La Belle Epoque (barge)

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La Belle Epoque Hotel Barge Cruising.jpg
The boutique hotel barge La Belle Epoque, cruising along the Canal de Bourgogne
Flag of France.svgFrance
Name: La Belle Epoque
Owner: European Waterways, LTD
Operator: European Waterways, LTD
Port of registry: Bordeaux
Route: Burgundy Canal: Pouillenay to Tonnerre
Launched: 1930
Christened: Savornin Lohmann
Status: In service
General characteristics
Class and type: Commercial passenger vessel
Tonnage: 200 tons
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)
Decks: 3
Installed power: 3 x 220 volt generators (silent night)
Propulsion: 150 HP M.A.N.
Speed: Maximum speed 10 knots
Capacity: 13 passengers
Crew: 5 crew
Notes: Fuel capacity 3 tons, Water capacity 20 tons

La Belle Epoque is a barge of the Belgian Spitz category. She was built in 1930 to serve carrying timber. In 1995 she was renovated and now serves as a Boutique Hotel Barge on the Burgundy Canal.


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.

1939 bought the start of the Second world war which caused the Kruijt family to escape with the barge to France.

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.

Today, she once again cruises the Burgundy Canal carrying passengers and crew on weekly cruises between Pouillenay to Tonnerre.[1]

The Barge Today, A Boutique Hotel Barge[edit]

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.[2]

La Belle Epoque is owned, maintained, renovated, crewed, marketed and operated by European Waterways.


  1. ^ "France: Ripples of pleasure". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2000-08-05. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  2. ^ Stern, Steven (2009). Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation. Pelican Publishing Company. p. 356. ISBN 978-1-58980-614-6. 


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