This week I ventured down to North Quay where I met Tony Elliot-Cannon and Kate his wife aboard the La Peniche, Falmouth’s floating cafe and bistro which is moored alongside the quay.

This was my first visit to La Peniche, tied up just feet away from where my former home once stood. The last vessel moored here of any significant historical interest was the tug St Denys in the 1980s.

La Peniche arrived in Falmouth during March 2019 when it underwent a complete transformation by Tony and Kate, being lovingly restored to a vintage floating restaurant that it is today.

To my knowledge the only other floating cafe in the harbour was during the 1920s when the Alba Floating Tea Room was moored between Pye’s cellars and Flushing. Boatmen would row customers out to the Alba from the Prince of Wales pier.

As they prepare for Christmas with their new festive menu Tony and Kate gave me guided tour. The beautiful interior of La Peniche is fitted out in art deco style for 50 customers. With Christmas almost upon us the restaurant is decked out in tasteful decorations. Depending on the state of the tide each table has a harbour view.

With the UK hospitality industry facing a sink or swim future because of the Coronavirus pandemic many pubs and restaurants are encountering heavy weather.

Tony said: “We had a good summer. Where hospitality is going next year is an unknown factor.”

If you enjoy quality food and fine wine or just want a romantic evening meal soaking up the ambience of the harbourside then according to the reviews online La Peniche is the restaurant to visit.


n The interior set up for Christmas

n The interior set up for Christmas


On the lower deck of the restaurant are the Paris and Charon suites, letting rooms hired through Airbnb, ideal for those seeking a different kind of experience, a combination of vintage charm, nautical quirks and comfort. Both can accommodate two people.

La Peniche has an interesting history. Originally named “Raymond” she was built at the Mourlon family Boatyard at the village of Pierre le Treiche, near Nancy, France. As a commercial barge she would have been able to carry 250 tonnes of cargo.

During World War Two she was requisitioned by the German army and was later found in the port of Genoa, Italy.

Retrieved and restored by her owners she continued to work as a cargo carrying barge until 1984 when she was converted to take passengers and reborn as “Delta”.

Later purchased by Englishman Roger Collins, Delta cruised the River from Chalon-sur-Soane in Burgundy for 15 years, giving joy to many dining on fabulous French food whilst enjoying the peaceful bucolic scenery passing by. Tony and Kate sailed on one of her last voyages before she began her journey to England.

Before leaving Chalon, as Delta had been enlarged, she had to be restored to her original Freycinet gauge (the standard governing the dimensions of certain locks) by cutting away specific deck structures. This was the only way for her to make it through many of the older canals and even then it was a very tight squeeze. In addition, she had to be weighted with 6,400 breeze blocks and 8650kg of concrete blocks to ensure she would get under bridges.

Roger and his Bargee Bruno navigated Delta a total of 726.86km and through 177 locks as they travelled the network of canals across France over the course of many weeks. Then the tug MTS Taktow towed the barge to Falmouth.