First class cruising through France and Belgium
Johanna is a beautifully converted hotel barge for six guests cruising through the northern regions of Belgium and France. Available for charter or by cabin bookings she offers a range of delightful routes.
Bright and freshly furnished in contemporary style, she has three spacious cabins with ensuite bathrooms. The salon and dining area, with open galley, has large picture windows providing a light, airy interior with superb views of the countryside and passing towns and villages. The sun deck also has a dining area for fine-dining in the open air.
Style: The 'nature' of the hotel barge. Outline subjective guidance as to the quality or comfort level that might be expected on board.
Price Band: Per person. Outline guidance only, on a relative or comparative basis. The bands do not represent accurate low or high season rates.
Hotel Barge Johanna :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Rivers Marne, Seine and Loing, Canal de la Marne au Rhin, Canal de Briare; Paris, Champagne and Upper Loire regions
- Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, March to October, occasional short cruises
- 6 guests / 3 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Air conditioning and heating throughout
- Full board charter or cabin bookings with 2 restaurant visits included.
3/4 board charter including all standard drinks but have 2 dinners at a local restaurant not included.
Half board charter, breakfast and lunch only
Bare boat charter with B&B, plus crew
- Sun deck dining area, hydraulic canopy and loungers
- 6 x 5 speed bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Johanna: Some Cruising Highlights
- Cruise into stunning cities – Paris, Lille, Reims
- Visit the museum Fournaise on the Impressionists Island, or the Castle of Monte Cristo, built by the famous french writer Alexandre Dumas
- Excursion to Chateau Vaux le Vicomte, built by the same architect that designed Versailles
- See Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses, named after the staircase of 7 locks in use from 1642 til 1887
- Cross the river Loire via the aqueduct ‘Pont Canal’ at Briare, constructed by Gustav Eiffel
- Explore pretty villages and local markets, major towns with their Cathedrals, fascinating architecture, museums and provincial life-styles
- Walk and cycle the excellent flat tow-paths alongside Johanna
Hotel Barge Johanna is owned and run by Kris and Patsie Rotsaert. Kris trained as a ship’s radio officer and engineer, also achieving a helmsman’s licence. He later become a computer systems specialist but returned to inland waters to captain ‘Johanna’. Patsie is a former Olympic level gymnast and dancer with a Master’s Degree in physical education. She has turned her love of cooking into her second profession. They speak fluent Dutch, French and English, and a little German. Johanna also has a (charming) permanent house cat and so does not allow other pets on board.
(Image – Beth Hanson CBC)
6 nights accommodation, transfers to and from local meeting point, all meals on board (two meals are taken off-board at guests’ expense) and drinks (except special wines, champagnes and liquors), standard excursions, fees and associated transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5 – 10% suggested)
“This has been the most relaxing and enjoyable time. The barge is amazing. The meals and wine were absolutely delicious and the tours very informative. It was great to share your company the whole time. A very memorable holiday!”
Gary and Meredith, Australia, May 2016 Bruges to Paris
Hotel Barge Johanna: Cruises through France
Cruise 1. Bruges to Paris – Spring and autumn (map above)
14 days of leisure and peace. Visit many small villages and historic towns with their centuries old churches and cathedrals, including many WWI memorials along the route.
Day 1 Brugge:
Welcome aboard. Visit the historic city center of Brugge, UNESCO
Day 2 Deinze:
Sail along the beautiful canal to Aalter where your guide awaits you for a trip to historic Ghent and other historic sites. Return to the ship in Deinze on the meandering Lys.
Day 3 Menen:
Cruise through Kortrijk and moor in Menen for the night. Visit to Ypres with the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Day 4 Lille:
Enter France, moor in bustling Lille city centre and explore for the day.
Day 5 Douai:
Cruise to the old university city of Douai and, if you like, also visit the WWI memorials of Vimy or the city of Arras.
Day 6 Ruyaulcourt:
Follow the Canal du Nord, visit the city of Cambrai and the abbey of Vaucelles. Return across the Hindenburg Line and rejoin the Johanna in our quiet stop near Hermie, before the tunnel of Ruyaulcourt.
Day 7 Péronne:
Cruise to Péronne. Visit the memorial of the Great War or explore the beautiful meandering Somme river and the lively historic city of Amiens.
