Savvy travellers are increasingly on the lookout for multi-generational, immersive and bespoke experiences. This spring, families can find the complete package for an adventure extraordinaire through Burgundy aboard Les Bateaux Belmond.
Drifting through tranquil forests, past bright fields of sunflowers or hilltop châteaux, exploring medieval villages or famous vineyards then returning to your floating villa for a gourmet dinner—this is an idyllic way to discover the hidden canals and waterways of France.
Seven luxurious barges make up the Les Bateaux Belmond fleet. Each has its own rich, unique character; from the Provençal charm of the petite Alouette to the adventurous spirit of the grand Napoléon. Experience true indulgence as you traverse the waterways of Burgundy, Provence, Alsace, Champagne, Franche-Comté and the Languedoc.
Activities are usually planned for the afternoons, and could include indoor or outdoor karting, tree-climbing or horse-riding through the picturesque countryside. Water parks in the South of France and Burgundy provide refreshing fun, while a big favourite among teens is kayaking or canoeing on a nearby lake or river.
Blissfully, the planning is all taken care of—no mean feat when you consider there may be a dozen or more in the party. For large groups like this, it’s possible to charter two or three vessels and sail in tandem and itineraries can be tailored to a family’s special interests. “We host a lot of three-generation groups, parents with three or four children, or two sets of parents with children,” says General Manager Nigel Bealing. “We have a young, fun crew so it’s all quite lighthearted,” he adds.
Aboard Amaryllis and Fleur de Lys, children can splash about in the heated pools while parents relax over a glass of wine. Napoléon, which cruises along the River Rhône, offers a slightly different experience—it’s easy to hop on a bike and cycle into Avignon, for instance.
Dining is naturally an important part of the holiday and, as each luxury barge comes with its own private chef, there’s no problem catering for even the fussiest eater. And for those who do wish to immerse themselves in France’s famed gastronomy, culinary lessons can be enjoyed on board (Alouette has a particularly expansive kitchen) or at a cookery school in one of the destinations on the route, such as Beaune or medieval Dijon.
Learning is an important part of family travel, and where better to brush up your ‘français’ than ‘en France’. Guests can request a language tutor to come on board for a couple of hours during the week, or ask for excursions to be given an educational focus.
All of which makes for an impressive story when the children get back to school—you can bet not many of their classmates will have learned how to bake golden gougères in the heart of Burgundy, or taken a sunset balloon ride over the lavender fields of Provence.
Find out more about our family friendly journeys, and start planning your next adventure.
Meet the fleet
A gourmet escape