As Told by Our Guests...

The welcome we received and everything on board was perfect

Pauline Taplin, Hampshire, UK

This is a treasure that most people don’t know about

Denise Thorson , New Jersey, USA

Everbody should do this at least once in their life

Charles Baertl, Texas USA

For a very special occasion this is the place to be

John Thorson, New Jersey, USA

WATCH MORE VIDEOS

Where we Cruise in France

Nestled right at the heart of this beautiful country is Burgundy, a region often regarded as the place to go for the perfect French barge cruise. Famous for its wonderful wines, as you cruise through the region past acres and acres of sun-kissed vines, you will have the opportunity to stop and taste the delectable vintages at some of the most prestigious vineyards along the way. Besides Burgundy, the Canal du Midi is renowned for its fabulous options for a barge cruise. France’s sun-drenched waterway right in the south of the country winds along shady canals, bordered by trees that sway in the gentle breeze, while passing charming old villages and the remains of many interesting Roman buildings. The pace of life is easy-going and you will soon find yourself unwinding into the relaxed way of life that is par for the course on these holidays.

Heading west from the Midi is the charming region of Gascony, which is another idyll, perfect for a barge cruise. France’s Canal des Deux Mers winds through L’Occitanie, famous for its watercolour scenery, its beautiful orchards and endless vineyards, while Bordeaux is yet another wine paradise ideal for exploring by water. Good food and wine go hand in hand in France and a barge cruise in France’s Bordeaux exemplifies both.

The chateaux of the Loire Valley offer the perfect backdrop to a French barge cruise. The vessel that tours the very essence of the Loire Valley along the River Cher is the only one of its kind in this region and we are proud to offer you a uniquely charming way to explore this magnificent land that oozes grace and incredible natural charm around every corner. Complementing the scenery are the fine examples of Renaissance architecture that add to the whole unique experience in this region.

Of course Champagne, lying east of the capital city of Paris, has fabulous barging opportunities in abundance. Your French barge cruise in this region will see you winding your way through bountiful vineyards, passing rolling hills, and making detours to wineries that offer you the chance to taste the fruits of these famous lands. It is not just the delicious sparkling wine that has made this region famous though, and on a cruise through this historical area, you will encounter chateaux, cathedrals and other monumental landmarks.

For those looking for something completely unique, we present some wonderful cruises in Alsace & Lorraine, which is on the eastern border of France. The distinct fusion of French and German culture is reflected in every element of community life here and as you gently cruise the canal you will find yourself visiting quaint villages, marvelling at fine Baroque and Romanesque architecture, and dining on regional specialities accompanied by the famous white wines of the region.

Read more

More Destinations

France has more than 2700 miles of waterways, with rivers all linked up by a 750-mile network of canals, so there is endless opportunity to explore on the water. Imagine cruising along at a gentle pace, enveloped in the stunning scenery, and exploring the out of the way places that escape the main tourist trails, and all in the comfort of your own hotel barge? A French barge cruise could see you meandering down the canals of Briare, Nivernais, Burgundy or the Canal du Midi, among many others, and also offers you the opportunity to see some of the country’s finest countryside, experience real local culture and visit places of interest along the way.

The Hotel Barging Experience

France offers so many options for barge holidays and whatever your choice of destination, the country will open its doors and reveal itself in ways you would never imagine. Local excursions allow you the chance to explore on foot and experience rural French life, while on board you will be indulged in wonderful food, fabulous vintages and very comfortable accommodation. Crew is, of course, on hand to take care of your every need while on your French barge cruise, so you can just sit back, enjoy the experience and unwind in the gentle pace of daily life on board.

Inviting Accommodation

Saloon

All hotel barges in the fleet benefit from an annual refurbishment and this may vary from redecoration and refurnishing of the...

Outstanding Service

Service

Crews are mainly British or French and they all speak English, so there is no need to worry about a language barrier when they are...

Cuisine & Dining Aboard

Dining

The classic traditions of French and International cuisine are an unforgettable highlight of your cruise. The onboard chefs are...

Enticing Excursions

Excursions

Every hotel barge cruise includes daily excursions to some fascinating local places of interest - châteaux, Cathar hilltop...

Themed Charter Cruises

Walking

We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which will appeal to all types of interest groups, large or small...

Family & Friends Cruises

Family

Families or groups of friends can charter any of the hotel barges. You will have the whole vessel to yourselves and she becomes a...

Biking & “Biking Plus”

Spirit Of Scotland Biking

We know that many of our passengers enjoy taking some exercise during their hotel barge cruise, so each vessel carries...

Shopping & Markets

Wonderful Local cheeses

Even if you are not normally a lover of shopping, the vast array of fascinating shops and markets you can discover on one of our...

Wine & Whisky Tours

Wine Banner

Many of our cruises are through some of the best wine- growing regions of France, such as Burgundy, Bordeaux...

Hotel Barging Experience

Barging Experience

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the strains of...

