6 new barge vacations for 2016

Excited doesn’t really express our delight at having more than a handful of new hotel barges on our site. We’re always looking to expand our collection, so we hope you like these additions!

After a summer of cruising, we had a busy autumn meeting friends old and new – the owner-operators of our hotel barges. So without further ado, let us introduce you to the newest members of our hotel barge collection.

Saraphina

https://www.french-waterways.com/boats/saraphina/

Stunning, modern interior of hotel barge Saraphina

Hotel barge Saraphina is a traditional 1920s Dutch barge beautifully converted to be your cruising base for a three or six night tour of the Canal du Midi.

From Portiragnes to Carcassonne you’ll experience a brimful itinerary including visits to an olive oil factory, a Cistercian abbey, medieval towns, lunches ashore in restaurants chosen for their fabulous cuisine. Not forgetting plentiful flat towpaths for cycling on the Dutch bicycles provided.

The barge’s two cabins are positioned at opposite ends of the vessel. And the spacious, central saloon and dining space looks on to an open kitchen. Watch and learn while you devour homemade fine dining.

Finnegan and Emily are your experienced hosts on board Saraphina focused on your relaxation and enjoyment along this winding stretch of the Canal du Midi on your whole charter cruise.

 

Saroche

https://www.french-waterways.com/boats/saroche/

Hotel barge Saroche sun deck and hot tub
Hotel barge Saroche is new to us and new to its owners too. Jason and Dawn spent years welcoming guests aboard Who Knows. Now, at the helm of this classic Dutch Luxemotor barge they bring a choice of Champagne and Burgundy cruises to small guest groups of 4 to 6 people.

Their Champagne cruise is available during the early half of the season. Naturally, it leans heavily towards the wine industry of the region in its itinerary from the view of the famous Epernay vineyards to the wine tasting. On land, you’ll benefit from a private tour of Billecart Salmon Champagne house and visit Conde en Brie chateau. There’ll also be time for wandering and shopping in historic Reims.

Join them later in the season for their Burgundy cruise through the Ouche Valley. Savour, what is for some, the pinnacle of French white wine production in the village of the same name: Puligny Montrachet. Wind your way through 12 taste variations on this theme. For a slice of history and an alternative foodie take away, enjoy a day in Dijon and discover mustard recipes and combinations that’ll throw a whole new light on your use of this condiment.

Typically a charter-only barge, cabin bookings are considered upon requests for certain weeks of the year – so do enquire if you are travelling alone or as a couple.

 

Caroline

https://www.french-waterways.com/boats/caroline/

Hotel barge Caroline deck for al fresco dining and sunbathing

Hotel barge Caroline is probably the most family friendly barging experience. If you’re travelling with children, this is the one for you.

Caroline is also unique for the ¾ board that it offers – three of your evening meals are taken in local restaurants of your choice and exclusive of the barge fees. So you get chance to live life as a local while you’re travelling too.

You’ll be warmly and expertly hosted by Ute and Uli on this Canal du Midi cruise from Beziers to Carcassonne. To settle you in, there’ll be a Champagne reception then a gourmet four course dinner once you arrive at your evening’s mooring.

Day trips include excursions to Olonzac, where you can become consumed by its vibrant farmers’ market before devouring some of its produce over a locally sourced lunch. On other days you’ll have the opportunity to explore the Roman coastal city of Narbonne and the historic fortified city of Carcassonne.

Like Saroche, this is mainly a charter-only barge, but by-cabin bookings are considered depending on the time of year.

 

Mirage

https://www.french-waterways.com/boats/mirage/

Double cabin on hotel barge Mirage

Hotel barge Mirage brings boutique living to the waterways of France. In years past, Mirage was a B&B barge. Now newly renovated for 2016, it offers full board cruising for six guests and hosts Pascal and Mimi welcome you aboard.

Let us set the scene: the spacious saloon has a tasteful aviation theme, the dining table was once at home on Atlantic ocean liner, Olympia. There’s even a piano and bass guitar on board – play your way along the Canal du Midi if you can.

Mirage might also pique your interest because it offers both three and six night cruises. The latter is available as whole charter or per cabin. Over six nights, cruise from Carcassonne to Castelnaudary savouring sights, sounds and gourmet food and wine. If time is tight, the three night cruise winds from Carcassonne to Bram. And if you want to add in something extra special, a vintage bi-plane flight over the region can be arranged too.

 

Hemingway

https://www.french-waterways.com/boats/hemingway/

Hotel barge Hemingway

Hotel barge Hemingway cruises the Canal du Bourgogne and the Canal du Centre offering a choice of itineraries. So where to start?

Cruise from Dijon to Chagny along the Canal du Bourgogne via a Meursault vineyard tour and tasting, a visit to Beaune and to ancient Nolay.

Alternatively, cruise from Fleury to Vandenesse on the River Saone and Canal du Centre via a Patriarche tour and tasting, a visit to Dijon and Chateauneuf-en-Auxois.

You can opt to add in a hot air balloon ride on either cruise too.

Freshly refurbished in the style of a luxury yacht, you’ll be more than comfortable aboard this three cabin barge. Come aboard on a per cabin or whole charter basis. All three cabins provide king size beds with Egyptian cotton linen of some of the highest quality.

Edward and Cindy welcome you aboard with their crew of seven to cater for your every wont. All meals are provided on board and like most hotel barges, there is an open bar for the duration of the cruise.

 

Emma

https://www.french-waterways.com/boats/emma/

Hotel barge Emma

Hotel barge Emma is distinctive on the outside for her arched windows. Inside you’ll find comfort amidst the quality furnishings throughout.

Choose from three one week cruises along the Canal du Midi: Toulouse to Carcassonne, Carcassonne to Beziers, or Beziers to Aigues Mortes, and delve into a superb list of excursions from historic town tours to local farmers’ market mooching and shopping trips.

Your meals will be accompanied by wines from the Languedoc Roussillon region and temperature dependent, you’ll dine either on deck or in the dining room.

Liz and René want your cruise to be memorable personally too, so they’re happy to see how they can tailor your cruise to your interests – just let us know what you’re looking for. Emma is available on a charter-only or per cabin basis, please enquire.

 

And there you have them. Six beautiful hotel barges to ponder over. But which will tempt you to the waterways of France in 2016…?

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