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Barging Through Burgundy Provides Foodie Fantasies

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Foodies can take a fruitful side trip from Paris through the canals of Burgundy. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.

Two hundred miles southeast of Paris, travelers flow the idyllic canals of Burgundy.

As a media guest onboard European Waterways, one of several hotel-barge operators in the Burgundy area, I got a taste of its six night cruises in half the time.

The menu is a foodie fantasy, locally sourced from towns with legendary names that jump off mustard jars along with enormous cheese blocks and meat from local markets.

In tight quarters, the chef creates small culinary miracles of farm-to-barge cuisine.

"It's not only cooking for 12 guests but 6 crew as well. That's 18 meals, three times a day, so nearly 60 meals a day," says Selby Clements, Chef de Cuisine.

The meals are paired with the appropriate wine from the famous Burgundy vineyards, where a coddled clientele is escorted on excursion.

"We don't blend anything, the grapes will always come from the same field, the same vineyard, and end up in the bottle with the same label on it," says James Bairstow of European Waterways.

The wine pours freely, nearly 40 bottles a week. It's part of the all-inclusive nature of the luxury cruise that, in the low season of early spring, costs nearly $800 a night per person.

Over a span of a week, the barge travels 25 miles, navigating an estimated 40 locks along the way, with at least one friendly dog per lock.

The barge is so slow-moving -- 3-4 knots tops -- that people can walk along the adjacent tow path and easily keep up with it, or take a bike ride and readily outpace it.

The proximity to land provides some comfort at a time when big-ship cruising is taking its share of knocks for safety concerns.

As is common practice in the travel industry, Travel With Val often receives complimentary travel or reduced "media" rates at hotels, resorts and attractions, including those that may be featured in these reports. Such consideration is not taken in exchange for any express or implied promise or understanding of any nature, particularly regarding the content of these reports. These reports only feature travel providers personally recommended by Valarie D’Elia in the exercise of her independent editorial judgment, and do not represent the endorsement of Time Warner Cable or any third party. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP