Sumptuous and exotic Canal du Midi cruising
Alegria is a very striking, much photographed hotel barge – unique along the Canal du Midi with her large round port-hole style picture windows – with a style of her own, both inside and out. Modern, with ethnic flavours, she is exceptionally spacious, providing relaxed and luxurious charter cruises for just two couples.
Alegria regularly cruises between Poilhes and Puicheric on the Canal du Midi, a fascinating section, but can cruise a route further east, or west, by request. Unusually, her cruises start on a Saturday and finish on a Friday.
Style: The 'nature' of the hotel barge. Outline subjective guidance as to the quality or comfort level that might be expected on board.
Price Band: Per person. Outline guidance only, on a relative or comparative basis. The bands do not represent accurate low or high season rates.
Hotel Barge Alegria :: Key Features
- Excellence class (4*)
- Canal du Midi, southern France
- Charter bookings only, 6 nights, 7 days, April to October
- 4 guests / 2 double or twin cabins each with ensuite bathroom and individual entrance to the deck
- Individual control conditioning and heating throughout
- Full board or half board dining
- Sun deck with heated pool
- 4 adult-size bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Alegria Cruise Highlights
- Discover the authentic medieval City of Carcassonne
- See the famous Fonsérannes 7 lock staircase
- Explore the ancient, and modern, city of Narbonne
- Visit the Oppidum d’Enserune, a pre-Roman hilltop settlement
- Browse the busy market stalls of Olonzac
- Immerse yourself in Cathar history at the hilltop stronghold of Minerve
- Delicious wine-tastings and vineyard visits in the Languedoc region
- Walk and cycle the Canal du Midi towpath
Hotel Barge Alegria is owned and run by Olivier Baudry, a charming captain and host, with a huge amount of experience and many happy customers and successful seasons aboard Alegria.
6 nights accommodation; transfers to and from the designated meeting point, all meals and drinks on board (but see Cuisine below), excursion fees and associated transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (suggested 5-10% of the fee)
Hotel Barge Alegria cruise
Poilhes to Puicheric, Canal du Midi, southern France
Day 1 Saturday: Poilhes
Pick up from airport or railway station at 16:00 for transfer to Alegria for a welcome Champagne drink and early evening cruise. Take a stroll through the village before dinner on board.
Day 2 Sunday: Poilhes to La Croisade
Guided tour of Beziers, its famous stair case of locks at Fonséranne, the archeological (6th century BC) site of the Oppidum of Ensérune, and the Malpas Tunnel, the first canal tunnel built in the world. After lunch, cruise to La Croisade and pass beneath the lowest bridge on the canal at Capestang. Dinner on board.
Day 3 Monday: La Croisade to Le Somail
Cruise to Le Somail, one of the most charming villages along the Canal a unique book shop that has over 50,000 second-hand books, in many languages. In the afternoon relax aboard, explore the village, cycle, or visit a vineyard or a nearby olive mill. Dinner in a superb local restaurant to enjoy the authentic French atmosphere.
Day 4 Tuesday: Le Somail to Roubia
Visit one of the best markets in the region at Olonzac, then a guided tour of Minerve, a previously fortified cliff-top village and Cathar stronghold. Learn its history and about the bloody Crusade of the Albigeois in the 13th Century. After lunch, cruise to the typical Minervois village of Roubia for the overnight mooring. Dinner on board.
Day 5 Wednesday: Roubia to Homps
An excursion to Narbonne, full of Roman history, to browse the monuments including the elegant Palace of the Archbishop. Lunch in a typical restaurant with fresh fish specialities. Then, back to the barge for the afternoon cruise to the port of Homps, one of the busiest harbours when the Canal was used for commerce.
Day 6 Thursday: Homps to Puicheric
An excursion to Carcassonne, the most well preserved medieval city in Europe. Inside the defensive walls there are narrow streets with souvenir shops and cafes. After lunch, cruise from Homps to Puichéric for the Captain’s Dinner on board.
Day 7 Friday: Departure
After breakfast, transfer to the drop off point for onward journey
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.
3 night cruises can also arranged on request.
