris 3 times before and it was never our favorite European city. This trip, however, we did fewer “touristy” things during the day and enjoyed ourselves more. We have finally been won over and now I can’t wait to go back. Our two days in Paris included an early morning run for me along the Seine up to the Eiffel Tower and back, a return visit to the Musee d’Orsay (which I much prefer to the too-big Louvre), and our first time to Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. Our friends were also treating us to two “event dinners” - one was the Moulin Rouge dinner and show and the second was a tasting dinner at the Jules Verne. It’s hard to describe the show at Moulin Rouge - I guess a cross between Cirque du Soleil and a Vegas spectacle. The dinner was not the best, but we did enjoy the show - the acts in between the dancing girls were great! It was, all in all, something I'm glad to have done once. The Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower was wonderful! Our full party of 8 got very dressed up and the multi course dinner with wine pairings was an experience in elegant service and good food. That and the view from the restaurant - we’ll never forget being up there with all the lights twinkling, looking out over the city, drinking lots of nice wine!

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