Our Exclusive Collection of Hotel Barges

We have 13 hotel barges, which can accommodate between 6 and 12 passengers, spanning regions from Alsace to the Midi. The route of each of our barge holidays in France has been specially selected by us, so no matter where or when you cruise, we are sure to have the barge cruise for you.

Some vessels in our fleet are owned by us, others by experienced hotel barge operators who maintain similar standards and have been vetted by us. On board all of them you will glide serenely along waterways that pass through magnificent countryside; be taken on fascinating local excursions; indulge in delicious meals, fine wines and comfortable accommodation – whilst all the time being pampered by your attentive crew.

L’Impressionniste

LImpressionniste

L’Impressionniste is a deluxe, 12 passenger hotel barge that cruises the Burgundy Canal in the wine region of Southern Burgundy

La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque is a deluxe, 12 passenger hotel barge that cruises the picturesque Burgundy Canal in Northern Burgundy

L’Art de Vivre

LArt De Vivre

L’Art de Vivre is a first class, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the charming Canal du Nivernais and River Yonne in Burgundy

Finesse

Finesse

Finesse is an ultra deluxe, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the River Saône and Canal du Centre in Southern Burgundy

Themed Barge Holidays

We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which will appeal to all types of interest groups, large or small, including golf, walking and wine appreciation themed cruises.

Family Cruises

Family themed holidays are available aboard all our barges. You have the whole vessel to yourselves and she becomes a home from home, except we...

Wine Appreciation Cruises

Our wine appreciation holidays in Burgundy and the Languedoc region will give you the opportunity to visit some renowned vineyards with our...

Walking Cruises

The beauty of hotel barging and walking is that two of the most relaxing holidays possible are merged to give you the best of both worlds

Biking Cruises

The endless towpaths and trails that run alongside or near our canal itineraries in France or Scotland, make cycling and cruising the perfect...

Video Feed

We uploaded our first video in 2010 and since then we have added over 100 hotel barging videos and received over 1,000,000 views on YouTube. We hope you enjoyed watching our videos…

Video of the Week

In the Summer and Autumn, hotel barge Panache cruises the beautiful waterways of Alsace. It is a region in Eastern France with a unique mix of French and German cultures, Baroque and Romanesque architecture, storybook villages, diverse culinary specialities and wonderful white wines.

Canal du Midi

If you are looking to experience the best of the French countryside, a cruise on a Canal du Midi barge might be just the thing for you!

Loire Valley & Burgundy

Arguably the finest combination of regions one could barge through! From the mighty River Loire to France’s oldest canal, the Canal de Briare, a waterway steeped in history, past beautiful scenery and small country villages.

The Lock-Keeper Blog

The Lock-Keeper has gone viral! Every few weeks we will be blogging about the Hotel barging experience; From the history of our hotel barges to some of the off the beaten track excursions we visit. Intrigued? Then read on…

A Woman’s Touch: The Château de Chenonceau

Discover the history of the bridge at the Château de Chenonceau, which the Nymphea cruises under on our Loire Valley cruise.Read More

Two Week Wine Cruises (with a free night in Paris)

We are now offering 13 night Back to Back Wine Appreciation cruises in Burgundy and Champagne, France, with a free night's stay at a top hotel in Paris Read More

Explore the Treasures of Gien on a French Barge Tour

Guests aboard the hotel barge Renaissance are in for a treat when they visit Gien, the home of Faience pottery. Read More

In the Press

There have been many interesting and entertaining articles written by journalists and travel writers from across the globe about their journeys on our luxury hotel barge cruises.

Cruising in Burgundy

David Powell spent a week on the luxury hotel barge L’Impressionniste cruising through Burgundy. Read about his experience here Read More

The Best River Cruise Ever!

Tim Hedgley cruised aboard hotel barge L’Impressionniste in Southern Burgundy in June 2017. Read about his experience Read More

Taking a Slow Boat to the Land of Plenty: Barging through the Burgundy Countryside

The Mail on Sunday's Susie Boulton went on a barge cruise in Burgundy aboard La Belle Epoque. Read her story as she cruises 40 miles in six days through the Burgundy countryside. Read More

La Belle barge provides small-scale cruising with a very French flavour

There’s a lot of numbers, but no math needed for a six-day cruise along the Burgundy Canal on La Belle Epoque: one hotel barge, 17 meals, 22 wines and 19 cheeses, one hot tub, some mountain bikes and visits to at least a dozen interesting sites Read More

A Mouth-Watering Meander Along the Waterways of Burgundy

Hotel barging is completely different from other types of river cruising, be it the mainstream European vessels carrying up to 200 passengers or navigating a self-hire narrowboat or pleasure craft. Barges can access narrow waterways and canals inaccessible to larger vessels and, with just eight passengers being looked after by five crew members, it’s a really personal experience with the ambience of a house party afloat Read More

SOCIAL MEDIA