Hotel Barge FINESSE - Barging in France -

Cruising the River Saône & Canal du Centre in Southern Burgundy, France

All About French Hotel Barge Finesse

Modern Luxury and French Charm

If you love modern comfort and the attraction of rural French landscapes, then a cruise aboard the 8-passenger hotel barge Finesse is perfect for you. Cruising along the meandering waterways of Southern Burgundy in France, the barge travels past vineyards, châteaux and charming canalside villages. With opportunities to discover beautiful towns like Autun, Beaune, and Dijon, you'll fall in love with the wine, the landscapes, and the cuisine when you travel on the Ultra-Deluxe Hotel Barge Finesse.

French Barge Finesse - Cruising Southern Burgundy
Finesse cruising on the Canal du Centre

A Short History of Finesse

Originally built in Northern France in 1950, the barge Finesse was first christened "Nivea". She was constructed at the Louis-Mory shipyard and initially carried cargo in Belgium, but her life was transformed when she was purchased by the Chéron family. Then, in the 1960s, she enjoyed life as a private vessel, navigating the inland waterways of northern Europe under the name, "Chilosa".

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Chilosa

After the last member of the Chéron family passed away, Chilosa was purchased and transformed into the luxury hotel barge you can experience today. Chilosa was renamed Finesse and in 2015, rebuilt to new designs at the Meuse and Sambre Shipyard in Namur, Belgium. Since 2016, Finesse has formed part of the French hotel barge fleet.

Hotel Barge Finesse Today

The hotel barge Finesse cruises along the Canal du Centre with the capacity for eight passengers. She's an elegant ultra-deluxe hotel barge with two decks – guest cabins on the lower deck with saloon and sun deck above.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Salon
Modern & Spacious Salon

Designed to be modern, spacious, and comfortable inside, her communal areas include a saloon with stunning contemporary furnishings. Lined with panoramic windows on both sides, no matter the weather, you'll be able to enjoy the passing scenery of rural France and make the most of the bright, natural light on summer days.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Salon
Guest Cabin

Finesse is the perfect balance between social and private barge. Fitted with four luxury double bedroom cabins, each room can be arranged with either double or twin beds. The suites have their own en-suite bathrooms with walk in showers and double basins, and each comprise approximately 265 square feet of floor space &ndash' that’s enough for two large suitcases and two people doing the tango! You'll see that there's no such thing as "cabin fever" aboard hotel barge Finesse.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Sundeck

Out on the sun deck, you'll find reclining loungers and a spa pool (hot tub) to relax with a refreshing drink. You may also choose to enjoy a glass beneath the stars with your fellow passengers, or take your dinner al-fresco on a balmy summers' evening. In the daytime, feel the fresh breeze on your skin as Finesse glides gently along the canal past vineyards and waterside meadows.

With five crew members on hand to attend to your every need, you'll never have to worry about having an empty glass. What's more, Finesse's wheelhouse observation area allows guests to sit behind the captain, spectating with a glass of wine in hand. Watch as your captain expertly navigates the locks and bridges and answers all your burning questions about the barge. Maybe you'll even learn how your captain came to live and work on the canals.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Demonstration Kitchen
Demonstration kitchen

A unique feature of Finesse is the demonstration galley, where you can watch your accomplished chef preparing gourmet meals. What could be better than watching someone prepare exquisite gourmet dishes for you and learning their techniques? Getting to eat the food afterwards, of course 😊

Finesse on the Map - Cruise Region & Waterway

Imagine floating down a picturesque waterway in rural France, looking out at Grand Cru vineyards and rolling hills on each side of your barge. Popular with wine lovers from all over the world, Burgundy is a sanctuary for vineyards, nature, and gourmet food. With its interlocking maze of wine estates covering the landscape, Burgundy will immerse you in its pleasant scenery and people.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Vineyards
Cruising along the Canal du Centre past vineyards

Stepping aboard Finesse, you'll experience the most tranquil of Burgundy's canals. Cruising the Canal du Centre, you'll start your journey approximately four hours south of Paris. Winding across Central France, Finesse follows the Canal du Centre from the Côte Chalonnaise, through the historic Côte de Beaune to the Côte d'Or and eventually joins the River Saône near Chalon. Idyllic and calming, this peaceful waterway is the perfect way to experience Burgundy.

