The Belmond Afloat in France fleet, comprising of seven péniche-hotels, came about after three North American couples ventured on a barge trip in 1985, during which, two travellers decided to start up their own péniche company. The first barge, formerly called ‘Mars’ became the first of five to be converted into a luxury barge who began her cruising life in May 1987. Today it is known as Alouette. In 1993 Hirondelle was launched, then in 1994 Fleur de Lys and Napoléon and Amaryllis was launched in 2002. In 2004 Belmond, acquired the Belmond Afloat in France fleet. Lilas and Pivoine, the newest additions to the fleet will start travelling in 2018.