The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

THIS com­pany was founded in Stras­bourg in 1976 by Ger­ard Schmitter, the pi­o­neer of French river cruis­ing who died in Fe­bru­ary. The fam­ily-owned com­pany is run by his chil­dren — Patrick, Philippe, Chris­tian and Anne-Marie — and has been rep­re­sented in Aus­tralia since 2007 by Cruise Abroad’s Peter Mar­shall. Ships: The 176-pas­sen­ger flag­ship Ger­ard Schmitter made its maiden voy­age in April, be­com­ing the com­pany’s 27th ship. Ac­tiv­i­ties: There are themed walk­ing and cy­cling cruises, but only for French-speak­ing pas­sen­gers. Unique fea­ture: Con­sult­ing chef Paul Bo­cuse, whose main res­tau­rant, L’Au­berge du Pont de Col­longes, near Lyon, has been awarded three Miche­lin stars ev­ery year since 1965. At­trac­tions for Aus­tralians: Bilin­gual cruises give Aus­tralians the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tise or pol­ish their French. Su­perb French food with com­pli­men­tary matched wines at lunch and din­ner. Sam­ple 2013 cruise: The seven-night round trip from Bordeaux, April to Oc­to­ber. In Pauil­lac, take a tour to Chateau Lafite Roth­schild, Chateau La­tour and Chateau Mou­ton Roth­schild, fa­mous for their red wines. In Li­bourne, Saint-Emil­ion is a must. From $1417 a per­son twin-share. More:

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