How are hotel barges rated? What do the stars mean?

Objective and subjective
We’ve rated the barges conventionally using stars, which indicates a style, a particular level of luxury, so that you have an idea of how that might suit your own style, and budget. However, it’s not an exact science, especially when some barges choose to charge less than the average star rating, or discount at certain points in the season. And that’s why it’s always a good idea to make contact with us to talk through the finer points of what the stars and prices mean. Call +33 609 74 00 64

One of the major things that differentiates between the stars is space on board, especially personal space. Most barges are around 38m in length or less (less on the Canal du Midi because of lock dimensions), and this determines how much space there can physically be on a barge. Therefore, the more cabins there are, the smaller they will be, whereas fewer cabins usually means more spacious accommodation, to the point where a bathtub in your en-suite may even be possible.

We assess these high-ranking factors

  • Cabin (bedroom) and en-suite bathroom space
  • Choice of double or twin beds in each cabin
  • Quality bedding, choice of pillows
  • Walk-in shower or bath
  • Desk, chair and sofa in the cabin
  • Individually controlled air-conditioning
  • Quality of fittings and furnishings
  • Clear views through saloon windows
  • Large sun deck with recliner chairs
  • Pool or hot tub


  • Open galley, with cooking demonstrations
  • Michelin star dining experience off-board
  • Satellite TV, WiFi and USB charging points
  • 24 hour bar
  • Grand Cru wines and exceptional gourmet cuisine
  • Staff professionalism and guest attention
  • High crew to guest ratio
  • Other amenities, such as: piano, fitness, elevator, upper powder room, laundry service, private executive passenger minivan etc
Luxury five star hotel barge cruise France canals

Grand Luxe Hotel Barges

Ultimate quality – Ultimate comfort
Upwards of 200 sq.ft cabins with king-size beds
Exceptional hospitality and facilities
from $6,000 per person

6✮ + 5✮ Barges

First Class hotel barge cruise France canals

Excellence 4-star Hotel Barges

Very High Quality – Distinct Personality
150+ sq.ft cabins, usually queen-size beds
Wonderful service and attention
from $5,000 per person

4✮ Barges

Economy hotel barge cruise France canals

Premier 3-star Hotel Barges

Great value, no quality compromises
Comfortable cabins, perfect bathrooms
Great food, good wine, charming service
from $2,500 per person

3✮ Barges