|Under bridges and through locks is a great way to see a country. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|La Renaissance. Photo courtesy European Waterways.|
|Spring blooms were glorious. Photo© by Judy Wells.|
|Hannah presents the wine. hoto© by Judy Wells.|
|Isabelle introduces us to a new cheese. Photo© by Judy Wells.|
• That we were only four guests instead of the usual eight meant extra special service from the young, affable and competent crew.
|Montargis, the Venice of France. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Rump of lamb. Photo ©by Judy Wells.|
|Our activity, Sunning and relaxing. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
Tip: There are steps aboard. You will have one and occasionally a short gangplank to get on or off the barge and 13 down to cabin level. There is a low cowling to get into the fore and aft cabins and a tiny step between the lounge and foredeck areas. One cabin is wheelchair accessible on the eight-passenger La Nouvelle Etoile, which primarily plies the canals of Holland in March and May, Burgundy in June and July and Germany and Luxembourg in September and October. There's also a wheelchair lift.
|Market at Briare. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
How many steps?Castles are the most challenging for us, thanks to steps, steps and more steps. On the Briare Canal cruise we visited three.
|Adieux Courtyard, Fountainebleau. Photo ç by Judy Wells.|
From the 28 steps with three landings to the Napoleon I exhibit to the six steps up to the large apartments you will have flat surfaces to amble, stopping frequently to take in the rooms, their history and decor. Then it's 42 steps down and five steps up to Trinity chapel.
Tip: There is an elevator but in France you have to have a special card to use them in historic buildings. If you qualify for handicapped parking, bring one of the hanging tags with you and show it when you buy your ticket. Might work.
|Chateau Sully sur Loire. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Chaeau la Bussiere. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Maria de Chasseval, Duchess of Bussiere. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
Tip: Our other excursions to markets, a winery and faience factory were much less strenuous. This was the first trip following a third hip surgery in October and I managed, taking advantage of chairs and ledges to sit whenever possible and taking it easy on board the barge the rest of the time. If it sounds too daunting, you can always opt to stroll about the grounds or skip the excursion altogether.There are always interesting towns and villages within a block or two of the barge.
|The view from the dock at Montbouy. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
For a day-to-day account of the trip on La Renaissance, go to Aboard Renaaissance at All Things Cruise.
|La Renaissance at Briare. Photo © by Judy Wells.|