Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Update On Grand Cru, New Burgundy Hotel Barge

The French Hotel Barge Grand Cru makes their debut in April 2018, offering six night/seven day journeys on a route featuring "The Best of Burgundy's Best." With Grand Cru's gastronomic program, guests will enjoy pours of Grand Cru wines with every lunch and dinner. Selected from France's famous wine region, these Grand Cru samplings pair perfectly with the Chef's gourmet cuisine. Other superior libations will be served as well, such as the "créme de la créme" of regional spirits and liqueurs.

We have just heard from Spencer Hayes and Earl Robertson who are in France finishing up the construction and decoration of Grand Cru. They are very excited about this ultra-deluxe barge:

“Grand Cru is coming along well.  The custom cabinetry will soon be installed and the bathrooms are tiled. We have purchased the furniture, as well as unique decorative accessories and art.  We have also been thinking about our itinerary and have decided to offer impromptu experiences when feasible – our guests will receive the true flavor of the region and its people.  Please recommend Grand Cru to your most elite inquiries, and don’t forget the wine lovers, with our exclusive Grand Cru wine program.  We are very excited to start the season and look forward to welcoming your clients.”

French Hotel Barge Grand Cru - Barging Cruises in Burgundy, France

The Grand Cru's eye-catching modern design effortlessly reflects the clean lines and open spaces of contemporary living. Four generously-sized cabins accommodate up to eight guests in beautifully-appointed staterooms, while the comfortable furniture throughout the spacious salon and expansive deck encourages hours of casual socializing. While cruising, guests can relax on deck and enjoy the unspoiled scenery along the waterways or explore the route's charming canalside villages riding the barge's bicycles or taking a bit of a stroll.

While cruising aboard the Grand Cru, Burgundy's cultural treasures are always on offer, ensuring unparalleled access to the local flavors and lively personalities of the region. Escorted excursions reveal the area's most treasured resource: the pampered grapes of Burgundy's Cote d'Or region. Grand Cru's guests will meet the entrepreneurs behind Burgundy's wine production thanks to a series of vineyard visits and private tastings. Guests will also enjoy excursions to family-owned chateaux and gourmet food markets, as well as guided tours of the towns of Dijon and Beaune.

We will have actual photos soon.

Grand Cru's 2018 calendar is filling up (September is fully booked) but here is current availability:

Open dates in 2018:
  • May 20-26
  • May 27-June 1
  • June 17-23
  • July 1-7
Then a block of 6 weeks open, beginning...
  • July 15, 22, and 29
  • August 5, 12, and 19
and the Value Season week of...
  • October 21-27

Barge Grand Cru offers their Classic Cruise along the Canal du Rhone au Rhin and the Canal du Centre (see itineraries) between Dole and St. Leger-sur-Dhune in Southern Burgundy, France. They also have a Golfing themed cruise.

Experience Burgundy aboard the new luxury
Hotel Barge Grand Cru

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book GRAND CRU
View Grand Cru's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

Monday, January 29, 2018

Shannon Princess: Update on 2018 cabin bookings

Cabin Bookings available for Barge Shannon Princess in Ireland 
Sorry, these 3 cabins were quickly snatched up. Shannon Princess is again completely booked for 2018.

Book early for 2019 cruises.

As you may be aware from our post dated 25 January 2018,  the Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess  is sold out for 2018 and has been fully booked for quite a few weeks.

However, they have received a few cabin cancellations and we thus have availability of one cabin each on the following three departure dates for 2018:

  • May 27 Booked
  • June 24 Booked
  • July 15 Booked

You can find more details in our previous post: Click Here

Don't miss out again... 
Book your 2019 Shannon Princess cruise NOW

Contact Paradise Connections to book SHANNON PRINCESS
View Shannon Princess's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

Saturday, January 20, 2018

CANAL DU MIDI - Sightseeing around Narbonne


There are so many beautiful towns to explore in the South of France, such as the compact and characterful city of Narbonne. Here we mention just a few of the historical treasures that you can explore there.

Cathedral of Saint-Just and Saint-Pasteur

One of the most imposing sites in the city is the Gothic cathedral. It was built in the thirteenth century in the style of the great cathedrals of northern France, with impressive flying buttresses, soaring stained glass windows and a vaulted choir. However, this beautiful structure was never finished – there is no knave or transept, as constructing these would mean knocking down part of the city’s defensive ramparts. This was considered unwise at this troubled time when defense against attack was a very real concern.

It is recommended to take a look at the cathedral’s Treasury, which houses a remarkable collection of liturgical objects. These treasures – which include a sixteenth-century tapestry depicting the Creation, an eleventh-century pyxis and a carved ivory plaque from the ninth century – reflect the immense wealth and status of the medieval Archbishops of Narbonne.

Archbishop's Palace

The palace of the Archbishops can be found nearby in the centre of Narbonne. It has multiple towers and consists of two palaces: the Romanesque Palais Vieux and the Gothic Palais Neuf.

The Cloister of the Archbishop's Palace

Although it started as the modest residence of the town’s ecclesiastical elite, it is now the grand setting for Narbonne’s Town Hall, as well as the Museum of Art in the old apartments and the Archaeological Museum in one wing.

