Anjodi, cruising along the Canal du Midi, painting by Stanley Rose


welcome to the November edition of the Lock-keeper.

This month in the lock-keeper, we have special offers on cruises in France, Italy and Holland to tempt you. We anounce Nymphea's new Golf Itinerary and we look at the changes which have taken place in 'wine capital of the world' Bordeaux. November brings the famous wine auction at the Hospice de Beaune and we announce the winner of the October Lock-keeper La Belle-Epoque cruise competition.

We have a fabulous new competition this month which gives you the opportunity to be a real life lock-keeper with a weeks stay in a Scottish lock-keeper's cottage. We highlight the changes to St Pancras train station in London and we have the usual round up of cruise news.

The French inland waterways come under the transport ministry, so in the recent weeks there has been some disruption on the waterways, It looks like the closures and stoppages are now settled and business is back to normal. Gobarging was not really affected apart from a few crew being “barge bound” at the end of a busy season.  

A personal word of thanks to all of the Go Barging with European Waterways crew who have enjoyed another season with us. We know that its hard work, long hours and something of an itinerant lifestyle.

I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at our website, where you can find out all about GoBarging and keep up to date with the latest news as it breaks....

best regards,

Derek Banks, Chairman

Derek Banks - Chairman and Barge skipper

in this issue:

Special Offers

Golf Itinerary


The Three Glories

Cruise winner

November Competition

St Pancras

Cruise News

back issues:


June 07

July 07

August 07

Sep 07

Oct 07

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European Waterways Latest Special Offers for 2008 Cruises

Savoir Faire


Savoir Faire in France - Mid-Season CHARTER dates (departing July and August) only $38,000/£19,000 for groups of up to 12 passengers that include two or more children under age 16.

Reine Pedauque in Burgundy - US$500/£250 discount per cabin if deposited by 31st December 2007 (Discount based on 2 people sharing a suite)

Reine Pedauque in Burgundy - US$2000/£1000 discount per charter of 6-8 people if deposited by 31st December 2007



La Dolce Vita in Venice - $200/£100 discount per person, including charters,if deposited between 20th November 2007 and 31st January 2008 for any 2008 departure.


Tulip Field

Savoir Faire – Tulip Cruise in Holland - departing
30th March & 6th April –

Charter for up to 12 passengers now only US$28,000/£14,000



Our normal Terms & Conditions apply

visit gobarging special offer page .   back to top

Nymphea has new Golf Itinerary

Nymphea on the river Cher, Loire valley, France

Nymphea  Golfing  Itinerary
The Loire Valley


You are met at 4.30 pm at the TGV railway station at St Pierre des Corps and transferred to Nymphea where a Champagne Welcome awaits you at our mooring opposite the 17th century Moulin de Nitray. Dinner aboard.


A morning cruise through two locks takes us to the quaint town of Larcay where we moor under the weeping willows for lunch. Afternoon spent at Golf de Touraine at the Chateau de la Touche, Ballan Miré,18 holes  Par 71 - length 5673 m. Dinner on board


Tours Golf Club

After a morning cruise past no less that six private chateaux, we tie up opposite the hamlet of Vallet, a cluster of classic Tourangeau architecture grouped around its 18th century mill.  From there we leave for Tours Ardrée Golf Club, Laid out in 350 acres of park and woodland, the fairways thread their way through the trees and water hazards, leading to large but well protected greens.18 holes, par 72, 5734 metres. We take dinner tonight in one of the local restaurants specializing in regional cooking  


Chateau de Cheverny golf courseWhile cruising in the morning we may pull in to the tiny landing stage next to Domaine de Fontenay.  A two minute walk brings us to their courtyard where we can taste their range of Touraine wines as an aperitif before lunch moored at Civray.  In the afternoon  we play the Golf on the estate of the  Chateau de Cheverny, 18 holes par 71. A course of 6272 metres, winding round the Rousseliere lake,home to mallard ducks, swans and grey herons.  Before returning to the barge we can visit the Chateau if time permits. An evening cruise takes us under the famed Chateau de Chenonceau  to the village of Chisseaux. Dinner on board


A morning cruise takes us to Montrichard.  After lunch  We drive to Chateau des Bordes,  Les Bordes was originally conceived by industrialist Baron Marcel Bich (Bic pens fame) and businessman Mr Yoshiaki Sakurai. The two friends decided to create a world class golf course with an international dimension for their own and their guests' pleasure.18 holes, par 72, 7062 yards.Robert von Hagge, Texan architect of more than 200 courses, was employed to bring American expertise to the project.Les Bordes Clubhouse With no expense spared and free from development constraints, von Hagge created a masterpiece of extraordinary beauty exploiting the abundance of the Sologne's lakes to present water hazards at 12 of its 18 holes as it winds its way through the forest.The golf here is in the same league as Valderama,  . In fact, along with the former Ryder Cup venue, Les Bordes is one of only two courses in Continental Europe to enjoy the highest rating in the Peugot Golf Guide to 1000 European courses.  Dinner aboard.


