River cruising with Tauck along the great rivers of France brings three of the greatest joys of travel – celebrated cuisine (and wine), a legacy of artistic achievements, and some the world’s most inspirational landscapes. The rivers of France lead to that oft used aspirational phrase joie de vivre – an enjoyment of life. In France it’s found in impressions immortalized in art, in architecture designed for the ages, in cuisine layered with traditions futile to resist, in literature telling stories past and present, in wine beloved the world over.
Sample incredible food and wine at their source in the culture that mastered the culinary arts… at renowned family-owned vineyards… unique venues, such as Lyon’s famed food market… at a Provençal lunch on a farm in La Camargue… at celebrated restaurants such as Fouquet’s in Paris. With bucolic vineyards that produce a bounty of wines, lush landscapes fed by the mighty Rhône River , the Rhône-Alpes region is renowned for its cooking schools and culinary creativity. Master chefs perform their magic… pot au feu, quintessential quenelles, salade Lyonnaise and savory coq au vin that are perfection. If you visit a local market, you’ll be introduced to the vast array of fresh fruits and vegetables, locally produced cheeses, warm-from-the-oven baguettes, spicy sausages and pastries that make their way to your plate in delectable variations… made all the more memorable with a glass or two of wine this area is famous for the world over. And then there’s chocolate… the French are passionate about chocolate, and their tastes for chocolate are as discriminating as their taste for wine.
A visit to Paris proved to be “A Moveable Feast” for an aspiring young writer named Ernest Hemingway back in the 1920s. Would you have been there then, you would have undoubtedly found him in serious philosophical discourse, drink in hand, in a sidewalk café or bistro in the Left Bank with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound or Gertrude Stein. This is Paris after all and the inspiration for literature, the arts and the good life, from fabulous food and ambrosial wines to architecture steeped in ornamental design, surrounding you. You’ll get a taste of the celebrity hang outs that still attract luminaries such as dinner at Fouquet’s, the “Oscar” of French restaurants, where you’ll discover stories such as the following (with a nod to both the restaurant and a page from the past):
The Escadrille bar at Fouquet’s is named in honor of pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who, legend says, once landed his plane on the Champs-Élysées and stopped in for a drink. Although it is unlikely to have happened that way, it sounds like something the flamboyant Brazilian bon vivant would have done. In 1891, Santos came to Paris at age 18, the wealthy son of a coffee plantation owner. He had a passion for flying machines and a genius for invention. A “sportsman of the air,” he bought and built dirigibles to fly around the city, one of which he kept tethered to a lamppost outside his apartment. Santos would cruise down the Champs-Élysées above roof-height, and drop in at his favorite cafés. He flew a motorized airship around the Eiffel Tower, and once snagged a balloon on the Trocadero Hotel. He was a celebrity, a friend of millionaires and royalty. Cartier made a wristwatch for him, so he wouldn’t have to fumble for his pocketwatch while navigating. When he won the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize for flight in 1901, he gave part of the 100,000 francs to his crew and the rest to the poor. And in 1906, when he built and flew a fixed-wing, self-powered flying machine for 720 feet, France and all of Europe declared that Santos had invented the airplane.
Our river cruises to France have resumed this past summer; we thought we’d share some observations that we received from guest Donna Franciamone – who traveled with us recently on Savoring France: Paris, Lyon & Provence – that describes a bit about the health and safety protocols, top of mind on our 2021 river cruises:
“I have just returned from THE BEST vacation I have ever had in my life. It was entirely perfect, beginning to end, and I loved Tauck’s attention to detail, while spoiling us passengers. Our Tauck Directors took great care of us; every aspect of our tour was handled. I was nearly overwhelmed by the ease and luxury of this tour. The ship had a mandatory mask policy unless outside or eating or drinking. All guests and staff willingly complied. Our Tauck Directors arranged for all of us to get COVID-19 antigen tests, coordinating to be within the 72 hours of our individual departures from France, and they also made it possible for us to all apply (and get) our French pass sanitaire, allowing free access to bars, restaurants and museums, while masked. All of the coach and trains required masks, and hand sanitizers were everywhere. The ship made it easy to social-distance in the dining rooms and public spaces. Tauck takes COVID-19 breakthroughs seriously, and does an EXCELLENT job is preventing spread. We truly received VIP treatment and a big “welcome back” from ship crew, Tauck employees and local tour guides. I am looking forward to my next cruise with Tauck!”
Guests and our Tauck Directors shared some recent photos from their France river cruises – remarkable experiences, especially that visit with the Mona Lisa – and our travel partner, magician Alexandra Duvivier, has a special message from Paris.
Videos from the road
Guests enjoying an evening at the 12th-century Duché d’Uzès
Photos from the road
The post 2021: Tauck along the rivers of France appeared first on The Taucker Travel Blog.