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Century celebrations for European Waterways’ L’Art de Vivre

February 21, 2017 River Cruising No Comments Email Email

European Waterways is celebrating the 100th birthday of its popular hotel barge L’Art de Vivre. During 2017, European Waterways is offering 10% off selected cruises on board the luxury 8-passenger vessel, which cruises the Burgundy region of France.

Life started for L’Art de Vivre in 1917 carrying munitions to the Allied troops on the Western Front during World War One. After many ‘career’ changes, she is now a hotel barge that embodies the Burgundian ‘good life’, with en suite cabins, an elegant saloon where guests enjoy fine wines and gourmet meals, a spacious sundeck with a spa pool, and bicycles to explore the ever-present towpath and surrounding countryside.

“Many of our hotel barges have enjoyed colourful lives like L’Art de Vivre. It’s all part of the immersive experience we offer our guests, who soak up the historical, cultural and culinary lore of the region as they cruise gently and in comfort,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “At 100 years of age, L’Art de Vivre may be our ‘Grand Dame,’ but she’s as spry as ever! Like all vessels in our fleet, she has been expertly upgraded and modernised by skilled craftsmen and designers, so that today she offers the ultimate in modern convenience and style.”

A Spirited History

European Waterways’ L’Art de Vivre boasts a fascinating past that includes a series of name changes throughout the years evocative of alcoholic spirits. She was originally christened Marie Brizard after the 18th century creator ofAnisette, the anise-flavoured liqueur. After helping to win the war for the Allies, she began delivering barrels of cognac from Angoulême to Rochefort along France’s River Charente. Name changes over the decades ahead included Cognac, Royal Cognac, Napoleon, Mark Twain, Magellan and Kir Royal.

The barge was purchased in 1975 by Florian Walewski, a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte, before finally joining the European Waterways family in 1999 and being renamed L’Art de Vivre. Today, L’Art de Vivre cruises the scenic Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy and guests are pampered by an attentive crew of four – a captain, master chef, tour guide and hostess.

“You could say the spirit of L’Art de Vivre is in all our hotel barges,” said Banks. “By offering fine wines and spirits, gourmet meals, and chauffeured tours that include private wine tastings, every European Waterways cruise gives our guests the opportunity to enjoy ‘the good life.’ We look forward to toasting her centenary with our guests on board in 2017, perhaps with a glass of Napoleon brandy?”

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