Hotel Barge LA BELLE EPOQUE - Barging in France -

Barge Cruises on the Canal de Bourgogne - France
Between Tanlay and Venarey-les-Laumes

Facts About The French Barge La Belle Epoque

The French Hotel Barge La Belle Epoque originally carried logs from Burgundy to Paris and Amsterdam. Skilfully converted into a delightful 12-passenger hotel barge, she cruises the Canal de Bourgogne in Burgundy, France.

Barging in France with French hotel barge La Belle Epoque - layout diagram

SIX CREW (European, speak English)
INTERNET (subject to availability)

Barge Specifics

Your Crew On Board

Accommodation On Board

Maximum 12 passengers / 2 Junior Suites & 4 Staterooms

Size of beds:

All cabins have an en-suite shower room with shower cubicle, tiled floors and walls, W.C and hand basin. Washing gel, hand soap, shampoo, towels, robes, slippers and hair dryer are all supplied.

All portholes must be closed when cruising.

Cabin Sizes

Ensuite bathrooms are included in the cabin sizes below. All sizes are approximate.

Nuits St Georges Junior Suite (stern)

Santenay Stateroom (stern)

Vougeot Stateroom (stern)

Chablis Stateroom (bow)

Sancerre Stateroom (bow)

Meursault Junior Suite (bow)

Climate Control

Each cabin has Air Conditioning and Central Heating.

Computer and Telephone

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

There is no passenger telephone on La Belle Epoque.


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

Cycling & Walking

You are welcome to walk or cycle using the on-board bicycles as often as you wish. Most guests choose to disembark the barge at a lock and visit local villages, returning to the canal and meeting the barge a little further along. The barge travels at a slow speed therefore catching up is not a problem.

There are 12, six-gear bikes; helmets are provided. Children’s bikes and child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please contact Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks prior to your departure.

Dining Room & Saloon

The Saloon is 25ft x 13ft (7.6m x 3.9m) and is furnished with two built-in sofa areas, a coffee table and a fully stocked bar made of mahogany. There is a matching mahogany dining table seating up to 12 passengers. The saloon 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 carpets throughout.

The saloon height is 6ft 8” (2m).


The barge is wired for 220 and 240 volts (the socket in the bathrooms is 110 volts). We suggest you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds to the standard French two-pin plugs. If you wish to use your electrical appliance on board, please speak to a crew member on arrival to ensure it is suitable for 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.


La Belle Epoque has 2 vehicles for excursions and transfers. A 9-seater, long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter and a 7-seater Mercedes Vito. Both vehicles are air conditioned and the seating capacity detailed includes a 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 everything we can to arrange it. Please speak with Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise and we can pre-arrange with the Captain.

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

Facilities On Board

Food & Drink

All meals on board are freshly prepared 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, e.g. vegetarian / no fish / vegan etc, and we are able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However, it is most important that we are notified of any specific requirements at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.

There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining room on board La Belle Epoque 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 & pastries, freshly-squeezed orange juice and hot beverages.

Lunch is a discovery of delectable regional specialities, 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 is held on the last night of your cruise. Guests may choose to dress slightly more formal.

Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk, are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24 hours, which includes 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 notify Paradise Connections in advance of your departure. We do not recommend special ordering unless you are chartering the whole barge.

Hot Air Balooning

Once on board, the Captain can arrange this directly with the hot air balloon company on your behalf. Flights usually last between 1 and 1½ hours and are weather dependent. The cost is approximately 250 Euros per person. You will need to contract and pay the balloon company directly on the day of the flight (they do accept credit cards).

Please contact Paradise Connections in advance if you are interested in ballooning. The main balloon operators they work with are Air Escargot and France Montgolfieres.


We recommend 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.

Luggage / What To Pack

Please try and fit everything for your cruise into one reasonably sized suitcase per person. Soft bags are preferable. There is only enough space on the barge 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 mid 30s°C.

Suggested things to pack:


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 pharmacy for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medication with you.

Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.

Problem During Your Cruise

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

Restricted Mobility

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

La Belle Epoque has a gangplank from the bank to the barge with 2 handrails and there are 3 wide steps between the Deck and the Saloon. There are 11 steps from the Saloon to the lower deck and the 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 the lower sun-deck where the Jacuzzi is located to the upper sundeck where the chairs and outdoor table are positioned.

From the 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 which may hinder wheelchair access.

If you would like to hire a wheelchair to be available for your arrival, please notify Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks before departure. The small hire charge should be paid directly to the barge Captain on arrival and is approximately 100 Euros.

Safety & Security

Once you are on board, your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures. Safety Instructions are detailed below.

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 all valuables are covered by your travel insurance.

Safes are provided in each cabin on board but cabin doors are not usually locked, for safety reasons.


There a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of your fellow passengers.

If you would like to smoke we request that you do so outside or on the deck away from fellow passengers.


There are 2 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) and there is a heated Spa pool (hot tub) for up to 6 passengers.

There are 8 reclining chairs and a large table for al-fresco dining which can be covered by a wide parasol.

Themed Cruises

Wine Appreciation, Walking and Family cruise itineraries are available for charter groups. Special interest cruises often have a supplement. For details please visit La Belle Epoque's Itinerary page and Rates page.


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 guideline, the average tip given by our guests from around the world is approximately 5% of the Cruise Fare.

The usual way to give the tip is to give the amount in cash as one lump sum to the Captain / Cruise Director on the last day of the cruise. They will distribute the amount equally amongst the crew.

Euros or Dollars are equally appreciated. ATMs are accessible for cash withdrawal on most itineraries during the cruise and the crew can advise where these are located.


For details of the La Belle Epoque vehicles, please see “Excursions”. The approximate transfer duration between Paris and La Belle Epoque is 2 hours 30 minutes.


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

Safety Instructions On Board La Belle Epoque

On arrival the Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures on board. In addition, it is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety instructions detailed below.

Please ask a member of the crew on board if you require any further safety advice

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