Facts About The Barge Finesse
The French Hotel Barge Finesse started out as a freight barge in Belgium. Now converted to a spacious, elegant, 8-passenter hotel barge, Finesse offers both private barge charters and cabin cruises in the southern Burgundy region of France.
Length: 128 feet
4 Staterooms configured as either doubles or twins
8 Touring bikes
CD player / iPod dock
WiFi (subject to local reception)
Air conditioned minibus
Spa pool / Hot tub on Sun Deck
- Former purpose: Freight barge from Belgium
- Year of construction 1950
- Dimensions: Length 128ft (39m). Width 16ft 6" (5.03m)
- Year converted to a Hotel Barge: 2015 / 2016
- Generators: 2 x 220 volt generators both equipped with hospital silencers for night running
- Main Engine: 206kw Scania
- Maximum Speed: 15 knots
- Water & fuel capacity: 8000L of water 2000L of fuel
Your Crew On Board
- Crew of 5: Captain, Tour Director, Chef, Housekeeper & Hostess
- Nationality of Crew: Mostly British and speak English
Accommodation On Board
Maximum 8 passengers / 4 suites.
All suites can be configured with 2 single beds or a double.
The cabin theme is silver-grey and champagne with Percale bed linen. There is a small sofa in each cabin and the furniture is custom made with the deep pile carpets to complement the colour scheme.
Each suite has a stylish fully tiled en-suite bathroom. 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.
The bathroom flooring is solid teak and the oversized walk-in showers are very spacious.
All the suites are similar in size measuring 265ft² (24.6m²). The bathrooms each measure 58.13ft² (5.4m²) and are included in the suite sizes above.
The shower trays in all bathrooms are 13.56ft² (1.26m²)
- 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
Size of the beds:
- As singles, all beds are 2ft 11”x 6ft 6” (0.9m x 2m)
- As doubles, all beds are 5ft 10”x 6ft 6” (1.8m x 2m)
When the suite is set up in twin bed configuration, the beds are side by side with a small gap between them.
Finesse has reversible Air Conditioning and Central Heating throughout with individual temperature control in each cabin.
Computer and Telephone
Wi-Fi is available for guests bringing their own appliances, however, there are some moorings where connection to the internet can be slow and sometimes when the barge is cruising the connection is not possible because the barge is out of signal range.
There is also a Computer available in the Salon for guest use.
There is no passenger telephone available on Finesse.
The local currency in France is the Euro. We are unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.
Cycling & Walking
The on board bicycles are available for use as often as you wish. Most guests choose to disembark the barge at a lock and visit local villages, returning to the canal and meeting the barge a little further along. The barge travels very slowly and therefore catching up is not a problem.
There are 8 adult size folding bikes each with 5 gears and low tube / cross bar. Cycle helmets are provided on board. Specialist bicycles, children’s bikes and child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please contact Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks prior to your departure.
Because the barge cruises at a slow pace, walking is a popular activity.
Dining Room & Saloon
Room Size: 15ft x 44ft (4.57m x 13.41m), the height is 6ft 8” (2.03m).
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 leather sofas, suede and fabric armchairs, and there is oak flooring throughout.
Large floor to ceiling windows stretch the entire length of the barge, allowing plenty of light and the beautiful scenery to be appreciated.
The barge is wired for 220 and 240 volts (not 110 volts).
We recommend you bring an adapter for your particular appliances, which correspond to the standard French 2-pin plugs.
If you wish to use an electrical appliance, please ask one of the crew when you arrive on board to ensure that it is suitable for 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 a 9-seater (including driver) air conditioned Mercedes Sprinter van.
For charter bookings, the itinerary can be adapted to suit your group’s particular needs. If a destination or excursion is within a reasonable distance of the barge, we will do everything we can to arrange it. Please speak with Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise and we can pre-arrange with the Captain.
Any guests not wishing to participate in an excursion are welcome to remain on the barge.
Facilities On Board
- 8-person spa pool (hot tub) with electronic thermostat
- 8 Bicycles (See Cycling & Walking, above)
- A small library of books and maps
- A collection of board games
- Internet connection (See Computer & Telephone, above)
- Sound System with Blue Tooth music player
Food & Drink
All meals on board are freshly prepared 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, e.g. vegetarian / no fish / vegan etc; and we are able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However, it is most important that we are notified of any specific requirements at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.