The Via Dominita

Just outside of the Archbishops Palace there is an exposed section of Roman road.

This was once part of the Via Domitia, built in the second century BC as a vital access route from Rome in the west to the Cadiz in the east. Narbonne was the capital of the ancient Roman province of Narbo Martius, the first Roman colony in Gaul. This glimpse of the road’s original surface is a reminder of the city’s important ancient past.


French Hotel Barge Enchante approaching a bridge on the Canal du Midi, southern France

This 330-year-old waterway skirts the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean before meandering inland through ancient villages, Roman fortifications and famed vineyards. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this canal is defined by its beauty, lined with shady plane trees which often touch to form an arc of green above the water from bank to bank, and crossed by pretty arched bridges. The warm Mediterranean weather and relaxed pace of life is sure to lull you into unwinding as your luxury Canal du Midi barge meanders gently along.

This is the perfect place for cycling or walking along scenic tow paths, or simply watching the scenery pass by as you relax on the deck of your Canal du Midi barge with a cool drink. In the distance you can see the Pyrenees, whereas closer to hand are the vineyards that stretch for thousands of square miles. Enjoy private wine tastings at one of the various chateaux en route.

Discover a marvellous blend of ancient Gallo-Roman and traditional influences reflected throughout this very historic region. Explore this further when you visit the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, the cathar stronghold of Minerve or the underground Roman market in Narbonne.

Midi cuisine is a delicious combination of Provençale and Mediterranean flavours. Fresh seafood and regional specialities, paired with the excellent local Corbières and Minervois wines, produce an unforgettable repertoire of gastronomic experiences.

Online brochures for Canal du Midi hotel barges:

Let's Go Barging in the South of France !

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

It's not how far nor how fast, it's the pleasure of the journey that keeps people coming back for more.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hotel Barge Emma - New cabin cruises have opened up

Liz has written to let us know that their hotel barge Emma has opened up a couple of new cabin weeks for this coming season.

  • May 12-18 - 2 cabins open, 1 cabin booked
  • June 2-8, 2018 - 1 cabin open, 2 cabins booked

If these weeks don't work for you, let us know and we'll see what we can do.

Also, if you would prefer a private charter aboard Emma, we have good availability at this time.

Speaking of availability, Emma has 4 open weeks, out of 5, for the prime month of September. Don't ponder too long :)

French Hotel Barge Emma along the canal du midi in the South of France


The French Hotel Barge EMMA is owned and operated by Liz and René Jacquot and are assisted by two additional crew members. They cruise along the Canal du Midi in the south of France between Beziers & Carcassonne and Carcassonne & Toulouse. They also have a Beziers to Aigues-Mortes itinerary available upon request.

EMMA is fully air conditioned and also has central heating, if needed. There are three guest cabins; one has a queen bed, while the other two can be configured as either queens or twins. Beautiful handmade Irish quilts from Oonagh Morisson add that extra touch of luxury. Each guest cabin has its own private, ensuite bathroom with sink, toilet and a normal sized shower with sliding doors. The interior is bright and spacious with beautiful arched double glazed windows which give you a good view of the outside countryside while cruising. The French oak furniture has been hand made by a master craftsman and the whole effect is warm and inviting.

EMMA has a spacious upper deck (385 square feet) with tables, chairs, and loungers. Shade from the sun, too, if you want it. This is a marvelous vantage point to see the wonderful countryside and a great place to enjoy cocktails before dinner. Later on, view the stars and set the world to right. And, of course, EMMA has bicycles and a minivan to chauffeur you to various excursions.

Remember that EMMA can tailor your charter to your interests... wine tastings & vineyard visits, cooking, golf, tennis, walking tours, cycling tours, or just time out to relax and enjoy a side of France that most travellers don't experience.

Emma is available for private charters and individual cabin bookings for shared charter weeks. They also offer 5-night charters if that works better for your vacation plans and budget.

Take a break and enjoy the south of France!
 Shall we pencil you in?

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book EMMA 
View Emma's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Barging Vacations UPDATES

We have just completed updating:

Special offers (valid through February 19, 2018) for:

Rates for Cabin Cruises - Compare rates for all barges

Let's Go Barging !

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

It's not how far nor how fast, it's the pleasure of the journey that keeps people coming back for more.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Cabins have become available on Shannon Princess

Now's your chance.  The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess has been fully booked for the 2018 season for several weeks. BUT... They have had a couple of cancellations that we hope you can take advantage of for your summer vacation.

Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess - Barge Cruises In Ireland

Shannon Princess currently has:
  • 2 cabins open for June 10-16, 2018; and
  • 1 cabin open for June 24-30, 2018
Updated (29 January 2018): One cabin open for each week
  • May 27
  • June 24
  • July 15

Price is $10,100/cabin for 2 people ($5050/person, double occupancy).

This price includes: Local transfers between Dublin and the hotel barge (the approximate transfer duration is 2hrs or 2hrs 30mins depending on the cruise direction), a luxury 6-night cruise, all meals on board catered for by the on board Master Chef, an open bar 24/7 with a large range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, all wines served throughout the cruise, excursions and admittance fees as per the itinerary, the services of 5 crew and use of barge facilities, which include wireless internet access, spa-pool . Bicycles are available upon request.

