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Top Stops on the Best French River Cruises

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France has a gloriously rich history, which can be explored in the most delightful way by its network of canals and rivers. You can experience the luxury of travelling on a fully-equipped hotel barge, with expert crew to guide you, freshly cooked meals and comfortable furnishings, all while embracing the incredible history of the region.

For fascinating and important French culture, sites such as the Notre-Dame, Chȃteau de Chȃteauneuf and Chȃteau de Commarin are some of the very best. French river cruises are the most wonderful way to discover history, art and architecture, without an iota of stress.

The Historical ‘Other’ Notre-Dame

The church of Notre-Dame looms over the lovely city of Dijon as an incredible example of Gothic architecture. Towering pillars, grandiose arches and a gang of over 50 scary gargoyles greet you as you gaze up at this remarkable structure. More beautiful treasures await you inside however, where you can take your time exploring this large church with its endlessly fascinating history. Keep an eye out for the carved owl, which is said to bring good fortune, and be sure to give him a stroke with your left hand to ensure the best of luck for the remainder of your trip. You can also admire the exquisite stained-glass windows as you wander around this amazing church.

Lose yourself in the History of Chȃteau de Commarin

The best French river cruises will stop off at Chȃteau de Commarin, in Cȏte-d’Or, so you can become immersed in its story. Transformed in the sixteenth century, the castle was decorated with statues, paintings and tapestries offered to the owners of the establishment. It was rebuilt and refurnished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and by the nineteenth century an English style park had transformed the castle gardens. It has been in the hands of the same family for an extraordinary 26 generations and it still includes all the authentic art and furniture dating back to the fourteenth century.

A Day at Chȃteau de Chȃteauneuf

This castle is centred in an absolutely gorgeous setting, so take the time to enjoy the grounds as well as learning about the history that’s held within its walls. It was erected to protect the lords and villagers who came under the threat of the Hundred Years War, and the Chȃteauneufs reigned in the castle for nine generations. However, this came to an abrupt end when the last heiress, Catherine de Chȃteauneuf, was burnt alive for murder in 1456. The castle then passed through many hands before being donated to the state as a historical monument in 1936, and it is now open to the public.

Your Next French Adventure

Why not consider treating yourself to an enlightening and relaxing break on the best French river cruises the region has to offer. Relish in the fascinating culture of the country’s most treasured historical sites, while cruising the tranquil waterways, taking in the sights and sounds of the region and enjoying delicious meals aboard your hotel barge. Your next French cultural adventure awaits.
About author: Desiree Michels

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of the best French river cruises, with all-inclusive, luxury itineraries. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

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