Barging in France:
Luxury barge vacation cruises on the French hotel barge LA BELLE EPOQUE cruising the Canal de Bourgogne of Burgundy, France
French Hotel Barge LA BELLE EPOQUE Burgundy France -

French Hotel Barge LA BELLE EPOQUE
Canal de Bourgogne - Burgundy, France
Venarey-les-Laumes to Tanlay

Specifications : Fact Sheet : About the Boat

The 12-passenger La Belle Epoque is a spacious, luxurious hotel barge and sister ship to L'Impressionniste. She originally carried logs from Burgundy to Paris and Amsterdam and has been skilfully converted into a delightful hotel barge. She has been designed with both elegance and passenger comfort in mind with air conditioning/central heating and offers a sun deck with spa pool, wood-panelled saloon/dining room and other luxury amenities. The spacious cabins offer a choice of twin or double beds, with marble en-suite facilities. The Captain leads an English-speaking European crew of six, comprising Master Chef, Tour Guide, Housekeeper, Stewardess and Deckhand.

French Hotel Barge LA BELLE EPOQUE Burgundy France -

SIX CREW (European, speak English)
INTERNET (subject to availability)
1 TANDEM BIKE on request

GUEST CABINS: Maximum 12 passengers. 2 Junior Suites & 4 staterooms.
  • 2 Junior Suites, one at the BOW (Meursault) with a double bed only and one at the STERN (Nuits St Georges) which can be configured as 2 single beds or a double bed.
  • 2 Staterooms (Santenay & Vougeot) which can be configured as 2 single beds or a double bed. Please note that when made as twin beds they are positioned as an "L" shape, not parallel as the layout diagram above suggests.
  • 2 Staterooms (Sancerre & Chablis) with 2 fixed single beds only positioned as an "L" shape.

All cabins have an ensuite private bathroom with tiled floors and walls, shower cubicle, WC and hand basin. Washing gel, hand soap, towel, robes, slippers, and hair dryer are all supplied.


Ensuite bathrooms are included in the cabin sizes below. All sizes are approximate.
  • Nuits St Georges Junior Suite (stern)
    • 165 sq feet (15.3 m2) including bathroom
    • Headroom: Approximately 6ft 2"
    • Double or Twin beds

  • Santenay Stateroom (stern)
    • 130 sq feet (12.0 m2) including bathroom
    • Headroom: Approximately 6ft 2"
    • Double or Twin beds

  • Vougeot Stateroom (stern)
    • 130 sq feet (12.0 m2) including bathroom
    • Headroom: Approximately 6ft 2"
    • Double or Twin beds

  • Chablis Stateroom (bow)
    • 125 sq feet (11.6 m2) including bathroom
    • Headroom: Approximately 6ft 2"
    • Twins only

  • Sancerre Stateroom (bow)
    • 125 sq feet (11.6 m2) including bathroom
    • Headroom: Approximately 6ft 2"
    • Twins only

  • Meursault Junior Suite (bow)
    • 150 sq feet (13.9 m2) including bathroom
    • Headroom: Approximately 7 ft
    • Double bed only, 5ft x 6ft (1.52m x 1.83m)

  • Doubles (King) are 6ft (1.83m) x 6ft (1.83m) and singles 6ft (1.83m) x 3ft (0.9m).
  • The exception is the Meursault Junior Suite (bow) which has a double (Queen) bed only 6ft (1.83m) long x 5ft (1.52m) wide.



The salon is 25ft x 13ft (7.6m x 3.9) and is furnished with two built-in sofa areas, a coffee table, and fully stocked bar made of mahogany. There is a matching mahogany dining table seating up to 12 guests. The salon also has an antique barograph and gramophone. There is an antique interlock telephone exchange board which stands in the passageway to the cabins and dates from 1913.

La Belle Epoque is tastefully wallpapered and panelled in teak with brass fittings and has carpet throughout.

The salon height is 6ft 8" (2m).


There are two sundecks. The first is 12ft 6" x 9ft 6" (3.8m x 2.9m) and the second is 12ft 6" x 35ft (3.8m x 10.6m). There is a heated spa pool (hot tub) for up to 6 passengers.

There are eight reclining chairs and a large table for al fresco dining which can be covered by a large parasol.


  • 6-person hot tub (spa pool) on the sundeck
  • 12 bicycles on board
  • Small library of books and maps
  • A collection of board games.
  • Complimentary WiFi is available on board for guests bringing their own appliances. Connectivity can be limited in remote locations.
  • Nordic walking sticks
  • Hi-Fi system with CD player, radio, and iPod docking station. There is a selection of CDs on board and guests are welcome to bring their favorite CDs from home.


The barge is wired for 220 and 240 volts (the socket in the bathrooms is 110-volts). It is suggested that you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds to the standard French 2-pin plug. If you wish to use an electrical appliance on board, please ask one of the crew when you arrive on board to ensure that it is suitable to the barge's electrical system. We cannot be held responsible for unforeseen voltage fluctuations which sometimes occur when swapping from one voltage system to another.


Each cabin has individually controlled cooling and heating.


Complimentary WiFi is available on board for guests bringing their own appliances. Connectivity can be limited in remote locations.

There are no passenger telephones on board La Belle Epoque.


Please let us know in advance if you have a physical disability and require any assistance.

La Belle Epoque has a gangplank with 2 handrails to cross from the bank onto the barge and there are 3 wide steps between the deck and the salon.

