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Who Knows

Burgundy & Champagne

Who Knows © Sonia JonesJason © Who KnowsDawn © Who Knows

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise the Canal de Bourgogne or the Marne river & canals

 

The Who Knows‘ name is a literal translation of the Dutch “Wie Zalt Weten”. Built in 1930 in Holland, she was used for ferrying grain, stone, wood and other dry cargo all over Europe. The barge was laid up in the centre of Paris for 17 years, where she was owned and lived on by the famous American actor/writer Sterling Hayden.

In 2004, Dawn and Jason bought the Who Knows and embarked on a tasteful complete renovation of this beautiful barge. Dawn is a graduate of the prestigious Concord Hotel and Restaurant Management Scheme. Following in her mother’s footsteps as a professional chef, she applies her skills to delight customers with her unique twist on classic French cuisine. Dawn’s attention to detail ensures that the barge runs like clockwork. Barge Captain Jason graduated from the famous “Ecole Hotelière” on the shores of Lac Leman, Switzerland. After running hotels, restaurants, night clubs and bars in Switzerland, England and East Africa, he finally settled down in France where his skills as a wine enthusiast, gourmand and professional bilingual tour guide have come into their own.

Ensure you experience France as it should be seen on-board this half-board barge charter, cruising the peaceful canals of Burgundy and Champagne.


NB: Who Knows wont’be cruising in 2016. Dawn and Jason will operate the Burgundy and Champagne cruises with Saroche, their newly acquired barge. Find out more!

 

Features

Deck - Who Knows © Sonia JonesFeatures:

28.6 m in length
 Up to 6 passengers
– 1 double and 2 twin cabins with ensuite shower bath
– 2 crew (Dawn & Jason, the owners)
– Sundeck with large chairs and canopy
6 bicycles

 

Double cabin - Who Knows © Sonia Jones

 

On-board Who Knows, you will appreciate the simple yet elegant charm of cruising the French waterways. The barge now has three well appointed en-suite air conditioned cabins and two fabulous outside decks to take full advantage of the magnificent French scenery that slowly drifts by. Experience fabulous cuisine and world class wines in privacy with unique itineraries that really let you escape.

 

NB: half-board arrangement in Burgundy & three-quarter board arrangement in Champagne. Enjoy the perfect balance between the deliciously prepared meals you will indulge in on board and the charm and freedom of dinning ashore.

 

Breakfast © Who Knows

On board, Dawn will cater to all your culinary needs and you will be delighted by the mouth-watering dishes she produces from her small but more-than-adequate galley kitchen. Jason, Dawn and many of the past guests have carefully selected restaurants to tempt and delight, paying particular attention to ensuring they offer something unique whether it be a simple workman’s lunch or the sophisticated joy of Michelin. Jason is at your disposal to transport you to and from restaurants, and also translate menus if needed, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the dinning experience.

Floorplan

Who Knows floorplan

Location map

Burgundy & Champagne cruises

 

Meeting point Burgundy cruise
Champagne cruise    

 

 

Burgundy cruise

Burgundy – 7 days/6 nights half-board cruise

 

Day 1 – Sunday: Dijon to Gissey sur Ouche

Meet at Dijon train station arrivals hall at 4pm. Transfer to the Who Knows moored in the charming village of Gissey sur Ouche for a Champagne welcome. Time to settle in before dinner on board.

 

Day 2 – Monday: Gissey sur Ouche to Pont D’Ouche

After breakfast we set sail and head upstream towards Pont d’Ouche. Today is all about cruising with plenty of opportunity to cycle and walk along the tow-path, exploring the small villages along the route or just sitting on the deck and watching Burgundy glide by. The Ouche valley is noted for its steep sided tree lined dense deciduous forest, wild boar, deer and birds of prey.

After lunch, on board the sedate pace continues through the afternoon and we climb through several locks to our destination of Pont d’Ouche our mooring for the night.

Tonight dinner is ashore at the Auberge St Martin in the village of Bouilland. This well established family restaurant provides a classic French dinning experience with great Burgundian dishes and wonderful wines and cheese to round off a memorable first day.

 

Day 3 – Tuesday: Pont D’Ouche to La Repe

This morning, Jason will drive you into the wine district of the Côtes de Nuits. First, Jason will do a guided visit of the famous Cistercian winery of the Clos du Vougeot, home to the “Knights of the round table of wine tasting”. We then venture into the vineyards for a discussion on the vine, grape and strict growing conditions of Burgundy’s AOC, followed by a wine tasting, before returning to Who Knows for a lazy lunch on board.

