Barging in France:
Luxury barge cruise vacations on the French hotel barge FINESSE cruising the River Saône and Canal du Centre in Southern Burgundy France
French Hotel Barge Finesse
French Hotel Barge FINESSE
Cruising the Southern Burgundy region of France
River Saône and Canal du Centre


Finesse has a very modern and well-designed interior, offering plenty of natural light. Outside, guests can relax on the large sun deck with its alfresco dining area, comfortable seating, and spa pool. With her attentive crew of five to look after you, Finesse is the perfect vessel on which to meander through the vineyards and undulating countryside of Southern Burgundy.
Layout for French Hotel Barge FINESSE

  • Length: 128 feet
  • 8 Passengers
  • 5 Crew
  • 4 Staterooms configured as either doubles or twins
  • Demonstration galley
  • Air conditioning / Central heating
  • 8 Touring bikes
  • CD player / iPod dock
  • Telescope
  • WiFi (subject to local reception)
  • Air conditioned minibus
  • Sun deck and Spa pool


All suites can be configured as a either a double or two single beds. The cabin theme is silver-grey and champagne with Percale bed  linen.  The  furniture  is  custom  made and the deep pile carpets complement the choice of color scheme.

Cabin sizes

All the suites are similar in size measuring 265 sq.ft (24.6 m2). The bathrooms each measure 58.13 sq.ft (5.4 m2) and are included in the suite sizes above. The shower trays in all bathrooms are 13.56 sq.ft (1.26 m2) .

Ceiling height: All cabins have a minimum of 6'6" (2m) headroom

Sizes of beds:
  • As singles, all beds are 2'11" x 6'6" (0.9m x 2m)
  • As doubles, all beds are 5'10" x 6'6" (1.8m x 2m)

When a suite is set up in twin bed configuration, the beds are side by side with a small gap in between them.

Bathrooms: Each suite has a stylish, fully-tiled, en-suite bathroom. The bathroom flooring is solid teak and the oversized walk-in showers are very spacious.

  • All are equipped with: hair dryer, shower cubicle, double wash basin and  WC.
  • Each  are  supplied  with  washing  gel,  hand  soap, shampoo, towels and bathrobes.
  • Bolearis (aft cabin): 3 portholes in the cabin and 1 porthole in the bathroom
  • Vega (aft cabin): 3 portholes in the cabin and no porthole in the bathroom
  • Polaris (forward cabin): 3 portholes in the cabin and 1 porthole in the bathroom
  • Castor (forward cabin): 3 portholes in the cabin and no porthole in the bathroom


  • Room size: 15' x 44' (4m57 x 13m41).
  • Headroom: 6' 8" (2m03)

The dining area has a large dining table, seating all 8 guests at a single sitting. The design compliments the contemporary modern  look of Finesse.  An open Demonstration Kitchen Galley allows guests to watch as the Master Chef prepares the  meals, sharing his recipes and demonstrating his techniques.  A fully stocked wine fridge and bar completes the area.

The saloon is furnished with contemporary sofas and armchairs, all upholstered in Alcantara and the oak flooring has a high gloss finish.

Large floor to ceiling windows stretch the entire length of the barge, allowing plenty of light and the beautiful scenery to be appreciated.


15' x 23' (4m57 x 7m) furnished with a One Dimension hot tub, an al fresco dining table with 8 chairs and a parasol for shade. The flooring has a anti-slip surface.

  • 8-person spa pool (hot tub) with electronic thermostat
  • 8 bicycles
  • Small library of books and maps
  • Board games
  • Boules
  • Telescope
  • 3G internet connection
  • Sound system with iPod/mp3 dock


All meals aboard are prepared fresh by your chef and most meals are a set menu (there is no choice available). International and French cuisine is featured. We are able to arrange special meals, such as vegetarian, no fish, vegan, etc; and we are able to able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However, it is important that we are notified at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify us in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.

There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining table on Finesse accommodate all guests at a single sitting.

Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated coffee and tea are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24-hours per day serving beers, wines, and spirits. Wines are served with meals and there is a champagne welcome on arrival.

Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some champagne and special vintage wines are not included although you may purchase bottles at cost price if you let us know in advance how many of each you require. We do not recommend special ordering unless you are chartering the whole barge.

Water: Tap water in France and on board Finesse is potable and bottled water is available.


220 volt electricity (French two-pin plugs). The barge is wired for 220 and 240 volts but not 110 volts.  It is suggested that you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds to the standard French.  If you wish to use an electrical appliance onboard, please ask one of the crew when you arrive on board to ensure that it is suitable to the barge’s electrical system.  We cannot be held responsible for unforeseen voltage fluctuations which sometimes occur when swapping from one voltage system to another.


Finesse has reversible air conditioning and central heating through with individual temperature control.


WiFi is available for guests bringing their own appliances, however, there are some moorings where connection to the internet can be slow. Sometimes when the barge is cruising the connection is not possible because the barge is out of signal range. There is no passenger telephone available on Finesse.


The Finesse minibus is a 9-seater (including driver). It is a stretch version for luggage and has 3-zone air conditioning.

If you are chartering, the itinerary can be adapted to suit your group’s particular needs. If an excursion is within a reasonable distance of the barge we will do everything we can to arrange it. Please advise Paradise Connections advance and the Captain will be informed.

Any guests not wishing to participate in an excursion are welcome to stay on the barge.


Passengers are welcome to walk or cycle using the on board bicycles as often as they like. Most people choose to disembark the barge at a lock and then visit local villages and then return to the canal and meet the barge a little further along. The barge travels slowly and therefore “catch up” will not be a problem.

There are 8 adult, 5-speed folding bikes with a low crossbar tube. Cycle helmets are provided on board. Specialist bicycles, children's bikes, and child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please request with Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks in advance of your cruise.