A six-night luxury hotel barge cruise gives you the opportunity to slow-travel through this beautiful region and take in all the best bits. At only 73 miles long, the Canal du Centre is one of the shortest canals in Burgundy, having a total of just 61 locks along its course. Descend through the Dheune valley and enjoy the advantage of stepping onto the towpath at any point of the journey. Originally created for barge horses, these peaceful paths are now a haven for nature. Borrow a bike from Finesse or walk alongside the barge on foot to fully admire the scenery without the hum of traffic.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Cycling
Take one of the bikes for a ride along the towpath

Stopping to moor overnight in six different locations along the waterways, you'll have an opportunity to see off-the-beaten-track locations and visit historical places. However, you won't need to worry about unpacking and re-packing every day as your floating hotel barge and its accompanying minibus will take you everywhere you need to go. Take a trip to the beautiful town of Beaune, experience the Roman city of Autun, and see the home of the masters of Burgundy wine, the Chevaliers du Tastevin at Clos de Vougeot. All this and mooring at Remigny, Chalon-sur-Saône and passing by Château de Germolles, to see their treasures.

Itinerary Highlights

As your barge cruises gently along the canal for only half of the day, there's plenty of time to explore the surrounding area on daily excursions. Be chauffeured over a short distance to your destinations in an air-conditioned van to enjoy your daily dose of culture and visit historic places like Château de Germolles, Autun and the Hôtel-Dieu Hospice de Beaune.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Chateau de Germolles
Château de Germolles

Enjoy medieval splendor at the residence of the Dukes of Burgundy, the Château de Germolles. Touring the château will reveal fourteenth-century masterpieces that include wall paintings, ornate furniture and a decadently decorated ducal chapel. Stroll the grounds of the exquisitely laid out romantic gardens afterwards, before heading back to the barge to relax.

More medieval mastery is revealed on a visit to the town of Beaune. Visitors can explore the center and gain access to the stunning Hôtel-Dieu Hospice, which was formerly used to care for the poor of the region until as recently as the twentieth century. With its original brightly colored roof tiles and half-timbered windows, the beautiful architecture surrounds a central courtyard where you can take photographs and admire the exterior. With its nineteenth-century sick beds still lining the main hall, visitors will get a real feel for what the hospice was like in times gone by.

If you prefer the history of ancient civilizations then you'll revel in the splendor of the Roman era when you visit Autun. See its ancient gates, an ancient Roman temple, and a huge amphitheatre.

French Hotel Barge Finesse - Chateau du Clos de Vougeot
Château du Clos de Vougeot

We couldn't take you on a barge cruise to Burgundy without revealing some of the region's best vineyards and châteaux. Have lunch inside a gigantic wine vat at Maison Champy and enjoy a private tour of the wine cellars with a sommelier. Also on the itinerary is a stop at Clos de Vougeot, home of the prestigious winemakers fraternity known as the "Chevaliers du Tastevin". By the end of your cruise aboard Finesse, you'll feel like an expert in the finest Grand Crus of the region.

Guest Comments

Here are a few comments from guests aboard Finesse:

About the panoramic views:

"You can watch the world pass by from the dining area or the comfortable couches and chairs. This is the perfect place to enjoy conversation or stay cozy reading a book while sipping a coffee, tea or cocktail!"

About the photographic opportunities:

"We admired beautiful fields of yellow canola flowers in bloom during our cruise in mid-April. There's no shortage of picturesque villages or the occasional grouping of cute farm animals, too."