Following breakfast, a short stroll takes us to the heart of Montrichard, into the midst of one of the largest weekly street markets in Touraine.  There is much to explore at the 12th Century Chateau of Foulques Nerra overlooking the mediaeval town square.  Before lunch  .we visit one of the more unusual dwellings in the Loire Valley, La Magnaneraie. The Coquillat family have grown up in this hillside troglodyte habitation, which has been in turn wine cellar, quarry for the tuffeau stone, and lastly a silkworm nursery.  After lunch, Nymphea sets off downstream again, for another passage under Chenonceau with a chance to visit the castle, and arrives at the hamlet of Nitray. Enjoy a pre-Captain’s dinner aperitif grown in Nitray .  Captain’s Farewell Dinner aboard.


After breakfast disembark, and return to St Pierre des Corps Station arriving there at 9.30am.

Itinerary is subject to change. Visit Nymphea.or contact us today about a cruise in Loire Valley   back to top

Six things you must do in Bordeaux

Visit Saint Louis

By Gareth Huw Davies, The Mail On Sunday, 19th November 2007

Bordeaux: A place where antique and modern sit side by side

They've spruced up the world's wine capital. Bordeaux's gracious old buildings are cleaner, its streets are calmer and acres of run-down riverbank have been transformed. Gareth Huw Davies called in on the Port of the Moon, the agreeable city on a big bend of the River Garonne in south-west France, and found plenty of Paris chic, but at half the price.

(1) A wonder of the world
Bordeaux at night

Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables, was starstruck: 'Take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux.' Baron Haussmann used the 18th Century city as a model when asked to make Paris a 'modern' capital. Now Bordeaux has won top marks for 'exceptional architectural unity'. This summer the UN's cultural arm, Unesco, named the entire old city a World Heritage Site. Three city churches on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela were already listed as Unesco sites. The best time to see them is at night, when they are lit. The tourist board runs daily bus tours at 9pm. But book early. See

(2) Sink a fine wine

An easy way into the often complex world of wine is to take the daily vineyards tour from the tourist office. Our first call was a Sauternes vineyard, where the director gave us a talk. Our reward was a generous glass of Premier Cru. On from there to a Graves vineyard where we enjoyed a glass of white, followed by a bonus red. These informative trips continue daily at 1.30pm into the different vineyards that wrap around the city.

(3) The cellar's market

If, like ours, your house does not run to a nice cool cellar in which to store your valuable vintage wine, I know the perfect place. We toured the massive storage rooms of Millesima, the Fort Knox of wine, in old Bordeaux. Stacked before us was perhaps £100million of wine, in 2.5million bottles. Store room of MillesmaThey deal only in the 250 Grands Crus categories but there are 'bargains' here for as little as £340 a case, rising to £300 or more a bottle.

Once you've bought, Millesima will store your wine in optimum conditions for years. When you have a big celebration planned, give them a few days' notice and they will ship your wine to you. And they are happy to show visitors their cellars. (

Visit Saint Louis   back to top

Six things you must do in Bordeaux- continued

Saint Louis

4) Savour a square meal

Eating outside in a big old square is one of the joys of southern France. The Cafe Francais is one restaurant to queue for, in Place Pey-Berland. As a bonus we sat in full view of the one major building the English would have known during their 300-year rule, until 1453 - Saint Andre cathedral. My Salad of the South West was memorable. For wine, look no further than the house white, red or rosé. (£30 for two.) If you can't find a table outside, this usually means the locals have already booked them. We dined well, inside, at trendy Villa Tourny. (£63 for two, 00 33 5 56 44 60 48.)

(5) The grand view

Grand Theatre, BordeauxWhere do you get the best view of one of the world's great venues, the Grand Theatre Bordeaux? Book a room at the front of the freshly refurbished Radisson Grand Hotel on the other side of Place de la Comedie. The theatre is lavishly fronted with 12 columns topped with statues of goddesses and the Muses

And the hotel ( isn't bad, it's another product of Bordeaux's elegant 18th and 19th Century building spree. It is next to the Golden Triangle, the smartest shopping area of the city, which includes Rue St Catherine, France's longest pedestrianised street.

The Majestic Hotel, just round the corner, is a modest and comfortable alternative. Opera house conductors like it: three have donated their batons. From £51. (www., 00 33 5 56 52 60 44.)

