Monday, 27 February 2017

Spring work continues

Work aboard the Luciole is bowling on at a fantastic speed

Staircase is re-positioned to the side of the saloon
The new laundry cupboard and 'office' walls and shelves are going up soon
The cabin corridor stretched from stern to bow
Four new bathrooms about to be tiled
Nice to take time out to celebrate a birthday

Important to celebrate a birthday on board

The staircase is moved to the side of the Luciole

Much better access in from the deck
Four new bathrooms - tiling about to begin!

Merci millions to a wonderful working crew, for all you are achieving on the Luciole!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Winter work begins

The days are getting longer in Auxerre and with our winter work in progress, we are greatly cheered to see the golden sun rise earlier and the sun later.  Darkness descended at 6.10pm today, the 24 January.

The winter sun rises over the horizon, across the River Yonne

Last winter we replaced four bathrooms and this winter, it is the remaining four.  Andy, our tour guide, turned winter OC of Works is once again guiding us through the challenges of boat renovation. Captain Francisco is providing valuable assistance, in every way and Penny wears the cap of catering and clear-up services.

Admittedly in the cold it has been suggested (by Penny) we take the very long way home from the recycling centre, so we can stay longer in the warm and cosy car, but it has not happened yet! Thankfully there is Andy's coffee machine to keep us going.

Francisco, Penny and Andy.  There is always time to share a laugh

We know it will be spring before too long although at this stage, it is hard to believe it will ever be warm again.  We certainly do feel ready for some heat, in and out of the kitchen/galley.....

Monday, 28 November 2016

Winter time

Auxerre is quiet.  The town has slipped into 'winter mode'.  Shutters on the houses are closed at dusk, keeping in the warmth.  Keeping out the chill.

The River Yonne glides on through. Running to the bright lights and gaiety of Paris.  Under the Eiffel Tower, under the bridges, on to the sea, to the English Channel.

On her mooring, beneath the cathedral, the Luciole waits.  Patiently.  Spring will come again and with the longer daylight days, crew will emerge to lovingly prepare for our 2017 passengers.

Luciole beneath the Cathedral St Etienne

Friday, 14 October 2016

9th - 15th October 2016

The final week of the season.  A lovely charter group to finish 2016, passengers and crew were treated to spectacular autumnal weather of warmth and sunshine.

Almost every night the dining table was pushed to one side and the dancing began.  Hats off to you ladies and gents for sure.  Ten out of ten for dance moves and exuberance.  Thumbs up for Scot's DJ skills and Cathy's salsa moves.

Dresses and tops were bought, from Noyers-sur-Serein market (could have been New York) and were worn with panache. The night to remember for attire however, of course has to be Wednesday evening and the Toga party, a sight to behold on the Luciole. Sheets, table cloths and shower curtains have never been put to such good use before, aboard.

Jennifer kept up her cycle miles, along the tow path.  Whilst others strolled.  Emergency runs were made for Bailey's liquer.  The perfect spirit to round off the days for our lovely group.

Roses in Mailly-la-Ville

Fifty years ago in 1966 the Palinurus began cruising.  In 1986 the Palinurus was renamed the Luciole, when our company bought her from Richard Parson's.  As the oldest hotel barge cruising in France, we certainly are proud.

The Luciole thank you whole heartedly for choosing to cruise with us and for making the finish of our 2016 season so memorably.

Fabulous day below the Roches de Saussois

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

2nd - 8th October 2016

The penultimate week of the 2016 season aboard the Luciole, and what a delightful time we've had, gently crusing up to Clamecy in the autumn sunshine with a host of familiar, friendly faces, plus a few first timers to Burgundy. Amongst the new comers joining us this week were English ladies Mel and Ann, New zealand couple Tim and Sandra, as well as our lone American traveller, Kathy. Joining us again, although it feels like only yesterday that they all left, we were very happy to welcome back onboard Bob and Mary who last cruised with us in May. Emma, Sue and Clare returning after staying with us back in 2014, and the lovely Jennifer, godmother of our very own Penny.