Once on board, the captain can arrange this directly with the hot air balloon company. Flights last about one hour and are weather dependent. The cost is approximately 230 euros per person and this should be paid directly to the balloon company on the day of the flight (they do accept credit cards). The operating company is France Montgolfieres. Visit their website.

Kindly advise Paradise Connections in advance if you are interested in ballooning.


Themed Cruises are available for charter groups. Finesse offers Wine Appreciation and Family Group itineraries. They are an alternative to Finesse's Classic Cruises and are available for charter groups. Check the Itinerary section of Finesse's electronic brochure. Inquire with Paradise Connections for more information, itinerary and supplement charges if applicable.


Please let Paradise Connections know in advance of booking your cruise if you have a physical disability and require any assistance.

Because of the steps on board, Finesse is not really suitable for wheelchair-bound guests. The toilets are on the lower deck and the dining area is above so a visit to the restroom requires a minimum of 11 steps up and down. Wheelchairs cannot be used on board and can only be used to assist on excursions where there are often cobbled streets. Sometimes rough ground can hinder a wheelchair.

If you would like us to provide a wheelchair for your arrival, please notify Paradise Connections at time of booking. There is no charge for the wheelchair but passengers must be accompanied by someone who is able to push the chair as the crew is unable to assist.


Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you require frequent or ongoing medical attention. The crew are unable to administer medicines but can accompany you to a chemist for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medications with you.

Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.


Our barges have a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of fellow passengers. If you would like to smoke we request that you smoke outside on deck away from fellow passengers. 


We recommend that you bring sufficient clothing for your cruise. There are no laundry facilities on board and we generally cruise through rural areas where laundrettes are few and far between.

However, please indicate to the Captain on arrival if you do require laundry service and it may be possible to make arrangements.


Please try to fit everything for your cruise into one reasonably sized suitcase per person. Soft bags are preferable. There is only enough space on the barge and in the minibus for a total of up to 8 suitcases and 8 small pieces of hand luggage.

Practical, relaxed comfort is the norm aboard Finesse and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal; however, for the Farewell Dinner on the last evening, gentlemen may opt to wear a jacket and ladies to dress up a little.

The weather in Burgundy is generally warm. June, July and August is the warmest often being in the mid-30s C (86-95°F).

Suggested things to pack:
  • Light clothing including shorts and t-shirts. A sweater or lightweight jacket is recommended for evenings and the air conditioned interiors.
  • During spring and autumn, you may need medium weight clothing. A lightweight raincoat for showery times would be advisable. In summer, a sun hat will be useful.
  • Comfortable walking shoes with textured non-slip soles are recommended.
  • Finess has a spa pool/hot tub so don't forget your swimwear. Towels are provided.


The local currency in France is the Euro. Finesse is unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.


Gratuities are not included in the cruise fare. Tipping is entirely discretionary but is greatly appreciated by the crew if you are fully satisfied with the level of service on board.

As a guidance, our passengers on average tip approximately 7% of the full cruise fare. All tips should be given to the Captain and are shared between the whole crew on board.

Please note that gratuities can only be made on board by cash payment.


If you have a problem during your holiday, please give us the immediate possibility to make it right. Bring any concern to the private attention of your Captain who will often be able to solve any issue immediately.


Once on board your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures.

Please note that we cannot be responsible for any valuables that you bring on board. We strongly recommend that you do not bring valuables with you unless required and that you ensure that any valuables are covered by your travel insurance.

Safes are provided in each cabin on board but cabin doors are usually not locked for safety reasons.


Once on board your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures. It is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety instructions detailed below.

  • Please follow the instructions of the Captain and Crew at all times.
  • Remember that decks can be slippery. Please wear non-slip shoes and do run and jump while on board.
  • Do not walk on the side decks, rear decks, or outside the guard rails.
  • Passeners are not permitted in the engine rooms, technical areas, or crew accommodations at any time, or in the galley or wheelhouse unless accompanied by a crew member.
  • Do not embark or disembark the barge unless the gangplank and handrail are in place or the crew have advised that it is safe to do so. Never do this while the barge is moving.
  • Be careful when the vessel is being moored up with the barge ropes. In particular, do not step into a loop of rope or try to release the mooring rope from a bollard.
  • Keep clear of any overhead obstructions and remain seated if on deck when the barge passes under bridges with restricted headroom.
  • Do not attempt to touch the sides of any lock or bridge.
  • Do not open lower deck portholes while the barge is moving.
  • Life jacket preservers are located in designated lockers in your cabin or in designated deck lockers. Once on board, please take the time to identify their location and read the instructions.
  • For fire safety reasons, smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the barge.
  • The barge's equipment, such as the hot tub and bicycles, must only be used following preparation by the crew. Use of the bicycles and hot tub is at your own risk. Breakable glasses are not permitted in the hot tub and alcohol consumption is not advised.
  • There is an open bar policy on board. However, excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous, particularly in a warm climate and in proximity to deep water. The Captain has the discretion to withhold alcohol if safety to passengers or crew is at risk.

In an emergency:
  • Keep calm. Do not return to your cabin to recover your possessions.
  • If you discover a fire on board, sound the fire alarm and notify a crew member immediately. If possible, close doors behind you to confine the fire. Please take the time to identify the location of fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • If the alarm sounds or if you hear repeated continuous blasts on the barge horn, you must, if possible, assemble on the sundeck for further instructions.
  • If you discover water below deck, notify a crew member immediately and go to the sundeck to await further instructions.
  • If you are in your cabin and the way to the sundeck is obstructed, follow the signs to the alternative fire exit. Please take the time to identify all fire exits.
  • The emergency number for fire, police, or medical assistance on all public phone networks is 112.

FINESSE HOME > Layout, Barge specifications, General details


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