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


Where we Cruise in France

European Waterways Europe Map

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 our barge cruises in France.

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 on all of our barge cruise in France.

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.

More Destinations

France is a huge country with over 2700 miles of stunning waterways, with all of the rivers linked up by a 750-mile network of glorious canals and decorated with spectacular French countryside. There truly is an endless opportunity to explore the water. Our French barge cruises navigate through the breathtaking canals of Briare, Nivernais, Burgundy, Canal du Midi, and other towns and cities rich in French culture.

As well as these stunning locations we also offer cruises to some of the other iconic and beautiful locations that the country has to offer.


The country’s capital, also known as ‘The city of lights’ is by far the most popular tourist destination in the country. It’s undeniable charm, culture, and history make it a must-visit when in France. The wonderful city has a huge number of restaurants and beautiful architecture for you to enjoy as you walk the picturesque Parisian streets. 

A number of our barge cruises navigate through the magical waterways of the capital. There is no better way to see the city as you pass the most iconic locations such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame on your way around the city.


For centuries the region of Picardy has been at the heart of Europe. The Vast farmlands have throughout history brought prosperity as well as conflict to the stunning region. This can be seen in the region’s history of gothic art and architecture. Amongst its stunning architecture are six glorious cathedrals, and stunning chateaux. 

The battlefields of the region have truly left their mark on the landscape with memorials, cemeteries, and preserved features still visible today and you will get the chance to explore them all as you walk the towpaths. Each year in late spring Hotel Barge La Nouvelle Etoile cruises the fascinating region between Paris and Belgium.

The Hotel Barging Experience

There are so many options for barge cruises in France 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. The 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 at the gentle pace of daily life on board.

Multi Generational Cruises

Multi Generational Cruises - Family Picnic

With capacity for between 6 and 20 passengers, a private hotel barge charter is perfect for a multi generational getaway

A Home Away from Home


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

Enriching Excursions


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

Insider Experiences

highlander header

These experiences form the heart of a European Waterways cruise; spontaneous, unique adventures that just couldn't be had anywhere else

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...

Outstanding 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...

A Gastronomic Experience


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

Themed Charter Cruises


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 Cruise

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

Barging & Biking

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...

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 cruise route of each of our barge cruises 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.

We offer 12 different luxurious vessels which have been hand designed with the highest-quality finishes and furnishings to provide the perfect home away from home for our guests. You will be met with a champagne welcome and smiling faces from our fantastic crew that will be there to meet your every need during your holiday.

On board all of our vessels you will glide serenely along waterways that pass through magnificent countryside. You will also experience a number of the country’s fine wines and gourmet cuisines freshly prepared and cooked by your very own onboard private chef.

La Belle Epoque

La Belle Epoque - Cruising - 490

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


The Ultra-Deluxe hotel barge Finesse

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

Kir Royale

Hotel barge Kir Royale cruising Champagne

Kir Royale is a ultra deluxe, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the renowned Champagne region of France

L’Art 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

Themed Barge Cruises in France

If you embark on a private charter then 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.

Garden Cruises

Our dedicated garden cruises include visits to some of the best gardens, estates and parklands in Europe

Christmas Markets

We offer a Christmas Markets cruise aboard hotel barge Panache in Alsace, with a special itinerary filled with twinkling lights, brass bands, and the sweet aromas of mulled wine and gingerbread from quaint little chalet-like stalls

Whisky Cruises

We offer a Whisky cruise aboard hotel barge Scottish Highlander along the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, with a special itinerary that allows...

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

Verified Reviews

Video Feed

We uploaded our first video in 2010 and since then we have added over 100 hotel barging videos and received over 6.5k subscribers and over 1,000,000 views on YouTube. We hope you enjoyed watching our videos…

Video of the Week

Cruise Southern Burgundy Aboard Luxury Hotel Barge L’Impressionniste

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!


Nymphea’s Dutch design with its shallow draft makes her the ideal vessel for navigating the beautiful sandy reaches of the River Cher in the Loire Valley. No other hotel barge cruises this magical waterway.

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…

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois: Home of a Fairy Tale Castle in France

Have you ever wanted to visit a fairy tale-like castle? Cruise the Burgundy Canal aboard hotel barge L’Impressionniste and you will be greeted with the beautiful sight of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. Read More

Spotlight on L’Art de Vivre: From War Barge to Hotel Barge in Burgundy

A historic barge with a fascinating past, now a luxury hotel barge cruising the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, offering stylish interiors, gourmet dining, and unforgettable excursions. Read More

Family Fun Afloat: Multi-Generational Family Cruises in Europe

A hotel barge cruise is a fantastic option for multi-generational families looking to enjoy a unique and relaxing escape together. With the entire barge privately chartered for your group, you... 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.

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

Mike Grenby spent 6 days on the Burgundy canal, read about his Belle Epoque adventure here Read More

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

Mike Grenby spent 6 days on the Burgundy canal, read about his Belle Epoque adventure here Read More

Slow Barge through the Loire Valley

Karen Pasquali Jones takes a tranquil cruise aboard Renaissance, through Burgundy and the Upper Loire Read More

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 Hotel Barge through Burgundy

Cruise through Burgundy aboard the elegant La Belle Epoque 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

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a French river barge cruise cost?

At European Waterways, the price of barge cruises in France starts at £4,050/$5,490/€4,750 based on two people sharing a cabin aboard hotel barge Rosa. This is the starting price of a river barge cruise France, however the actual price will depend on several factors, including cruise destinations, when you wish to travel, and the category class of barge you wish to cruise with. For more information about barge cruise pricing, browse our price list here.

What do you wear on a barge trip to France?

For your French river barge cruise, we recommend wearing comfortable, informal clothes. There is no need for formal attire as you will be doing lots of travelling. We want you to be comfortable during your France barge cruise.

What do excursions look like on a France barge cruise?

Guided daily excursions allow guests to explore local areas on foot to   gain an authentic experience of rural French life. From dining with a Baroness in her Chateau’s 15th century kitchens to following in the footsteps of famed artists in their hometowns; our excursions provide a totally unique way to truly discover your chosen region All our barge cruises in France offer private and often exclusive daily excursions.