Day 8 Noyon:
An important circular town with Gallo-Roman ramparts and medieval walls; Charlemagne was crowned here, Hugo Capet was consecrated, the future king Louis XVI married Marie-Antoinette and Calvin’s birthplace
Day 9 Compiegne:
A beautiful flowered city with a rich history. Here Jeanne d’Arc was captured by the Bourguignons in 1430. The 1918 Armistice was signed in the woods nearby, thus ending the first World War.
Day 10 St-Leu d’Esserent:
Cruise through Pont-Sainte-Maxence and Creil to moor at St-Leu d’Esserent. Guided excursion to nearby Creil and castle of Chantilly.
Day 11 Pontoise:
Visit the impressionists village of Auvers-sur-Oise where Vincent van Gogh spent the last days of his life. Take a virtual ‘impressionists’ tour at the local castle.
Day 12 Bougival: Pontoise to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine
Sail up to Bougival, near Paris, on the river Seine. Visit the Castle of Monte Cristo, built by Alexandre Dumas.
Day 13 Paris: Enter Paris
Pass by Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Canal Saint Martin to moor at La Vilette and explore.
Day 14 Paris: Departure
After breakfast, transfer to drop off point for onward journey.
Please note: this itinerary is subject to change.
Cruise 2. Champagne – between Reims and Chateau-Thierry : July, August and September (map top right)
Learn about wine growing and champagne production. Relax on board and visit some champagne houses for wine-tasting.
Day 1. Reims:
Pick-up at a central meeting point for transfer to the mooring in Reims. Welcome on board and an evening visit to Reims’ illuminated cathedral.after dinner on board.
Day 2. Billy-le-Grand:
After breakfast, cruise to the tunnel of Billy-le-Grand. Guided visit through
the vineyards of the Reims mountains to the Phare de Verzenay and the dwarf beeches of Verzy.
Day 3. Condé-sur-Marne:
Descend into the Marne valley, going down the 8 locks to
Condé-sur-Marne. Afternoon excursion to Chalons-en-Champagne.
Day 4. Epernay:
Moor in the capital city of the Champagne region. Excursion to Hautvillers where Dom Perignon is claimed to have invented Champagne. Visit a champagne house and also a personal tasting in a family environment, presenting you with very special wines.
Day 5. Dormans:
Join the river Marne and cruise through the vineyard slopes. At the foot of the statue of pope Urbanus II, who called for the first crusade, there’s a wonderful view on the river Marne with the Reims mountains behind. At Dormans, a visit to a local snail farm.
Day 6. Château-Thierry:
Enter the Picardy region, following the meandering Marne to Château-Thierry. Visits to the American WWI Monument and the Belleau Wood memorial site. Or you can choose an excursion to Conde-en-Brie with its historic castle, market and church.
Day 7. Château Thierry:
Depart after breakfast for transfer drop-off point in Reims or Paris.
Please note: This itinerary is subject to change and runs on the reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Hot air balloon ride over the area (weather permitting)
Visit to the Reims mountains in an old timer Citroën 2CV.
Cruise 3. Upper Seine and Loire – between Evry and Montargis : May and June (map above)
Two cruises in the beautiful Loire area known as the food basket of Paris. The northern cruise is from the Seine, along the river Loing to Montargis, the ‘Venice of the Gâtinais’. Visit the Chateaux of Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte.
Pick-up at central point in Paris and transport to the mooring in Evry. The capital of the Essonne department has a very modern cathedral with 20 trees on the roof. Welcome aboard .
Day 3 Melun:
Make an historic discovery tour of the city along the signed walking trail. Visit the castle of Vaux le Vicomte, built by the same architects that later designed Versailles. ‘Brie de Melun’ tasting!
Day 4 Moret-sur-Loing:
Home of the impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, the village is still as picturesque as ever. Visit to the Chateau of Fontainebleau, hunting castle of many French kings and residence of Napoleon.
Day 5 Nemours:
Moor in the centre of this medieval city, visit the XII century castle
(now a museum), the church of Saint-John the Baptist and the many small canals.
Day 6 Neronville / Chateau Landon:
Visits to the delightful medieval fortified town of Chateau Landon, the historic capital of the Counts of the Gâtinais and a former pilgrimage site; Notre-Dame church and the fortress-like old royal abbey of Saint-Séverin; he area is further known for its white stone used to build the Sacré Coeur and other monuments in Paris.