(6) Take a glam tram

The new tram system is a wonderful way to tour old Bordeaux. The day ticket for €4.10 (£3) gives you unlimited travel until 1am. This summer its route extended to much of the great curving river (hence the city's Port of the Moon name). It is part of the urban renewal programme which has included restoring the facades of majestic old buildings and lighting them at night. On our tram-trip along the riverbank we saw open-air dancing and a lot of happy splashing about in the new Mirror Fountain. Don't miss a trip on Tram B, which glides through the square in front of the opera house.

Travel Facts : The writer travelled by Eurostar and TGV from London (, 08708 371 371).

Why not savour the delights of Bordeaux and South West France with a cruise aboard our barge Saint Louis.

Visit Saint Louis or contact us today about a cruise in Bordeaux and South West France .   back to top

The Three Glories

Luxury barge cruising in Burgundy aboard La Belle Epoque, France

Beaune Wine Auction

In the third weekend in November and we have the “Les Trois Glorieuses” or the three glorious days.

The three days are centred on the Hospice de Beaune wine auction, Hospice de Beaunewhich is the oldest and most traditional wine auction in the world. It dates from 1859 when 189 barrels of fine Burgundy wine were sold.

The weekend, though, starts with a street festival in Beaune and an open house wine tasting in the town where it is possible to taste the latest vintages. On the Saturday afternoon there is also a half-marathon race through the vineyards surrounding Beaune.

Sunday dawns to the world-famous wine auction of the new harvest held in the Hospice or Hotel-Dieu. The Hotel-Dieu was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, then Chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy as a home for poor invalids.

In 1971 President Pompidou inaugurated a new modern hospital and the Hotel Dieu then became a museum. The courtyard with its Burgundy style glazed tiles is a sight to literally take the breath away while the building itself contains the hospital wards retained in their original, ancient state plus a superb collection of priceless treasures.

The Hospice vineyards of some 60 hectares are scattered through the principal appellations of the Cote de Beaune and a small area of the Cote de Nuits.

Bottle of MeursaultThe auction brings in approximately 1.5 million Euros per year and a proportion of the sale value still goes towards the care of the sick and modernising and maintaining the modern hospital in Beaune. The day’s climax is a grand candlelight dinner in the old Hospice de Beaune.

For those with a strong constitution (or, more accurately, able to obtain a ticket which is virtually impossible) the third day (Monday) of the Trois Glorieuses is all about Meursault and its Paulée. Meursault, the so-called capital of the great white Burgundies has revived the custom of a Paulee or feast to mark the end of the grape harvest. Nowadays the Paulée brings together winegrowers, their workers, friends, wine experts and writers from all around the world. Each of the guests brings his own bottles and, quite literally, it is possible to taste over 150 wines during a feast that commences at midday and finishes when the last person staggers out of the venue, the Chateau de Meursault.

For those keen to sharpen their prose a literary prize of a 100 bottles of Meursault is presented at the Paulée on the basis of a writers work – nominally linked to their writings on the vine and wine, fact or fiction.

Santé et Bonne Fête!

Our barge La Belle Epoque cruises through delightful Burgundy and offers a very special wine cruise for anyone interested in sampling the regions finest wines while enjoying a luxury barging.experience.

visit La Belle-Epoque wine cruise page .   contact us today about a cruise in Burgundy.   back to top

Last Month Competition winner

La Belle Epoque

We had a great competition for October.You could win a cruise for two on La Belle Epoque, cruising in Burgundy, during early season 2008.

Find out who the lucky winner is; La Belle Epoque competition winner,



Return of the Kingfisher




I have lived in England all my life and never seen a kingfisher!  however, that is to change  (I hope) as this little bird is making a grand come back on the waterways  of Britain, to quote "it is the fourth most spotted bird or animal in the British Waterways Wildlife survey, just behind the mallard, swan and heron" .

 One of the most encouraging things is that the Kingfisher is very particular where it lives, breeds and brings up its young so to see them fluttering around on a more regular basis now means that us humans have cleaned up our act a bit, thus encouraging and inviting Mr & Mrs Kingfisher to nest nearer to us. Keep your eyes peeled for this vivid blue and yellow darling of a bird when you are  cruising with us next season.



November Competition

lock-houseFor our November Lockkeeper competition we have a weeks holiday for a family of four in a Scottish Lock-keepers Cottage during April or May 2008 to give away.

The cottage is happily situated with views down the lock flight of Fort Augustus and Loch Ness. It provides opportunities for walking and hiking and there is a fine selection of inns and restaurants in which to sample the local food, wine and beer

You will have ample time to become acquainted with the subtle allure of uisge-beatha or the water of life as all Scottish Hostilries serve a bewildering array of whiskies.

