Sunday, March 08, 2020

Meet The Barge Chefs

Barge Chefs for the 2020 Season

Each luxury hotel barge features a master chef with world-class training and a certain flair for creating mouth-watering taste sensations in particularly compact mobile kitchens. They play a huge role in your luxury barge cruising experience. Here's an introduction to some of this season’s barge chefs…

ANJODI, Dave Lawrence

 Aboard Anjodi - Canal du Midi, France

Dave is from the Australian island state of Tasmania.  He worked briefly on Anjodi’s sister barge, L’Art de Vivre, at the start of the 2012 barging season before returning to his hometown of Hobart, Tasmania to work as a Head Chef. In 2019, Dave joined the crew of Spirit of Scotland with his partner and fellow crew member, Michelle; and this year he is looking forward to returning to the markets of France.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

LA BELLE EPOQUE, Arnis Maskevics

Aboard La Belle Epoque - Burgundy, France

Originating from Latvia, Arnis (pronounced Ar-nee) joined the crew of La Belle Epoque in 2018, having spent most of the previous year working aboard Panache. Experienced in a multitude of culinary expertise, Arnis is looking forward to putting his skills to excellent use aboard La Belle Epoque.  A great multi-skilled crew member, Arnis also enjoys throwing a rope if necessary, in between courses.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

RENAISSANCE, Hannah Dunleavy

Aboard Renaissance - Upper Loire/ Burgundy, Framce

Hannah has been a much-loved member of the Renaissance crew since 2014. She was a hairdresser in the past but fell in love with food. Hannah moved to France to learn its fine cuisine, which she now shares with her guests.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

PANACHE, Jonathan Drew

Aboard Panache - Holland & Champagne, Alsace-Lorraine, France

Jonathan lives outside Glasgow where he trained and gained experience in high-end hospitality in the prestigious Number Seven Lounge of Celtic FC. While working for the Compass Group preparing private buffets and fine dining events for Directors and Senior Management at the new Scottish Power HQ in Glasgow, he competed in The Compass Chef of the Year Competition, finishing second. Jonathan, or "Jonny" to his friends, joined Panache when he was visiting Alsace. He is looking forward to a full season onboard and adapting his menus for both Holland and Northern France.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

ENCHANTE, Sylvain Moretto

Aboard Enchante - Canal du Midi, France

An extremely experienced chef, Sylvain has been barging for over ten seasons with Enchanté, and three seasons aboard Renaissance. Many guests who are fortunate to enjoy Sylvain’s cuisine will photograph and write about their culinary adventures.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


Aboard L'Impressionniste - Burgundy, France

Jim is a seasoned barge chef having worked on a number of barges over the past seven seasons. His eighth season is aboard L’Impressionniste, where Jim shall continue to delight passengers with his varied menus and beautiful presentations.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

ROSA, Erell Delmotte

Aboard Rosa - Gascony & Bordeaux, France

Erell has been a crewmember on various barges since 2015, both as hostess and guide. Having worked closely with the chefs onboard barges Nymphea, Renaissance, Finesse, Panache, L’Impressionniste and Scottish Highlander, Erell gained valuable experience and spent the winter of 2018 training as a chef.  Her weeks as relief chef on Rosa in 2019 were more than enough to convince Rosa's owner to offer her the position of barge chef for the 2020 season.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


Aboard Spirit of Scotland - Highlands, Scotland

Robert is originally from Budapest and gained his experience working on the larger river boats. His first experience working on a luxury barge cruise was aboard L’Art de Vivre, where he thoroughly enjoyed a close working connection with the barge’s passengers. You’ll instantly warm to Robert’s outgoing character and broad smile.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

FINESSE, Mike Crowson

Aboard Finesse - Burgundy, France

A bit of a celebrity in the world of culinary blogging, Mike Crowson spends the barging season serving up delicious meals for the lucky passengers aboard luxury hotel barge Finesse. Born and bred in Cornwall, Mike is a stellar chef who takes a great deal of satisfaction from both barging and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

LA BELLA VITA, Andrea Chin

Aboard La Bella Vita - Venice, Italy

Andrea has been the Italian master chef aboard La Bella Vita since its launch. This culinary extraordinaire loves interacting with passengers and sharing his passion for Italian food. But don’t take our word for it – client reviews on Chef Andrea’s creations speak for themselves!

Online brochure: CLICK HERE

Enjoy Luxury Barge Cruising with the Experts

Whichever barge you choose for your cruise, your onboard chef will delight you with culinary creations featuring the best locally-sourced ingredients. He/she has the experience and imagination to produce dishes that cater to your specific dietary requirements. Typically, chefs are pleased to show off their skills with a cooking demonstration in the galley.

Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

Monday, March 02, 2020

Discover the Canal de Bourgogne, Burgundy France

Barge Cruising on the Canal de Bourgogne

French Hotel Barge l'Impressionniste

The Canal de Bourgogne in Burgundy with its beautiful scenery that features charming French houses and colorful greenery is revered as one of the nicest canals to navigate in France. There are many sites to visit along the way including renowned vineyards, medieval towns, elegant châteaux, magnificent cathedrals, picturesque villages, and charming delightful local markets.
(Click image to enlarge)

The Long and Winding Road

Completed in 1832, this 242-kilometer waterway connects Burgundy to Paris, wending its way through the heartland of France. If you want to explore the Canal de Bourgogne on a French hotel barge cruise, we’d recommend a journey on L’Impressionniste’s route between Fleurey-sur-Ouche and Escommes or La Belle Epoque’s gorgeous stretch of Northern Burgundian countryside between Tanlay and Venarey-les-Laumes.

