ABOVE: La Reine Pedauque offers weekly canal cruises in Burgundy from spring through fall. INSET BELOW: The barge's Imperial Suite is accessible to weelchairs.
Barge cruises are a pleasant way to explore the French countryside, but most barges don't accommodate guests with mobility problems. The typical barge has two decks, with stairs leading down to cabins inside the hull, and getting on or of the barge usually requires a step up or down from the quay or a short trip across a narrow gangway.
Recently, the friendly people at France Cruises told us about a barge that does accommodate wheelchair users and other guests with limited mobility. La Reine Pedauque was built as a cargo vessel in 1923, but in its current incarnation as a luxury hotel barge, it meets European and ADA accessibility standards with features such as:
- A wide gangway that's suitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or passengers with canes;
- A lift between the upper and lower decks;
- A wheelchair-accessible cabin (the Imperial Suite) with appropriate bathroom fittings;
- A wheelchair-friendly excursion bus.
Just as important, all tour locations on La Reine Pedauque's itinerary are accessible by wheelchair.
La Reine Pedauque accommodates eight guests in four suites, with public areas that include a salon/lounge, a bar, a dining room, and a sundeck. Wi-Fi internet access, touring bikes, a small library, and board games are also available.
The barge offers 7-day/6-night and 4-day/3-night cruises between Dijon and Vandenesse en Auxois from early April to the end of October. Full-boat charters are another option. For more information, see the La Reine Pedauque page at Francecruises.com.
Photos: France Cruises.