Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

This season we cruised again with families. Already for years we propose a special ‘children’s itinerary’ for groups up to eight on L’Etoile. A big hit, and I really enjoy to do these cruises myself. L’Etoile has a little plunge pool on deck, lot’s of games, and the atmosphere is casual. When I purchased the 20 pax barge L’Estello last year, I hoped it would be possible to cruise with families on this barge too. I imagined three-generation parties, grandparents, their children and grand children meeting on L’Estello, using the barge as their home in France for a week…

L'Estello on the River Rhone

It worked, and I hope you enjoy reading this comment:

‘In a word, it was PERFECTION! Cobie and her team were warm and welcoming from the moment we boarded the barge. The accommodations were excellent and the beds were very comfortable. The food was well prepared, beautifully presented and plentiful. Cobie prepared platters for the children so that each parent could serve their own children, taking into account their likes and dislikes and portion sizes. Adults were served individually.

The sightseeing and biking activities were perfectly tailored, taking into consideration that we had three children between the ages of three and four children ages seven to twelve. Cobie, Nico, her assistant, and Christian, the captain, were always flexible with regard to meal times and sightseeing requests. They even babysat the children for one night when we had an adult dinner at a local restaurant in Arles.

When we left this morning Cobie asked if there was anything that she could have done to make the trip any better. I’m sorry to disappoint her but our trip was 110%! And you can certainly share this email for marketing purposes).

Our family would happily and unconditionally recommend your services and L’Estello with enthusiasm. Good luck with your business and the impending new addition to your family. And a very big “thank you” for arranging this wonderful holiday for us.’


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HB Cruises added a new boat and now has a fleet!

The barge L’Estello can accommodate up to 20 passengers in 10 comfortable cabins. Cruising in year 2010 will be mainly in the South of France, the beautiful region of Provence.

This is the perfect boat for family reunions, three-generation parties, meeting up with all your friends, or business meetings!

If you go to http://www.hbcruises.com, you can read all about this new boat, and if you have more questions, feel free to e-mail me on hotelbarges@orange.fr

We look forward to cruising with you on this new boat!

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Happy Holidays!

Bottle Tree

Bottle Tree

HB Cruises of France would like to wish our friends, our guests and our agents, avery happy holiday season and a successful New Year!

We are looking forward to the 2009 season!


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Happy New Year

Back in France!
Lots of things to tell you!

First of all we wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We started the New Year with a New Look, and a New Web Address – http://www.hbcruises.com/

The New Year with friends on the barge, it was warm and cozy. Often, during the cruising season, people ask me if the open fire really works, so hard to imagine while cruising during the summer. The answer is yes, and it gives a wonderful atmosphere!

Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois

Slowly ‘La France’ started up again on January 2. And already we celebrate another tradition.

In lot of French homes, a ‘galette des rois’ is baked. It is still a very popular tradition and an opportunity for family and friends to gather around the table. The cake contains a lucky charm ‘la fève’ and comes with a golden paper crown.

The cake is served, and the person who finds the ‘fève’ becomes the king and is given the crown. The round form and golden colour reminds of the sun, the days are getting longer!

The ‘fèves’ were beans in the past. But as the tradition was, that the person who found the ‘fève’ had to buy a round of drinks for all the people joining the party, the potential King or Queen often swallowed the bean!
The lucky charm started being made of china and became often a collectionable item.

For those who are not that courageous in the kitchen, the galette des rois is sold in all French bakeries, all over France.

Here I found a recipe on the net: http://www.info-france-usa.org/atoz/galette.asp


January 6, The Feast of Epiphany or Little Christmas, is a holy festival honoring the wise men coming to the infant Jesus. This is one of the most popular eating traditions in France that takes place in January every year. A “fève” – a small china figurine – is hidden in the galette before baking. The lucky guest who gets the fève is crowned king and chooses his queen among the other guests. This takes place all over France in every family, between friends and work colleagues. The children absolutely love the game.

Recipe: Galette des Rois

(Serves eight)


1 1/4 lb frozen puff pastry
2 eggs
7 oz almond paste

Leave the puff pastry at room temperature for about 2 hours until defrosted but still cold. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet or pizza pan with baking parchment or grease the pan and lightly sift flour on it. Shake off any excess flour. Roll each sheet of pastry into a circle about 12 inches across.Place one circle on the prepared pan.Mix the egg with the almond paste until smooth and spread the mixture evenly on the prepared circle of pastry, leaving a border 1 1/2 inches wide all around. If you have a small china, insert it into the almond mixture (you may also use a bean as the fève.)  The person who gets the fève is the King or Queen. Place the second circle of pastry on top and press it down tightly around the rim. Beat lightly the remaining egg and brush it on the top of the cake. With a long-bladed knife, press lightly but firmly through the egg glaze marking a crisscross pattern. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and puffed. Do not check for doneness for at least 15 minutes, as the pastry may collapse. Serve slightly warm or cold.

Bon Appétit et a Bientôt!


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