French Country Waterways: A Michelin-starred meal with every cruise

ADRIENNE hotel barge

ABOVE: Adrienne is one of five hotel barges in the French Country Waterways fleet.

First-rate food is a basic component of any luxury barge cruise, but French Country Waterways Ltd. has upped the culinary ante with a unique twist: Each of the company's itineraries  in Burgundy, the Upper Loire, Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine includes dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant on shore.

If you're cruising on Adrienne or Espirit, you'll be taken to Maison Lameloise in Chagny for modern interpretations of Burgundian cuisine in a converted 15th Century coach house.

Horizon II guests are treated to dinner at L'Auberge des Templiers, a hotel-restaurant set amid parkland near the Châteaux of the Loire and Sologne.

Nenuphar passengers dine at Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, Burgundy.

Princess, which splits its season between two regions of France, offers Michelin-starred dinners at either Les Crayères (Champagne) or Le Cerf (Alsace).

Other things to know about French Country Waterways:

  • The barges are small and intimate, carrying only eight to 18 passengers each.

  • Each barge has an onboard chef who prepares meals from fresh, locally-purchased ingredients. (Lunch and dinner are accompanied by carefully-selected French wines and cheeses.)

  • The cruising pace is leisurely, with plenty of time to enjoy nature, walk or bike along towpaths, and experience the pleasures of negotiating historic canals with locks that are just big enough for a traditional cargo or passenger barge.

We haven't cruised with French Country Waterways, but we have been on several barge cruises, and we can't think of a more relaxing way to cruise. If you like the idea of a slow-paced vacation with friendly companions, great food and wine, and an intimate view of rural France, we suggest visiting the French Country Waterways Web site at:

Photo: French Country Waterways

The Montague Ski Lodge: alpine atmosphere in central London


ABOVE: In a few weeks, The Montague's deck will be transformed into a mountain ski lodge.

Red Carnation Hotels has a knack for knocking the stuffiness out of the four- and five-star hotel experience, and this winter, it's doing so again with a reprise of The Montague Ski Lodge at The Montague on the Gardens in central London.

From November 19, 2014 to January 30, 2015, the hotel's outdoor deck will be "magically transformed into a mountain ski lodge for the winter season, complete with falling snow, pine trees, snowmen, reindeer, piste maps, and twinkling lights."

The Ski Lodge's bar will offer après-ski drinks such as Jägermeister; apple, pear, peach and watermelon Schnapps; sherry trifle; mandarin, candy cane- and toffee-flavored vodkas; and winter warmers such as mulled wine and spiced cider.

To visit the Ski Lodge, Londoners and tourists can purchase a "ski pass" that's valid for a repast of mini turkey burgers, bratwurst, deep-fried Camembert, and a choice of three drinks from the Ski Lodge's bar menu. The price is £25 (about US 42).

If you're from out of town, you may prefer to book a "Montague Ski Lodge"package that includes two nights at the hotel, a full English breakfast, and access to the Ski Lodge.

What? You really want to ski? Then take a "Ski Lodge selfie" and post it on Faceback, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #SkiMontague. You'll be entered into a prize drawing for a three-night weekend at the Hotel d'Angleterre in Geneva, Switzerland with flights, ski hire, and lift pass included.

For more information about The Montague Ski Lodge, see:

Montague Ski Lodge

To learn more about the hotel, or to book a room, visit:

The Montague on the Gardens 

BELOW: A street view of The Montague on the Gardens, sans reindeer and snowmen.


Photos: Red Carnation Hotels.

Source: Arnelle Kendall.

Go surfing at Munich International Airport

Surfing at Munich Airport

ABOVE: A surfer catches a wave at MUC.

For the fourth summer in a row, Munich International Airport (MUC) will wow spectators and thrill participants at its "Surf & Style" event from July 30 through August 24.

Pumps will create a standing wave 10 meters (33 feet) wide and 1.5 meters (5 feet) high in an outdoor basin at Munich Airport Center, a short walk from the passenger terminals. The surfing attraction will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., and admission is free.

Up to 10 people at a time will be allowed into the basin, with 45-minute time windows. Anyone 8 years or older can participate, and all of the necessary equipment such as boards, wetsuits, etc. can be borrowed free of charge.

Twice a day, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., the airport will offer 45-minute beginner sessions with a support bar in place and professional surfing instructors on hand for safety and advice. 

In addition, the airport is offering three-day surfing camps for children and teens, with levels from beginner to advanced.

Would you rather watch the action than ride the waves? Take advantage of the free beach area, which has palm trees, lounge chairs, a cocktail bar, and a grandstand. (Up to five hours of parking is also free in the P20 lot.)

For more information on "Surf & Style" 2014, visit:

Also see our articles about Munich International Airport and our Munich Travel Guide at

Photo: Flughafen München GmbH.

Source: Meryl Pearlstein, MDP Publicity.