Luxury Hotel Barge: Alouette

Intimate, relaxed luxury on the Canal du Midi, southern France

Just four privileged passengers can charter this luxurious Belmond barge to progress regally along the reknowned 17th century Canal du Midi. The beautiful, sleek Alouette is perfectly appointed for a relaxing and exclusive cruise along this world treasure; the area is steeped in history and you’ll be delighted with its beauty and fascinated by its history.

Alouette has a light and airy ambience, being very spacious and perfectly decorated in the French country-style. With large picture windows in the salon and a sun-deck with loungers on top she provides spectacular views of the passing scenery – one of the most exclusive ways to soak up the sun and scenery of this world-heritage canal.

At a Glance

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 Belmond Alouette :: Key Features

  • Grand Luxe class (5*)
  • Part of the Belmond luxury fleet
  • Beziers to Carcassonne, Canal du Midi, southern France
  • Charter bookings only, 6 nights, 7 days, April to October
  • 4 guests / 2 double or twin cabins with en-suite bathrooms
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating throughout
  • Full board, on-board dining with personal chef
  • Sun deck with loungers
  • Wifi (limited in some places)
  • First class high-speed rail tickets from Paris included
  • Air-conditioned executive minibus for transfers and excursions

Hotel Barge Belmond Alouette: Cruise Highlights

  • Excursion to the medieval fortress of Carcassonne
  • Visit to the pre-Roman city of Narbonne
  • Delicious wine-tastings at Languedoc vineyards
  • Explore Beziers and discover its Cathar history
  • Superb cuisine from your personal chef
  • Delight in the canalside village charm of Homps
  • Stroll and cycle along the towpath and explore the villages

What’s included:
6 nights accommodation, first-class rail tickets from Paris, pick-up and transfer to the barge, all meals and drinks on board, all excursion fees and associated transport

Not included:
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)

Guest Comment:

“It was all absolutely perfect…..the Belmond staff were all extremely efficient, polite and kind. Nothing was too much trouble and they absolutely got what everyone liked to eat and drink just right. All in all a very successful holiday! We will definitley do it again.”
The Champion party
May 2016, UK

Hotel Barge Belmond Alouette Cruise: Canal du Midi, southern France

Carcassonne to Beziers
hotel barge canal du midi alouette
Day 1 Sunday – First Class fast train from Paris to Belmond Alouette Barge
Arrive to a Champagne reception aboard the barge in Carcassonne and meet the crew. Settle in before dinner on board.

Day 2 Monday – Carcassonne to Trebes
Excusion to the medieval fortress of Carcassonne. Explore the fortifications, the Cathedral and the lively restaurants and shops within the walls, with views from the towards the Pyrenées and over the surrounding countryside. Lunch on board and then a glorious afternoon cruise to Trebes for the night.

Day 3 Tuesday – Trebes to Homps
Cruise towards Homps, with a chance to walk or cycle along the tow path or relax on deck. After lunch, a visit to the important hilltop village of Minerve. Strategically situated and once a Cathar stronghold it was besieged and captured by Simon de Montfort. Then, a delicious wine-tasting at Peyriac-Minervois before returning to the barge for dinner on board.

Day 4 Wednesday – Homps to Le Somail
A trip to Narbonne to explore its covered market – and perhaps help chef to choose ingredients for tonight’s dinner. Walk around town to see its ancient buildings and architecture, and enjoy lunch at an excellent local bistro beside the market. Return to the barge for an afternoon cruise to Le Somail.

Day 5 Thursday – Le Somail to Capestang
A tour of the Abbaye de Fontfroide, a Cistercian monastery founded in the 11th century. Now privately owned, the abbey has been restored and has a delightful garden and cloister. Then a stop at the vineyard of Château Auris for a wine tasting before returning to the barge for lunch. Cruise on to Capestang and its famous, very low, bridge.

Day 6 Friday – Capestang to Béziers
A morning cruise to Béziers and after lunch on board, a visit to Oppidum d’Ensérune, a pre-Roman hilltop settlement and one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. The pond of Montady was drained in 1247 and transformed into a unique spoked pattern  of cultivation. Back on board for the Captain’s Farewell dinner.

Day 7 Saturday – Depart
After breakfast, disembark for return First Class high-speed TGV to Paris.

This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.

Hotel barge Belmond Alouette cruises through Midi-Languedoc, southern France

Barge Cruising – Midi-Languedoc

map midi languedoc► Hotel Barges cruising in this locality

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.

Getting There
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 –

minervois2-500x300  midi-sunflowers-500x300  minerve2-500x300

midi-lock-500x300  midi-somail2-500x300  midi-canal-500x300

beziers3-500x300  narbonne-500x300  carcassonne-musicians-500x300

Minerve ©Ian Cameron | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Hotel Barge Belmond Alouette: Details and Facilities

Hotel Barge Belmond Alouette (Orient Express) Canal du Midi

  • Dimensions: 100ft (30.48m) x 15.58ft (4.75m)
  • The suites measure 204 sq ft and 269 sq ft including the bathrooms
    Each cabin has a queen size double or twin beds
  • Bathrooms have large walk in showers, hand basin and WC, toiletries, hairdryer, bathrobe for each guest and heated towel rack
  • Both cabins have:
    Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
    Phone intercom system
  • Expert and professional English-speaking crew of 4

Other items on board:

  • 4 bicycles
  • Small library of books and games
  • Computer for guest use and Wifi (may be limited in some areas)
  • Lounge and dining area with stereo system
    DVD player and DVDs
    HiFi system and CDs
    Bose iPod docking station

Hotel Barge Belmond Alouette: Cuisine

belmond-cuisine1-600x400 belmond-cuisine1-600x400 belmond-cuisine1-600x400
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Great care and expertise is taken in planning the menus aboard Alouette.
All meals on board are freshly prepared by Cordon Bleu trained chef with fresh ingredients using local suppliers. They are served either in the dining room or up on deck, accompanied by carefully matched wines from the region. Vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan and non-allergenic dishes can be arranged given at least 8 weeks notice prior to departure.

^ click to enlarge images and open gallery ^

Hotel Barge Alouette – 2018 Rates

Charter bookings only
Sunday to Saturday

Value rate weeks:

March 25
April 1, 8, 15, 22
October 7, 14, 21

2 guest charter: 18,920 EUR
3 guest charter: 20,811 EUR
4 guest charter: 22,704 EUR

Regular rate weeks:

April 29
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

2 guest charter: 23,650 EUR
3 guest charter: 26,013 EUR
4 guest charter: 28,380 EUR

All rates and prices will be confirmed at time of booking. Special Offers are available from time to time – contact us

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