French Friday – Péniche Houseboats

It is nearly two months until my next trip to France and I am already catching myself with that far off stare. I have also been thinking about boats and living on boats. Living on a boat in France, particularly Paris would be amazing.

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It is not an impossible notion. There are people who do it. These houseboats, called péniches are found along the Seine. In terms of purchasing one, they are hard to find, as obviously the real estate is quite limited. There are péniches that have been converted to hotels and apartments for rent. This is a great option to test out if you even like to live in that lifestyle.

These types of little boat neighborhoods exist in other places as well – London, Amsterdam, Seattle – but as you have heard from me ad nauseam, Paris has my heart!

I have been gathering images and articles on these beautiful homes for a while now and thought I would share some with you.

Here is a Paris houseboat photo series from the Living Agency in France. Seriously I drool looking at these. Here is a tease:

Paris-house-boat
Spotted on Elements of Style last March (I told you I have been collecting these awhile!), here is an adorable place in London owned by author Josie Curran. Check out all the photos here. But here is one I’ll share:

london-style-curran
And of course, you can take your boat on the road…so to speak, and rent a péniche to do one of many canal tours throughout France. It is a trip that Mr. Misadventures and I are very keen on doing. Chez Loulou did a fabulous photo essay a while back on one of the most famous places to do this activity, the Canal du Midi. France Today also did an amazing write-up on doing one of these trips with a gourmet chef, who wouldn’t want that?!

canal-du-midi-france-today
On your next visit to Paris why stay in a hotel when you can rent a péniche apartment? It is a great way to see a different angle of the city and would make a lovely picnic spot that you would not have to fight for!

Paris-Peniche-Apt
If the idea of renting an apartment doesn’t interest you, there are definitely péniche hotel options as well, all it takes is a simple Google search to produce a huge list!

And everyone profits from these boats in Paris, even the homeless. There is a very special houseboat located in Paris that takes in homeless people with animals. From time to time I get to watch one of the oldest running programs on French TV, 30 Millions d’Amis, a show about animals. They did an episode about this very special place. It is called Le Fleuron and every night they take in homeless persons who cannot (and why should they?) bear to be without their pets.

fleuron-8743-09
Lastly, I have these random images that I have been collecting, I wish I had done a better job of noting where they came from, sorry!

Peniche

Peniche Interior

Peniche Interior

It is a very special way of living, one that I find to be intriguing!

How about you? Have you ever stayed on one of these boats?

À bientôt!

26 Comments

  1. Walker
    March 4, 2011

    I love the idea of staying on a boat and navigating along the waters of Europe. Will put that in my wish list…along with finding someone with the means to make it happen!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Walker, I like your thinking!

      Reply
  2. Chez Loulou
    March 4, 2011

    I always thought it would be so cool to live on a péniche in Paris!
    I’ve stayed overnight on one in Gascony and had friends who lived on a péniche on the Canal du Midi where we spent many a lively evening before they moved on to dry land last summer.
    A week (or even one night) on a canal barge is a great way to experience France!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Loulou, it is a trip that I want to do in the very near future!

      Reply
  3. Peter Fisher
    March 4, 2011

    We went last year on the Canal du Midi, your blog really made us relive the whole experience – what a great time! We sailed in a luxury hotel barge with http://www.gobarging.com and loved every second. The food was completely divine and don’t even get me started on the wine! We are booked on the Anjodi next year and are counting the days.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Peter, oh thank you for the info! I must go check those out!

      Reply
  4. Lindsey
    March 4, 2011

    oh boy, I shouldn’t have looked at this, now I’m fantasizing a move!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Lindsey, at least you would still be “in” Paris!

      Reply
  5. Kasia Dietz
    March 4, 2011

    I love the idea of living on a boat, particularly on the Seine. My Italian loves it even more. I recently visited a friend with just such a house. Great alternative to a hotel!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Kasia, start looking for property, I will come visit you 😉 ~!

      Reply
  6. Okay, I think I just passed out from the overwhelming fabulousness in this post!!! I MUST live in a houseboat on the Seine one day. I must.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @AndiP, amazing right?

      Reply
  7. Ryan
    March 4, 2011

    The closest I’ve been was on a forgettable family vacation inboard a houseboat on the Norfolk Broads in England.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Ryan, doesn’t come close, but nice try 😉

      Reply
  8. Christine
    March 4, 2011

    I stayed on a “hostel houseboat” in Amsterdam and absolutely loved it!!! What a cool way to stay in Paris–I would definitely look into this next time I’m in town. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Christine, I like the idea of a hotel/hostel/rental to check out how it is.

      Reply
  9. Danee Gilmartin
    March 4, 2011

    These boathouses are so much more stylish then I thought they would be! I used to walk by them everyday when I lived in Paris and always wanted to see inside them! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 4, 2011

      @Danee, beautiful right?

      Reply
  10. Genie - Paris and Beyond
    March 5, 2011

    Hummmm, I am going to have to add this to my Paris bucket list, Andi! I wish we were going to be there at the same time. I will be there in April, a month in which I have never visited.

    I would love to take on of the river boats (canal boats?) for about a week and bicycle through the small towns along the way.

    Bisous,
    Genie

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 5, 2011

      @Genie, April is a wonderful month, my favorite after October, you will really enjoy it!

      Reply
  11. Sweet Freak
    March 6, 2011

    Oh la la – a whole new way to experience Paris. A whole other adventure to consider!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 6, 2011

      @SweetFreak, amazing, just when you thought you knew all the ways to experience a town!

      Reply
  12. Kirsten
    March 7, 2011

    I would ABSOLUTELY stay on, or live on a houseboat. Since I’m here in Paris now … It makes me want to walk down to the Seine and beg an owner of one to let me live with them this week!!!! Oui! A beautiful thing, a houseboat!!!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 7, 2011

      @Kirsten, if you find a boat owned by a single guy, I don’t think he would say no to a coffee on board his place 😉

      Reply
  13. Lady Jennie
    March 8, 2011

    My husband’s parents had friends that were able to dock their péniche at Ile de la Cité. I don’t think you’re allowed to do that now though. They saw the fireworks from there on New Year’s Eve.

    Reply
    1. Andi
      March 8, 2011

      @Jennie, that would be a spectacular way to see fireworks!

      Reply

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