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Trip Report French Country Waterways "Adrienne"

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We had always wanted to do a barge cruise through the French wine country, and since the Burgundy style (Pinot Noir) is our favorite wine at the moment the French Country Waterways barge cruise on the Adrienne caught our eye. Although the cruise was way over our normal vacation budget, I have to say that it was worth every penny. The accommodations were deluxe (our stateroom was bigger than our hotel room in Paris), the service was unequalled, and the food was beyond compare.
Now I hate the term “foodie” but I would say that that’s how most of our friends describe us. We love good food and wine. And we know good food and a little about wine. That being said, the food and wine on this cruise was so good that even the 3 star Michelin restaurant they took us to one night couldn’t compare to the lunches and dinners we ate on the barge.
There was wine (white and red) with every lunch and dinner, all premier crus and grand crus, and each bottle was introduced to us before the meal, with an explanation of where the wine was from, etc. The lunches usually included 2-3 salads, a quiche, and some kind of meat entrée. You could have as much as you liked (I did take seconds one day on a particularly good German style potato salad) but you needed to save room, because after the lunch came the cheese course (3 kinds) and then coffee and cookies.
There was an open bar on the barge at all times, and they would usually do some kind of aperitif and hors d’oeuvres around cocktail hour. This would lead into dinner, which would bring with it two more new wines, an appetizer, main course, cheese course, and dessert. Then after dinner the bar would be open (if you could still move) for whatever else you were drinking.
Ok, probably enough about the food. The thing that really made this a great cruise was the crew on the barge. Anna (the Captain, Bus Driver, Tour Guide, Organizer, and Sommelier) was fantastic. She was the one that took us on our excursions in the afternoon, kept us on schedule, and hung out with us when she was on board. She was just a delight to talk to and her attitude set the tone for the whole cruise. The chef, Cyril, had a background cooking haute cuisine at several places, and if you expressed an interest he would let you come back in the kitchen and watch him do whatever he was doing that day. He also did magic tricks to entertain us. The rest of the staff, Marie, Teresa, Stephane, and Chris were all just as friendly as can be. It was fun to talk to them and get a little feel for life on the barges. The last night they all came out after dinner and started drinking and telling stories that were really funny.
I know it sounds funny because we were paying all this money, but it really felt like a family by the end of this week. I can’t recommend this trip (and French Country Waterways) highly enough.

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