Unique cruise choices on the Canal du Midi, France
A delightfully presented barge, with distinctive arched windows and top quality fitments and furnishings throughout, Emma offers six guests superb cruising along the famous Canal du Midi in southern France.
She has large and luxurious sitting and dining areas on both the upper and lower decks and three beautiful ensuite cabins – ideal for families or individual cabin bookings throughout the year.
Emma uniquely runs a choice of three one-week cruises, from Toulouse to Carcassonne, Carcassonne to Beziers and Beziers to Aigues Mortes – the whole stretch of the Midi. And with excellent inclusive excursions she is super value.
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 Emma :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Canal du Midi, southern France
- Charter and occasional cabin bookings, 5 or 6 nights, 6 or 7 days, March to October
- 3 different cruise sections of the Canal du Midi
- 2 – 6 guests / 3 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Individual control conditioning and heating throughout
- Full board, with cooking demonstrations
- Sun deck with shaded dining area and loungers
- 6 bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Emma: Cruise Highlights
- A delightful cruise along the famous and fascinating Canal du Midi
- Visit historic Roman and Cathar towns and villages
- Explore farmers’ markets for local cheeses and super-fresh vegetables
- Stunning scenery and ultra-fresh seafood in the Camargue
- Sight-seeing, shopping and lunches in the cities of Narbonne and Toulouse
- Excursion tour of the stunning medieval walled city of Carcassonne, the fairy-tale castle of Hollywood fame
Emma is privately owned and operated in person by Liz and René Jacquot, chef and captain respectively. Each cruise can be tailor-made to suit your needs and interests so please make contact to discuss the options in this wonderful region.
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)
“It was wonderful, truly the trip of a lifetime. As a mother who normally runs around looking after my children, I felt pampered by the attention we were given. The food Liz cooked was remarkable. We thoroughly enjoyed all the meals…they were a highlight of the trip for both adults and children.
Christophe was an extremely knowledgeable guide. He was great fun with the kids too and taught them petanque. He adapted the excursions to suit our family with a variety of outings including a swim in the Mediterranean, a walk through the caves, visit to an olive press and ancient cities. It was relaxing for us all.”
The Smith family, July 2017
Hotel Barge Emma: Three gorgeous cruises on the Canal du Midi, southern France
Cruise on board Hotel Barge Emma for 6 nights and 7 days
1. Toulouse to Carcassonne – the western Canal du Midi
2. Trèbes to Beziers – the eastern Canal du Midi
3. Beziers to Aigues Mortes – Canal du Midi, Étang de Thau and Canal Rhone a Sète
5 night, 6 day cruises are also available.
Whilst you are relaxing and watching the views change with every twist of the canal, Emma’s friendly and expert crew prepare your gourmet meals, each accompanied by a selection of the very splendid wines of the Languedoc Roussillon region. All meals are served either in the dining room or out on the deck, either in sunshine or shade, depending on temperatures.
Emma cruises for roughly four hours every day, meandering past sun-flower fields, vineyards and the famed tree-lined sections of the Canal du Midi. Or, at the eastern end, you will be cruising close to the Mediterranean, through the rich sea-food areas of the Étang de Thau (toe) and the stunning beauty of the Camargue.
For the remainder of the day, you’ll be escorted by air-conditioned executive mini-bus on fascinating excursions – visits to chateaux (Carcassonne for example), ancient abbeys, wine-tastings, local markets and fishing villages. There’s so much to see and do.
Here’s something different for lovers of the south France, intrigued by hotel barging on the waterways but also liking the idea of staying part of the time within four walls.
Four days cruising along the 16th Century Canal du Midi and four days in a genuine French chateau. Combine the close-up waterways scenery with stunning views over the canal and the Pyrenees mountains to the south, together with a full week’s fabulous excursions to surrounding sights and treasures.
Do you love gourmet food and wine and would like the full French experience? Join hotel barge Emma and the Tour du Chateau for this unique experience in the heart of the Languedoc region.
Itinerary – Saturday pm to Sunday am, 8 nights
DAY 1: Arrival
Your guide, Rosy, will meet you at your local hotel, airport or railway station for transfer to luxury barge Emma. Meet the crew with a champagne reception and cruise off to the first mooring spot. Dinner on board.
Day 2: to Capestang
A visit by Emma’s private mini-bus to the Oppidum d’Enserune, and a stroll around the Sunday market in Capestang. Return to the barge for an al fresco lunch on the spacious sun-deck. After lunch, cruise off through the surrounding vineyards to a beautiful mooring for evening dinner.
Day 3: to Le Somail and Minerve
After breakfast, cruise to Le Somail, a picturesque hamlet and moor up for lunch on board. Then, an excursion into the heart of the Minervois region to the Cathar village of Minerve, which combines spectacular scenery and dramatic history. A quick visit to Oulibo, the local olive co-operative and back to Emma for another gastronomic dinner.
Day 4: to Narbonne
The visit this morning is to Narbonne, a busy modern town with many fascinating Roman ruins and a large and famous indoor market. After a seafood lunch extravaganza aboard Emma cruise off to Roubia.
Day 5: to La Tour du Chateau
Cruise on to Homps this morning through the ovoid locks for which the Canal du Midi is famous. After a delicious lunch on board leave Emma for transfer to La Tour du Chateau and your first dinner in the gardens of the chateau overlooking the canal. Meet your hosts, Jodi and Peter, for welcome aperitifs.
Day 6: to Carcassonne
A visit to historic Carcassonne, the oldest medieval walled city in Europe and UNESCO heritage site. Walk the ramparts and browse the many tourist shops before returning to the Chateau for lunch and a relaxing afternoon by the pool. Candle lit dinner outside or indoors, weather dependant.
