La Belle Epoque (barge)
The boutique hotel barge La Belle Epoque, cruising along the Canal de Bourgogne
|Name:||La Belle Epoque|
|Owner:||European Waterways, LTD|
|Operator:||European Waterways, LTD|
|Port of registry:||Bordeaux|
|Route:||Burgundy Canal: Pouillenay to Tonnerre|
|Class & type:||Commercial passenger vessel|
|Length:||126 ft (38 m)|
|Beam:||16.5 ft (5.0 m)|
|Height:||11.5 ft (3.5 m)|
|Draught:||4.1 ft (1.2 m)|
|Installed power:||3 x 220 volt generators (silent night)|
|Propulsion:||150 HP M.A.N.|
|Speed:||Maximum speed 10 knots|
|Notes:||Fuel capacity 3 tons, Water capacity 20 tons|
La Belle Epoque was originally built in the Netherlands, her original name being Savornin Lohmann and original owner being Leendert Kruijt. Growing up on his father's barge Leendert went from school to school, travelling with his parents aboard the barge and often spending only a few hours in one school before moving on and going to another the following day.
La Belle Epoque now became a timber barge carrying wood along the canals and rivers of France. Clamecy on the Nivernais Canal had an active wood yard, which would take pine from the Morvan hills on flottages (wood rafts) down the upper reaches of the Yonne River. La Belle Epoque would then take trimmed lumber from the wood yard to Paris and beyond as far as Berlin.
The Kruijt family grew in number and they moved ashore leaving someone else in charge of the barge. The timber business gradually ceased and the barge's cargo-carrying days came to an end.
In 1993, they decided to sell the barge and retire. It took 3 years before they could find a buyer, but Leendert didn't want the boat on which he had grown up to finish up as wooden planks and re-cycled iron.
So in 1995, she was purchased by European Waterways who renamed her La Belle Epoque and renovated her, building luxury cabins, a jacuzzi, a bike store and everything else required to transform her into a boutique hotel barge.
The Barge Today, A Boutique Hotel Barge
La Belle Epoque currently has 6 double cabins allowing her to carry up to 12 passengers. She also has separate crew quarters which house the 6 crew. The crew have the following job titles: captain and pilot, deck hand and tour guide, master chef and two housekeepers and waiters.
La Belle Epoque is owned, maintained, renovated, crewed, marketed and operated by European Waterways.
- "France: Ripples of pleasure". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2000-08-05. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Stern, Steven (2009). Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation. Pelican Publishing Company. p. 356. ISBN 978-1-58980-614-6.