what makes us unique?
A big part of the experience of Frances is it’s food! Rather than eating aboard every evening like most barge hotels, we instead visit authentic local restaurants each evening. This gives our cruises a more authentic, varied and ever-so-slightly adventurous twist which our guests adore. Detailed descriptions of a selection of our restaurants are shown below. Our cruises are all-inclusive including all restaurants.
restaurant evening dining
In the evenings, instead of dining on board the ship we explore some of the authentic french restaurants along our route. Our lovingly chosen restaurants offer excellent quality and a variety of dining experiences. These experiences and the ambiance of individual restaurants are simply not available when dining on board with food prepared by the same chef every evening. Our restaurants have been thoughtfully selected to give you a feel for the sheer variety of french dining experiences - they range from a humble auberge to the outstanding and opulent Abbaye de la Bussiere.
This unique aspect of how we operate means that we offer industry-leading value AND a richer and more memorable cruising experience. This is the 'Savoir Vivre' way to cruise and we invite you to join us in our, very modest, luxury revolution.
breakfast and lunch on board
Breakfasts are enjoyed in a traditional French manner, casual and relaxed. Often, we will already be underway when you rise and enjoy a continental breakfast as we glide through the calm waters. A fresh coffee or orange juice on the foredeck on a balmy morning is really 'up there' in terms of a relaxed and pleasant start to the day.
Lunches are freshly prepared and provided by private chef who meets us along our route. We take advantage of the fact that, while we are a ship, we are not at sea. Our guests love this high-quality, personal style of lunch. It perfectly complements the setting with uncompromising quality.
“What a wonderful experience! Just the right mixture of food, relaxation, food, biking, food, history, food, walking, food, companionship, food, and friends. All first rate! Thanks for everything."
our restaurant guide
Here are the restaurants we visit on our cruises.
“L'Auberge Gourmande” in Fleurey
Head chef Christophe learned his craft in such venues as Guy Savoy in Paris, Hotel Negresco in Nice and Restaurant Fredy Giradet in Switzerland.
So his credentials speak volumes! It’s no surprise that this restaurant is tipped for big things, and we believe this is the “Savoir Vivre” time to visit.
Recent menu highlights have included: Eggplant tartare with balsamic vinegar, espuma melon lemon balm. Cromesquis fried ham with parsley, Burgundy escargot, hummus, and wild garlic. Confit of lamb shoulder in kefta stuffed with tomato reduction, rosemary and paprika.
"Le Bistrot des Moines" at Abbaye De La Bussiere
Founded in 1131 and transformed into a luxury Relais et Chateau hotel, the Abbaye de la Bussiere occupies a beguiling canal-side location.
The grounds are resplendent with sculptured gardens and lake along with historical delights including an ancient church, crypt, cloister, refectory, farmhouse, dovecote, outhouses, wine press, monastic dwellings and monastic dwellings.
This fabulous setting offers our guests a dining opportunity at the informal Le Bistrot des Moines.
Local ingredients play off of classic Burgundian recipes in this delightful restaurant. Valued and highly experienced barge travel agent ‘Stephanie’ from Barge Lady cruises had dinner here recently and enjoyed t"he best escargots I've ever tasted”.
"Restaurant de la Porte Guillaume" at Hotel du Nord
Located in the heart of Dijon, this venue serves up classical flavors of Burgundian cuisine with local flair!
A casual ambiance awaits patrons as they linger over rustic dishes such as butter-drizzled escargot, duck with mushroom soufflé, and, of course, Boeuf Bourguignon.
Cheese fiends will adore the after-dinner cheese menu with a dozen of the area’s artisanal selections, including the signature Epoisse. Interesting sites abound in this area of Dijon. Not least Porte Guillaume itself, an 18th century ornamental arched city gate resplendent with its allegorical relief sculptures
“Le Spuller” in Sombernon
Le Spuller is located in the Spuller Hotel in Sombernon, a village of approximately 800 residents nestled in the countryside equidistant from Dijon, Beaune and the Cote d’Or vineyards – talk about location, location, location!
The magnificent views offered by its hillside location are a perfect setting to dine at while afternoon turns to evening.
The food at Le Spuller is unashamedly simple - elegantly, authentically, and tastefully so. Our guests adore it: the combination of setting, quality of cuisine, and exceptionally friendly service hits all the marks.
“l'Oree du Bois” in Chateauneuf-en-Auxois
Chateauneuf-en-Auxois is a beautiful hilltop Medieval village, where from the 14th to the 17th centuries, wealthy Burgundian merchants built luxury residences.
One such restored home now houses L’Oree du Bois, a very special French “creperie”. The ‘crêperie’ started in the Brittany region but later became widespread across France and are now considered a national dish.
These authentic crepes offer a wide range of savory and sweet treats, each made with skill and attention using local ingredients.
With its vaulted ceiling, central fireplace and mezzanine dining level and fabulous food, make L’Oree du Bois a firm favourite of Savoir Vivre. Also, a magnificent view point is just a minute's walk away!
"Le Lassey" at Chateau de Sainte Sabine
The setting for this opulent restaurant is within the magnificent Château Sainte- Sabine, a 17th century castle built in an old monastery.
It’s now a beautifully presented mansion hotel that offers panoramic views of the canal and surrounding villages.
The Michelin-recommended cuisine features traditional dishes with a modern twist, full of flavor and finesse.
A foodie’s dream come true, the exquisite presentation and service are matched by the elegant dining room décor. As an authentic gastronomic and historical experience, this restaurant earns its place on our itinerary with honors.