Day 6 Montargis:
Also known as the ‘Venice of Gatinais’ Montargis is characterised by the canals and river that cross the town and provide much of its character, 131 of
Day 7 Departure:
After breakfast, transfer to central drop-off point for onward journey
Please note: this itinerary is subject to change and runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Cruise 4. Upper Loire – between Montargis and Châtillon-sur-Loire : May and June (map upper right)
The southern part of the Loire cruise is from Montargis to Châtillon-sur-Loire, over the famous Pont de Briare and past the staircase locks of Rogny-les-7-Ecluses. Also, visit the city of Gien with its famous faience museum.
Combine these two cruises into a 14 day trip with a reduced price.
Day 1 Paris to Montargis:
Pick up and transfer to Montargis and welcome on board. The second largest city of the Loiret department after Orleans is also known as the ‘Venice of the Gatinais’. The town is criss-crossed with small canals with 131 bridges and an abundance of flowers.
Day 2 Montcresson:
After a short cruise experience, stop at Montcresson to visit nearby Bellegarde and its castle of the 14-18th century.
Day 3 Montbuoy:
Cruise to this typical french country-village nested on the left bank of the Briare Canal. Remains from antiquity are visible such as a Gallo-Roman amphitheatre that once seated 6000 spectators.
Day 4 Rogny-les-7-Ecluses:
Picturesque village, known and named after the staircase of 7 locks that was in use from 1642 till 1887 on the original canal. Traces of the original canal can still be found in the area above the locks.
Day 5 Ouzouer sur Trézee:
En route to Ouzouer, stop at La Gazonne lock to visit the lakes that feed water to the summit pound of the canal. Visit the french style gardens of the Pont-Chevron castle with its 2 mosaics dating from the roman era.
Day 6 Briare:
A charming and important town, developed during the reign of Henry IV who started the construction of the canal of ‘Loyre en Seine’. Visit the nearby town of Gien with its well known faience factory and museum and the old Mantelot lock where ships used to cross the river before the canal bridge was built.
Day 7 Châtillon-sur-Loire:
After breakfast, cross the once wild river Loire on the famous Pont Canal of Briare to Châtillon-sur-Loire. Disembark for transfer to the drop off point and onward journey.
Please note: this itinerary is subject to change and runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Hotel Barge Johanna cruises through France in the Champagne, Paris and Loire regions
Barge Cruising – Champagne and Marne
River Marne – Marne Lateral Canal
Cruising up the river Marne from Paris then along the Aisne à la Marne to Reims follows a route whose rural simplicity belies the elegance of its associations. Starting in France’s glamorous capital where the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre are among the irresistible magnets that attract the visitor, the hustle and bustle of the City of Light is quickly left behind.
The drowsy beauty of the landscape fringing the Marne has inspired artists from Cezanne to Corot and from Dufy to Pissaro. The river is the longest in France and meanders through golden fields of grain before it reaches the undulating vineyards of the most famous wine growing region in the world – Champagne, and part of the pleasure of the journey is to spot the names of famous producers on marker posts at the end of every row of vines. Epernay is certainly the place to learn about the world’s favourite drink and well-known brands from Moet to Mercier offer cellar tours and tastings. Reims is also a byword for champagne and for more than a thousand years French monarchs were crowned in its ancient cathedral.
There’s more to the region than its sparkling wine: both a succulent brie and a zesty mustard can be found in Meaux and further upstream La Ferte-sous-Jouarre is associated with the production of millstones – there is a different kind of grit to be found here too, at the imposing memorial to British soldiers who died during the Battle of Mons in the First World War.
Hotel barges usually collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Paris hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also TGV express train stations at Champagne-Ardenne (near Reims) and Chalons; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Paris, Reims, Epernay, La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, Meaux, the Marne –
Barge Cruising – Loing Valley, Briare and Loire
Canal de Loing – Canal de Briare – Canal Loire Lateral
South of Paris, where the western part of Burgundy blurs prettily with the Loire Valley, a cruise along the Canal de Loing, the Canal de Briare and the Canal Loire Lateral reveals a number of hidden treasures in a landscape that inspired the painter Alfred Sisley. He memorably captured numerous aspects of the ancient town of Moret-sur-Loing, which has associations not just with Thomas à Becket, but with the Three Musketeers as well.