Attractions en Route

The great thing about barging in this region of France is that the canal roams its way through a number of beautiful French cities, giving you time to explore their history and soak in a little local culture. Cruising along the Canal de Bourgogne allows you to explore the Northern and Southern areas of this renowned region.

 Abbaye de Fontenay

In the north, be sure to visit the Abbaye de Fontenay. Founded in the early 1100s, its structure has been incredibly well maintained with its cloisters, scriptorium, and dormitories still intact. It’s a breathtaking piece of architecture. Now that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, even its gardens and ponds retain their original glory.

Notre-Dame de Dijon
By Welleschik - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

As you travel further south, you’ll want to visit the monumental Notre-Dame de Dijon. It’s a Gothic-style church with an ornamented façade that boasts stunning columns and archways, as well as the typical gargoyles. Inside, you’ll find lovely colorful stain-glass paintings. Both edifices are a compelling time capsule, the first providing unrivaled insight into Cistercian life and industry, while the second lets you revisit French Catholic practices.

If you have time, you should also stroll through Dijon’s market. It wouldn’t be a vacation in France without sampling French wines, local cheeses, and artisanal bread. There are also pâté and terrine stalls that are worth a visit, as well as local delicacies like snails on offer. Make sure to try Dijon’s famous mustard and take some back with you as a souvenir. It’s a real treat for the tastebuds!

History and Feats of Engineering

Entering a Lock

Conceptualised in the seventeenth century, the Canal de Bourgogne is an incredibly well thought-out masterpiece of engineering, perfect for your barge trip in France. The waterway opened in 1832 and took over 50 years to build. It features 127 locks, the most impressive of which is at Pouilly-en-Auxois. This lock is continuously filled by an underground reservoir via a tunnel system. It serves as a watershed from which the water flows both towards Dijon in the south and towards Migennes in the north.

The canal boasts many ingenious features. Its best one though, is the tunnel which links the Pouilly-en-Auxois lock with the small port of Escommes. It is a very narrow 2.5 mile underground passageway that was dug out from the rock in the early nineteenth century. Even today, it remains an essential connection between the north and south of France.

Discover Burgundy

French Hotel Barges Cruising the Canal de Bourgogne

La Belle Epoque
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Tanlay and Venarey-les-Laumes
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Escommes and Fleurey-sur-Ouche
  • Accommodations: up to 12 guests in 8 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure
Grand Cru
  • Route: Canal du Rhone au Rhin and the Canal du Centre between Pontailler-sur-Saone and St Léger-Sur-Dhune
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Plombieres-les-Dijon and Vandenesse-en-Auxois
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure

  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Fleurey-sur-Ouche and Escomme
  • Accommodations: up to 6 guests in 3 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure

Savoir Vivre
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Fleurey-sur-Ouche and Escommes
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure

Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging:

Sunday, March 01, 2020

What's to like about a barging vacation?

A Barge Cruise Sounds Interesting!
What's It Like?

What to Expect On Your Luxury Barge Cruise

Part of the joys of luxury hotel barge cruising is the journey itself and, of course, which barge to travel aboard. While luxury hotel barges enjoy their own unique character and charm, there are a number of qualities that you can be sure to expect each and every time you travel.

If you like reading, then you’ll love the cozy salon library, packed with great reads

There’s nothing quite like getting stuck-in to a good book while on vacation. It’s a fantastic way to really relax and take your mind off everyday life.  Browse through the salon library to pick up a classic, or perhaps learn more about the area you’re visiting. Soak in the sunlight on deck, curl up on the sofa, or in the comfort of your room.

If you like good food, then you’ll love the creations of your onboard master chef

How better to enjoy your vacation than through the delicious creations of your very own barge chef? Your chef will visit local markets to pick up an array of seasonal produce, and you’re more than welcome to come along. Then, watch as these local ingredients are made into a true taste sensation!

If you like a cocktail, a digestif on deck, a sundowner… then you’ll love the open bar


The well-stocked open bar, filled with a wide selection of beers, wines and spirits, is accessible throughout your cruise. You can help yourself or place an order with one of the crew but, in all likeliness, they’ve anticipated your request and your favorite drink is already on its way. Cheers!

If you like exploring, then you’ll love the complimentary bicycles

If you want to stretch your legs but walking isn’t enough, why not take one of the complimentary bicycles along the tow path as the barge gently cruises alongside? You can choose to meet the barge at the next lock, explore a nearby village, or perhaps plan ahead for a longer cycle. Some itineraries have fantastic cycle routes with dedicated bike maps, and even the possibility of upgrading to e-bikes! (Pre-booking e-bikes is essential. Contact Paradise Connections for details).

If you like history & culture, then you’ll love the variety of daily excursions

Whether you consider yourself a bit of a history buff or are simply curious about the cultures of the places you travel to, the daily guided excursions will take you on a variety of fascinating journeys through the places you visit. From ancient Roman cities to UNESCO World Heritage sites; from world-renowned vineyards to private dinners with a countess. Whatever your interest, you’re sure to be impressed by what’s in store. Plus, many of the barges have a fascinating history too! Have a chat with your crew to find out more.

If you like wine, then you’ll love the recommendations of the onboard wine expert

The onboard wine expert hand-picks a selection of fine wines to perfectly complement each meal. From the "table talk", where he/she will explain how this particular vintage was chosen, to the tasting – you’re in great hands. They're also helpful when visiting local wineries!

If you like time to unwind, then you’ll love our spacious decks, cabins and comfy salons


Taking a break from exploring for some "me time" is an essential part of a vacation. Cosy-up in the salon with a cup of coffee, watch the world go by from a deck chair or perhaps take a well-deserved nap in the comfort of your room. Most of our barges offer hot tubs – an excellent observation point with a glass of chilled wine in hand.

Let's Go Barging!

Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: