European Waterways The European Waterways Newsletter
Issue 73
Lock-Keeper banner
in this issue...

What's in a Name?

The Mayor welcomes Panache
Three Men in a Boat
Reviews & Video
New Competition
Barge & Cruise News
And Finally...
Back Issues

Enchanté’s Tight Squeeze

You must watch this video!...

Enchanté’s Tight Squeeze

Special Offers

We still have some great special offers for Summer & Autumn 2013….


Rosa’s Bordeaux Itinerary

Rosa will cruise nearer Bordeaux on selected weeks…


Rosa’s Bordeaux Itinerary

visit our website





Welcome to Issue 73 of The Lock-Keeper

Hello Lock-Keeper Reader,

Welcome to the 73rd issue of The Lock-Keeper and there is certainly plenty of news for you to catch up on.

In this issue, we look at the names of our hotel barges, investigating their origins and meanings. We consider how many of the French barge names, such as “La Belle Epoque” and “L’Art de Vivre”, allude to French culture and easy living, giving a flavour of what we hope you will experience on board our boats. Find out more in our article ‘What’s in a Name?’

We also take time to investigate the French sporting tradition that is Petanque. This traditional game is a firm feature of French life and is available for you to have a go at on many of our hotel barges in France.

This Spring, hotel barge Panache cruised again through the western provinces of Holland with an enhanced itinerary, including a tour of Alkmaar, famous for its traditional Dutch cheeses and we were delighted to be greeted by the Mayor herself who came aboard to welcome us. More details later in this issue.

Since our last issue, our two valiant directors were in strict training (ahem!) for a rowing trip down the River Thames. Taking inspiration from the classic book ‘Three Men in a Boat’, they spent 5 days navigating an 80 mile stretch of the upper Royal river. Read on later to find out if they survived!

Following the relaunch of our private transfer service from Paris to Burgundy last year, we have developed an excellent relationship with the Hotel Westminster, our meeting point. This stylish, historic hotel right in the heart of Paris offers the perfect place from which to explore the city before escaping on one of our luxury cruises through the countryside. More details later in this issue.

For all of you who enjoy the hit TV series ‘Downton Abbey’, you’ll be excited to hear that we have now included a visit to the film location in our itinerary aboard our hotel barge Magna Carta. On specific cruises, there will be  the opportunity to wander through the familiar state rooms and tour the beautifully landscaped gardens. Read more about this exciting itinerary addition in Barge & Cruise News.

Rosa, our pretty 8-passenger hotel barge on the Canal de la Garonne in Gascony, is also offering an alternative itinerary further down the canal towards Bordeaux, including a visit to Saint Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with tastings of premier cru and grand cru wines - perfect for you wine lovers!

And for you active types we have two great theme cruises in October – a walking cruise on La Belle Epoque in Burgundy and a golf cruise on Scottish Highlander in Scotland. More details in Barge & Cruise News.

Since the last issue more articles have been published about our hotel barge cruises and this time we feature two by travel writers Lisa Gerard-Sharp and Peter Lynch, on two very different trips. They are well worth reading.

Finally, as always, it is good to hear from you, so please drop us an email with any comments about The Lock-Keeper, or indeed anything else. Our You Tube channel has become so popular we are nearly at 100,000 views after adding more videos over the last few months, so do have a look. And, of course, remember to visit our website for new offers, articles, videos and other barging news, or perhaps join us on Twitter or Facebook.

With very best wishes,

Derek Banks
Derek Banks - Managing Director





Headlines and Cruise Reviews

What’s in a Name?

As Shakespeare once said, “what’s in a name?” - well, actually quite a lot as far as the names of our hotel barges are concerned. Some of our names hark back to the origins of the vessel whilst others evoke images of the essence of our cruises and the regions we pass through.

Let’s start with our first barge, the grand old lady of the fleet “Anjodi”. Before she was transformed into a charming hotel barge, she was a working cargo boat, owned by a captain with three daughters - Anne, Joanne and Diana - hence the doting father naming the barge after his children - a name which has stuck ever since.

By contrast, “L’Art de Vivre”, “La Belle Epoque” and “ La Renaissance” are all named after images of French style, culture and good living, of which we hope our cruises will give you a real flavour. The Belle Epoque (the beautiful age) and the Renaissance (the rebirth) were both celebrated periods in French history - and in addition, the renaming of Renaissance when we acquired her from another operator reflected her new life in the European Waterways fleet. The term Art de Vivre is almost untranslatable - “the art of living” is perhaps the closest in English, or maybe just “style” - which is also the meaning of the name of the newest barge in our fleet “Panache”!

