Baby ducklings and their mother

Choosing when to cruise

Throughout the season there’s always something beautiful and unique to enjoy on your cruise. So whether you want to time your trip to coincide with a specific event/special date or you have the whole year to choose from, read on to find out what is special about each month.

And since food is an important part of cruising I’ve also highlighted what treats at their best each month – you’ll have the opportunity to try these either onboard or expertly prepared by chefs at our faveourite restaurants.

May header - baby ducklings following their mother

It’s a brand new season and there’s lots of new life on the canal with attentive parents escorting groups of fluffy ducklings and cygnets. Whilst in the vineyards the leaves are just starting to form in the late spring sunshine. And if you are a tennis fan why not combine a cruise with a day at the French Open in Paris.

In season this month:

  • Asparagus – steamed, sauted or even raw in a salad it’s all delicious.
  • Goat’s cheese – most goats cheeses are fresh, ie. not aged for months, and once the goats head back into the pastures to munch spring flowers and grasses you get great flavours in the cheese

By June summer has really arrived and there are beautiful flowers everywhere, in village displays, gardens and at the locks. Events and festivals start to spring up, such as the Joan of Arc festival, with it’s costumed procession and medieval-style market or maybe you’ll enjoy a musical interlude on the summer solstice, which is the Fête de la Musique.

In season this month:

  • Gariguette strawberries – You can easily spot this French variety at the market from their elongated shape – and they taste like summer! I love serving these in fruit salad at breakfast or on a platter with macarons.
  • Fennel – with it’s mild liquorice flavour this feathery bulb adds pep to a salad or it’s delicious braised

The canal is even more beautiful this month as the water lilies come into flower and the adjacent fields of wheat are golden against the background of the green vine clad hills. This is the time to enjoy long balmy evenings sat on the deck with a glass of something. And if you are with us for Bastille Day on the 14th you can watch the fireworks celebrating France’s national holiday from the deck of the barge.

In season this month:

  • Peaches and nectarines – perfectly ripe and flavourful
  • Charentais melon – these orange fleshed melons are amazingly perfumed


August header - sunglasses on a jazzy yellow background

August is holiday time here in France, where many businesses simply shut for three weeks so everyone goes ‘en vacances’. But don’t worry this doesn’t mean crowds here in Champagne as the French typically go to the coast for their hols. And if you are planning to spend some time exploring Paris before or after your cruise you’ll find fewer people and lower hotel prices.

In season this month:

  • Plums – fresh plums are really popular here and you’ll find a huge variety in the markets. But there are also plenty of trees next to the locks so at breakfast they can be straight off the tree
September month header with grapes

September always books up early so if you want to cruise this month its best to plan ahead. It’s harvest time here in Champagne which means the whole place is buzzing. On your excursions you’ll get to pick the grapes, watch them being pressed and taste the juice straight from the press.

In season this month:

  • Figs – I like to serve these either simply sliced as part of a breakfast fruit platter or transformed into a tapenade to go with cheese

Whilst the days start to get cooler, the scenery is beautiful as the leaves of the trees and bushes along the river start to turn golden and russet reds.

In season this month:

  • Grapes – whilst all the champagne grapes have long been harvested, the table grapes from the south of France are at their best this month
  • Truffle brie – I didn’t think it was possible to improve on a melt in the mouth wedge of brie, but add a layer of truffle through the middle and it’s even better.
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Serenity barge cruising along he tree lined canal