Monday, 4 December 2017

The Luciole blog can also be seen on our home page

Each season seems to go so fast! 

We always enjoy looking back over the years and remembering the weeks and Luciole passengers.

The seasons of 2016 and 2017 can now be seen on the home page of our website:

www.bargeluciole.com/#blog

Memories of swimming this season from the Luciole, on the Nivernais

15th - 21st October - end of our 2017 season

Our final cruise to see in the end of the 2017 season couldn’t have been filled with a more wonderful set of passengers and extraordinarily sunny October weather to match. Charter leaders Stephen and Barton did a fantastic job of leading friends and family to fulfill hopes of a fantasy trip that had been dreamt up many moons ago. We are happy to report this included Stephen taking an autumnal (cool) river dip and painting the picturesque Burgundy landscapes as we cruised along our route for the last time this year from Clamecy to Auxerre. Guest Cynthia impressed the crew with her expert steering skills as we cruised into Accolay with the sun swinging low on the canal behind us, and with it bringing a time to reminisce on another season coming to a close. 


Final cruise into Auxerre on a glorious autumnal day

All the fantastic guests, laughs and challenges we have faced along the way make for many comical, warm memories. The ‘Golden Book’ our reminder of those times and faces we don’t want to and won’t ever forget. Thank you to everyone who has walked the ‘plank’ and joined us through our doors this year for a weeks cruise, a drink, a bite to eat, a cup of tea or even just a chat. You have made the Luciole what it is! Lights out on one more season, we hope to see some of you back for more in 2018, many warm wishes until then, and keep an eye on our blog to see Winter updates from our refit (which will no doubt begin far sooner than anyone expects!)



Coffee at the Abbey de Fontenay




1st - 14th October

With a two week rest from cruising before her final trip of the 2017 season, the Luciole has been enjoying some much needed R and R in one of her favourite spots along the Nivernais – the small medieval town of Clamecy. The boat version of a manicure and pedicure – she has been enjoying a glorious rub down and pampering top-up of paint from matelot Luke, while inventories and end of season preparations begin inside.
Chartreuse Notre-Dame du Val Saint-Jean beside the canal
Colours have been changing along the canal, and we have been blessed with cool but bright Autumn mornings and warm sunny weather throughout the day leading to the most indulgent of sunsets. The time for glasses of wine in front of the fire and reminiscing on another wonderful season are almost upon us. But first, we eagerly await the ... family.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

24th - 30th September

THE LUCIOLE WINE CRUISE

Cruising through the heart of Burgundy – home to many wonderful wines, this week we offered wine enthusiasts extra, personalised tours of the areas most enchanting local vineyards. Passengers enjoyed sunny cruising weather and trips to prestigious vineyards including:

Caves de Bailly Lapierre - Bailly
Domaine Brocard - Chablis
Chateau Meursault - Beaune
Darling matriarch Jacqueline at William Charriat - Irancy 
Domaine Bernard Fleuriet & Fils - Sancerre
Chateau Tracy - Pouilly-sur-Loire
Inspiring Maria Cuny of her own domaine - Vézelay


Stopping at the top of the the Volnay vineyards


Not to forget either cultural visits to the Hospice de Beaune, Basilica of Mary Magdalene in Vézelay and La Chartreuse Nôtre Dame du Valle St Jean at Basseville.

Guests selected their favourite wines and enjoyed them over dinner back on the Luciole, paired with the culinary delights coming from the kitchen by chef Jade. 

Still so warm lunches were served on deck

Happy birthday to lovely guest Dot, a cool glass of Sancerre in hand cruising along the Nivernais – you’re only as old as you feel! Congratulations also on your wedding anniversary with husband Joseph and we all thank you for your delicious blackberry Kir, sipped with your celebration cake.


Feeling rather vinegary after a joyous week of sipping Burgundian and Loire wines it was time for our passengers to leave us, the week was a great success and the Luciole is very sad indeed to see you depart! 

PS. Penny sends thanks and raises a glass to you all and wishes the week was just about to start all over again today....


From the first tasting to the last - loved your company - merci millions to you all


Monday, 25 September 2017

17th - 23rd September

Hurdling into late September, this week brought with it some special returning passengers, shiny new faces and PUMPKINS!

One of our friendly lock keepers Cindy donated an extraordinarily large home grown pumpkin to chef Jade, who got inventive with putting it to good use throughout the week (the crew may turn into pumpkins by the time it’s used up).


