Belmond is set to introduce the two latest additions to its fleet of luxury barges, the Belmond Afloat. Scheduled to set sail in the summer of 2017, Belmond Lilas and Belmond Pivoine are going to cruise down the picturesque canals and rivers of the Alsace and Champagne regions. The luxurious six-night itineraries feature private visits to family-owned vineyards, breweries and spectacular chateaux. Tailor-made itineraries around Burgundy, the Cote D’Or, France Comte, Saone, Provence, the Valle du Rhone and the Canal du Midi are also available from Belmond Afloat.
Belmond is well known for curating and creating extraordinary travel experiences worldwide. The Belmond Afloat fleet of luxury barges is not an exception. The leisurely cruise down the canals and rivers of France aims to disconnect passengers from the routineness of hectic everyday lives and connect them with nature.
As a way to emphasise the experience of connecting with nature, the designs of both the Pivoine and Lilas are inspired by Biophilia; an approach that brings the outside world into interior spaces. Each barge is individually designed to reflect the characteristics of the flower they represent: peonies for the Pivoine and lilacs for the Lilas. Inge Moore, interior designer from The Gallery HBA, London, wanted to create spaces where guest can unwind and reconnect with what is important in their lives. She believes that the best way to do this is to look to nature—an antidote to busy urban cities.
“The aim of the design is to kindle a strong connection with the living, breathing world—a design which embraces a love for life and all pure living forms,” explained Inge Moore.
The Belmond Pivoine is inspired by the soft, romantic yellows and whites of peonies and champagne. Organic and naturally shaped furnishings with comfortable seating are chosen for complete relaxation. The Belmond Lilas is filled with vibrant, fresh-coloured furnishings like that of the lilac. Natural linens, handcrafted ironmongery and timber wood furnishings complete the welcoming environment that reflects the rustic character and spicy wines of Alsace.
Both barges feature open decks that evoke a sense of being a floating garden, with handmade furniture and a swimming pool surrounded by potted plants. The en-suite cabins offer an intimate experience with personal service.
Belmond Pivoine will cruise between Meaux and Châlons-en-Champagne along the River Marne and Canal Lateral de Marne. The slow, relaxing ride will take passengers past undulating hills filled with vines and serene canal-side villages. Passengers will get the chance to visit the historical city of Reims and Château Vaux-Le-Vicomte, famous for its beautifully manicured gardens and grounds.
Belmond Lilas will take passengers down the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, right through the heart of the Alsace region. The Lilas will be surrounded by forests abundant with pine trees and ruins of castles on isolated hilltops between Lutzelbourg and Saverne. Passengers will then arrive at Strasbourg, where they will get to taste the best of Alsatian gastronomy.
For more information on the unique travel experiences provided by Belmond, visit www.belmond.com/afloat-in-france/tour-champagne-andalsace.
(Photos courtesy of Belmond)