UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit During Your Barge Holidays in France

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Barge holidays in France are often filled to the brim with history – and for good reason. The country has had an incredibly historically- and culturally-rich life, and because of that, there are many physical remnants from the past that remain to this day. Among the most interesting are those that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites… and there are two in particular that I’d be amiss not to recommend.

Barge Holidays in France to… the Abbaye de Fontenay

The Abbaye de Fontenay, founded in 1119, was originally home to Cistercian monks and is a beautiful representation of the self-sufficiency they practised. Its austere, stark Romanesque architecture has been impeccably preserved and, although simple and modest, is beautiful; the design matches the moral ideals held by the men who lived here. It was once a centre of industry and agriculture as well as a workplace and place of worship.

The abbey is located in the commune of Marmagne and consists of a chapter house, gardens, ponds, a cloister and communal buildings such as a refectory, guest house, warming room, bakery, scriptorium and day room. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.

Barge Holidays in France to… the Chateau de Fontainebleau

The Chateau de Fontainebleau was originally a hunting lodge used by twelfth-century French kings. In 1528 it was transformed into a palace and royal residence that, over the course of almost eight centuries, every French monarch has inhabited. Today it is a museum that consists of five courtyards, gardens and an ensemble of buildings, and is surrounded by a large park. However, what makes it worthy of its World Heritage Site status is its décor and architecture.

The sculptors, painters and architects who were commissioned over the years by the various kings have left distinct marks that represent the reign and style of each monarch. Many of the painters were Italian; their creations inspired future generations of French artists. In fact, much of the décor and architecture here heavily influenced the evolution of art in France and Europe.

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The best way to visit these sites is on one of the country’s many available barge holidays. In France, there are a number of rivers with picturesque scenery just waiting to be traversed, making a luxury cruise the ideal way to travel. Not only is this mode of transportation relaxing, it also makes it much easier to visit multiple historical hubs on a single trip so you can make the most out of your holiday.

Those in the market for barge holidays in France should consider a luxury cruise to some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in this beautiful country. After all, what could be better than the perfect mix of relaxation, breath-taking scenery and history?
About author: Desiree Michels

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays in France. 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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