Of course it’s easy to travel by car or
tour bus, but there are other more exciting ways to see this exceptional
tourist friendly country
It is a reality that you can’t afford to miss. Barging in
France can cost less than a holiday with a car, train or bus travel,
restaurants, gas etc,
On a modern air conditioned barge you can see the best of
France and be totally relaxed at all times. It is slow but that’s what you
may want in a holiday
You have the choice of region and the choice of companies
as you can see on the web. Some arrange hotels for you while others provide
staterooms. They are usually air conditioned and well appointed. The barge
will also provide bicycles, if that is your desire and for excursions off
the boat, they provide transportation.
The sites are memorable. You can see the Champagne
country in the north, Burgundy, Soane, Loire, Dijon, Seine, Chablis, Beaune
or Avignon, Provence, Normandy or the Canal du Midi. The Rhone River is
recommended all the way to Arles.
Each barge is a floating fantasy well appointed and of
different capacity. You can join a group or perhaps organize your own group
of 6 or even 12 friends.
This is not the same as river boating or chartering your
own sailing yacht in places like Greece. I’ve done them all and would be
happy to share my experiences with you.
For toll free information in North America call toll free
1 877 642 2743 or 1 888 264 3983
The price often included train charges to the point of
debarkation but I suggest you consult your travel insurance plan before you
depart. tipping of 5-10% is recommended and expected.
Here’s a barge at Chenenceau on the Loire. You can take a
tour then return to your barge. (This is highly recommended). Nothing is
Barges carry as many as 50 passengers. They are anywhere
from 16 feet wide and 80 to 129 feet long.
It’s the most relaxed way to go but it is limited to the
rivers or canals.
On the other hand…
I only discovered the(TGV) Train a Grand Vitesse speed
train about 6-7 years ago. It had started in 1981 and today it is huge.
I found myself in MARSEILLES and had to get to Paris that
night. Luck was on my side. The TGV to Paris had just started that week. It
advertised the trip as a 3 hour journey. It had taken me a week to wend my
way from Paris to Marseilles and now I was going to be there in three hours.
The train was new and up to date. There was a small table
at the window so I could read. The seats were comfortable enough to fall
asleep, especially with the sound on the rails or travel through the air. I
was even able to order food and take it back to my seat. It is true that you
don’t see much since the tracks are usually set below the roadways so speed
can be attained without worry of collision. Yes, there were times when there
was a view but not for long and only at a distance.
It took just over three hours, hardly enough time too
have a sandwich, read a chapter and fall asleep.
When we finally arrived at Gare De Lyon we were told that
since the train was quite new and the speed glitches hadn’t been solidified,
the train was late. Because of that each passenger received a $100 voucher
for their next ride.
The Gare De Lyon was decorated with imitation palm trees
to celebrate the new TGV route from the south.
Years later I took a two hour TGV ride to Lyon. Actually,
I did it twice. The first time I would be met at the station by a colleague
and taken to a television station for an interview. What I failed to take
note of was what station to stop at. When I got off, I waited for a long
time before getting a call on my cell asking me where I was. I should have
been at Part Dieu. I was not. When I finally met up with my colleague we
rushed to the TV station and arrived only five or six minutes before air
time. But things went smoothly and I was able to return to Paris, again at
great speed and comfort, a week or so later.
You can travel from Paris to most of Europe and a monthly
pass or longer period pass is well worth the investment.
It is luxurious, fast and for getting from one place to
the other, there’s nothing better. Remember too, you arrive in the center of
the city and don’t have the cost of getting in from the airport.
There are special seats for the inferm and the speeds of
up to 320 KM per hour assure that you don’t waste time.
From Paris you can go to 200 destinations including Reims
and Rouen in the north, or on to London under the channel. You can go to
Bordeaux, Montpellier or Avignon, to Dijon and Lyon but you can also
transfer for farther destinations.
Go to www.TGV.fr for more information
You usually have to have your ticket stamped at special
machines at the head of each platform. You can also have your luggage loaded
by porters at a normal cost.
So you can see France from a boat, rail or by land. It’s a
question of your preference, but do go. France is its own reward.
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)