Although all of our hotel barges have a story to tell, few can count as many years and as many trips along the waterways of Burgundy as La Belle Epoque…
La Belle Epoque: Grand Dame of Burgundy
A Working Girl at Heart
This spits barge, formally named Savornin Lohmann, was built in 1930 in the Netherlands in order to transport timber. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the barge was relocated to France along with her owners, the Kruijt family. For many decades she assisted in the transportation of logs from the forests of Morvan to the warehouses of Paris on the Canal du Nivernais. You can find out more about the process in this blog post.
The Great Makeover
After more than 70 years hard at work, Savornin Lohmann was retired from lumber transportation in 1993. Unlike many working vessels that were dismantled for scrap, this historic barge was purchased by European Waterways, joining the only other barge in the fleet at the time: Anjodi.
A complete renovation followed, transforming this humble spits barge into the glorious floating hotel that guests still enjoy today, renamed La Belle Epoque. From the six luxurious cabins with marble en suites to the wood-panelled saloon and sun deck complete with hot tub, La Belle Epoque is the epitome of barging elegance and sophistication. She was refurbished again in 2017 with the help of luxury interior designers Falchi Interiors.
Barging in Burgundy
There are many reasons to select La Belle Epoque as your vessel of choice on your next cruising holiday. She plies the peaceful Canal de Bourgogne in Northern Burgundy, boasting an itinerary that includes Chablis wine tasting, an excursion to the Abbaye de Fontenay and an optional (and unforgettable) hot air balloon flight. Champagne Wednesdays are a new and popular addition to her itinerary, while keen cyclists can take advantage of our “Biking Plus” option and admire her from the towpaths as well as the sun deck.
If you would like to be a part of this historic vessel’s story, get in touch with our team and book your place on board now.