Hotel Barge Alegria cruises through Midi-Languedoc, southern France
Barge Cruising – Midi-Languedoc
Canal du Midi – Canal de la Robine
The Canal du Midi has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in acknowledgement of the astonishing feat carried out by its 17th century architect Pierre-Paul Riquet in linking the Etang du Thau in the south east with the River Garonne in Toulouse, effectively making it possible to convey goods from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Riquet’s audacity in engineering can be seen in the flight of nine characteristically oval-shaped locks at Fonserannes, near the ancient city of Beziers which is famous not just for its 13th century cathedral, but for its bullfighting festival too. If ticking off UNESCO sites is your thing, then you get two for one in Carcassonne, where the canal passes close to the ancient citadel that forms one of the most iconic skylines in the whole country.
The 240 km length of this historic waterway is extraordinarily beautiful, meandering between the vineyards of Corbieres to the south and the Minervois to the north and a visit to the wine town of Minerve, which has been designated as one of the most beautiful in France, is a treat. A diversion along the Canal de la Robine leads to Narbonne, which dates back to Roman times when it was a strategic trading centre, and even today its covered market, supplied by local producers, is a kind of foodie heaven.
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Toulouse or Narbonne hotel. French international airports are at Toulouse, Bordeaux – and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also European-flight airports at Carcassonne and Montpellier. TGV express train stations are located at Toulouse, Carcassonne, Narbonne and Montpellier; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Minervois, Minerve, Canal du Midi, Beziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne –
Hotel Barge Alegria: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions:100ft x 16ft (30m x 5m)
- 2 Cabins: 190 and 220 sq ft (18 and 20 sq m) including ensuite bathroom.
Ceiling height 6 ft 6″.
Each contains: King size bed (180 cm wide) or 2 twin beds; mini fridge with complimentary drinks, tea and coffee tray, heated towel rail, hair dryer, 2 bath robes
- Individually controlled air conditioning and central heating
- Professional English-speaking crew of 4 – captain, tour guide/deckhand, chef and hostess
Other items on board:
- Sun loungers and parasols
- Heated plunge pool
- DVD and CD player
- Books and games
- Internet access with Hotspot Wifi.
- Barge laptop for guests’ use
Hotel Barge Alegria: Cuisine
Alegria gives priority to organic foods and serves Fair Trade products whenever possible.
All meals on board are freshly prepared and regional cuisine is featured.
Special meals can be arranged: vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or non-allergenic.
Each meal is accompanied by different wines, mainly the excellent vintages from Languedoc and Rousillon (the Minervois, Faugères, St-Chinian and Corbières).
Breakfast is a selection of pastries and breads, cereals, yogurts, fruits, fresh fruit juice, cheeses, cold meats, smoked salmon, eggs cooked to order, and a selection of teas and coffees.
Half-board: breakfast and one meal (lunch or dinner) on board on 3 days (including Monday dinner and Wednesday lunch). Other meals are taken off board at guests expense.
Charter bookings only
Saturday to Friday
Regular rate weeks:
May 4, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16, 23
September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
October 6, 13
4 guest charter: 24,000 USD / 18,600 EUR
3 guest charter: 23,200 USD / 18,000 EUR
2 guest charter: 22,700 USD / 17,600 EUR
Half-board cruises may also be available, allowing 5 meals on shore in local restaurants at guests’ expense. Enquire.
All rates and prices will be confirmed at time of booking. Special Offers are available from time to time – contact us
We feature information about 50 wonderful hotel barges, of various sizes and price/style levels, more than 100 individual cruises to choose from every week of the season, in 8 regions across France. Some book flexibly by the cabin, others exclusively charter the entire hotel barge. Quite a choice!
Every one of our hotel barge information pages has been carefully crafted and written by us, from our own unique first hand-hand experience – but we also understand that there’s nothing like speaking to a friendly expert to help see the wood for the trees and make the best possible decision about the vacation cruise of a lifetime.
So please, send us a Booking Enquiry form (click on the orange tab above) or just pick up the phone and give us a call.
We love France, we love the rivers and canals of France, we love hotel barging – and we love talking about all three!
+33 609 740 064 -or- +44 7590 287 178
We have been cruising and exploring France
aboard our own river boat since 2003.