Madeleine barge cruising Champagne France

A Blend of Germany and France, the Alsace Region has a full complement of beautiful architecture and landscapes – including rich vineyards of delectable wine grapes.

Its spectacular course, follows the inclined plain at Arzviller – unique in Europe – where boats are hoisted up a Continue reading

Anne Marie Barge Cruising Provence France

Cruising Provence on the Anne Marie barge includes visits to such sites as Avignon and the Popes Palace,the hill side town of Les Baux de Provence, white Camargue horses, Roman arena of Arles, as well as several wine tastings.  Call us  888-869-7907

Visit the Baroque Stift Gottweig Monastery on a River Cruise to Austria

The Benedictine Stift Gottweig Monastery stands on the eastern edge of the famous Danube valley area, the Wachau which is among Austria’s most famous wine regions. On the southern banks of the Danube, opposite to the town of Krems, the monastery is positioned 449 meters above sea level. Given its peculiar placement on the Göttweiger Berg mountain, it is also known as the “Austrian Montecassino”.

Established by Saint Altmann, the bishop of Passau in 1083, the Stift Gottweig Monastery was handed over to the Benedictines in 1094. Since then, forestry and wine-growing have substantially anchored the local economy with great emphasis on the development of the wine-growing industry.

The old cloister of the monastery was destroyed in 1718 following a great fire. After that, the construction of baroque buildings was executed according to the plans of architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. The major attractions in the monastery are the museum in the imperial wing which is one of Austria’s most important museums; the imperial staircase under a marvelous ceiling fresco painted by Paul Troger in 1739; the monastery church with crypt and cloister and the imperial and princes’ rooms. All these attractions held in the Stift Gottweig Monastery rank high among Austria’s religious and artistic sites.

History of the Stift Gottweig Monastery

As stated earlier, the Stift Gottweig was founded by Saint Altmann, the bishop of Passau in 1083 as a monastery of canons regular and later handed over to the Benedictines in 1094. Prior Hartmann of St. Blaise’s Abbey in the Black Forest was elected abbot. Under his direction (1094–1114) the monastery transformed into a prestigious seat of learning and stern monastic observance He established a monastic school, set up a library, and built a nunnery at the foot of the hill where it is believed that Ava, the earliest German language poetess known by name (d. 1127), lived as an anchorite. The nunnery was later on shifted to the top of the hill and stayed there until 1557.

However, the abbey began to diminish so swiftly between the 15th and 16th centuries that it was without any abbot at all between 1556 and 1564. By 1564, there was not even a single monk left in the abbey. During these critical circumstances, an imperial deputation turned up at Göttweig, and elected Michael Herrlich, a monk of Melk Abbey, as abbot. The new abbot, who continued his office until 1604, reinstated the monastery both spiritually and financially. He got it rebuilt after it had been almost entirely engulfed by fire in 1580.

The Wine

Stift Gottweig has an extensive wine estate with the most important sites being Gottschelle, Silberbichl and Göttweiger Berg. This wine estate has the honor of being among the first producers to offer KREMSTAL DAC wines. The varietal breakdown consists of Grüner Veltliner, 60%; Riesling, 30%; Chardonnay, 4%; and Pinot Noir, 6%. The Göttweiger Messwein, or Altar wine, for centuries, has been a tradition in this Benedictine abbey.

The Silberbichl is a wide terrace vineyard positioned above the Danube River and was recognized as a site already in 1562. It is composed of “old Danube” gravel and weathered stone which are covered with loess. “Silber“ (silver) in the name Silberbichl possibly comes from “Glimmer” (mica-slate) which is present in large prices here while “Bichl” is a variation of “Bühel”, or hill.

The site which faces southeast is situated in the wine-growing region of Wachau. Riesling is largely planted here because it is perfectly suited to the soil.  Other wines grown in this area are Göttweiger Berg Wines and Gottschelle Wines.

Call us to book your holiday on our Danube River cruise to Austria and visit the splendid Benedictine Stift Gottweig Monastery!

For more information contact: Europeanbarging, 888-869-7907, jan@europeanbarging.com

Visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz While on a Rhine River Cruise

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A visit to the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz is often included on any Rhine River cruise that stops in Mainz or Frankfurt. When visiting this museum, tourists are able to find a greater meaning to books and the way they are formed. The purpose that these materials have made in life, from the bible and other world-renowned literature is superior to many. The records that have been stored without damage and very visible to the eye can be credited to Gutenberg. Located in a quiet area near the river, there are many places for tourists to shop comfortably.

Barging and History on the Canal du Midi in France

 The Canal du Midi in France is three hundred years old. It skirts the sunny, shining shores of the Mediterranean before meandering inland through ancient villages, Roman fortifications and famed vineyards. The Canal du Midi is famous for its beauty as it is lined with beautifully planted plane trees and crossed by pretty arched bridges. Adding to the charm of this canal is the Mediterranean weather and pace of life that is so relaxed; magical enough to let you open up and see your life from a totally new perspective as you cruise along.

Canal du Midi is the ideal place whether you want to simply relax on the deck with a cool drink, enjoy the scenery passing by, or cycle or walk along the scenic tow paths. As you look into the distance, you can see the Pyrenees where nearby are the vineyards that stretch for thousands of square miles. You can enjoy private wine tastings at chateaux en route, locations that vary with your choice of barge.

History of the Canal du Midi

 Built under the reign of Louis XIV, the Canal du Midi has great historic importance and remarkable beauty in the south ofFrance. It connects theGaronneRiver to theMediterranean. To do so, the canal is 240 km in length and runs from the city ofToulouse down to the Mediterraneanport ofSète. The actual purpose for building Canal du Midi was to be a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, avoiding the long sea voyage around hostileSpain,Barbary pirates, and a trip that in the 17th century required a full month of sailing.

The Canal du Midi was opened officially as the Canal Royal de Languedoc on May 24, 1681. It was designed and built under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet, a rich tax-farmer who bankrupted himself in the personal undertaking and died destitute in 1680, just months before the canal was opened to navigation. Riquet was not alone in the undertaking. In fact, 12,000 workers toiled for fifteen years to create this great canal.

The Canal du Midi is built of 328 structures consisting of locks, aqueducts, tunnels, bridges, etc. and constitutes a major example of hydraulic engineering of the modern age.

As you cruise along the Canal du Midi, you will discover an amazing blend of ancient Gallo-Roman and traditional influences reflected throughout this region of historical importance. The Cité of Carcassonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France is a great attraction. The walled city ofCarcassonne is a region you would love to explore as this is the most complete medieval fortified city in existence today.

Canal du Midi meanders through a vast region of diversity ranging from rugged, rural Languedoc regions to the sun-drenched, azure blues of the Mediterranean. Within this vast region, you will find a land of poetry and of proud people devoted to the soil and of course the wine … a passion they will share with you in private tastings of the local Minervois and Corbières wines.

Cruising along the Canal du Midi, the village of Minerve is yet another region you must visit. It offers a magnificent view with its unspoiled natural setting, its bridge and its houses perched on a rocky mountain. The village of Minerve is known for its Palaeontology and Archaeology museum. Besides, Minerve is a favorite place for walkers with its natural bridges and real tunnels dug into the cliff.

Several barges cruise on Canal du Midi and you can choose one according to the regions you want to explore. Canal du Midi, Paul Riquet’s masterpiece of engineering, is and will always remain a great place to visit and explore. No wonder, it has been recognized as the world heritage site by UNESCO.