There are 11 steps from the salon to the lower deck and the guest cabins, this staircase has a handrail and the stairs are wide enough for 2 people to walk side-by-side for assistance if required.

There are 3 steps from from the lower deck where the hot tub is located to the upper sundeck where the chairs and outdoor table are positioned.

From the guest cabin deck, there are 4 steps in the corridor to access cabins Sancerre, Chablis, and Mersault.

Wheelchairs cannot be used on board and can only be used to assist on excursions, however many visits encounter cobbled streets or rough ground that may hinder wheelchair access.

If you would like La Belle Epoque to hire a wheelchair so that it is available on your arrival, please notify us at least 8 weeks before your cruise. There is a small hire charge of approximately €100 which should be paid directly to the barge captain on arrival.


All meals aboard are prepared fresh by your chef and most meals are a set menu (there is no choice available). French and international cuisine is featured.

We are able to arrange special meals, such as vegetarian / no fish / vegan, etc; and we are able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However, it is important that we are notified at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify us in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.

There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining table accommodates all guests at a single sitting.

Breakfast: Your day on La Belle Epoque starts with a wholesome and balanced variety of breakfast foods, along with oven-warm breads and pastries, freshly-squeezed orange juice and hot beverages.

Lunch is a discovery of delectable regional specialties, in the chef's fashion, served in a relaxed but refined style accompanied with a selection of quality wines chosen by the chef.

Dinner: Always a gastronomic adventure created by your talented chef. A taste of regional cuisine by candlelight, complemented by fine wines, followed by a selection of regional cheeses, coffee, and liqueurs.

Captain's Farewell Dinner: Captain's dinner is held on the last night of the cruise. Guests may choose to dress slightly more formal.

Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated coffee and tea, whole or low fat milk, are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24-hours per day which include wines, spirits, beers, and soft drinks. All wines are provided with meals and there is a Champagne Welcome on arrival.

Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some Champagnes and special vintage wines are not included although you may purchase bottles at cost price if you let us know in advance how many of each you require. We do not recommend special ordering unless you are chartering the whole barge.

Water: Tap water in France and on board La Belle Epoque is potable and bottled water is also available.


La Belle Epoque has two vehicles for excursions and transfers. A 9-seater, long based Mercedes Sprinter and a 7-seater Mercedes Vito. Both vehicles are air conditioned and the seating capacity mentioned above includes the driver in each.

For charter bookings, the itinerary can be adapted to suit your group's particular needs. If a destination or excursion is within a reasonable distance of the barge, we will do everthing we can to arrange it. Please speak with us in advance of your cruise so we can pre-arrange with the Captain.

Any guests not wishing to participate in an excursion are welcome to remain on the barge.


Passengers are welcome to walk or cycle using the on board bicycles as often as they like. Most guests choose to disembark the barge at a lock and visit local villages. There are 12 6-gear bicycles and cycle helmets are provided. Children's bikes and child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please contact Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks before your departure.


Once on board, the Captain can arrange this directly with the hot air balloon company on your behalf. Flights usually last for approximately an hour and are weather dependent. The cost is approximately €250 per person and this should be paid directly to the balloon company on the day of the flight (they do accept credit cards).


Family, Golf, Walking, and Wine Appreciation cruise itineraries are available for charter groups (See ITINERARY page). Special interest cruises often have a supplement, please ask us for more details.


Our barges have a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of fellow passengers. If you would like to smoke we request that you smoke outside on deck away from fellow passengers.


Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you require frequent or ongoing medical attention. The crew are unable to administer medicines but can accompany you to a chemist/pharmacy for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medications with you. Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.


We recommend that you bring sufficient clean clothing for your cruise as there are no laundry facilities on board. However, the crew may be able to assist in an emergency on a request basis.


Please try to fit everything for your cruise into one reasonably-sized suitcase per person. Soft-sided luggage is preferable. There is only enough space on the barge and minibuses for up to 12 suitcases and 12 pieces of hand luggage.

Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard La Belle Epoque and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal. For the Captain's Farewell Dinner on the final evening, guests often dress up, which is optional.

The weather in France is generally warm. June, July, and August is the warmest, often being in the upper 80s°F (mid-30s°C).

Suggested things to pack:
  • Light clothing including T-shirts and shorts. A sweater or lightweight jacket is recommended for evenings and the air conditioned interiors.
  • During spring and autumn, you may need medium-weight clothing. A lightweight raincoat for showery times would be advisable.
  • For summer, a sun hat can be useful.
  • Comfortable walking shoes with textured, non-slip soles are recommended.
  • There is a hot tub on board, so don't forget your swim wear. Towels are provided.


The local currency in France is the Euro. The barge is unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.


Gratuities are not included in the cruise fare. Tipping is entirely discretionary but is greatly appreciated by the crew if you are fully satisfied with the level of service on board. As a guidance, our passengers on average tip approximately 5-7% of the cruise fare. All tips should be given to the Captain and are shared between the whole crew on board.

Please note that gratuities can only be made on board by cash payment.


If you have a problem during your cruise, please give us the immediate opportunity to make things right. Bring any concern to the private attention of your Captain who will often be able to solve any issue immediately.


Once you are on board your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures.

Please note that we cannot be responsible for any valuables that you bring on board. We strongly recommend that you do not bring valuables with you unless required and that you ensure that any valuables are covered by your travel insurance.

Safes are provided in each cabin. For safety reasons, cabin doors are usually unlocked.

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