Majestic river cruise in Provence and Burgundy

The Belmond Napoléon is one of the finest cruising barges in Provence on and the largest of the Belmond fleet. Her three decks accommodate 12 guests in spacious and beautifully decorated cabins, all with large en-suite bathrooms and all above the water line. She is furnished throughout in rich  red, gold and green fabrics 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.

At a Glance

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 Napoléon :: Key Features

  • Grand Luxe class (5*)
  • Rivers Saône and Rhône
  • 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 Napoléon: Cruising Highlights 

  • Serene, luxurious cruising on the Saône and Rhône rivers
  • Guided tours of Arles and Avignon  – ancient cities with fascinating histories, unique treasures and modern cultures to enjoy
  • See the stunning Pont du Gard, the Pont d’Avignon 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 Châteauneuf du Pape

What’s included:
6 nights accommodation; transfers to the barge; all meals and drinks on board; guided excursions, fees and associated transport

Not included:
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)

Hotel Barge Belmond Napoléon: Cruises from Burgundy and Provence

Three Cruise Routes for 2019

  • St Jean de Losne – Lyon
  • Lyon – Avignon
  • Avignon to Tain l’Hermitage

hotel barge orient-express belmond napoleon burgundy provence

Cruise 1: St Jean de Losne to Lyon

Highlights through the Burgundy and Beaujolais regions

  • Enjoy a private tour of the magnificent 15th century Hotel Dieu, the most stunning example of medieval architecture still in use today. Home to the famous annual wine auction, the Hospices remains the famous landmark for Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy.
  • Abbaye de Cluny: in its day the most powerful Benedictine Abbey in the world, and still an important site to explore.
  • Dinner is taken at a charming, local Michelin starred restaurant – Restaurant Grueze in Tournon. A firm favourite with the locals, this restaurant has been established since the 1940’s and long held its well-deserved Michelin star.
  • Roche de Solutré: Enjoy an unbeatable view of the Maconais vines and countryside after a gentle trek to the top of the Amous prehistoric rock.
  • Château de Fléchères: in its day the most powerful Benedictine Abbey in the world; still an important site to explore today.

Day 1 | St Jean de Losne

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence Burgundy Saone

Board Napoléon in the important waterway town of St Jean de Losne for your cruise along the River Saône and through Burgundy. A champagne reception welcomes you on board and gives you a chance to meet the crew. A cocktail cruise gives you your first taste of cruising on the river. Later that evening, enjoy your first dining experience on board.

Day 2 | Cruise to Chalon sur Saône. Visit Beaune.

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence Burgundy Saone

This morning enjoy the scenery on deck as Napoléon weaves its way downstream to the pretty market town of Chalon sur Saone. After a delicious lunch on board, we arrive in Chalon and disembark to visit the historic city of Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. Here we enjoy a private tour of the magnificent 15th century Hotel Dieu, a splendidly decorated charity hospital which represents both the history of Burgundy and the story of its wine. There will be time to enjoy the charming town and its shops and you will have the chance to explore Joseph Drouhin’s cellar, where the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy used to store some of their wines.

Day 3 | Cruise to Tournus. Visit Cluny.

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence Burgundy Saone

After breakfast, relax on board and savour the beauty of Burgundy as you cruise the River Saône to Tournus. After another sumptuous lunch on board, we take a very scenic drive to the famous Abbaye de Cluny, for centuries the largest church in the world. The whole town was originally enclosed by its fortifications, two of which remain today. It is a remarkable site and of great importance to the church. This evening dinner is taken at a charming, local Michelin starred restaurant.

Day 4 | Cruise to Mâcon. Visit Roche de Solutré and Pouilly-Fuissé.

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence Burgundy Saone

We continue our cruise this morning to Mâcon and after lunch visit the Roche de Solutré, a picturesque site with a superb view of Mâcon, the River Saône and the vineyards. We make a stop along the route to enjoy a wine tasting in the village of Fuissé,. Our mooring this evening is Mâcon, a thriving market town bordering both the Mâconnais and the Beaujolais vineyards.