About the demonstration kitchen:

"One day for lunch, Gio was making fresh ravioli and invited me to give it a try. It was really fun and special to have my own mini cooking class right on board!"

About vegetarian meals:

"Chef Gio put so much dedication, skill and heart into our breakfast, lunch, and dinner… Gio created artful and delightful plant-based dishes that often mirrored what the other guests were receiving. I loved how much thought was put into each meal. I was able to taste the specialties of the region with a vegan twist."

Finesse is Perfect for:


Cruise through the famous Burgundy vineyards and experience dozens of hectares of vines stretching as far as the eye can see throughout the Côte de Beaune. You'll have opportunities to try different wines from the region aboard hotel barge Finesse and to travel to locations that are on any oenophile's list of must-visit wine-centric destinations. From a stop at Maison Champy, the oldest winemakers in Burgundy, to a delightful tasting and tour of the 80-hectare estate at Domaine Chanzy. Even while you rest on board, the barge will cruise through famous wine villages like Santenay where you can almost touch the vines as you drift by. For wine lovers, a Wine Appreciation Cruise aboard hotel barge Finesse will allow you to see, taste and experience all the many flavors of the finest Côte d'Or vintages.


It may not be the first activity on your list when you think of a hotel barge cruise through the countryside of Burgundy, but a Golf Cruise is extremely rewarding for devotees of the game. Finesse can arrange rounds at several challenging golf courses on the tour. Depending on the direction of your cruise, firstly after lunch on Monday, we head to Château d'Avoise golf course which sprawls an area of 120 hectares, between groves and birches, majestic beech trees, oak trees and a lake, offering a technical and strategic challenge to players of all categories. Our next stop is the Chailly golf course, which was designed by French golfing champion, Géry Watine. Mid-week we stop at Golf de Beaune Levernois with its 9 lakes, white sand bunkers and forested areas. Lastly, there's a round at the Golf Blue Green Quetigny Grand Dijon next to the River Mirande. With plenty of opportunities to taste the wines of Burgundy when you're not on the golf course, the Golf Cruise is an excellent way to while away your time.


If you'd love to charter a barge for the whole family, then Finesse is available with a flexible, family-friendly itinerary. The chef of Finesse can cater to your every need if your children are particular about meals and are crew will ensure that they're entertained with bike rides and tailored experiences. Perhaps your youngest wants to captain a boat when they grow up? Well, from the safety of Finesse on the calm Canal du Centre, they can try their hand under the watchful eye of the crew. Pick from activities such as Diverti'Parc, which has a petting zoo, maze and play area. Summer cruisers will have a chance to go to the lakeside beaches of Beaune and see the Aquaparc at Dole. With go-karting, zip-lining and hot air ballooning also available, you'll see the Burgundy countryside from a completely different perspective on a family cruise aboard the French Hotel Barge Finesse.

Ready to Cruise Aboard Finesse?

If you're looking for the ultimate luxury barge cruise experience in the picturesque countryside of Southern Burgundy, the 8-passenger hotel barge Finesse is the perfect choice. With its modern comfort and elegant design, Finesse offers a unique way to explore the region's vineyards, châteaux, and cultural landmarks. From the spacious cabins to the gourmet meals prepared by the talented chef, every aspect of the Finesse cruise is designed to delight and pamper guests. Don't miss the chance to relax on the sun deck, take in the stunning views, and indulge in the finest wines of Burgundy. Contact Paradise Connections and book your trip on Finesse today and experience the beauty and luxury of a French barge cruise like never before.

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canal du centre
Enjoy the Canal du Centre on a barge cruise aboard Finesse

French Hotel Barge Finesse

Hotel Barge FINESSE - Barging in France -

Southern Burgundy: River Saône & Canal du Centre
Up to 8 guests
Charters and Cabin cruises
Themed Cruises:
Family, Golf, Wine

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Learn more about the Canal du Centre:

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