Contemporary comfort and style on the Canal du Midi
A top-class hotel barge for up to ten guests, Athos is beautifully designed to combine luxury and cosy richness. With smart, contemporary decor and furnishings, a gorgeous salon and large sundeck, and five double cabins, she is ideal for larger groups and families; all those who like the active, outdoor – but leisurely – lifestyle.
Hotel Barge Athos cruises the fascinating Canal du Midi from Argeliers to Marseillan, a spectacular trip with a great variety of scenery and interest, including the more open waters of the Etang de Thau and its fabulous sea-food.
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 Athos :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Canal du Midi, Languedoc
- Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, March to October
- 10 guests / 5 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Air conditioning and heating
- Full board, on-board dining
- Sun deck with loungers
- 12 touring 21-gear bicyles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Two x 6-seater air-conditioned Chrysler minivans for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Athos: Cruise highlights on the Canal du Midi
- Tour Carcassonne, the most complete medieval fortified city in existence
- Wine tasting at a local château, such as Château Cabezac
- Visit to Pezenas, an architectural gem
- Passage through the remarkable Fonserannes lock at Beziers
- Ecursions to Narbonne; its Archbishop’s Palace and lively covered market
- Cross the 18th century Orb canal bridge
- Excellent towpath for walking and cycling
Transfers to and from Beziers; all meals and drinks on board; excursion fees, tour guide and transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)
Hotel Barge Athos: Classic Cruise on the Canal du Midi
Argeliers to Marseillan
Sunday, Day 1 Argeliers
Guests are met in Beziers and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Athos for a Champagne and Mediterranean canapés welcome. Settle in, then a four-course dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Argeliers to La Croisade
After breakfast, an excursion to the famous medieval city of Carcassonne for a full tour andtime to browse the shops within. Return to the barge for a gourmet lunch (perhaps including the famous duck confit stew, cassoulet) and an afternoon’s cruise to La Croisade. Plenty of opportunity to walk or bicycle along the towpath before dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 La Croisade to Capestang
An excursion to ‘L’Oulibo’, the local olive oil press. After a tasting accompanied by a glass of rosé, take a short drive up the Gorge de la Cesse and into the historic hilltop village of Minerve, a stronghold of the Cathars in the 13 century. Lunch on board and then cruise to Capestang or a wine tasting at a local château, such as Château Cabezac. Return to the hotel barge for dinner on board beneath the floodlit Collegiale St. Etienne.
Wednesday, Day 4 Capestang to Fonserannes
A visit to Narbonne to discover the weekly market; an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia; the Roman Museum; St. Juste Cathedral; and pavement cafe lift. After lunch in one of the restaurants close to the market, return to Athos and cruise to Fonserannes to moor for the night. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 Fonserannes to Portiragnes
A drive to the old market town of Pezenas, the first seat of the Languedoc court, famed for its architecture and artisans’ shops – painters, hat makers and costume designers. After lunch cruise through the 17th century staircase of locks at Fonserannes and then the 18th century aqueduct over the River Orb. The paved towpath and the many locks leading to the next mooring, make it an ideal afternoon for walking or bicycling alongside the barge. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Portiragnes to Marseillan
An early start to cruise through the ‘Petit Camargue’. Bird watchers should look out for pink Flamingo, African Roller and Bee Eaters. After crossing the remarkable round lock at Agde, enjoy a spectacular sea-food lunch as you enter the open-waters of the Etang de Thau, Europe’s largest producer of mussels and oysters. As the mooring at Marseillan, fascinating tour of the Noilly Prat distillery and a tasting before the Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Marseillan
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Beziers.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction.
Hotel Barge Athos 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 Athos: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 98.32ft x 16.56ft (29.97m x 5.05m)
4 staterooms measure 93ft² (8.64m²)
Narcissou Fontfroide, at the bow, measures 102ft² (9.5m²). Please note: it is possible to replace the beds with 2 x bunk beds, thus accommodating up to 4 children within a charter booking for 12.
The ceiling height in all cabins is 6ft 6” (2m)
All cabins can be double or twin bedded. Sizes: single beds, 6ft 4” x 2ft 7” (1.9m x 80cm). Double bed, 6ft 4” x 5ft 2” (1.9m x 1.6m)
All cabins have en-suite bathrooms with a full-sized wash basin, WC and a shower cubicle with base tray measuring 80cm². They are fully tiled in Provencal blue & white tiles and supplied with towels, hairdryer, shampoo, shower gel, moisturiser, soap and conditioner.
- Professional English-speaking crew of 5 – captain, tour guide/deckhand, chef and 2 hostesses
Other items on board:
- 10 bicycles
- A small library of books and maps
- A collection of board games
- Binoculars for watching the bird life
- Open bar area with fridge
Hotel Barge Athos: Cuisine
All meals on board are freshly prepared and most meals are a set menu featuring regional cuisine. Special meals can be arranged: vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or non-allergenic. Notification is required at least 8 weeks prior to departure.
Breakfast: wholesome and balanced variety of breakfast foods, along with fresh breads and pastries, freshly-squeezed orange juice and hot beverages.
Lunch: usually a selection of colourful salads, pates and cold meats accompanied by hot soup or entrée, delectable desserts and a different selection of regional cheeses and quality wines selected by the chef.
Dinner: a candlelit four-course gastronomic experience followed by a selection of regional cheeses and desert. Coffee and liqueurs are served in the salon.
Captain’s farewell dinner is held on the last night. Guests may choose to dress slightly formal.
Drinks: Included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk. A well-stocked bar is open 24 hours, which includes wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks. All wines are provided with meals including a Champagne welcome on arrival.
Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some Champagnes (with the exception of the Captain’s reception) and special vintage wines.
Magret de canard with an orange and ginger reduction, creamy celeriac puree and julienned vegetables of carrots, leeks and florets of broccoli
Domaine Pierre Cros Les Costes AOC Minervois, Les Costières de Pomerols AOC Coteaux de Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, Château Mire l’Etang AOC La Clape Rosé
Pélardon; Roquefort Papillon; Cathare au Chèvre; Tomme au Piment d’ Espelette
Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
April 1, 8, 15, 22
October 7, 14, 21
6 guest charter: 36,800 USD / 26,000 GBP / 32,000 EUR
8 guest charter: 39,400 USD / 28,000 GBP / 34,300 EUR
10 guest charter: 42,000 USD / 30,000 GBP / 36,600 EUR
Per Cabin bookings
Stateroom Double Cabin: 4,550 USD / 3,230 GBP / 3,860 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,500 USD / 1,090 GBP / 1,290 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
6 guest charter: 41,500 USD / 29.300 GBP / 35,800 EUR
8 guest charter: 44,500 USD / 33,400 GBP / 38,500 EUR
10 guest charter: 47,500 USD / 35,800 GBP / 41,200 EUR
Per Cabin bookings
Stateroom Double Cabin: 4,990 USD / 3,800 GBP / 4,380 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,700 USD / 1,200 GBP / 1,490 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!
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+33 609 740 064 -or- +44 7590 287 178
We have been cruising and exploring France
aboard our own river boat since 2003.
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