Hotel Barge NYMPHEA - Barging in France -

Cruising the Cher River in the Loire Valley, France

About the Boat : Specifications, Layout, Amenities

Nymphea is a 6-passenger Dutch-designed barge whose shallow draft makes it an ideal boat for navigating the River Cher, which few other vessels can. Her traditional ship interior features a warm classic decor of rich varnished hardwoods, stained glass and a welcoming country house atmosphere.

French Barge Nymphea - Cruising the Loire Valley, France
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80ft long x 14ft wide (24.6m x 4.26m)
2 or 3 Crew : Captain, Tour guide, Chef/Housekeeper
6 Guests
2 twin cabins (65-75ft²)
1 twin/double cabin (91ft²)
Air conditioned / Centrally heated
WiFi (subject to local availability)
6 Touring bikes
Air conditioned minibus


Maximum of 6 passengers in 3 staterooms. One cabin (bow) can be configured as 2 twins or a double bed. Two cabins (mid-ship) are configured with twin beds only. All cabins have ensuite shower and WC.


All measurements are approximate.

Chenonceau (Bow) 91ft² (8.5m²) including bathroom. This cabin is accessed separately by 7 steep steps from the outside Main Deck. The shower cubicle is positioned within the main cabin and there is a separate WC.

Chambord (Mid): 75ft² (7m²) including bathroom.

Cheverny (Mid): 65ft² (6m²) including bathroom. There is a large step to enter the cabin.

Guest cabin bathrooms: Each cabin has an ensuite bathroom with shower, sink, and WC. All are supplied with hand soap, shampoo, hair dryer, and towels.


The lower salon/dining room is 10ft x 20ft (3m x 6m) and the height is 6ft 7" (2m). It is located on the same level as the cabins. Finished with mahogany panelling, a hardwood ceiling and brass light fittings. This quaint salon has built-in seating and a wooden coffee table. There is a fully stocked bar cupboard with fridge and ice machine. There is also a mahogany dining table which seats all passengers at single sittings.

The upper salon is 8ft x 6ft (2.5m x 1.8m) and the height is 6ft 2" (1.9m). There is comfortable seating and viewing windows.


The sundeck is 10ft x 20ft (3m x 6m) with a handrail around the deck. There are 6 reclining chairs and a table for al fresco dining along with a parasol for shade.



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 served.

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 Nymphea seats all guests at a single sitting.

Breakfast: Your day on Nymphea starts with a continental breakfast with pastries, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and hot beverages.

Lunch: Lunch is usually buffet style with a selection of colorful salads, patés, and cold meats accompanied by hot soup or entrée, delicious desserts and a selection of regional cheeses accompanied by quality wines selected by the chef.

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 coffee and tea, whole or low-fat milk, are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24-hours per day serving beers, wines, spirits, and soft drinks. All wines are served with meals and there is a champagne welcome on arrival.

Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some brands of champagne and special vintage wines are not included although you may purchase bottles at cost price. Please let us know in advance what you would like to order. We do not recommend special ordering unless you are chartering the whole barge.

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


Nymphea is wired for 220 volts. It is suggested that you bring an adapter for your particular appliance which corresponds to the standard English 3-pin plugs. If you wish to use an electrical appliance on board, 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.


Reverse cycle air conditioning / heating in the salon and each cabin.


Complimentary WiFi is available in the salon for email use only and for guests bringing their own appliances. Connectivity can be limited in remote locations.

Nymphea's cruise route on the River Cher has limited cellphone coverage and is mostly 3G with limited 4G connection.

There is no passenger telephone available on Nymphea.


Nymphea's minibus is a 6-passenger, air conditioned VW Caravelle which is used for transfers and excursions.

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 advise Paradise Connections in 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 catching up will not be a problem.

There are 6 mountain bikes on board. Children's bikes, helmets, and child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please request with Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks in advance of your cruise.

Because the barge travels at a slow pace, walking is a popular activity.


Once on board, the Captain can arrange this directly with the hot air balloon company on your behalf. Flights usually last for approximately an hour and are weather dependent. The cost is approximately €230 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 and their website is


Biking, Family, Golf and Honeymoon cruises itineraries are available for charter groups, please visit the ITINERARIES page for more details. Special interest cruises often have a supplement and further information can be found on Nymphea's RATES page. Feel free to contact Paradise Connections for more information.


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

Nymphea is unsuitable for wheelchair users or those who are unable to walk far or manage steps. Many excursions involves a fair amount of walking and the castle visits involves steps and staircases with pedestrian access only.

Nymphea is accessed via a gangplank with a handrail.

Chenonceau stateroom is accessed from the outside main deck by 7 steep steps to the cabin below. There is a handrail.

There is another set of 7 steps from the main deck to the lower salon/ dining area below. There are no steps between the lower salon and the two other guest cabins.

The crew will assist in every way they can if required and each stairway has a handrail.

There are ropes all the way around the outside deck.


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 as there are no laundry facilities on board. However, the crew may be able to assist in an emergency on a requst basis.


Please try to fit everything for your cruise into one reasonably sized suitcase per person. Soft bags are preferable as they are easier to store. There is only enough space on the barge and minibus for a total of 6 suitcases and 6 small pieces of hand luggage.

Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard Nymphea and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal. For the Farewell Dinner on the last evening, guests often dress up which is optional.

The weather in France is warmest in June, July and August when temperatures can reach the mid-30s°C (86-95°F).

Suggested things to pack:


The local currency in France is the Euro. Nymphea 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 5-7% 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 cruise, 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 all valuables are covered by your travel insurance.

The cabin doors are usually not locked for safety reasons.

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