There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining table on board Finesse accommodates all guests at a single sitting.
Breakfast: Usually continental with fresh breads, pastries, jams, fruit, cereals, yoghurts, freshly squeezed orange juice, teas and coffee. A hot option is usually offered from the galley.
Lunch: A casual, three-course affair comprising of a hot soup, or entrée, patés and cold meats accompanied by colourful salads, or a hot main course followed by delectable desserts. A selection of wines are served daily.
Dinner: Always a gastronomic adventure created by your talented chef. A taste of regional cuisine by candlelight, complemented by fine wines, followed by a selection of regional cheeses, coffee and liqueurs.
Captain’s Farewell Dinner: Held on the last night of the cruise. Guests may choose to dress slightly more formal.
Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24 hours a day serving beers, wines, and spirits. Wines are served with meals and a there is a Champagne welcome on arrival.
Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some champagnes 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.
Hot Air Balooning
Once on board, the Captain can arrange this directly with the hot air balloon company on your behalf. Flights usually last between 1 and 1½ hours and are weather dependent. The cost is approximately 250 Euros per person. You will need to contract and pay the balloon company directly on the day of the flight (they do accept credit cards).
We recommend you bring sufficient clean clothing for your cruise as there are no laundry facilities on board. However, the crew may be able to assist in an emergency on a request basis.
Luggage / What To Pack
Please try and fit everything for your cruise into one reasonably sized suitcase per person. Soft bags are preferable.
Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard Finesse and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal. For the Captains Dinner on the final evening, guests often dress-up which is optional.
The weather in Burgundy is generally warm. June, July, and August is the warmest often being in the mid 30s°C.
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 can be useful.
- Comfortable walking shoes with textured non-slip soles are recommended.
- Finesse has a spa pool so don’t forget your swim wear, towels are provided.
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 pharmacy for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medication with you.
Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.
Problem During Your Cruise
If you have a problem during your cruise, please give us the immediate opportunity to make things right. Please bring any concern to the private attention of your Captain or any member of crew who will often be able to solve any issue immediately.
Please let us know in advance of 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. There are 2 steps from the access ramp to the deck, and the toilets are on the lower deck in the cabins, 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 may hinder a wheelchair.
If you would like us to provide a wheelchair for your arrival, please notify Paradise Connections at the 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 are unable to assist.
Safety & Security
Once you are on board, your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures. Safety Instructions are detailed below.
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 all valuables are covered by your travel insurance.
Safes are provided in each cabin on board but cabin doors are not usually locked, for safety reasons.
There is a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of fellow passengers. If you would like to smoke you are requested to smoke outside or on the deck away from fellow passengers.
15ft x 23ft (4.57m x 7m) furnished with a Dimension One hot tub, an al fresco dining table with 8 chairs and a sun canopy for shade. There are 2 sun loungers and a built-in outdoor seat for 2. The flooring has an anti-slip surface.
Wine Appreciation, and Family cruise itineraries are available for charter groups, please ask Paradise Connections for more details. Special interest cruises often have a supplement, for details please visit Finesses's Itinerary page and Rates page.
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 guideline, the average tip given by our guests from around the world is approximately 5% of the Cruise Fare.
The usual way to give the tip is to give the amount in cash as one lump sum to the Captain / Cruise Director on the last day of the cruise. They will distribute the amount equally amongst the crew.
Euros or Dollars are equally appreciated. ATMs are accessible for cash withdrawal on most itineraries during the cruise and the crew can advise where these are located
For details of the Finesse vehicle, please see “Excursions”, above. The approximate transfer duration between Dijon and Finesse is approximately 45mins or 1hr depending on the transfer direction.
Tap water in France and on board Finesse is potable and bottled water is available.
Safety Instructions On Board Finesse
On arrival the Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures on board. In addition, 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 not run or jump whilst on board.
- Do not walk on the side or rear decks or outside the guard rails.
- Passengers are not permitted in the engine rooms, technical areas or crew accommodation 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 so when 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 in the rope or try to release the mooring rope from a bollard.
- Keep clear of any overhead obstructions and remain seated if on deck whilst 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 whilst 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 the 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 and 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 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
Please ask a member of the crew on board if you require any further safety advice
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