We had a very relaxed week indeed, with classical music brightening up the wheelhouse in honour of Ann, essentially our stand in Captain for the week! For 3 days straight she joined Captain Francisco at the wheel with a big smile on her face as she learnt the ropes and made a sterling effort of navigating us through all those locks. Francisco naturally being extremely pleased as he pulled up a comfortable chair and took the opportunity to put his feet up! Meanwhile Tim, Sandra and Clare were off charging around the place on their bikes, exploring tiny villages and reaching our destination long before the rest of us arrived, only returning at cocktail time surprisingly enough! Kathy, a life long horse lover, teamed up with hostess Emma, also an avid rider, and spent a long and enjoyable afternoon trotting through the forests with their guide as the rest of us cruised along serenely.

Finally I would like to I would like to wish a huge congratulations to Tim and Sandra on their 39th wedding Anniversary, and welcome the Lileys back onboard, we are fortunate enough to have Penny, William and Arthur all joining us for next week, our final week.

Captain Francisco and lock keepers at the first lock of the week

Thursday, 6 October 2016

25th September - 1st October 2016

This last week of September has been another great one, with a really wonderful and easy going group of passengers joining us from all across the world. Between them forging friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Fred with his indispensible skills behind the wheel of the barge, plus his production of a bottle of fig liquor to put a fire in all of our bellies after Captain's dinner! Joe with his pretty impressive scottish impression(that or Tony the Tiger) to make Jade feel more at home. Sandra and Sheila sat on the deck, putting the world to rights and gossiping the days away, or trying their best to embarrass Sandra's daughter and our lovely hostess Emma!

With the end of September upon us and Autumn transforming the land, we find Burgundy to be a hive of activity as the grape harvest is collected, as well as all the wild fruit trees producing their bounty just waiting to be foraged by a passing opportunist. This week it was the Luciole and her crew unable to pass up on the opportunity to make off with a few bushels of apples, a handful or two of walnuts and 2 rather sour peaches. Thankfully we have our master chef Jade onboard to make something of all those foraged apples, producing a delicious batch of eves pudding, a favourite recipe of her grandmother and certainly popular around these parts now!

Thanks to the grape harvest or "Vendange" reaching the domaine of Jean-Marc Brocard along with the other wineries of Chablis, we had the chance this week to not only take our excellent tour around the Domaine, but also to see grapes being delivered and crushed. Chablis' hugely popular guide Sebastien also invited Andy and our passengers to try the freshly squeezed juice that will go on to become Premiere Cru Montmains. The juice was deep green and very cloudy, but delicious according to everyone fortunate enough to try it. Following this, Sebastien produced the finished Montmains from last year, along with no fewer than 7 other excellent Chablis wines, including 2 bio-dynamic wines from Julien Brocard. Even following all of that with a helping of pate and bread, perfectly paired with their 2009 Grand Cru Valmur. What a treat!

The gang inside Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard.

Friday, 30 September 2016

18th - 24th September 2016

The Luciole has been heading towards Clamecy for the second last time of the season, it's absolutely astonishing how quickly it all passes. For Francisco, Andy and myself, us old boys that have been here since the start, it seems only a matter of weeks since we first set off from Auxerre all the way back in May. Despite how late in the season it is the elements seem to be continuously smiling on us as the weather is holding out wonderfully. We're fortunate to still be enjoying long sunny days and crisp, cool and clear evenings, the skies lit up by a plethora of stars.

We had on board with us this week a full boat of excellent and most amusing people, a mixed group of Americans and Australians, a very chatty bunch, brightening all our days with their ceaseless joking and boundless curiosity. This curiosity which led to Andy bringing along several bottles of Ratafia, a local fortified wine similar to Marc de Bourgogne. Served as an apperitif and created from the mulched grapes remaining from the production of wine, which are then fermented and blended with grape juice. This gives Ratafia a deliciously sweet flavour with an extremely potent kick! No wonder it was so popular!

Other happenings of the week include 89 year old Peter amazing everyone, including his wife Evelyn, with his distance walking skills, something he apparently hasn't done much of for many years. He did the whole walking tour around Auxerre with the rest of the group and hopped off at least once per day to keep pace with the boat while we navigated. On friday night during Captain's Dinner we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of Lisa and Denny with Cremant de Bourgogne and Jade's specially made Chocolate celebration cake. The night concluded for the gentlemen aboard with Hank's very kindly donated and absolutely enormous cigars out on the deck. A most fitting end to a very special week.

 Mailly le Chateau as seen from the maze of streams and rivers beneath it.

Chateau de Bazoches. Former home of Vauban, tactician, inventor and adviser to King Louis XIV One of our regular visits and a firm favourite.