Cindy the lock keeper's offering to Jade

Thank you to Bob and Judy for returning for a sixth cruise with us with returning friends Doug and Nancy. Adrienne also joined us all the way from Tasmania for a third season along the Nivernais – we must be doing something right!  Very honored.


Autumn in the air in Vincelles
Quizzing everyone on living in a tasty world this week were hilarious star-gazing friends Kate and Rick, running the podcast ‘What did you eat last night?’, guests and crew alike were asked to participate in their latest recording. Well done crew for just about remembering what it was you had for dinner. Matelot Luke had an extra pleasant surprise on learning he had in fact been eating guinea fowl, not chicken on a Thursday supper for the last three months. What a treat!

Buddies on the deck - all wrapped up - star gazing

We were enchanted to learn that passenger Al who cruised with lovely other half Martha also joined the Luciole’s retired sister ship the ‘Escargot’, back when the Luciole was the Palinurus many moons ago. 

Captain's Diner place setting - cool cabbage

Monday, 18 September 2017

10th - 16th September

What a wonderful week! The Luciole and it's crew were sad to see so many lovely faces leave us after what really was a fantastic trip. 

Highlights included sunny spells at tour times, Vince from the US filling the room at dinner with his interesting tales and ‘inventory’ taking of the drinks cabinet, a stop over from Vézelay to visit Penny’s French house, and Barbara from NZ... just for being Barbara. Can you please stay and we will keep you in the laundry cupboard and fuel you on espresso and the occasional glass of wine? Thanks for bringing friends Nikki and Mary along for the ride! A big welcome back to Karen who cruised on the Luciole 10 years ago, now bringing husband Joel and friends Ron and Vikki!

Wonderful passengers give a helping hand to hostess Kimberley

It was the birthday week of Noami our hostess, who was delighted to be pulled in and sung to during dinner service by the guests while she was off duty in her jogging bottoms and flip flops. Instigated by fun loving Canadian guests Dave and Cathie. Our other hostess Kimberley meanwhile was thrilled when after dinner drinks glasses and napkins had been passed down and arranged at the end of the table for her to clear with ease– her favourite sort of guests! Please come back soon!

Passengers gather on Penny's house steps at the end of their visit 


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

3rd - 9th September

September had more than a spring in its step when it arrived with our passengers for the week. A glorious group made up of very British 7.30am-sharp tea drinking ladies Ann and Diana, Doctor Joe and wife Karen from the US (who’s skills were thankfully dormant throughout the trip), Cliff and Eleanor from Southern US with plenty of comical dinner table tales, Australian Les who we are thrilled finally managed to join our cruise - which has always been a pipeline dream, and last but by no means least Chrys and Jack who put us all to shame with their biking enthusiasm! 


Fabulous full moon rose over our mooring in Mailly-le-Chateau

The trees are beginning to turn an autumnal orange, and the evenings and mornings are becoming fresh as we welcome our September passengers, eager to capture the spectacular photogenic season change on camera.


Taken on the canal at Chatel Censoir

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

27th August - 2nd September

A wonderful, key part of the Luciole’s cruise along the Nivernais is the quaint hand-worked locks – 32 of them in total along our week’s path. A smooth and fascinating experience when working well, and a comical team building one when problems occur! Many hands made light work this week when an obstruction in a lock gate created quite a traffic jam of barges. Luckily every Frenchman and his dog turned up to help. Captain Francisco along with matelot Luke, Tim (the captain of The Randle) and Luciole passenger John managed to force open the gate and so set the obstruction on it’s way.

Passengers, lock keepers and crew help open the lock gate

Passenger Nancy steers the boat and Captain Francisco

Other highlights of the week included a jolly string of visitors to join captain Francisco up in the wheel house, an old Liley family friend Robin cruising for the first time in 16 years, and chef Jade's parents Christine and John joining us from bonnie Scotland.

Robin, hostess Kimberley and owner Will


Captain Francisco with Christine, chef Jade's mother

Thursday, 31 August 2017

20th - 26th August

With the second half of the season in full swing and the August weather reaching it’s sunny peak, there were plenty of opportunities for refreshing river dips and even perfecting swimming one handedly (drink in the other!)

The warm evenings allowed for a game of boules watered down of course with some Pastis... it's in the rules.

Passengers play Boules at Accolay
The weather wasn't the only thing making us hot under the collar this week. Love was in the air on the Luciole!; a 44th anniversary celebration for Ruth and Bill and a wedding lead up for Kathryn and Phil, reminding us of all the anniversaries and honeymoons we’ve shared with passengers along the way. Wishing the very best of luck to all!    


