Buy a 90-year-old Dutch canal barge, a 70-foot former commercial boat, and cruise the canals and rivers of France. Brie, Burgundy and baguettes. Snails and foie gras. Engine breakdowns and language adventures. Sounds like a dream. In On a Barge in France, Harvey Schwartz tells of the four summers he and his wife spent on Hoop Doet Leven (“Hope Gives Life”) traveling the French countryside and learning to live a slower, fuller life. Each chapter offers a slice of French life, a potpourri of the classic French lifestyle that perseveres in small towns along the canals and rivers.
E-Book: $4.99 Paperback: $9.99
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Read the full reviews here or excerpts below:
“Hard to put down, but necessary if you want to absorb the life of the author and his lovely wife as they travel the French canals on a beautiful old barge. I laughed so hard that the milk I was drinking came out my nose.”
“From meeting other boaters, learning the French bakery lingo, visiting farmers, winemakers, cheese makers, trebuchets and the fabulous food it is all very different and entertaining. I rate this book 5 stars, you’ll want to purchase many for friends for the holidays and let them experience first hand the many great adventures of Harvey and Sandra.”
“First, a warning: This book may be hazardous to your (economic) health, because when you read it you may well start thinking about buying a canal barge and following Harvey Schwartz and his wife, Sandra, to the waterways of France.”
“It’s left me ready to burn my suits, buy a barge, and take off — or least have the brio to try my own version of Mr. Schwartz’s happy venture. Good for him for sailing off and good for us that he’s written such a great job describing how he did it!”
“Insightful, charming, gets right to the heart of French culture through the eyes of people that appreciate a new way of doing things and experiencing culture. His comments on pronunciation, day-to-day-life, and the wine and cheeses of the countryside are right on.”
“This book is a mellow, enjoyable trip along canals and rivers with plenty of stops for food and wine. Although Harvey would rather that people lived their own adventures rather than live vicariously through his, this book offered me a chance to relax and imagine what it might be like to go on such a journey. I also greatly appreciated Harvey’s underlying values, respect for others and subtle humor. Merci beau coup, Monsieur!”
“Great introduction to French small town/ village life with barge travel to boot. Some will want to buy a barge. Some will want to book a trip on a barge, but all will enjoy Harvey Schwartz’s droll humor and respectful conversational narrative about slow travel and getting to know the French people and their food and culture”
“The book is a perfectly inspiring hammock or airplane read. It’s left me ready to burn my suits, buy a barge, and take off — or least have the brio to try my own version of Mr. Schwartz’s happy venture. Good for him for sailing off and good for us that he’s written such a great job describing how he did it!”
“As a frequent visitor to France and a boating enthusiast, I found Harvey Schwartz’s account of life on a barge to be a great combo of dead-on cultural insights and mariner’s delight. I would recommend this book to anyone tempted by the notion of taking a big leap out their comfort zone to explore something new and challenging, whether t’s on a boat or land. “
“If you are contemplating a barging lifestyle in France, or if you want affirmation of your experiences on the Gallic waterways, then I doubt there is a finer tome out there.”