There are engineering feats to marvel at along the way– when the elegant aqueduct at Briare was constructed in the 1890s to cross the wide span of the River Loire, at 662 metres it was the longest in the world, while at Rogny you can see a flight of seven locks – the fact that they are no longer in use gives them an atmospheric quality full of echoes of the past, but also provides the chance to take in the detail of their construction
The wooded forests of the region attracted royal hunting parties from as early as the 12th century and the Palace of Fontainebleau originally served as a hunting lodge. Its medieval fortifications were given a glorious renaissance makeover in the 16th century and of all royal palaces it is the only one to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries. It was where Napoleon abdicated from the throne before he was exiled to Elbe. Thousand year old castles are plentiful – Saint Fargeau and Sully-sur-Loire boast breathtaking examples. Equally charming is the ancient town of Montargis, which with its network of narrow canals and bridges invites comparisons to Venice.
Hotel barges normally collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Paris hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also TGV express train stations at Sens, Migennes, Montbard and Tours; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Rogny, Briare, Moret-sur-Loing (Alfred Sisley), Montargis, Fontainebleau, Fargeau, Sully –
Hotel Barge Johanna: Details and facilities
- Dimensions: 32m x 5.1m
- All the suites measure 118 sq ft (10.5m²) including the bathrooms
- All beds are queen size or twin beds
One window and two opening portholes
Bathrooms: shower, wash basin and toilet
- All cabins have individually controlled heating and air conditioning
- Expert and professional English-speaking crew of 3: Kris(captain), Patsie (superb chef), matelot/tourguide
Other items on board:
- Three spacious double or twin cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Cooking demonstrations
- CD/iPod sound system
- Internet connection (maybe restricted in some areas)
- Air conditioning and heating
- 6 bicycles
- Excellent excursions
- Winter season bed and breakfast in Bruges
Hotel Barge Johanna: Cuisine
All meals are served on board, except for two dinners, which guests take off board at a local (suggested) restaurant at their own expense, This gives guests the flexibility to taste delicious local cuisine in the true atmosphere.
On board, all meals are prepared with fresh local produce, sourced from trusted suppliers along the route. Menus are carefully and thoughtfully planned and can be adapted to accommodate particular dietary requirements given 8 weeks notice.
Johanna galley’s is open, so guests can watch and learn. Lessons are available, too – Patsie’s lettuce soup is unsurpassed.
Charter and occasional cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Regular rate weeks
* 2 meals ashore (at recommended local restaurants) included
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24, 30
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
4 guest charter: 16,000 USD
5 guest charter: 19,250 USD
6 guest charter: 22,500 USD
Fortnight 2-week rate:
* 5 dinners ashore (at recommended local restaurants) included
April 22 – May 5
October 7 – 20
4 guest charter: 31,500 USD
5 guest charter: 38,000 USD
6 guest charter: 44,500 USD
Per Cabin bookings
7 day cruise: 8,500 USD
14 day cruise: 16,500 USD
Single occupancy: 5,100 USD or 9,900 USD
Mini cruises, charter only, up to 6 guests:
Chateau-Thierry to Epernay (3 nights): 17,500 USD
Chateau-Thierry to Condé-sur-Marne (4 nights): 19,250 USD
Chateau-Thierry to Chalons-en-Champagne (5 nights): 21,250 USD
All rates and prices will be confirmed at time of booking. Special Offers are available from time to time – contact us
We feature information about 50 wonderful hotel barges, of various sizes and price/style levels, more than 100 individual cruises to choose from every week of the season, in 8 regions across France. Some book flexibly by the cabin, others exclusively charter the entire hotel barge. Quite a choice!
Every one of our hotel barge information pages has been carefully crafted and written by us, from our own unique first hand-hand experience – but we also understand that there’s nothing like speaking to a friendly expert to help see the wood for the trees and make the best possible decision about the vacation cruise of a lifetime.
So please, send us a Booking Enquiry form (click on the red tab above) or just pick up the phone and give us a call.
We love France, we love the rivers and canals of France, we love hotel barging – and we love talking about all three!
+33 609 740 064 -or- +44 7590 287 178
We have been cruising and exploring France
aboard our own river boat since 2003.
– we also have expert colleagues in North America and Australia –