Day 5 | Cruise to Montmerle/Neuville. Visit the Château de Fléchères.

Hotel Barge Napoleon Burgundy Saone Provence

This morning take time to wander around Mâcon before the barge leaves for Montmerle. Your chef will serve another fine lunch as you cruise. After lunch your guide will accompany you to the magnificent Château de Fléchères, built in 1630 and set in 80 acres of parkland; enjoy a private tour and time to wander the grounds. On returning to Napoléon, a late afternoon cruise takes us to the little town of Neuville sur Soane and our mooring spot for the night.

Day 6 | Visit Lyon. Cruise to Lyon.

Hotel Barge Napoleon Saone Burgundy Provence

An early morning cruise gets us to our final destination in good time for the fantastic visit of the city of Lyon, the second city of France. Lyon is a cultural, historic, gastronomic, and commercial centre, little known outside of France. Dominating the city is the splendidly ornate Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière. Your guide will take you on a walking tour split between the morning and afternoon, with lunch back on board. You will discover the hidden ‘traboules’ of the old town, the roman remains, painted walls and of course leave time for you to peruse Lyon’s boutiques, renowned for the wide variety and exceptional quality. Back on board chef is preparing a feast for your farewell dinner.

Day 7 | Lyon
After breakfast the crew bids you farewell before you disembark the barge for your onward travel arrangements.

Please note: this route may be subject to change without prior warning as a result of unforeseen circumstances.


Cruise 2: Lyon to Avignon

Day 1 | Lyon

Hotel Barge Napoleon Saone Burgundy Provence

Board Napoléon moored in the Confluence Marina in Lyon for your cruise along the River Rhône. A champagne reception welcomes you on board and gives you the chance to meet your crew and guide, who will be with you for this exceptional voyage through the French countryside. An evening cocktail cruise through the centre of Lyon is a wonderful introduction to life on the river. Later in the evening, experience the superb cuisine skilfully created by our chef. This is a real highlight, particularly when accompanied by wines from France’s finest vineyards.

Day 2 | Cruise to Les Roches-de-Condrieu. Visit Lyon

Hotel Barge Napoleon Sane Rhone Burgundy Provence

Shortly after breakfast your guide will take you on a walking tour of Lyon, France’s second city, renowned for its culture and gastronomy. Dominating the skyline is the splendidly ornate Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Shoppers are sure to appreciate the top-quality stores and chic boutiques or you may prefer to relax in a sunny pavement café and simply watch the world go by. Return to the barge for a cruise down river to Condrieu. The River Rhône is a major, fast-flowing waterway, where you will pass a variety of private and commercial barges and pleasure craft. Relax on deck and watch the beautiful scenery of the Rhône valley glide by before dinner is served.

Day 3 | Cruise to Tain l’Hermitage /Tournon. Wine Tasting

Hotel barge Napoleon Saone Rhone Provence Burgundy

This morning enjoy a cruise south along the Vallée du Rhône through the magnificent vineyards of the Côtes Rôties and the Côtes du Rhône that seem to descend right to the river’s edge. In the afternoon, a wine tasting has been organised for you at a local winery, just steps from where the barge moors. Take time to explore the delights of Tain-l’Hermitage, which include the famous Valrhona chocolate shop, before returning to the barge for dinner.

Day 4 | Cruise to Viviers

Hotel Barge Napoleon Saone Provence Rhone

Relax on the top deck and watch the beautiful scenery of the Rhône Valley glide by as the barge cruises to Viviers in the morning. Mid-afternoon, your guide takes you on a walking tour of this charming medieval town before returning to the Napoléon to play the traditional Provençal game of pétanque. Reflect on the day’s adventures over dinner on board.

