All aboard La Belle Epoque as she takes to the French countryside for a regal falconry display at a Burgundy château and a beautiful fine wine tasting in the charming town of Chablis.
Fine Wine & Falconry in the French Countryside
A Bird in the Hand
This thrilling falconry display on a beautiful plot of private land has now been incorporated into the 2019 itineraries for L’Impressionniste & La Belle Epoque, which both cruise the Burgundy region. Called “the Grand Dame” of Burgundy, La Belle Epoque was acquired by European Waterways in 1993 and transformed into one of the regions first “floating boutique hotels”, complete with marble en suite cabins, a wood-paneled saloon and a sundeck with hot tub.
Guests can enjoy a demonstration of the medieval sport of falconry at the Château de Commarin, where they will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with hawks, owls and eagles, all under the watchful eye of a trained falconer. After the birds have returned to their nests it’s time to meet Count Bertrand de Vogue, the current resident of the château and 26th generation of the de Vogue family. The Count will regale us with tales of the château, after which the guests will be treated to a private tour of the building.
1000 Years of Wine
In addition to the falconry display, La Belle Epoque’s extensive array of excursions include a visit to the town of Chablis, where guests will enjoy an upgraded private wine tasting at the prestigious Domaine Laroche. There, they will also tour the 1000-year-old Obédiencerie, originally part of the monastery of St. Martin, where the monks developed the craft of winemaking in the Middle Ages and where the wines are still aged today.
Other cruise highlights include a private tasting at a boutique Champagne house, dinner with a Baroness at the Château de Ricey-Bas, a former castle that was converted to a magnificent royal residence, and a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Abbaye de Fontenay, a former Cistercian abbey founded by St. Bernard in 1118.