L’Impressionniste” is a nod to that great school of French artists, many of whom used the waterways to create their images of reflected light. Each cabin is named after one of these master painters. Other names are more straightforward. “Scottish Highlander” is named with pride as the only hotel barge cruising through the land of Rob Roy and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

 “Rosa”, our Gascony barge, took her name from her home port, Toulouse, whose iconic pink brick buildings caused the city to be dubbed “la Ville Rose”. In fact, a dictionary is often helpful to understand the meaning behind many of the names. “Clair de Lune” means “moonlight”, “Nymphea” means “waterlily” and “Enchanté” is the welcome greeting you will get from most French people when you are introduced, meaning “delighted”. In Italy “La Bella Vita” just means “the good life” - which is what we hope you will experience when you cruise on any of our floating boutique hotels.


The game of Petanque holds a special place in French life. It is virtually impossible to travel through the France without coming across a group of men in a local village square relaxing and socialising over a game of petanque. Yet it is far from just a trivial pastime. In France there is an official association to whom you have to apply for a permit before you can even consider competing seriously!

The form of Petanque played today originated in 1907 in Provence and consists of throwing a hollow metal ball, from a designated, standing position, to land as close as possible to another smaller wooden ball, known as the jack. Many people refer to the game as ‘boules’, but actually boules is the name given to the balls used to play the game of petanque - if that makes sense!

 Apparently there are various strategies which define your style as a petanque player. The more competitive player trains hard, applying the unfriendly strategy of aiming to bomb the opposition’s ball out of the way. He is known as a ‘tireur’ – meaning shooter, quickly and skilfully shooting his way to a winning position. The less serious player is called a ‘pointeur’ - meaning timekeeper. He takes a more relaxed approach, enjoying the friendly ambience of the game and taking his time over each throw. His strategy is to use subtlety and guile to get his boules as close to the jack as possible and if he knocks the opposition out the way in the process, well then that’s just good luck!

Each of our hotel barges in France has a petanque set on board, so there’s always the opportunity for you to have your own game on the banks of a canal and decide on your strategy!

Back to top

Spring Tulips

  The Mayor Welcomes Panache

Panache joined our fleet in 2012 offering inspiring Spring tulip cruises through the waterways of Holland. This year we changed her cruising route slightly allowing her to visit places such as the historic city of Alkmaar, whilst also continuing to incorporate excursions places such as the stunning Keukenhof Gardens, a tour of Holland’s cheese centre, Gouda, and a tour of the Franz Hal museum in Haarlem.

In May, the barge and her crew were thrilled to be welcomed to Alkmaar by the Mayor herself, who came on board to present us with various traditional gifts from the town and a plaque to commemorate the occasion. Reported in the local newspaper, click here to see the article (however you may need to log in to Google Translate to understand it all!)

Back to top

3 Men in a Boat - Our Way
  3 Men in a Boat - Our Way!

Inspired by the classic book ‘Three Men in a Boat’ by Jerome K Jerome, our directors Derek Banks and John Wood-Dow, along with four other slightly mad friends, decided to attempt their own humorous trip down the Royal River Thames.

Renting two rowing skiffs, and loading them full of the necessary supplies of raincoats, tents and beer, they set off on the 80 mile voyage downstream from Lechlade to Henley. Over five days they managed to row, sail and float along the river taking in the beautiful sites of the upper Thames, whilst of course stopping to sample some of the traditional English country pubs along its banks, before finally ending in Henley. This historic town which is world-renowned for the Royal rowing regatta which will be taking place next month, is included in the Magna Carta's cruise itinerary, before it continues downstream past landmarks such as Cliveden, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace.

Click here link to photo to see a photo of the intrepid Derek and John, together with Iain Russell (video producer for European Waterways) at the end of their epic voyage.

Back to top

Hotel Westminster, Paris
  Hotel Westminster, Paris

Since the successful relaunch of our transfer service to and from Paris for passengers cruising in Burgundy, we have established an excellent relationship with the Hotel Westminster, our pick up point. This luxury, stylish hotel “considered by many to be the crown jewel of authentic, historical Paris hotels” is situated not far from The Louvre and the Tuileries gardens.

Why not spend a night or two here exploring the famous sights of the city of Paris before being transported to the contrasting green landscapes and charming villages of Burgundy? Click here to have a look at what this exquisite hotel has to offer.

Back to top



Cruise Reviews

Lisa Gerard-Sharp, a well-known UK travel writer, cruised with us on Anjodi in the Spring and wrote a wonderfully evocative article called Barging for ‘Beginners Along the Canal du Midi’ in Eurotravel Magazine. To read all about her trip click here.

