The Saint Louis barge's style might best be described as ‘casual luxury’ – this is the style of the interior fittings and furnishings; and the outside lounge deck and its furniture. This concept encapsulates the ethos of the hotel barge, her skipper and crew; and the way in which cruises along the delightful waterways of south-west France aboard Saint Louis are lived. Originally built in 1923 as a bulk cargo carrier, a full conversion and refresh in 1994 and 2007 respectively have expertly transformed the Saint Louis barge into a floating hotel haven of comfort and style, eager to host up to six guests in its three guest staterooms. On the sun deck, there are cushioned solid teak chairs and sun-loungers to provide the perfect elevated canal-side view of the villages and the countryside, the locks and the bridges, as you cruise slowly past. Relax, chat, read a book – or do absolutely nothing except day-dream to the sound of bird-song. Or enjoy an alfresco meal of fresh local ingredients, with a glass of superb local wine. Below, ‘up forward’ (at the front of the ship) are the guest cabins. In the centre of the boat is a generously sized saloon, dining area and bar. Aft (towards the back of the ship) lies the well-equipped kitchen, then the wheelhouse and finally the crew’s quarters.
The Saint Louis has just three spacious guest stateroom suites, each a generous 127 square feet in size. Each has an en-suite bathroom with a roomy fully-tiled shower and plenty of hot water. Each is insulated and climate controlled with air-conditioning and central heating. Besides beds (twin or queen-sized double) each cabin has a wardrobe, full-length mirror, dressing table and storage space.
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Here on the Saint Louis, the French food tradition has become an integral part of the barging experience. Whether enjoying your meal in the wood-panelled salon or alfresco on the sun deck, the cuisine will remind you that you are in a part of the world where food is treated lovingly and seriously. The superb food on board is largely based on traditional recipes from this region of France prepared with international additions and a twist of your hosts' native Scotland. Ingredients are prepared fresh from local suppliers on a daily basis. Beautifully prepared by your resident chef, duck, foie gras and seafood are thus among the basics of the cuisine. Dietary preferences, vegetarian and special dietary needs are always respected.
Steps give direct access up to the sun deck. This is a large open area, carpeted under foot and with jolly parasols over head. There are cushioned chairs and sun-loungers to relax in, a spacious teak table for open air meals, with the whole deck bordered by colourful flowers.
The central saloon and dining room is panelled in hardwood and furnished in style. Windows look out over the water-side scene. There is a well-stocked bar that also features local aperitifs and liqueurs including Armagnac and Floc de Gascogne and – naturally (your hosts are Scots) – an excellent range of malt whiskies.
Currently we do not have any sample itineraries of custom tours to this destination.
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