Originally built as a working Dutch cargo barge, the 12-passenger L’Impressionniste has been fully gutted and transformed by European Waterways into a hotel barge designed for slow-paced, all-inclusive canal vacations in France's Burgundy region.
Common areas include a window-fringed main salon that's home to a well-stocked self-service bar along with the main communal dining table, plus a spacious sun deck outfitted with tables and a whirlpool tub. Life onboard is casual, and the half-dozen cabins are below deck.
What We Love
Complimentary Bikes: L’Impressionniste comes equipped with a dozen bicycles, a great option for exploring the villages alongside the canals.
Hot Tub: The on-deck hot tub, with room for six, is the perfect place to take in the French countryside.
Best Known For
French Cuisine: L'Impressionniste sources its impressive ingredients from the surrounding Burgundy region, and meals showcase fine regional wines.
Relaxed Pace: Barge vacations are laid-back cruises that move at an unhurried pace, earning high points for delivering R & R and the opportunity to see less-visited parts of the French countryside.
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Who It's Best For
Social Older Couples: L'Impressionniste is best-suited to couples aged 50 and older who appreciate a leisurely vacation, and French culture.
Group Charters: The vessel's small size lends itself to private charters for families or other groups.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There's Little Privacy: There are just a dozen passengers and a six-person crew in tight quarters, and it's the luck of the draw who you'll have on board.
Basic Digs: The barge's cabins are fairly no-frills, with simple furnishings, and an "unplugged" setting devoid of phones or TVs.
Elissa Garay is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
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L'Impressionniste at a Glance
- Line: European Waterways
- Class: Sister ship to La Belle Epoque
- Number of Passengers: 12
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1960
- Refurbish Date: 2010