The area is surrounded by first class golf courses and there is fishing in the nearby lochs Ness and Oich.

Lock-keepers cottage competition.   back to top

St Pancras is being compared to Grand Central Station NY!

Meeting place at St pancras Station

The Meeting Point at St Pancras Station by Paul Day 

Some may feel that the bygone days of romance are just that, days gone by and never to return, but if you want to re kindle scenes from 1940's movie you could do no better than visit St. Pancras Station London. Just a year ago the bull dozers were dodging the elegant arches that remain from the original Victorian building that was the Midland Grand Hotel.

Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878), the architect of the day had big ideas, he approached Midland railway to fund his hotel project and build a new railway station. The 300 upmarket elegant rooms charging 14 shillings (70p/45c) a night in 1879 - only six pence (2.5p/5c) more than the luxurious and famed Langham in Portland Place, W1. 128 years later and a new £10million ($20million) refit, St.Pancras is back in the news again.

The Midland Grand Hotel & St Pancras Station circ 1879.

St Pancras

With little more than two hours between London and Paris, just under two hours between London and Brussels and a mere 90 minutes between London and Lille the new route enables GoBarging clients to arrive in the centre of these European cities without having to experience the queues that are now ever growing at International airports the world over.

Book directly with Eurostar, and be met at the pre arranged meeting point and be whisked off to your luxury barge vacation, check the GoBarging website to choose your 2008 destination.

There is a radical departure from normal train station fare in Britain. That means chopped steak tartare, eggs Benedict and wild mushrooms on toast for starters, followed by a choice of smoked haddock with poached egg and hollandaise, grilled rib-eye steak linguine with clams and the list goes on. Managed by Sercys the company who run the bars at Royal Opera House and the Gherkin, the 295 ft /90 m long champagne bar boasts to be the longest bar in Europe.

Your glass of fizz won't come cheap at £7.50 for house champagne rising to £25 per glass of Dom Perignon however, where else will you be part of the new romantics.

champagne bar St Pancras

The Champagne Bar St. Pancras Station seating for 120 people.   back to top


New Meeting Place for Impressionniste

The Grand Hotel in Avignon will no longer be our meeting hotel for Impressionniste in Provence on alternative weeks unless your group are a charter who are staying at The Grand the night prior to the cruise.

We are pleased to introduce our new hotel, Hotel Mercure Cite des Papes. hotel mercure

1 Rue Jean Vilar
Telephone: +33 (0) 4 90 80 93 00 or 011 33 4 90 80 93 00 from USA or Canada
Email: H0549-RE@ACCOR.COM
Web Site:  Type in Avignon and then select the Cite des Papes hotel

Please telephone them direct if you wish to make a reservation; they require a credit card number to secure the booking.

A privileged location in the heart of the city. The Mercure Cite des Papes is situated on the Place d Horloge square, the vibrant centre of the old city with its theatre and numerous cafes. Close by is the Palais des Papes, or Palace of the Popes.

89 comfortable rooms and 1 suite.
Room fittings
Audible smoke alarms, 220/240 V AC, Air conditioning, Safe deposit box in room, Minibar, Pay per view channel(s), Radio in room, Satellite/cable colour TV, Voicemail, WiFi wireless Internet access.

Standard rooms from €100 per double room for 2 people in low season (which includes April and August) to €140 per room for 2 people in peak season. The Suite is from €150 in low season to €180 in peak season.  Please check these price with the hotel reservations at time of booking.

Hand baggage limits 'to be lifted in new year'

Restrictions on the number of items UK passengers can take on board aircraft are to be lifted in the new year, according to a report today.

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly is expected to unveil plans to ease bag restrictions, the Financial Times reported.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh had previously forecast that limits would be relaxed soon (see previous Travel Mole story).

The FT report says that travellers will be allowed to take two items of luggage on board from the new year. But restrictions of carrying liquids are to remain.

Passengers were limited to a single carry on bag after UK airport terrorist alerts in August 2006.

by Phil Davies  / Travel Mole

If you have any suggestions, feedback or barging stories to tell us, then please e-mail us. We'll be glad to hear from you and share your inputs in the lock-keeper.

Why not email this edition on to a friend, and let them share the fun. New subscribers can sign-up here, and are very welcome. More people are joining every day, so let's keep building a great Barging community..!

That's about it for this November 2007 edition of the Lockkeeper, and hopefully the above articles have whet your appetite for that well-earned luxury cruise..! Please visit barge cruises and have a look around, or follow the individual links above. The next edition of the lock-keeper will be out in December 2007, so we'll see you then. back to top