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Explore France with Orient-Express’ Fleet of Luxury Péniche-Hotels

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Discover the enchanting inland waterways of France with Afloat in F­rance, Orient-Express' fleet of five luxury bespoke péniche-hotels, and experience some of the many culinary delights of this captivating country.

From exploring local artisan farmers markets and century old chateaux to sampling rare wines in Burgundy, Afloat in France offers individually tailored cruises as you travel with your very own chef and tour guide to introduce you to the best of France. Afloat in France's 2010 season opened earlier this month and ends on 24 October 2010.

Back by popular demand and held for the very first on board the elegant Amaryllis, an itinerary like no other awaits the oenophiles among us for the annual Grand Cru Cruise. Escorted by wine expert Jean-Pierre Cropsal with visits to four exclusive family-owned vineyards, the Semaine des Grands Crus is a must for wine aficionados. The journey is an unmissable opportunity to taste the 33 Grand Crus of Burgundy, including Bonne Mares, Montrachet and most famous of them all, La Romanée Conti. Exercise the taste buds and the mind as you learn, discover and explore all aspects of wine as well as the wine making process, accompanied by some of the most glorious food imaginable to even the most well trained palate.

At an all inclusive cost of £5,500 per person departing Dijon 18 July 2010 and 25 July 2010, this is a unique week-long cruise aboard a luxury barge where you will be treated to hosted tours, tastings and dinners in an exclusive, access all areas journey through the heart of the wine making region.

Orient-Express can tailor your trip with an individually customised cruise designed specifically for you and your parties needs. From bike riding to art and cooking classes, hot air ballooning to golf lessons, your holiday will be like no other reflecting each individual’s passion and with your very own tour guide and host ensuring all activities indulge you and you alone; creating memories which will last a life time.

Each péniche-hotel is available for private hire between April and October, giving guests the opportunity to have their own floating house party. A mini bus is also available for the on land excursions, allowing passengers discover more of the enchanting countryside.

A six-night journey on the Alouette starts at £12,960 for a two person private charter in 2010, cruising the tranquil Canal du Midi between Béziers and Carcassonne. For those who wish to explore the enchanting medieval city of Carcassonne at greater leisure, consider adding on a night or two at the Hôtel de la Cité, an Orient-Express Hotel that is nestled in the city’s ramparts between two historic landmarks, the Romanesque Château Comtal and the Gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, and set in its own beautiful gardens.

Napoleon is available for private charter for up to twelve people or on a per cabin basis. For an all inclusive, six night cruise prices start from £29,940 for eight people and from £3,060 per person on a cabin only basis.

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