Day 5 | Cruise to Saint-Étienne-des-Sorts. Visit Grignan

Hotel barge Napoleon Saone Rhone Provence

After breakfast your guide escorts you on a very scenic drive through the countryside to visit Grignan, a typical Provençal village, known for its wild roses and 12th century chateau, famously the beautiful home of Madame de Sevigny where she wrote many of her now published letters. There is time to visit the quaint village and its narrow cobbled alleys. Lunch is enjoyed at a local restaurant. On the way back to the barge, stop at a truffle farm to learn all about the black diamond and taste the world-renowned delicacy. Back on board, the barge continues to cruise south to Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts, passing through the lock (ecluse) of Bollène, which has one of the largest drops in Europe, measuring over 23 metres.

Day 6 | Cruise to Avignon. Visit Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Avignon

Hotel barge Napoleon Saone Rhone Provence

Cruise to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the summer home of the Popes of Avignon in the 1300s, for a tour of Château La Nerthe and a tasting of the famous wines of the region. Rejoin the Napoléon for a lunch cruise to Avignon, during which you’ll sail past the Pont Saint-Bénezet (the famous Pont d’Avignon) to the mooring at the quay opposite the gate to the walled city. Your visit to this magnificent, historical city includes a guided tour of the Palace of the Popes and free time for shopping or sampling café society. Back on board, your farewell gala dinner provides the perfect chance to exchange stories about your remarkable journey.

Day 7 | Avignon
After breakfast the crew bids you farewell before you disembark the barge for your onward travel arrangements.

Please note route may be subject to change without prior warning as a result of unforeseen circumstances.


Cruise 3:  Avignon to Tain l’Hermitage

Highlights through the Provence and Rhône Valley regions

  • A walking tour of Arles, a perfect moment to discover this beautiful Roman city.
  • Pont du Gard: an incredible example of Roman architecture in peaceful surroundings, you can still swim in the river flowing underneath the bridge.
  • Visit the world-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape, summer home of the popes from Avignon.
  • Pass through the Ecluse de Bollène, the second deepest lock in Europe, approximately 23 metres deep
  • Grignan: learn about the black truffle, the aromas in this part of Provence are exquisite with lavender and herbes de Provence growing in the nearby fields.
  • Monsieur Ferraton’s winery: for a private wine tasting in this family domain, just a short walk from where the barge is moored.

Day 1 | Avignon, cruise to Aramon

Hotel barge Napoleon Saone Rhone Provence

Your cruise begins with a champagne reception to welcome you on board Napoléon in Avignon. Meet your crew, who will be with you for the duration of your fantastic voyage through the French countryside. An early evening cruise from Avignon to the rural mooring of Aramon gives you your first delightful taste of life on the Rhône. Later in the evening, experience the superb skills of our chef. The cuisine on board Napoléon is a real highlight of your trip, particularly when accompanied by wines from France’s finest vineyards.

Day 2 | Visit Arles. Cruise to Avignon

Hotel barge Napoleon Provence

Your first day’s excursion takes you on a walking tour of Arles, famous for its Roman ruins and also where Van Gogh spent much of 1888 and ’89 painting. After your tour enjoy time at leisure in this charming town before returning to the barge for delicious lunch on board. Relax as you spend the rest of the afternoon cruising to Avignon and watch the scenery of the Rhône Valley drift by. Cruise past the Pont Saint-Bénezet (the famous Pont d’Avignon) before mooring up at the quay facing the gate to the walled city. Disembark to visit the Pont du Gard, part of the Roman aqueduct that transported spring water from Uzès to Nîmes. Return to the Napoléon for drinks on the deck, followed by a sumptuous dinner.

Day 3 | Cruise to Roquemaure. Visit Avignon

Hotel barge Napoleon Provence Burgundy Saone France

A walking tour introduces you to the walled city of Avignon, home of the Popes from 1309-77. A guided tour of the Palace of the Popes is followed by free time to enjoy some shopping or perhaps order a drink in a pavement café and watch the world go by. Return to the barge where lunch is followed by an afternoon cruise. Visit the world-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the summer home of the popes from Avignon, for a delicious wine tasting experience. Then return to Napoléon, now moored in Roquemaure, to relax on the top deck with a refreshing cocktail, watching the sunset in this magnificent rural mooring. Later on in the evening, enjoy dinner on board.

