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 spits category. She was built in 1930 to carry (mainly) timber. Renovated in 1995, she is now one of a fleet of hotel barges that operate on the French waterways for international tourists, and is currently on the Burgundy Canal in central France.


La Belle Epoque was built in the Netherlands in 1930, her original name being Savornin Lohmann and the original owner was Leendert Kruijt. When World War II broke out, the Kruijt family moved with their barge to France and started carrying wood along the canals and rivers of France. The timber from the Morvan pine forests was floated in rafts down the upper reaches of the river Yonne to Clamecy on the Nivernais Canal. Trimmed lumber was loaded here and shipped to Paris and beyond as far as Berlin. This trade gradually ceased and the barge's cargo-carrying days came to an end in 1993, when the Kruijts decided to sell the barge and retire. The barge escaped the destiny of many old working barges – being sold for scrap – when she was purchased in 1995 by European Waterways who renamed her La Belle Epoque and renovated her, building luxury cabins, a jacuzzi, a bike store and the various facilities required to operate as a hotel barge.

Hotel barge[edit]

La Belle Epoque today carries passengers and crew on weekly cruises on the Canal de Bourgogne between Pouillenay and Tonnerre.[1] She 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] She is one of the fleet of hotel barges that are 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.