In the afternoon, Jason and Dawn cast off and you set sail for La Repe en Auxois. This relaxing cruise takes the barge through several locks, giving you plenty of opportunity to marvel at the scenery or snooze in a lounger on deck. Our mooring at La Repe is in the shadow of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois, classified as one of the prettiest villages in France. Taking advantage of the vista, tonight you dine in a small family run restaurant in Chateauneuf itself, the energetic amongst you can even walk back down the hill to the barge!

 

Day 4 – Wednesday: Beaune

After breakfast, Jason will drive you to Beaune, the capital of wine production in Burgundy. Jason will do a guided visit of the world famous Hospice de Beaune built in 1443 before leaving you to enjoy a light lunch and time to explore this most magnificent of towns.

In the afternoon Jason takes you to Patriarche Pere et Fils, the famous wine cellars in Beaune where his extensive knowledge of wines comes into play to guide you through the cellars and tastings. With over 4 million bottles at any one time in their underground caves that have over 5 kilometres of tunnel network, you will not go short for a drop or two, this is an extensive tasting ranging from the simple to the illustrious. A leisurely drive through the countryside brings you back to the barge where Dawn will once again delight you with a fabulous meal aboard.

 

Day 5 – Thursday: La Repe to Pouilly en Auxois

This morning, we visit Châteauneuf. Jason will do a guided visit of this impressive fortified castel with its commanding views of the canal and surrounding area. Behind the château is a fantastic village, surprisingly small considering the obvious importance of the site.

From here, we drive the short distance to Vandenesse where you shall have lunch at Lucott’s, an institution in the area. Nico, the eccentric owner, often pipes his guests in with a badly played hunting horn, whilst his wife Martine produces simple, yet hearty food. Pichets of wine on the table complete one of the most memorable dinning experiences in France.

In the afternoon we set sail and head for the summit pound, where we prepare the barge to travel through the Pouilly tunnel, a hugely impressive feat of engineering. This 3 kilometre tunnel was built by British prisoner of war during the Napoleonic wars. Our transit takes us around 45 minutes and brings us out at Pouilly en Auxois, our mooring for the night. After another of Dawn’s fabulous creations you can enjoy a sunset walk around the harbour before a digestive on deck.

 

Day 6 – Friday: Pouilly en Auxois to Pont Royal

On your final day aboard, we revert back to the joy of pure cruising. From the summit pound at Pouilly, we descend 11 locks in quick succession as we once again head into the Burgundian countryside, with ample opportunities to walk and cycle by the barge. Just before lock 12 we moor up and drive to the Abbey of Labussier an 11th century Cistercian retreat that has been lovingly converted into one of the most prestigious hotels and Michelin stared restaurants in France, lunch today is a gastronomic feast of classic and contemporary dinning.

Returning to the barge in the afternoon, we spend several relaxing hours lazily gliding through the valley floor to our destination of Pont Royal where the Who Knows moors up and the reflection of a wonderful week can begin.

 

Day 7 – Saturday: Pont Royal to Dijon

After breakfast, Jason will drive you back to Dijon train station, for your onward journey, with memories and pictures that will last a lifetime.

 

Champagne cruise

Champagne – 7 days/6 nights – Three-quarter board cruise

 

Champagne holds a world of mystery. With the mere word “Champagne” images of luxury and wealth spring to mind, let us cruise you through this magical part of France and indulge you in the drink of Kings and Queens and enjoy it at it’s best, celebrating with friends!

 

Day 1 – Sunday: Sillery

Pick up from TGV Champagne Ardennes train station at 4pm. Minibus transfer to the Who Knows at Sillery, on the canal Aisne à la Marne, just south of Reims. Welcome Champagne reception and safety speech. Time to settle in before dinner on board the barge.

 

Day 2 – Monday: Sillery to Mont De Billy

After breakfast, set sail and gently cruise down the canal towards the tiny village of Sept Saulx, with a view of the grand cru vineyards on the Montagne de Reims holding much promise to come during the week. We pass many areas and villages made famous for the hard fought battles during World War I. Mooring up in the countryside for lunch on board.

In the afternoon we continue cruising along the secluded tree lined canal before passing the tunnel of the Mont de Billy at the summit of the canal. We moor in the shade of the trees for the evening, time for bubbles du jour before Dawn and Jason serve you a fabulous dinner.

 

Day 3 – Tuesday: Mont de Billy to Tour-sur-Marne

After a lazy breakfast, we take the mini bus to Meruil sur Ay, home to many famous champagne houses but non more so than Billecart Salmon. Enjoy a private tour of the last remaining independent large Champagne house followed by a delectable tasting. Returning to the barge for more of Dawn’s creations will leave you well suited to a relaxing afternoon on the deck or walking by the barge as we descend the 8 locks to the Canal Lateral à la Marne, where we cruise to the village of Tour-sur-Marne, home to Laurent Perrier.

