A totally charming, gourmet cruise on the Canal du Midi
Hotel barge Caroline is a delightful family-friendly barge for a group of 6 guests, with children especially welcome. With homely interiors she offers a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, gourmet food and wine and a delightful cruise through the idyllic French countryside along this famous route.
Unusually, Caroline offers 3/4 board with three of your evening meals taken in local restaurants – not included in the cruise price – which gives guests the opportunity to experience that local dining atmosphere.
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 Caroline :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Canal du Midi, southern France
- Charter and occasional cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, March to October
- 2 – 6 guests / 3 charming cabins and 3 bathrooms
- Three-quarter board
- Sun deck with shaded dining area and loungers
- 6 bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Caroline: Cruise Highlights
- A delightful cruise along the famous and fascinating Canal du Midi
- Explore Narbonne, its Roman ruins and modern-day lively markets
- Visit historic Roman and Cathar towns and villages
- Explore a village farmers’ market for local cheeses and super-fresh vegetables
- Three enchanting dinners in selected local restaurants
- Excursion tour of the stunning medieval walled city of Carcassonne, the fairy-tale castle of Hollywood fame
” . . Time spent on their Hotel Barge Peniche Caroline are some of the most memorable that my wife and I have ever spent while travelling. Uli is a master captain and an incredible tour guide through the south of France, while Ute is a five star Michelin chef. A week on the Peniche Caroline is a bucket list experience that should be enjoyed at least once in a lifetime. . . “
Transfers to and from the pick up point; all meals and drinks on board; excursion guide, fees and transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5 – 10% suggested)
“Do we really have to leave today?…..What else can I say that hasn’t been said already…..Ute, you must realise by now you could compete with Michelin Star Chefs – thank you for your work in the kitchen, we have enjoyed every morsel. Uli – thanks for the rest, captain, host, tour guide. It has been a pleasure to meet you both and hope we can keep in touch over the years and see you again.”
John and Elizabeth (Australia)
” . . Caroline, however, is a much smaller and more intimate boat. Uli and Ute are the owners. They live aboard year-round and do everything themselves with no employees, which allows them to charge considerably less. He pilots the barge, is waiter at mealtimes, and serves as driver and highly knowledgeable guide during side trips in their minivan. She is the five-star chef, with 250 cookbooks in her collection, as well as the chambermaid and the deckhand while docking or going through locks. From the first moments, we feel ourselves to be guests in a lovingly decorated home. . . “
Tom Koppel – The Enquirer – March 2016
Hotel Barge Caroline cruises on the Canal du Midi, southern France
Beziers to Carcassonne:
Day 1 – Sunday Arrival
Meet the captain in Beziers at 16:00 at the pre-arranged meeting place and drive by air conditioned minivan the short distance to Caroline moored nearby. A Champagne reception welcomes you whilst cruising westwards to your evening mooring, and there you’ll have a gourmet four-course dinner on board.
Day 2 – Monday
After a full continental breakfast you might like to visit the fascinating pre-Roman site of the Oppidum d’Enserunes, a unique spectacle in the south of France. Passing through the tiny bridge at Capestang you’ll cruise through stunning scenery and take a relaxing lunch on deck. During the afternoon you might like to stroll or cycle along the tow-path, as the barge cruises slowly beside you.
Day 3 – Tuesday
Excursion by minibus to Olonzac and its farmers’ market. Discover local cheeses, choose fresh vegetables, meats or seafood for lunch; your chef, Ute, will be delighted to demonstrate how she cooks some of the local dishes. The afternoon’s cruise will take you through the vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon and dinner will be in a wonderful local restaurant at Le Somail.
Day 4 – Wednesday
Excursion to the historic hilltop village of Minerve, one of the Cathar strongholds and after a lovely cruise in the afternoon a visit to the Chateau Ventenac for a delicious wine-tasting – the famous AOC Minervois. Dinner on board.
Day 5 – Thursday
Today’s excursion is to Narbonne, a Roman coastal city and also a delightfully modern town, for sightseeing, shopping and lunch. Cruise for the afternoon through the unique oval locks of the Canal du Midi. Moor for the night at the delightful canal-side village of Homps, and dine in one of the local restaurants.
Day 6 – Friday
Excursion tour of the stunning medieval walled city of Carcassonne, the fairy-tale castle of Hollywood fame. Cruise from Homps into the countryside and moor overnight for a farewell feast on board.
Day 7 – Saturday
Your cruise ends after breakfast. Depart by minibus for your onward journey at around 10:00.
This itinerary is subject to change and the cruise runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Hotel barge Caroline cruises 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 Caroline: Details and Facilities
- One double cabin (132 sq ft) with ensuite bathroom
Two fixed-twin cabins (88 and 98 sq ft) with separate bathrooms across the corridor
- All bathrooms have basin, toilet, full size shower, toiletries and bathrobes
- Air conditioning and heating throughout
- Fully stocked bar
- Professional crew of 2 that speak English, Español, Deutsch en Nederlands. (There is also Bosun, a small, well-behaved and much-loved dog).
Other items on board:
- Well stocked library
- A selection of DVDs and CDs
- Ipod station
- WIFI (limited availability in some areas)
- Loungers, shaded area with dining table and chairson deck
- Air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and excursions
- 6 bicycles
Hotel Barge Caroline: Cuisine
Perhaps the most memorable part of your trip will be the wines you will drink and the mediterranean food you will taste. Uli explores the local wineries regularly, looking for regional gems with which to delight you. He is especially adept at pairing the wines with Ute’s creative dishes. Her cuisine is inspired by experience living in France, Spain and Italy. The dishes are all the more enjoyable because you may have participated in picking the ingredients at a local market.
Breakfast: An extensive selection: fresh fruit juices, cereals and cold meats and cheeses, with Uli sneaking off early to get fresh breads and pastries from a local bakery.
Other meals: Sunday evening’s ‘Welcome Dinner’, the ‘Farewell Dinner’ on Thursday or Friday evening, the 3 or 4-course lunches or dinners will include:
Duck breast, leg of lamb, espresso sherbet, coquille st. jacques with foam of sauternes, fresh salads from the region with different dressings like roquefort or walnut dressing, local cheese specialities…and all individual courses served with their matching wines.
All beverages aboard – wines, beers, soft drinks and drinks from the well equipped open bar, coffee and tea – are included and served at any time.
Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Dine-ashore rate weeks:
2-3 meals ashore (at recommended local restaurants) at guests’ own expense.
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
October 7, 14, 21, 28
November 4, 11
2-3 guest charter: 11,970 USD
4 guest charter: 15,960 USD
5 guest charter: 19,950 USD
6 guest charter: 23,940 USD
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.