Buy a 90-year-old Dutch canal barge and cruise the canals and rivers of France. Eat snails. Drink Burgundy. Sounds like a retirement dream. Sometimes. In On a Barge in France Harvey Schwartz tells of the seven summers he and his wife, Sandra Hamilton, spent on Hoop Doet Leven on the French waterways. Each chapter presents a vignette of French country life and experiences in the unique linear village of international bargees traveling extremely slowly through the most beautiful, historic and mind boggling areas of France.
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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. This warm, self-deprecating, picaresque tour of the Gallic countryside will show you a very different side of France from the familiar tourist centers like Paris, the Riviera and Lyon. This is a part of the country that is in many ways more authentic, and certainly far more varied, than what most English-speaking travelers experience. Informal, humorous and perceptive, the author can move from laugh-out-loud humor to poignant reflection in a sentence. Read this book and be transported.
This book, written in a light, humorous hand will enlighten any reader with the juxtaposition of ” a normal American” couple living in France, but not as tourists. Traveling along age old canals, in their own barge, they stop and write about their many new experiences. 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.
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. The descriptions of the lifestyle of the French and the warmth of their hearts when meeting these two Americans really shows that we should learn a thing or two about hospitality here in the U.S.. I loved this book and hope Mr. Schwartz writes more about their retirement days living on a barge in France.
A funny joyous adventure!
A delightful and detailed description of a fantasy realized! Mr. Schwartz does not gloss over the often comic tribulations that confront a couple who step off on such a daring adventure — twenty months sailing the rivers of France on a somewhat balky old barge — but the overall message is both enchanting and delicious. 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!