Monday, January 14, 2019

Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Renaissance in Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is considered the birthplace of the French Renaissance. The year 1519 marked the beginning of the Renaissance period with the death of Leonardo Da Vinci in Amboise, the birth of Catherine de Medecis, and the commencement of construction of Château de Chambord.

In 2019, throughout the entire anniversary year, events, expositions, scientific symposiums, visits, and regional and European-themed courses revive the spirit of the Renaissance while confronting modern challenges, creating a dialogue between the history and the future.

Join in the celebration aboard French Hotel Barge Nymphea and cruise the River Cher in the Loire Valley, France.

By Vadim Kurland - originally posted to Flickr
Chateau d'Amboise

Guests aboard the French Hotel Barge Nymphea visit the extraordinary Château d’Amboise, its gardens with the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, as well as the Château du Clos Lucé, where da Vinci lived until his death. Other excursions include tours of royal residences, wine tastings, and visits to local markets and other attractions.

About The French Hotel Barge Nymphea

French Hotel Barge Nymphea cruises the River Cher in the Loire Valley, France


Nymphea, a 6-passenger French hotel barge, is a classic Dutch design with shallow draft that makes her the ideal vessel for navigating the beautiful sandy reaches of the River Cher in the Loire Valley. Very few vessels are able to cruise this magical waterway.

We are delighted to offer Nymphea, currently the only hotel barge navigating the heart of the Loire Valley. The Valley of the Kings is as rich in history and legend as it is in beauty – little has changed over the centuries. The River Loire and its main tributary the River Cher have transported passengers and cargo for more than 2000 years.

There is much to discover in the Loire Valley, from the fabulous châteaux to the centuries-old villages dotted along the river. Wind your way through the narrow streets possibly discovering hidden shops with hand-painted pottery or stumble across an open market. Meet a winemaker or a cheese maker and learn why his goat cheese is the most famous in France.

The proximity of such a wealth of gorgeous Renaissance architecture makes a cruise along this waterway a unique travel experience.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book NYMPHEA
View Nymphea's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

Sunday, January 13, 2019

RECIPE : Chocolate Soufflé

Fine Food Aboard French Hotel Barge Finesse

We received an email with a recipe from Mike Crowson, the chef aboard "Finesse", that we'd like to share with you.

On the Finesse I do a cooking demonstration every week, which is how to make a twice baked cheese soufflé, but we don't demonstrate a dessert soufflé. As promised to a number of guests, here we will work through the chocolate soufflé served throughout 2018.

Here we have served the soufflé with a passion fruit sorbet to cut the richness of the chocolate.

This soufflé is very easy to make if you have a basic knowledge of desserts, it is also very stable. The base is a creme patisserie which is basically a very thick custard.

For our North American guests, note that I use cornflour. in this recipe. It is very important you do not confuse this with cornstarch which is used a lot in the USA but is not the same ingredient and does not react the same. Cornstarch, as its name suggests, is made from corn, but cornflour is made from wheat therefore they don't react exactly the same. In a savoury recipe this probably won't make too much difference but working with pastry you have to be very precise.

Chocolate soufflé

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 35g cornflour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 120g caster sugar

  • With room-temperature butter, butter and sugar 6 ramekins. Place them in freezer until needed.
  • Preheat oven to 185°C / 365°F / Gas mark 4.
  • Place egg yolks and 150g sugar into a pan and make into a paste.
  • Then add flour and cornflour, mix to combine.
  • Add a small amount of warmed milk place over a medium heat and add the milk slowly while mixing.
  • When all the milk has been added, cook over medium heat stirring all the time.
  • When the mixture is hot, add the cocoa powder and continue cooking the custard mix, watching it doesn't stick on the bottom of the pan, until you have a smooth thick creme patisserie.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film until needed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with 120g sugar until it is a stiff shiny meringue.
  • Fold meringue into the creme patisserie until no whites are visible in the chocolate mix.
  • Spoon mix into frozen ramekins, level off the tops, place into the oven, cook for around 12 minutes.

Sounds delicious, Mark. Thank you very much.

About The French Hotel Barge Finesse


Book now! Contact Paradise Connections.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book FINESSE
View Finesse's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Spring Barging Cruises in Holland With Panache

Make the Most of Spring with a Barging Cruise in Holland

A barge cruise is definitely the way to discover Holland. Experience quaint Dutch windmills, world-famous flowers, small European towns, historic cities, art history, and Delft pottery, all in one week.

Watch the windmills in their silent majesty as you sit in the opulent saloon with a delicious Jenever (Dutch Gin) and tonic in hand, 

Explore 100 acres of flowers at the world famous Keukenhof Gardens. The theme for 2019 is "Flower Power".

Be enchanted by the cobblestone streets and gabled houses of the 800-year old Haarlem. 

Visit Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Aalsmeer hosts the largest floral auction in the world, with over 40 million plants and flowers from all over the globe traded here.

Enjoy the excursion to Zaanse Schans during their cruise of Holland.

Zaanse Schans conservation area was created in the 1960s in order to preserve the buildings and crafts of the country's industrial revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With a dozen windmills, a collection of traditional houses and workshops and a number of museums, it offers an unparalleled insight into Dutch social and industrial history.

PANACHE is still available for Dutch barging cruises in 2019.
  • March 24-30:   6 cabins open. Available for either private charter or cabin cruise. 20% discount for private charters.
  • March 31-April 6: 6 cabins open. Available for either private charter or cabin cruise. 20% discount for private charters.
  • May 5-11: 6 cabins open. Available for either private charter or cabin cruise. 20% discount for private charters.
  • May 12-18: 2 cabins open and 4 booked. Available for cabin cruise.

LA NOUVELLE ETOILE has one week available in Holland for 2019.
  • April 7-13: 1 cabin open and 3 booked. Available for cabin cruise.

Contact Paradise Connections to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Special Offers for Hotel Barges - Updated

Happy New Year

Out with the old and in with the new. 

Today, we updated the special offers for our European hotel barges. Most offers are valid for new bookings made by February 18, 2019. There's a variety of nice discounts across France, Italy & Scotland making Spring 2019 the ideal time for your cruise. Departures range from the end of March through June. Check out our Special Offers page and don't hesitate to pop us a line.

Up to 20% off private charters means that groups of family & friends are well catered for. There are also discounts of up to 20% on individual cabin bookings allowing you to join a group with like-minded folks; while the "No Single Supplement" specials on select departures is a great deal for those intrepid solo travellers.

French Hotel Barge Anjodi Moored at Le Somail, Canal du Midi

Paradise Connections represents luxury hotel barges along various European waterways where attentive crew will pamper you with personalized service to ensure your enjoyment of this unique vacation.

Contact Paradise Connections to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: