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Classic Christmas Markets Cruise – Alsace & Lorraine (Late November and December)
Sunday, Day 1 Krafft
Guests are met in Strasbourg** and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Panache for a Champagne welcome and the first opportunity to meet your crew. Perhaps there is time for a walk along the canal before dark.
Monday, Day 2 Krafft to Strasbourg
Our day starts with a morning cruise, across the Gran Ried wetlands and home to an abundance of birdlife, to arrive at the historic city of Strasbourg. After lunch onboard, we drive to Colmar to visit its famous six Christmas markets, including the gourmet foods section. Framed by fairytale half-timbered houses with festive scenes and white Christmas trees on every corner, there is a magical atmosphere. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Strasbourg to Waltenheim-sur-Zorn
After breakfast, our cruise takes us past the impressive European Parliament building on the outskirts of Strasbourg and on through the Brumath Forest to our picturesque mooring at Waltenheim-sur-Zorn. This afternoon we return to nearby Strasbourg to further explore this beautiful city and its 13 Christmas markets, spread around the historic centre. We visit the Musée du Chocolat and workshop to see seasonal candy being made and wander through Place Gutenberg and la Petite France with its cobbled streets, boutique shops and cafes. Dinner ashore this evening at a traditional Alsatian restaurant.
Wednesday, Day 4 Waltenheim-sur-Zorn to Saverne
This morning, Panache cruises further along the canal, with good walking and cycling opportunities, to the enchanting town of Saverne where history traces back over 2,000 years to the Gallo-Roman Times, mooring at the foot of the Château de Rohan, also known as the ‘Versailles of Alsace’. After lunch on board, we visit Haguenau Christmas market with its wooden chalets and 16-metre-long nativity scene at its centre. This evening, having returned to the barge, we take a walk through Saverne to soak up the atmosphere of the Xmas decorations and even take a turn on the ice rink if we wish. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 Saverne to Lutzelbourg
Today, perhaps after an early visit to Saverne’s market, we enjoy a cruise to our mooring in the pretty village of Lutzelbourg, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the ruins of the medieval castle. In the afternoon, we visit the Meisenthal Glass Bauble factory, the original birthplace of this iconic Christmas decoration, to watch the glass blowers in action. On the way back to the barge, we can also visit the outstanding René Lalique collection and see over 500 exceptional examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco glassware. Before dinner on board, time for aperitifs and perhaps some traditional Alsatian ‘Flammekueche’ prepared by your chef.
Friday, Day 6 Lutzelbourg to Niderviller
For early risers, there is an optional visit to a local bakery to watch skilled patissiers preparing their delicious creations, before we cruise through beautiful Alsatian countryside, visiting a fascinating local glasswork en route. We then ascend the unique Arzviller boat elevator that carries Panache 450 feet up the mountainside in minutes and enjoy a candlelit cruise through the two Arzviller tunnels to our final mooring at Niderviller. After lunch on board, we set off for a walking tour of the ancient town of Sarrebourg, including visits to the 13th century chapel containing Marc Chagall’s remarkable stained-glass window and the impressive museum of Roman and Medieval artefacts. Time for some final Christmas shopping before Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Niderviller
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Strasbourg**.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.
**other locations available for Private Charter bookings
Panache is a deluxe, 12 passenger hotel barge that cruises in Holland, Belgium, Picardy, Paris, Champagne and Alsace & Lorraine
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