And the established cruise reviewer, Peter Lynch, wrote an enthusiastic review about a cruise he and his wife enjoyed aboard Shannon Princess along the River Shannon in Ireland for the hugely popular website for the ‘mature traveller’, Silver Travel Advisor. He obviously loved the whole experience, especially the amazing food prepared by chef Olivia Gibbons and the Guinness when he was ashore.
To read the full article, click here.

Back to top




We have continued to produce more short videos about various aspects of the ‘hotel barging experience’ and have added them to the collection on our YouTube Channel. They have obviously proved very popular as the number of views is about to hit 100,000 – not bad from 800 views at the start of 2012!

Examples of short films added recently include Chablis Wine Tasting and A Walking Tour of Old Dijon. So do please take a look at our You Tube channel regularly to see what new videos we have added.

Back to top


The Complete Piano Music by Debussy

Last Issue Competition

Last Issue's Competition Winners

In the last issue, to mark the introduction of hotel barge Clair de Lune to our fleet, we were offering 3 boxed sets of The Complete Piano Music by Debussy. These boxed sets each contained 4 CDs featuring Debussy’s best works, including of course, perhaps his most well-known work, Clair de Lune.

The lucky winners of this wonderful music collection were:

Anthony Read from Le Buis, France
Christopher Stimpson from Orihuela Costa, Spain
Yvette van Urk from Bright, Australia

Congratulations to you all and the boxed sets will be on their way to you very soon.


'Lady Almina and The Real Downton Abbey
  New Competition

To mark the introduction of Highclere Castle to Magna Carta’s itinerary on specific cruises, we are offering three signed copies of 'Lady Almina and The Real Downton Abbey'. Written by the 8th Countess of Carnarvon, it tells the story of her illustrious predecessor, Almina the 5th Countess and her work at Highclere Castle. Beautifully illustrated with original photographs, letters and drawings, Lady Carnarvon provides a rich and fascinating insight into what life was like at Highclere, both upstairs and downstairs. These are special copies, personally signed by the 8th Countess herself.

Enter the Book Competition

Competition Rules

Back to top


Highclere Castle


Barge and Cruise News

Downton Abbey

We are delighted to announce that our hotel barge on the River Thames, Magna Carta, will now be including a visit to Highclere Castle on selected weeks in it’s already jam-packed itinerary. Highclere, now better known as Downton Abbey, has become famous in the last few years for housing the Crawley family in the hugely popular TV series.

Highclere is ‘one of England's most beautiful Victorian Castles set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland.’ On a visit you can discover the familiar state rooms, where we’ve seen the drama between Matthew and Mary play out, as well as explore the spectacular parkland with its secret gardens and woodland walks. Whilst you’re there it is also worth a visit to the Egyptian exhibition. This displays many of the treasures from the ancient tomb of Tutankhamun, which was discovered by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, an ancestor of the current countess and owner of Highclere.

We think it is a fascinating place to visit so why not click here and have a look at their website.

Back to top

Rosa and Bordeaux

  Rosa and Bordeaux

We have introduced a new itinerary on selected departure dates for our hotel barge Rosa, featuring more of the iconic Bordeaux wine region. The cruise route is further downstream on the delightful Canal de la Garonne between Boé near Agen and Castet-en-Dorthe and the itinerary includes a visit to Saint Emilion, centre of the most famous of the Bordeaux appellations, with tastings of premier cru and grand cru wines at a renowned local château domaine.

Click here to see the full itinerary. The special departure dates in 2013 are August 18 and August 25, 2013 and in 2014, this cruise will be available throughout August , September and October. Definitely one for the real wine afficonados amongst you!

Back to top

Theme Cruises for Walkers and Golfers

  Theme Cruises for Walkers and Golfers

Walkers love Burgundy in the Autumn when the region’s colours are at their absolute best and our hotel barge La Belle Epoque has been offering ‘walking cruises’ for the more sedate walker for a number of years. By popular demand this year, there will be an extra departure on October 20 as the October 13 is fully booked. Click here for more details.

And for you golfers, there is wonderful golf cruise aboard Scottish Highlander departing on October 13, which will include rounds at among others, the championship courses of Royal Dornoch and Nairn. After each round our golfing guests will then be able to sample a range of single malts at their very own floating 19th hole! Click here link to to see the itinerary.

Our theme cruises are usually for a full barge charter, but for these two departures there only needs to be a minimum party of 4 people.

  And Finally....

It seems that some day-trip cruise companies in Scotland are concerned about the risk of colliding with Nessie, the fabled Loch Ness monster! They’ve decided to take an extra precaution and insure their boats against what could be a tragic disaster! Perhaps we should do the same?! Click here to see the article.

That's about it for this issue of The Lock-Keeper. We hope that you’ve enjoyed it and the next one will be out soon with some more news, so we'll see you then.

Back to top