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

Monday, 15 May 2017

7th - 13th May 2017

A delightful group of Canadian (NOT to be confused with American!), British and actual American guests graced us with their company this week on board the Luciole. A mixture of glorious local beers on a sunny deck and cups of hot, frothy cappuccinos during cool April showers made for a varied yet thoroughly enjoyable week.

Many a joyful late evening tale was shared among guests and even crew over candlelit dinner and wine this week, with each crew member being put in the ‘hot seat’ as our intrigued guests asked us a hundred (of course welcomed!) questions. Thank you for being so nosey, we appreciated it!

Don exchanged humorous tales with chef Jade on his time working on cruise ships, and Lily a Canadian author spiced things up with her stories and writing. Laughter filled the saloon from morning until evening, thank you to all for a very pleasant, humorous week on board, you will be missed!

Super relaxed and convivial dining on the Luciole


The Luciole, moored beneath the Roches de Saussois

Sunday, 7 May 2017

23rd - 29th April 2017

The Luciole welcomed aboard Americans and British for the second cruise of our season. The Gallé family, with their perfectly behaved children Felix and Cicely were a pleasure to have on board too. Oh what a fabulous fossil you found in the vineyard Felix, a full oyster shell. A remarkable treasure to find.

Jade our chef, with us for a second year, cooked up a storm, catering for a variety of dietary requests, early teas youngsters and sandwiches for the intrepid bikers, Mary and Jenny. 



Salmon, steeped in beetroot juices, garnished with parsnip crisp


Oh the bikers!  Mary and Jenny, your enthusiasm to explore and go further into the depths was so admirable.  Mary, Queen of Pedal - I only wish I was as fit you. Even the Fosse Dione, in Tonnerre was graced by your presence. That is really called 'going the full distance' ladies, the rest of us were full of admiration.



Friends and friendship on the Luciole 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

16th - 22nd April 2017

We spent our first week with a lovely family, who arrived from sunny California and Costa Rica.  All week the barge rang with three languages.  Captain Francisco was in his element, speaking in his mother tongue - Spanish - with the younger generation in the wheelhouse.

Superb Kimberley and George our hosts created magic in so many ways, George's butter man was highly amusing! Thank you for seeing through the start of our season George. Happy travels onwards.


Mr Butter-fingers George with his butter-man

Jade our returning chef from last season, swung into gear.  Following the impressive array of DIY skills during the refit weeks, one could be forgiven for forgetting Jade was the Luciole chef! High five to you cheffy.

Ian is our new matelot for this season and he learnt the ropes and counting the Luciole into the locks so quickly. William as a past matelot was present to guide Ian through the learning of the ropes, in every sense, passing on the Luciole traditions. 

Andy drove the bus with his usual calm aplomb, guiding the passengers on the visits and explaining of yesteryear. He also proved he had not lost his mooring spike hammering skills over the winter months!



Mooring in the countryside

Our lovely family, watched the bird life along the river bank. Heard the nightingales, watched the diving grebe and the swooping swallows in Vincelles. Jim you will be remembered for your passion, with your trusty binoculars of our feathered friends. It was a lovely start to our season. Our thanks to you all.


Auxerre agent rendezvous


Kindly visiting from around the globe, a group of barge agents, on a short cruise from Vincelles to Auxerre. Wined and dined in the evening in celebration of 50 years of barging, a speech by the man who started it all, Richard Parsons, aptly joined by his son George who was helping us out on the Luciole.

Some major changes on the Luciole; moving of the stair case to create more room in the saloon, new passenger bathrooms in the stern and new crew cabins in the bow. A mammoth effort by all to get her ready on time, of which we are extremely grateful to all the effort put in.

Dinner was then served for 32 in a hotel on the quay. A lovely evening shared by old and new faces. We thank those who joined us and those who helped out.

Barge agents cruising into Auxerre

Richard Parsons, his right hand man, son George.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Luciole refit 2017

A lot of change on the Luciole

With various projects on the Luciole, there is a lot of change happening; 4 new bathrooms, moving the staircase and new crew cabins, plus the usual lick of paint and improvements through out. Thankfully with help from many people. We have also seen the arrival of various crew members, most of which are returning, here to lend a hand, including the chef Jade, a very welcome arrival! Hard work by all is showing results and we can't wait to share with you the finished product.

Van Gogh and Picasso

Monday, 27 February 2017

Spring work continues

Work aboard the Luciole is bowling on at a fantastic speed

Staircase is re-positioned to the side of the saloon
The new laundry cupboard and 'office' walls and shelves are going up soon
The cabin corridor stretched from stern to bow
Four new bathrooms about to be tiled
Nice to take time out to celebrate a birthday


Important to celebrate a birthday on board

The staircase is moved to the side of the Luciole

Much better access in from the deck
Four new bathrooms - tiling about to begin!

Merci millions to a wonderful working crew, for all you are achieving on the Luciole!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Winter work begins

The days are getting longer in Auxerre and with our winter work in progress, we are greatly cheered to see the golden sun rise earlier and the sun later.  Darkness descended at 6.10pm today, the 24 January.

The winter sun rises over the horizon, across the River Yonne

Last winter we replaced four bathrooms and this winter, it is the remaining four.  Andy, our tour guide, turned winter OC of Works is once again guiding us through the challenges of boat renovation. Captain Francisco is providing valuable assistance, in every way and Penny wears the cap of catering and clear-up services.

Admittedly in the cold it has been suggested (by Penny) we take the very long way home from the recycling centre, so we can stay longer in the warm and cosy car, but it has not happened yet! Thankfully there is Andy's coffee machine to keep us going.


Francisco, Penny and Andy.  There is always time to share a laugh

We know it will be spring before too long although at this stage, it is hard to believe it will ever be warm again.  We certainly do feel ready for some heat, in and out of the kitchen/galley.....