For many people around the world, the American “Fall Classic” – baseball’s annual “World Series” – can never hold a candle to their own Fall Classic – the rugby World Cup, which is played every four years. This year, more than 600,000 rugby enthusiasts from across the globe will flock to France to witness the ultimate face-off between the world’s top teams in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which runs from September 8 – October 28, 2023. For fans lucky enough to have tickets – or visitors who simply want to absorb the excitement in the air – European Waterways offers a wide array of six-night, all-inclusive luxury hotel barge cruises in Southern France that make for a winning combination.
“Combining a visit to France during the World Cup with an immersive cruise on a European Waterways hotel barge is the perfect ticket!” said Derek Banks, European Waterways’ Managing Director. “After mingling with people from all over the world, you can get to know the true heart of France by visiting its beautiful countryside and exploring the culture and traditions of its people.”
Banks noted that European Waterways cruises include gastronomic meals paired with fine wines, daily excursions to UNESCO sites and prestigious vineyards, and private, often exclusive tours of some of France’s most majestic castles and aristocratic estates – all steeped in history and folklores.
Coming Up Roses – And a 10% Off Special
For those planning to be in Bordeaux during the matches at Stade de Bordeaux or Stadium de Toulouse, the eight-passenger hotel barge Rosa, which cruises the canals of South-West France in the Bordeaux region, is the perfect retreat. With its expansive sundeck and outdoor dining area, guests can relax and bask in the magnificent French scenery while savoring delicious alfresco meals prepared by the onboard chef.
Rosa’s October 22nd departure in Gascony is on sale for 10% off the regular price. Cabins are just $4,581 per person based on double occupancy. That’s a saving of $509 off the $5,090 price. Whole boat charter prices are $34,200, a saving of $3,800 off the $38,000 price, based on eight passengers.
The cruise features a visit to the Château de la Motte, with a tour accompanied by the resident Countess. Guests will also visit the monolithic church of Saint Émilion and be treated to a guided tour on the Garonne River aboard a traditional flat-bottomed boat. The itinerary also includes a guided tour and private tasting at a renowned local Armagnac producer, as well as other immersive excursions.
Wide Choice of Canal Cruises
Guests visiting Paris can choose from an array of hotel barges and cruise itineraries that offer free private pick-ups from a designated location. Cabins are currently available on the 12-passenger La Belle Epoque, the eight-passenger L’Art de Vivre and eight-passenger Renaissance for their October 29th departures, the day after the Rugby World Cup’s grand finale.
Guests aboard La Belle Epoque will enjoy the world class cuisine of Northern Burgundy while exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites that include the famed Abbaye de Fontenay, the oldest preserved Cistercian abbey in the world. A visit to the family-owned champagne house Maison Taisne Riocour in the renowned wine growing region of Les Riceys is also on the itinerary, followed by a champagne aperitif and a private gastronomic lunch with the Baroness in the family’s chateau.
Cabins on La Belle Epoque are $5,950 per person, based on double occupancy, while a whole boat charter is available at $67,000 based on 12 passengers travelling.
L’Art de Vivre cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy and is one of European Waterways’ oldest hotel barges. Guests can celebrate their favorite team’s triumph (or drown their sorrows) with a visit to the renowned village of Chablis. They’ll savor a private wine tasting at the prestigious Domain Laroche, followed by a visit to the 1000-year-old Obédiencerie, where the wines are aged.
Cabins on L’Art de Vivre are $5,250 per person, based on double occupancy, while whole boat are charters available for $39,000, based on eight passengers travelling.
European Waterways’ flagship hotel barge, the spacious Renaissance, cruises one of France’s oldest canals, the Canal de Briare in Western Burgundy and the Loire Valley. The cruise treats guests to views of sophisticated châteaux, quaint villages and the rolling limestone hills of Sancerre, which many claim produce “the ultimate French Sauvignon Blanc.” Among itinerary highlights is a wine tasting at La Perriere Winery, known for its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Cabins on Renaissance are $7,890, based on double occupancy. The entire vessel can be chartered for $58,500, based on eight passengers traveling.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Banks. “In contrast to the ‘sound and fury’ of physical contact at the rugby matches, drifting along the quiet and peaceful canals of the French countryside is an ideal way to wind down!”
Additional high-resolution images are available online at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/