The Saint Louis – Casual Luxury founded on Solid Steel
Our 127 ton cruising hotel barge, the Saint Louis, was originally built in Holland, in 1923, as a bulk cargo carrier, mainly transporting gravel and grain within Holland. She is of a class of boat called a ‘Luxemotor’, recognisable from her size and her elegant, pleasing lines. The key requirements of such vessels when built included reliability, stability and practicality – which is why she made the perfect subject for her luxury cruise barge hotel conversion.
In 1994 she was refurbished from stem to stern and expertly transformed into a floating hotel haven of comfort and style, including the creation of three guest state rooms. This high quality foundation has been maintained and cared-for since then and in 2007 she underwent a complete refresh and restyle programme to keep her facilities thoroughly up-to-date.
Saint Louis’ style might best be described as ‘casual luxury’ – this is the style of the interior fittings and furnishings; and the outside lounge deck and its furniture. This concept encapsulates the ethos of the hotel barge, her skipper and crew; and the way in which cruises along the delightful waterways of south-west France aboard Saint Louis are lived.
On the sun deck, there are cushioned solid teak chairs and sun-loungers to provide the perfect elevated canal-side view of the villages and the countryside, the locks and the bridges, as we cruise slowly past. Relax, chat, read a book – or do absolutely nothing except day-dream to the sound of bird-song. Or enjoy an alfresco meal of fresh local ingredients, with a glass of superb local wine.
Below, ‘up forward’ (at the front of the ship) are the guest cabins. In the centre of the boat is a generously sized saloon, dining area and bar. Aft (towards the back of the ship) lies the well-equipped kitchen, then the wheelhouse and finally the crew’s quarters.
Saint Louis (King Louis IX) – Who Was He?
If you spend any time at all in France you will encounter many examples of buildings, places – and even luxury hotel barges – named after Saint Louis. There are also other examples throughout the world, including St Louis, Missouri, in the United States.
|Louis IX, commonly called Saint Louis, was King of France 750 years ago. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was a member of the House of Capet, the son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. He established the Parliament of Paris.|
Louis ruled during the so-called “golden century of Saint Louis”, when the kingdom of France was at its height in Europe, both politically and economically. Among the kings and rulers of the continent, Louis, the King of France, was considered the most influential. He commanded the largest army, and ruled the largest and most wealthy kingdom of Europe, a kingdom which was the European centre of arts and intellectual thought at the time. The prestige and respect felt in Europe for King Louis IX was due more to the attraction that his benevolent personality created rather than to military domination.
For his contemporaries, he was the quintessential example of the Christian prince and he initiated and led two Crusades. His reputation was already well established while he was alive (on many occasions he was chosen as an arbiter in the quarrels between opposing the rulers of Europe) and in 1297 he was canonised into sainthood.