Ireland: River Shannon

The River Shannon and its lakes represent Ireland at its finest and your cruise aboard Shannon Princess features a landscape of rolling green fields, ancient Celtic landmarks and an abundance of wildlife.

The legends and fables of Ireland are found everywhere and are well understood by the hospitable Irish people who will be happy to tell you more about the ancient culture. The history of Ireland has been varied and sometimes difficult, but the locals always find the time to chat and perhaps charm you a tale or two of folklore.

The Shannon Princess

The Shannon Princess has been thoughtfully designed throughout. The barge's inviting interior makes a charming floating living space – a perfect ‘Home away from Home’ for guests to enjoy. The welcoming atmosphere is enhanced by Ruairi and Olivia’s love of antiquities, crafts, pottery and art with many works by established and local Irish artists.  On board the barge a friendly & relaxed mood has been created by carefully mixing casual informality with quality service.

The Shannon Princess provides accommodation for up to 10 guests in 5 cabins which can be configured as double or twins, each with ensuite facilities. This barge is owner-operated with a total of five professional crew in attendance.You will be charmed with excellent but friendly service, gorgeous food & wines, and share in a slice of local life and knowledge.

Cruise Highlights

During your cruise, there is a program of fascinating excursions that will you give you a true immersion into the heritage and traditions of this part of Ireland, such as a personal tour of a castle by its eccentric owner, a birds of prey display, visits to a whiskey distillery and hand-weaving workshop and, of course, the chance to sample a pint or two of the ‘black stuff’ – Guinness.
  • Tour the legendary 6th century Clonmacnoise ruins
  • Full day excursion to Portumna Castle and Galway
  • Traditional Guinness and oyster lunch
  • Visit the unusual haunted Leap Castle
  • Tour Birr Castle’s Gardens and Science Centre
  • Visit the Craggaunowen Re-Creation Project
  • Tour of the Kilbeggan Whiskey Distillery with a private tasting
  • Visit a traditional Irish hand-weaving workshop
  • Hear traditional Irish music
  • Excellent walking and fishing opportunities
Contact Paradise Connections for current availability.

Don't miss out... 
Book your 2018 Shannon Princess cruise NOW

Contact Paradise Connections to book SHANNON PRINCESS
View Shannon Princess's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

Thursday, January 04, 2018

French Canal History: The Nivernais Canal

A Tale of Floating Firewood: The Canal du Nivernais

Initially constructed to carry firewood to Paris, The Canal du Nivernais  is now a beautiful barge route through Burgundy.

Although today the canals of France are chiefly the domain of hotel barges and towpath cyclists, this complicated system of inland waterways was designed and built for trade. The Canal du Nivernais – the setting for our Classic Cruise of Burgundy aboard L’Art de Vivre – has a fascinating industrial history.

Floating Firewood

The canal was originally constructed in order to transport firewood from the forests of Morvan to the French capital. Up until this point logs were floated along the River Yonne using a system of flottage du bois. However, as Paris grew larger and demand increased, there was a need to transport timber over greater distances.

Originally a project was started to extend the “floatable” section of the river to the forests of Bazois by cutting a small channel under the hills of La Collancelle, through which timber could be floated. However, at a time when canal building was at its zenith, the project soon grew to involve building a proper navigable canal. Work started in 1784 and was finished 60 years later in 1841.

Farewell Flottage

This turned out to be an excellent decision, as the flottage method of transporting timber was made illegal in 1881. With the help of the canal, the wood trade flourished in this area of Burgundy, providing its main source of income until the 1920s, although other goods such as charcoal, stone and wine were also transported along the waterway.

Guests on a barge cruise today can sit on deck and watch the rolling hills of Morvan and the lush meadows of Bazois pass by, which serve as reminders of the logging heritage of the region. The medieval town of Clamecy was the epicentre of the timber industry in the nineteenth century; visitors can find out all about the “infernal descent” to Paris that the rafts of logs would take at the town’s Romain-Rolland Museum.

Wine, weather, history and cuisine, Burgundy has it all.

French Hotel Barge L'Art de Vivre

L'Art de Vivre is a first-class, 8 -passenger hotel barge that cruises the Canal du Nivernais and River Yonne in Burgundy from April to October. Visit our website for information on French canal barge L'Art de Vivre.

If you are using Cliqz for your browser, L'Art de Vivre's online brochure is not displaying images properly, but works fine with Firefox, Chrome, etc.... Our other barge brochures are fine with Cliqz. Very strange.

Looking forward to your inquiries...

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book L'ART DE VIVRE
View L'Art de Vivre's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

It's not how far nor how fast, it's the pleasure of the journey that keeps people coming back for more.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018 Has Arrived - Let's Go For A Barge Cruise

Welcome 2018... Let's Go On A European Barge Cruise!
Best wishes for a happy new year

Let's Go Barging !

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com

It's not how far nor how fast, it's the pleasure of the journey that keeps people coming back for more.