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Backwaters Tours Launches ... with short breaks and themed itineraries exploring France’s network of hidden inland waterways


The chance to explore off the beaten track French antique shops with TV’s antiques guru Michael Hogben; discover the beers of the Artois with an expert beer sommelier and an ornithological focused cruise taking in some of the Somme’s best birdlife spots are just some of the highlights of Backwaters’ 2019 programme.


New itineraries for 2019 include a series of special interest holidays with themes including: ornithology, wines, antiques, music. They will feature alongside a selection of popular itineraries fromlast year’s inaugural programme,which explore the hidden rivers and canals of France’s heartland. Prices lead in at £395 per person for a scenic three-day Mother’s Day cruise on the River Somme with time to enjoy historic Amiens. The price includes two-nights B&B accommodation in Amiens at the three-star Holiday Inn, cruises each day with lunch on-board, travel and transfers from Kent.


Backwaters is pioneering a new and inventive sub-genre of cruising on the smaller-gaugewaterways of France not accessible to conventional river-cruise vessels.


Its new-build vessel,


Natalia, is configured not as hotel-craft but as a day lounge so that passengers can cruise the narrower canals and rivers in comfort, with a supporting coach offering excursions to the great châteaux, vineyards and other high spots and also doing the local ferrying between boat and hotel.


For its 2019 season, Backwaters plans to operate most of its no-fly tour-cruises in the heart of Burgundy, but it will start the season with a few weeks exploring the River Somme and Canal de St Quentin before its boat continues south for the summer. The Company's development plans provide for another boat to be built for permanent operation on these northern waterways


PAGE 40 SHEPWAY & CANTERBURY ADVERTISER


from 2020. Highlights of next year’s programme include two week-long trips hosted by antiques expert and TV personality Michael Hogben, who regularly features on the BBC One’s Bargain Hunt and ITV’s Dickinson’s Real Deal.


TheClassic Nivernais Antique Breakswill depart on 7th July and 29th September 2019, and will cost £1,650 per person for a week’s all-inclusive cruise exploring the scenic and secluded Canal du Nivernais in the rural heartland of Burgundy, with excursion time spent exploring the antiques shops of the area. The tour includes all travel and transfers, excursions, full board and seven nights’ accommodation at the family run three-star Hotel Normandie in the historic city of Auxerre. Michael will be on hand throughout the week to offer the benefit of his own 35 years of experience of fine art, antiques and collectables.


Natalia leaving one of the locks


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