With sell-out tulip cruises in Holland marking the introduction of European Waterways’ newest addition to its fleet, the Panache, European Waterways is offering special savings opportunities to introduce travelers to Panache’s next itinerary in France’s Alsace-Lorraine region, where the vessel will be repositioned beginning June 17. The 12-passenger luxury hotel barge will cruise the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, where guests will see, among many other sites, the forested Vosges Mountains, colorful half-timbered houses, and the region’s rolling vineyards. Savings include $1,000 off per cabin, based on double occupancy, for all June to October cruises in Alsace-Lorraine, and 10% off per whole-boat charters from July to October.
Separated from Germany by the Rhine, the Alsace-Lorraine region of France features a unique blend of cultures, rich cities such as Strasbourg and charming historic villages that embody a blend of both French and German traditions. German influences abound in the architecture of the Alsatian villages and citadels along the border, in the local culinary specialties and excellent wines, and in the language and dialects spoken throughout the region. Meanwhile, the Lorraine’s historical capital of Nancy exudes 18th century architectural elegance and culinary delights like the famous quiche Lorraine.
“These regions have been fought over for centuries and have changed control between France and Germany many times, so they are bursting with history, culture and traditions drawn from both countries,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “Our guests have many opportunities to learn more about the regions’ multi-layered past through its quaint villages, wonderful scenery and exceptional cuisines.”
The 6-night cruises will begin in the Alsatian capital of Strasbourg, official seat of the European Parliament and a bustling metropolitan border city. Historically German speaking, it has served as a crossroads between France and Germany for centuries, with strong essences of both cultures seen throughout its streets. Guests will visit the Gothic pink sandstone Strasbourg Cathedral on the historic center island of Grand Île and the riverfront pedestrian area of La Petite France, with its timbered houses, shops, and cafes. The cruise will later visit Nancy, the intellectual capital of Lorraine and home of the Art Nouveau Movement. Nancy’s royal square, Place Stanislas, features gilded wrought-iron railings and lanterns that surround the classic 18th century French architectural monuments positioned within the square.
Meanwhile, stops at a number of small villages will offer guests the opportunity to take in the classic French countryside, while experiencing the special local culture and history of each town. Saverne, the exiled seat of the Catholic Prince Bishops of Strasbourg, is home to the medieval hilltop castle of Chateau du Haut Barr. From this location guests are offered a view of the Valley of Zorn as they enjoy a gourmet lunch of regional specialities.
Panache will also visit the hilltop village of La Petite Pierre, whose 12th century castle was “modernized” in the 1600’s by the famed military engineer, Marechal Vauban. At the port of Hochfelden, guests will indulge in excellent local beer at the Meteor Brewery, family-owned since 1640 and the last of its kind in Alsace. Among the savory regional specialties served will be roasted duck à l’Alsacienne and sea bass with cucumber and smoked eel, and the entire experience will be complemented by an excellent selection of fine wines.
Other special moments include private tastings of the famous white wines of Grand Crus, an ascent up the spectacular, brilliantly engineered Arzviller boat elevator, and a candlelit brunch on deck as Panache passes through two mountain tunnels. The cruise will also feature tours of one-of-a kind museums, including the Rene Lalique Collection, featuring 500 examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau glassware, chandeliers, and designs of the Belle Epoque Era.
“Like all of European Waterways’ luxury hotel barges, service and amenities make cruising through Alsace-Lorraine all the more special,” said Banks. “The charming Panache, with its brass and mahogany finishes, is equipped with a spacious sun-deck with heated spa pool, a professional, English-speaking crew of six, air-conditioned cabins, and bikes for exploring all that the region has to offer. This means our guests will enjoy themselves as much onboard as they will on land.”