Majestic river cruise in Provence and Burgundy
The Belmond Napoleon is one of the finest cruising barges in Provence on the majestic river Rhône and the largest of the Belmond fleet. She has three decks accommodating 12 guests in spacious and beautifully decorated cabins, all with large ensuite bathrooms and above the water line. The ship is furnished throughout with rich fabrics in red, gold and green to create a warm and welcoming Provençal atmosphere. Feast on dinners in the stately lounge. Unwind in the outdoor Jacuzzi and watch the scenery unfold.
Her route includes wide reaches through hills lined with famous vineyards – the same sun-drenched landscapes that inspired Cézanne and Van Gogh. Riverside villages and towns, historic monuments, lavender fields and olive groves are all typical of this part of Provence, a region with a sophisticated culture dating back to Roman times.
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 Belmond Napoleon :: Key Features
- Grand Luxe class (5*)
- Rivers Saone and Rhone, Canal du Rhone a Sete
- Part of the Belmond luxury fleet of hotel barges
- Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, March to October
- 12 guests / 6 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Air conditioning and heating throughout
- Full board, on-board dining
- Sun deck with gym and spa tub
- 12 bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
- Transfers to Paris included
Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon: Cruise Highlights – Arles to Tain l’Hermitage, river Rhone
- Serene, luxurious cruising on the majectic Rhone river
- Guided tours of Arles, Avignon and Orange – ancient cities with fascinating histories, unique treasures and modern cultures to enjoy
- See the stunning Pont du Gard and the Palais du Papes
- Visits to a truffle farm, a lavender distillery, an olive mill and a traditional French market
- Private wine-tastings, including Chateauneuf du Pape
6 nights accommodation, transfers to and from Paris, all meals and drinks on board, guided excursions, fees and associated transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)
Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon: Cruises from Burgundy and Provence
Napoleon’s Four Cruise Routes
- St Jean de Losne – Lyon in March, April and October
- Lyon – Avignon in July
- Tain l’Hermitage – Arles in August
- Tain l’Hermitage – Chalon sur Saone in August
Arles to Tain l’Hermitage, river Rhone – July 2016 to October 2017
Discover grand Roman ruins amid picturesque villages as you sample the Rhone’s finest wines
Day 1 Sunday – Arrival
Transfer from Paris by First Class high-speed train (TGV) and executive minibus for a Champagne reception aboard Napoleon. Meet the crew and cruise from Vallabrègues to Arles. Time to explore Arles, frequented by Van Gogh who adored the light in Provence, after dinner on board.
Day 2 Monday – Arles to Avignon
Excursion to St. Rémy for an olive oil tasting. Lunch on-board and then cruise to Avignon and past the famous bridge to the mooring. The a visit to the Pont du Gard, part of the Roman aqueduct taking water to Nimes. Return to Napoleon for aperitifs, followed by dinner on board.
Day 3 Tuesday – Avignon to St. Etiennes-des-Sorts
A guided tour of Avignon and the 14th century Palace of the Popes. Then, free time to browse the city, shop and sample the street cafe life. Lunch on board and the a Visit to Châteauneuf du Pape for a wine tasting before cruising on to St. Etienne des Sorts.
Day 4 Wednesday – St. Etiennes-des-Sorts to Viviers
A guided tour of Orange a tour of Orange to discover its Roman origins and momuments. Lunch on board and cruise to the mooring at Viviers, which included passing through the deepest lock in Europe. Dinner on board, with time to explore the town and the smallest cathedral in France.
Day 5 Thursday – Viviers to La Voulte
Excursion to Nyons to visit a working lavender distillery and tour an ancient XVIII century olive mill. Lunch at a superb local restaurant in Grignan. In the afternoon, visit a truffle farm for a ‘black diamond’ tasting and then rejoin the boat at La Pouzin and cruise on to La Voulte.
Day 6 Friday – La Voulte to Tain l’Hermitage/Tournon
A visit to a traditional French market in La Voulte to browse and help chef choose some local produce for lunch on board. Cruise on through the green hillsides of the Côte du Rhône to moor in Tain or Tournon. Visit Chez Ferraton, whose winery is a stroll away, and enjoy a tasting and tour. Return to Napoloen for a gala dinner on board.
Saturday – Departure
After breakfast, transfer to TGV for Paris and onward travel.
This is itinerary is subject the change and runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon cruises through the Saone and Rhone valleys
Barge Cruising – The Saone and Rhone
River Saone – River Rhone
The Saone is one of the most attractive rivers in France: wide, sleepy and unhurried, it wends its way from the mountains of the Vosges to the Rhone, passing through delightful countryside replete with wildlife – herons, kites and the pale Charolais cattle that come down to the waterside to drink.
Macon offers an ideal base for discovering the Beaujolais – a rolling crest of hills famous for the production of light red wine, or if you prefer fuller Burgundy reds then a rendezvous at Clos Vougeot will provide ample opportunity for tasting. Beaune is another major centre for viticulture and the town’s ancient hospital with its dazzling glazed tiled roof is an unmissable attraction. Fans of photography will be keen to visit Chalon-sur-Saone, the home of Nicéphore Niepce and thus regarded as the birthplace of this popular art form: the colourful Sunday market offers perfect opportunities for taking vivid holiday snaps.
At Lyon the Saone joins the River Rhone which rises in the Swiss Alps, and heads due south for the Mediterranean Sea. Voyagers along the river pass by the vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape, visiting memorable and famous towns such as Valence, the beautiful hilltop medieval village of Viviers which overlooks the river, Avignon which is renowned for its bridge and Pope’s Palace and finally Arles, where Van Gogh created his most iconic sun-drenched paintings.
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed hotel. French international airports are located at Toulouse and Paris-Charles de Gaulle and there are European-flight airports at Montpellier and Lyon. There are also TGV express train stations near Dole and at Macon, Lyon, Avignon, Montpellier and Toulouse; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Chalon-sur-Saone, Macon, Beaune, Van Gogh/Arles, Avignon, Pont du Gard –
Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 129ft (39m) x 16.5ft (5m)
- 6 staterooms of around 135 sq ft including ensuite bathrooms, one on upper deck, 5 on lower deck
- Each has queen-size double or twin beds
- The upper deck cabin has a large picture window, the lower cabins have two smaller windows.
- All upper windows open
Lower windows open but not at all while cruising and only with captain’s permission when moored
- Napoleon was refurbished for the 2016 season
- Expert and professional English-speaking crew of 6
Other items on board:
- 12 bicycles
- Sun deck with Jacuzzi, sun loungers, exercise equipment and canopied dining area
- Lounge with piano keyboard
- Bose iPod docking station
- Computer with internet accessSelection of books, games, DVDs and CDs
Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon: Cuisine
Great care and expertise is taken in planning the menus aboard Napoleon.
All meals on board are freshly prepared by an expert chef with fresh ingredients using local suppliers. They are served either in the dining room or up on deck, accompanied by carefully matched wines from the region. Vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan and non-allergenic dishes can easily be arranged.
Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
April 1, 8, 15, 22
October 7, 14, 21
8 guest charter: 48,088 EUR
9 guest charter: 50,751 EUR
10 guest charter: 53,410 EUR
11 guest charter: 56,078 EUR
12 guest charter: 58,740 EUR
Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: 4,902 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 2,941 EUR
Regular rate weeks:
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
8 guest charter: 60,112 EUR
9 guest charter: 63,441 EUR
10 guest charter: 66,770 EUR
11 guest charter: 70,092 EUR
12 guest charter: 73,428 EUR
Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: 6,172 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 3,703 EUR
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 –