European Waterways is continuing to feed guests’ “appetite for new experiences” by ramping up its offerings of private dining opportunities for the 2022 season. Dinner with a Countess on cruises aboard the Italian hotel barge, La Bella Vita, and gourmet lunch with a Baroness at a 12th century château in Burgundy aboard La Belle Epoque are already season highlights. Now, the luxury barging specialist has added a gastronomic meal at the Domaine Chanson winery, located in the heart of the UNESCO-listed terroirs of Burgundy aboard L’Impressionniste, and a gourmet lunch at the home of the most celebrated female artist of the 19th Century, Rosa Bonheur, available on cruises aboard flagship Renaissance in Western Burgundy.
Lucky guests making last-minute bookings in the remaining weeks of the 2021 season will be treated to some of these experiences, while guests booking 2022 and beyond can expect to enjoy these and more, based on the cruise region they select, as the company expands its experiential excursions.
“Fine dining is an integral part of European Waterways’ hotel barge cruises,” said the company’s Managing Director, Derek Banks. “To that end, our guests already enjoy sumptuous gastronomic meals and wine pairings every day on their luxury barges, prepared by their onboard master chefs. Now, they can look forward to new and wider selections of private gourmet experiences at historic domaines, stately homes and other unique sites that will further immerse them in the culture and history of their cruise regions – experiences that only our guests will have the opportunity to enjoy.”
The Art of the Meal
Among European Waterways’ brand-new excursions is a visit to the studio of famed 19th century French artist, Rosa Bonheur, known for her cinematic-style paintings of animal scenes. Available on cruises aboard the 8-passenger hotel barge Renaissance on the Canal de Briare, the excursion includes a hosted four-course lunch in the artist’s private saloon. After lunch, guests will join the present owner to tour the studio, which has remained untouched since the artist’s death in 1889. Bonheur’s fascinating history includes her friendship with legendary American soldier and entertainer, Buffalo Bill, whom she depicts on horseback in one of her best known paintings.
The 12-passenger L’Impressionniste hotel barge winds through the picturesque Ouche Valley in Southern Burgundy. As part of a private tour of the Domaine Chanson in historic Beaune, guests will be treated to a gastronomic lunch in the domaine’s château. The domaine ages its wines in the former 15th century defense tower of Bastion de l’Oratoire, whose 25-foot-thick walls are perfect for the job.
A gourmet lunch with a Baroness at the 12th century Château de Ricey-Bas (right) is also on the menu for guests aboard the 12-passenger La Belle Epoque in Burgundy. The Baroness hosts guests for a champagne aperitif and a gourmet lunch in her private salon, or the impressive 13th century vaulted kitchen of the former castle.
The château itself is steeped in history and offers a glimpse into its past life, embedded in the region’s heritage. Guests can work off their gastronomic feast by exploring the château’s interior and expansive gardens.