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.
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
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
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)
“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
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
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 Belmond Alouette: Details and Facilities
- 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
- All windows open
- 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
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.
Charter bookings only
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
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:
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
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.