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How to be a self-respecting woman in France & other lessons from a river cruise

It’s great to try it in different places, writes JENNY ROWLAND. This week it’s been in a darkened cave, a medieval castle, and onboard Poetry 2 on this Rhone river cruise.

Drinking wine is a national pastime here in France so it would be rude not to join in. In fact, according to a local guide, any self respecting woman should always carry her handbag, lipstick and a bottle of Beaujolais!



On this Avalon cruise everything is inclusive apart from drinks purchased outside meal times. However there is a happy hour every evening and that is very aptly named as there are a lot of very happy cruisers on board!



It’s wonderful to see the friendships blossom as the week goes by and Jean- Loup our very entertaining and charismatic cruise director tells me that lots of great friendships are forged and that guests often book repeat cruises together.


The cruise director is the heartbeat of the trip and Jean-Loup is a very funny Frenchman who deftly juggles and coordinates the whims and desires of all his guests always with a joke and a cheeky grin.


He has been with the Globus family of brands for over 40 years and I asked him what he loves about the company. 



“I am allowed to be myself with very few restrictions,” he says. 


“I’m given plenty of freedom to make decisions and that makes a big difference.” 


When I asked why he thinks river cruising has become so popular he quipped, “Have you been on a coach tour lately?” Stuck in traffic - restricted access to city centres and being treated like sheep. On the river everything is so much more relaxed and easy and with Avalon you have the freedom to take the tours or simply kick back in your suite and enjoy the view and your privacy.


Jean-Loup thinks the addition of the new active tours will definitely broaden the appeal to a lower age demographic and is super excited to experience all these new active excursions himself.



The extensive choices on offer means that you could do the same cruise four times and not do everything.


But the best thing about his job?


“99% of guests want to have a great time and helping them do that brings me great joy,” he says.


“My job is addictive.”


I love that. And now that I have left Poetry 2 and suffering severe withdrawal symptoms I think being a guest could become equally addictive! 


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Written by: Jenny Rowland
Published: 19 August 2019

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