Day 7: Cuisine with local chef
A day dedicated to food lovers. Learn how to plan, shop and prepare delicious meals to amaze your friends when you get home. Visit a local chef and share her culinary secrets, using fresh, local produce to prepare and taste new and classic dishes. Back to La Tour for aperitifs and dinner on the terrace.
Day 8: Wine at Chateau Pennautier
This is the day for wine lovers. A trip out to Chateau Pennautier, a vineyard dating from 1600. Tour the chateau, with gifted furniture from the young King Louis XII, view the car collection and then, after a full tour of the winery, settle down for a sumptuous picnic accompanied by fabulous wines from the Chateau. Back to La Tour for final dinner.
Day 9: Departure
After breakfast you will be transferred to your departure point for your onward journey.
6,500 USD per person
39,000 USD for 6 person charter
Included in the fee:
• Pick ups and transfers within a 50 km radius
• 8 nights accommodation.
• All meals both aboard and ashore with all wines (excluding vintage ) and open bar
• All guided excursions, entrance fees and transport
• 1 day cookery course
• 1 day wine lovers course
• Use of bicycles aboard and the use of the swimming pool at the chateau.
Emma cruises through the Midi and the Camargue, 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 –
Barge Cruising Region – Camargue and Mediterranean Coast
Canal Rhone a Sete – Etang de Thau – River Rhone (Arles and Avignon)
To the north, the River Rhone rises in the Swiss Alps and is joined by the Saone at Lyon becoming one of Europe’s major waterways, heading due South for the Mediterranean Sea. Voyagers along the river pass by the vineyards of the Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape, visiting memorable and famous towns such as Valence, Viviers (a beautiful hilltop medieval village overlooking the river), Avignon (the Bridge and the Pope’s Palace) and finally Arles (where Van Gogh created his most iconic sun-drenched paintings).
In the south, the Petit Rhone branch leaves the Rhone at Arles, part of the Camargue area that is Europe’s largest river delta; between the land and the sea the reed marshes are teeming with wildlife – including over 350 species of waterbirds, flamingos, storks, egrets, wild black bulls and the famous white Camargue horses. Not to be missed, is the fortified crusader town of Aigues Mortes, founded by the French King Saint Louis in 1242.
Heading west from Aigues-Mortes, just metres from the Mediterranean and alongside glorious sandy beaches and passing by the fabulous small city of Montpellier, runs the lock-free Rhone-Sete Canal arriving at France’s own Venetian-style seaport, Sete, and the Etang de Thau large inland lagoon, where waterborne visitors may live like kings on fresh moules marinières and bouziegues oysters, washed down with Muscat wines and Noilly Prat vermouth.
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed hotel. French international airports are located at Toulouse and Paris-Charles de Gaulle and there are European-flight airports at Carcassonne, Montpellier and Lyon. There are also TGV express train stations at Avignon, Montpellier and Toulouse; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Sete, Mediterranean, Camargue, Van Gogh/Arles, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Aigues-Mortes –
Hotel Barge Emma: Details and Facilities
- 3 x suites: two with queen size double or twin beds (green and blue cabins), one with queen-size fixed double bed (the yellow cabin)
Dressed with beautiful French linens and luxurious handmade Irish quilts
- All ensuite bathrooms have basin, toilet, full size shower, toiletries and bathrobes
- Quiet top-class Daikin air-conditioning and heating throughout
- Fully stocked bar
- Professional English-speaking crew of 4 – captain. personal chef, hostess and matelot/driver, all from the local area
All speak English as well as other languages
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 chairs on deck
- Cooking afternoons
- Air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and excursions
- 6 bicycles
Hotel Barge Emma: Cuisine
The Mediterranean diet is renowned for being the healthiest, so you don’t have to sacrifice flavour for health aboard Emma. All dietary requirements can be catered for and as trained chef Liz tells her guests on the first day, “if there is something that you would really like to try, let me know and I will do my best.”
Emma has easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables all year round, with a selection of fish, meats and charcuterie second to none. During your week aboard you will be treated to the best.
Breakfast: wake up to the smell of coffee, warm croissants and pastries, fresh baguettes, fresh fruit and yoghurts, cereals, juices, homemade jam – and having the time to sit and enjoy it all with accompanying bird-song.
Lunch: a mouthwatering display of colourful salads, pâtés, quiches, tarts, cheeses, homemade pickles and preserves. Accompanied by a nicely chilled rosé wine from a vineyard you’ve just visited.
Sample Dinner Menu:
Velouté of asparagus and wild salmon
Roast asparagus and lime mousseline sauce
Roast saddle of lamb stuffed with garlic and rosemary served with
Chiffonade of spring cabbage and minced herb roll.
Roquefort served with Muscat St Jean de Minervois
Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis and fresh fruit
Coffee and liqueurs
No change for 2018
Charter and Cabin bookings
Saturday to Friday
Full board rate weeks (6 nights):
April 7, 14, 21, 28
May 5, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
July 7, 14, 21, 28
August 4, 11, 18, 25
September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
October 6, 13, 20
4 guest charter: 25,000 USD
5 guest charter: 27,000 USD
6 guest charter: 30,000 USD
Per Cabin bookings
Double Cabin: 5,500 USD per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,500 USD
4 guest charter: 22,000 USD
5 guest charter: 23,000 USD
6 guest charter: 25,000 USD
Dine-ashore* rate weeks (6 nights):
* 2 dinners and 3 lunches ashore (at recommended local restaurants) at guests’ own expense.
4 guest charter: 22,500 USD
5 guest charter: 24,300 USD
6 guest charter: 27,000 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.