Glorious weather for the final cruise as we leave a canal section on to the River Yonne


Sunday, 27 August 2017

13th - 19th August

Another week of firsts for the Luciole, with a group of Russian and Ukranian guests joining us to make Luciole history – the first in our 51 years of hotel barging.
And what a week we had! 

Our lovely passengers

Fishing was on the agenda – a lot of it! A visit to the local trout farm produced more than enough to allow chef Jade to feed our multi-national family of 12 for a week, leaving plenty for the crew to eat for breakfast.
Another first for the fridge ! Who remained fully stocked with scaled friends for the duration. 

It’s always a joy to have wine enthusiasts on board, and Sacha knew his red wine well, even by captain Francisco’s standards!

The ladies sipped enthusiastically on the white burgundies, and all thoroughly enjoyed chef Jades sweet treats. It was a pleasure to have you on board!


Jade, our talented chef, with her foie gras for Captain's Diner

30th July - 12th August

A two week break from cruising during what predictably can be a very hot August allowed for crew to fly off to all four corners, covering between them Portugal, Spain, Italy, Prague and of course sunny wee Scotland!
Quiet in Vezelay and on the Luciole, with crew taking their summer holidays

In the meantime back in Auxerre, the Luciole welcomed over-qualified house-sitters John Liley and son Arthur The Luciole enjoyed a nice sanding and paint refresh from Matelot Luke (who stayed close by during the break) under the watchful eye of John. Good friend and long-term Luciole painter Roy also joined us to freshen up inside and enjoy a green tea or two. With crew now all in place and perhaps needing a holiday from their holiday, we begin to cruise with ease into the second part of our 2017 season!

Monday, 31 July 2017

23rd - 29th July

Bonjour to the Aaron and Winnard families!

Youngsters Olivia, Alex and Elias were the catch of the week with their keen help prepping lunch with chef Jade, even given the job of chopping the onions didn’t put Olivia off chef life! Meanwhile on training as a new hostess on the side, the lotus flower napkin fold was perfect. When do you start?! 

A Jade wonder from the galley

The sun breaking through the clouds towards the end of the week allowed grandparents Hank and Ruth to take over the steering of the boat up on the wheel house, under captain Francisco’s watchful eye. I think we see a new crew forming! Merci to all.


Summer corn fields, looking towards Irancy and Bailly



Tuesday, 25 July 2017

16th - 22nd July

A brilliantly varied cruise of Luciole newcomers and returning friendly faces (welcome back Sheila, John and Diana), filled the Luciole with plenty of interesting chat and debate this July week.

A welcome stop at the ever so cool Cave de Bailly to sample some pink local fizz received some oohs and ahhs, and much hands-on-hips pondering occurred whilst stood alongside a new Alexander Calder exhibit that appeared outside the wondrous Vezeley basilica. 


Alexander Calder exhibit contrasts dramatically with the basilica

The pondering continued still over dinner as the debate over Rich’s relatively noticeable shirt roared, prompting him to rebelliously change into it for a second time mid dinner, just as the opportunity arose to be captured on camera for this blog post! Famous!
The legend of the St Maure de Touraine cheese declares only a real man can remove the straw centre in one piece.

Passenger Rich and hostess Kimberley with the straw from the St Maure cheese

Well Rich, I think this confirms the shirt is a keeper, apologies to wife Martine!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

9th - 15th July

The Luciole was on an exhilarating mission this week to catch up with some Bastille day firework celebrations. An Auxerre detour eventually allowed us to catch an impressive display in the small French village of Champs sur Yonne.


An adventure filled charter group of the Flood and Diller families, who dived straight into their canoeing, climbing, go-karting and horse riding challenges with great enthusiasm. Learning Russian with Katya and friendship bracelet making with Marilee were highlights of the crews week! We will miss you all! A special happy birthday to super-dad Jay.

Monday, 10 July 2017

2nd - 8th July Tandem Charter

A beautiful Burgundy cruise with an Asian twist was enjoyed by all on board this week; a tandem charter group split between The Luciole and The Randle - accommodating eighteen passengers from Shanghai and Bejing.

Luciole and Randle moored together on the River Yonne, in Vincelles

We are always grateful to spend time and exchange cultures with guests from far overseas, and this week was the perfect opportunity to ‘freshen up’ on our Mandarin!