Day 4 | Cruise to Viviers. Visit a lavender farm

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence France

This morning enjoy a leisurely cruise as we pass through the Écluse de Bollène, the second deepest lock in Europe with a drop of approximately 23 metres. After lunch arrive in Viviers, this evening’s mooring location, for a walking tour of this charming medieval town, home to the smallest cathedral in France. Later, visit a local lavender farm before returning to the barge for dinner.

Day 5 | Visit Grignan. Cruise to La Voulte

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence France

Today’s visit is to the delightful Provençal village of Grignan, famous for its wild roses and medieval château at the top of the town. Your guide takes you to visit a truffle farm to learn all about the world-famous black diamond truffle and enjoy a tasting. Lunch is at a delightful local restaurant before returning to Napoléon and a cruise to the market village La Voulte. Enjoy dinner on board.

Day 6 | Cruise to Tain l’Hermitage or Tournon

Hotel Barge Napoleon Provence France

This morning your chef accompanies you to a traditional French market in La Voulte, where you have the chance to pick out some local produce and discover more of the region’s specialities. Enjoy a leisurely lunch back on board featuring the ingredients from your visit today. During this part of the cruise, the river valley is flanked by the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône and has a completely different perspective.
Mooring in Tain or Tournon, you are escorted to Monsieur Ferraton’s winery for your last dégustation. Enjoy a private tour and wine tasting just minutes from Napoléon. Back on board, get ready for a farewell gala dinner, prepared by your chef, providing the perfect chance to reflect on the highlights of your memorable journey.

Day 7 | Tain
After breakfast the crew bids you farewell before you disembark the barge for your onward travel arrangements.

Please note route may be subject to change without prior warning as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

Hotel Barge Belmond Napoléon cruises through the Saône and Rhône valleys


Barge Cruising – The Saone and Rhone

map saone rhoneRiver 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.

Getting There
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 –
chalon2-500x300  saone-500x300  macon-500x300

beaune-museum2-500x300  chateauneuf-pape-500x300  van-gogh-arles-500x300

arles-500x300  avignon-pont-500x300  pont-du-gard-500x300

Chalon ©M Chanaud | Beaune ©Michael Evans | Avignon ©Yann de Fareins | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Hotel Barge Belmond Napoléon: Details and Facilities

Hotel Barge Napoleon, Belmond Orient Express Provence deck plan

  • 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
  • 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 access
  • Selection of books, games, DVDs and CDs

Hotel Barge Belmond Napoléon Cuisine

Hotel barge Napoleon Burgundy Provence

Great care and expertise is taken in planning the menus aboard Napoléon
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.

Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon Orient Express Provence Hotel Barge Belmond Napoleon Orient Express Provence

Hotel Barge Napoléon – 2018 Rates  ➤ 2019 Rates

Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday

Value rate weeks:

March 25
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:

April 29
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


Hotel Barge Napoléon – 2019 Rates

Charter bookings only
Sunday to Saturday

Low rate weeks:

Mar 24, 30
April 7, 4, 21, 28

8 guest charter: 54,450 EUR
9 guest charter: 57,600 EUR
10 guest charter: 60,750 EUR
11 guest charter: 63,000 EUR
12 guest charter: 65,700 EUR

Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: from 4,500 EUR per person
With Single Occupancy Supplement: 2,700 EUR

Value rate weeks:

July 7, 14, 21, 28
August 4, 11, 18, 25

8 guest charter: 60,500 EUR
9 guest charter: 64,000 EUR
10 guest charter: 67,500 EUR
11 guest charter: 70,000 EUR
12 guest charter: 73,000 EUR

Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: from 5,000 EUR per person
With Single Occupancy Supplement: 3,000 EUR

Regular rate weeks:

May 5, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
October 6, 13, 20

8 guest charter: 62,500 EUR
9 guest charter: 66,000 EUR
10 guest charter: 69,500 EUR
11 guest charter: 72,000 EUR
12 guest charter: 75,000 EUR

Per cabin bookings
Double cabin: 6,700 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 4,020 EUR


All rates and prices will be confirmed at time of booking. Special Offers are available from time to time – contact us

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