After Bubbles du Jour, there is a short walk to the classic French restaurant “Touraine Champenoise”. Family run for 6 generations, this old coaching inn has bags of character, rounding off another fine day.

 

Day 4 – Wednesday: Reims

We leave the barge this morning to head into the historic city of Reims, our first stop is to the Eisenhower war rooms, an important yet undiscovered museum where the end of the Second World War was signed. From here, Jason will take you to the world famous cathedral of Reims. Having survived the revolution and two world wars, it is a testament to the resilience of the people of Reims, with its amazing nave and wonderful architecture it deserves the world heritage status it has gained. Then, its time to enjoy a relaxed lunch and explore the town.

We meet up in the early afternoon and drive back toward the barge, on the way Jason will stop at one of the small Champagne producers for a cellar visit and degustation, it these examples of champagne that cannot be found anywhere outside of France and a real surprise for many people to see how well they compare the big brands.

After a short drive back to the barge, there will be plenty of time to freshen up and enjoy the Bubbles du Jour before Dawn’s delights with another famous meal.

 

Day 5 – Thursday: Tour-sur-Marne to Cumières

After breakfast, we set sail for Cumières on the Marne river, we pass by hill covered vineyards owned by many famous Champagne houses like Mumm, Philiponat, Moët & Chandon and Heidesek to name but a few, with plenty of opportunity to walk and cycle along the well paved towpath. We slowly descend to the Marne river where we moor up in the last section of the canal and enjoy lunch on deck in the shadow of Hautvillier.

This afternoon, Jason will take you to the house of Blosseville Marniquet for an in depth tour of a small wine house, guided by the owner. You will get a real scenes of the pride that the champenoise have in their way of life. From here, Jason will take you to Hautvillier the home of Dom Perrignon, the founding father of Champagne or so the presse will have you believe! This charming village has a truly commanding view over the whole area and from here you can get a real picture of the scale of champagne.

Returning to the barge, there is plenty of time to get ready for Bubbles du Jour. Tonight, dinner is ashore at the Gain d’Argent, a contemporary restaurant which is two minutes away.

 

Day 6 – Friday: Cumières to Jaulgonne

Today is all about the joy of barge cruising. We set sail and cruise down the Marne River, gently meandering through the Marne valley covered in vineyards, history and wonderful French countryside. All this can be admired from the comfort of the deck . Mooring up to enjoy a leisurely lunch before we carry on cruising through the afternoon to the village of Jaulgonne. This village is very quaint with some lovely houses and a true French flavour with baker butcher and bar du village, all tucked away up the hill, however no view is better than from the deck of the Who Knows.

Bubbles du Jour whilst admiring the hill side vineyards, neighbouring château or kingfishers darting around on the river followed by the Gala dinner on board the barge where Dawn wows you with more delights from her kitchen.

 

Day 7 – Saturday

After breakfast, Jason will drive you back to TGV Champagne Ardennes train station for your onward journey, leaving you with memories of a wonderful week aboard the Who Knows.

 

Photo Gallery

Testimonials

“Start with the beautifully tailored Burgundian  landscape… Add the companionship of two of the nicest hosts one could wish for… Toss in fine food, great wine… Mix well in a sleek barge floating gracefully down a quiet canal… Serve graciously to all those lucky enough to come aboard the WHO KNOWS.”
D. Hurwitz

“Who knows… How to cook the best cuisine. All the history of the area. What food should be served with each wine. The best canal route in France. All the best local restaurants. How to make guests unwind and relaxed. How to make life time memories. How to make us all feel special. Extensive wine knowledge of the region and more. How to give clients a true French experience. Excellence. Dawn and Jason do!!!!!! We shall return.”
Mr & Mrs McDowell

“There have been so many wow moments. What an amazing week! We have run out of superlatives. We shall return, there are many many more experiences to share.”
Mr & Mrs Callow

“How lucky are we? What a fabulous holiday. Dawns’ cooking is memorable and just brilliant. Jason’s knowledge of the history of the local area and wines couldn’t be better. I hope we get an opportunity to do it again some time.”
Mr and Mrs Dalby

Cruise Fares

Who Knows cruise fares for 2015:

 

 Private charter – Half board: from €2,335 per person based on 6 passengers

Included in the fare:
– Six nights accommodation
– Dinner on the barge on the first evening, all breakfasts and one other meal each day aboard (one meal each day, lunch or dinner, taken ashore at customers expense)
– All wines, bar, and refreshment drinks aboard
– Transfers to and from the barge from the designated meeting point
– Daily excursions with your tour guide in private vehicle
– Use of on-board bicycles, library and sound system

 

NB: Who Knows wont’be cruising in 2016. Dawn and Jason will operate the Burgundy and Champagne cruises with Saroche, their newly acquired barge. Find out more!

 

 

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