Enjoying the sunshine at Les Deux Ponts

A large thanks to everyone especially group leaders Hugo and Alice and their daughter Liz, translator superb! It was a joy to see you all trying and enjoying the local food (even the cheese!), and also to see chefs Jade and Gael cooking up their best Chinese dishes, thankfully to your approval! A French-Asian fusion.

Fun at the stables and a hack through the cool woods

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

25th June - 1st July

BABY ON BOARD!

The Luciole was home to a couple of little chirping babies this week – the award for youngest passenger on board in our 51 years of cruising going to baby Mila, partner in crime with only slightly-less-small sibling; brother Teo.
A stormy start to the week for the Grove family, with super granddad Tim being discharged from hospital and finally reunited with us on the Tuesday as the sun crept from behind the clouds. Met by doting wife Marilyn and of course a cold glass of Chardonnay and some bloody good French cheese and jamon, making everything in the world right once again. A LOT of beer and laughs were eventually enjoyed.
In the words of Tim Grove “What a week!”


18th - 24th June

Boom boom BOOM

Take a little look at ‘Grandpa’ Bill here booming off the side of the Luciole on what was another gloriously sunny week of soaring temperatures and river-splashing fun. An adventure family charter group with children Billy, Emma, Sam, Henry and Benjamin allowed for a canoeing and chess marathon of a cruise, and plenty of cold drinks to cool down. 

Large congratulations to Bill and Alice on their 49th wedding anniversary and recent birthdays, it is always a joy to hold such a close family within our own much cherished floating family home.


Cooling down

Swimming off the barge at the Saussoir

Sunday, 18 June 2017

11th - 17th June


Things got a little wet and wild this week with the arrival of James and his troop of delightful ramblers.

The sun was shining, and any stop along the cruise was a more than perfect opportunity to dive, flop or jump into the river to cool off. Crew included.

The ladies kept things graceful, while the men caused a splash and showed real dedication with their 7am dips. A wonderful team of synchronized swimmers!

Home-made elderflower cordial was sipped, cherries consumed, and a daily after-dinner stroll in the soft evening summer light was a welcome addition brought with the long June evenings. (glass of wine in hand mandatory)


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

4th - 10th June 2017

With the welcome arrival of June sunshine and soaring temperatures, an equally sunny gaggle of passengers boarded the Luciole for a week of laughs and plenty of pre, during and post beverages!

Once upon a time marathon runner Lois did laps of us and the canal path while we steadily made our way along the Nivernais - (a Burgundian version of The Tortoise and the Hare.) 

While the return of Californian gentleman Lee was the cherry on top of our sunny week. Two Cornish ladies stirred things up with their Cornish banter, and fellow Scotsman Charles made firm friends with chef Jade!  


Return passenger Lee, with Penny

Sunday, 4 June 2017

21st - 27th May 2017

The Luciole was honoured to welcome back Gordon with his lovely wife and nieces, along with three amazing ladies travelling from America (via Spain) with stories a plenty. English Gent, John also returned and last but not least Eduard and Tana, who made up the party.
We have Tana to thank for her poem! 


Ode to the 'Luciole'

Once long ago to John and Penny, 
There came amazing inspiration, 
With which hearts and hands a-many, 
Led to Barge Luciole's creation.

Francisco poached from The Batobus
With the rest of the crew, looks after us.
With consummate skill he steers the boat,
Through locks and shallows keeping afloat.

Keen of the eye and handy too, 
There's nothing Ian cannot do.
Being Cisco's right-hand guide, 
Swabbing, polishing, helping us ride.

Tour guide Andy's a dapper fellow,
With twinkling eyes and humour mellow,
With knowledge of history, architecture, wine and cheese,
Though he's not so good on flowers and trees!

And back at the boat, why, here comes Kimberley!
Nobody serves us quite so nimbly!
With her sunny smile, no-one is quicker,
To offer us coffee, tea and liquor!

Noami, too, with charm and grace,
Quietly moves about the place.
Seeing that every need is met,
Both above and below the deck.

Then Jade, the chef extraordinaire 
She plies us with amazing fare.
Every meal a taste sensation,
A paragon of degustation!

So please, don't think it just platitude,
When we express our heartfelt gratitude.
For in our hearts and memory,
This trip, with you, will always be.


Oh what a week to remember - blue sky as we cruise into Auxerre

...... Merci from the Luciole crew - to our wonderful passengers of this week