Luxury cruising in heavenly Provence and Camargue

Le Phenicien combines luxury cruising with perhaps the most varied and fascinating route of all hotel barges; great towns and cities of the Rhone with the unique natural environment and smaller villages of the Petit Rhòne and the Camargue. She is an elegant and practical barge, ideally suited to her cruise, with classic accommodation for up to 18 guests, by cabin or charter.

The teak sun-deck features director chairs and leather benches for relaxing in the sunshine; the saloon and the bar, decorated in a modern Provençal style with paintings by local artists, offer comfortable places to relax, read and chat to other guests; large, panoramic windows ensure that you fully enjoy the wonderful views as the ship glides past vineyards, pretty villages and city quays.

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 Le Phenicien :: Key Features

    • Excellence class (4*)
    • River Rhône and Canal de Rhône a Sète, Provence and Camargue
    • Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, April to October
    • 18 guests / 9 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
    • Rest room on the man deck
    • Themed cruising for charters
    • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating
    • Queen size double or twin bed configurations
    • Full board, on-board dining
    • Sun deck, shade and seating
    • 8 bicycles
    • Wifi (limited in some places)
    • Air-conditioned minibuses for transfers and excursions

Hotel Barge Le Phenicien: Cruise Highlights

    • Majestic cruising in Provence and the upper Camargue providing a great variety of natural scenery and historical interest
    • Excursion to Le Pont du Gard, an astonishing and intact Roman aqueduct
    • Vist the medieval town of Les Baux de Provence with its spectacular views over the countryside
    • Arles, the site of many Roman ruins and inspiration for Van Gogh
    • Vsit to a working ranch complete with cowboys French style
    • Discover the walled town of Aigues Mortes from which many of the crusades set off

jolys-395x306Your Hosts
Launched in Provence by the Joly family in 2000, Bertrand heads up Le Phenicien’s passionate and professional crew of five. “We have found that barge cruising is the best way to combine our love of canal and river barges with our attachment to our region, the south of France. We are all natives from here and that’s why what you experience with Le Phenicien you will find nowhere else.”

Crew Le Phenicien Provence french-waterways

What’s included:
6 nights accommodation, transfers to and from the meeting point, all meals and drinks on board, excursion fees, tour guide and associated transport
Not included:
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)

Hotel Barge Le Phenicien: Guest comments

“C’est magnifique! the best vacation ever!
every meal was superb! the staff was congenial and made the trip perfect!
would stay on board if we could!”
Joe & Cathy, USA

Hotel Barge Le Phenicien cruises in Provence and Camargue

Avignon to Aigues-Mortes: River Rhône, Petit Rhône and Canal du Rhône a Sète- Provence and Camargue

hotel barge provence le phenicienDay 1 Sunday – Arrival
Meet at the pre-designated pick up point for transfer to Le Phénicien, moored close to Avignon’s city wall. Meet the crew over a Champagne reception and settle in, and take a stroll into Avignon before dinner on board.

Pont dAvignon Le Phenicien Provence

Day 2 Monday – Avignon to Villeneuve-les-Avignon
Guided tour of Avignon, the palace of the Popes and the town centre. Then a cruise during lunch on board towards Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a guided visit guided visit and wine tasting. Cruise on to the mooring at Villeneuve lès Avignon for dinner on board.

Chateauneuf du Pape Le phenicien french-waterways

Day 3 Tuesday – Villeneuve les Avignon to Vallabrègues
Excursion to the Roman aqueduct ‘Le Pont du Gard’, still standing after 2,000 years, and its fascinating museum. Lunch on board and then sail down to Vallabrègues, a quiet and charming mooring for the night. Play the pétanque under the plane trees before dinner on board.

Hotel barge Le Phenicien Provence french-waterways

Day 4 Wednesday – Vallabrègues to Arles
Visit to the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence with stunning views of the countryside and shops and cafes to explore. Then lunch on board and a passage through the huge 36 feet deep lock of Beaucaire to the mooring at Arles.

Day 5 Thursday – Arles to Gallician in the Camargue region
Guided tour of Arles, its Roman amphitheatre and other antiquities and learn about Van Gogh who painted 300 canvases during his year here in 1888. Leave the Rhône river, cruise the petit Rhône and join the Canal Rhône a Sète to reach the quiet and typical village of Gallician.

Gallician Le Phenicien french-waterways

Day 6 Friday – Gallician to Aigues Mortes
An excursion into the wild Camargue to visit a manade, a typical ranch, where the ‘gardians à cheval‘, the local authentic cowboys, demonstrate herding of bulls on their superb white horses. Lunch on board and then on to Aigues-Mortes, a 14th century walled city from which St. Louis set sail on his Holy Crusades. Captain’s farewell dinner on board.

Day 7 Saturday – Departure
After breakfast, chauffeured transfer to the designated transfer point.

Please note: this is a sample itinerary and subject to change and runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.

Hotel Barge Phénicien – Wine Tour in the footsteps of Bacchus

A wonderful cruise aboard Hotel Barge Phénicien combined with five half-days of wine discovery, to include:

  • A explanation of the different appellations
  • An introduction to tasting
  • The fundamentals of to oenology
  • Visits to six excellent domains
  • Gala Dinner with wine tasting competitions

The cruise consists of a half day’s cruising and then an oenologist accompanies the group for the other half day.This cruise is not just a guided tour of wineries, it’s a complete discovery of the world of wine. In each of the domains visited a different facet of the understanding of wine is developed (tasting, vinification, vine cultivation and so on).

Sample program:

Day 1 – Sunday
Transfer from the meeting point in Avignon to Phénicien, moored at the foot of the ramparts of Avignon. Relax, rest-up or stroll around the city. Your first dinner on board will introduce you to the high quality cuisine that will be served during the whole cruise and the matched wines chosen from among the best in the region.

Day 2 – Monday: The prestige and tradition of Châteauneuf du Pape
In this region the soil owes its specific nature to the rolled pebbles of the Rhône that store heat during the day and release it at night – huge bonus to wine growing. The vineyard was cultivated by the Templars in the 12th century and achieved prosperity when the Popes established their Palace in Avignon on the Rhône during the 14th Century.

The tour begins with a walk through the Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard to discover the thirteen grape varieties and vinification secrets, and you’ll learn about the history and terroirs of the appellations of Provençe.

chateauneuf du Pape Le Phenicien

You also learn about the art of tasting, trying the typical wines of the appellation. Taste buds will be captivated by the whites and then conquered by the reds! Enjoy a delicious tasting of Châteauneuf du Pape reds from the estate (old vintages and recent vintages).

Day 3 – Tuesday: The magic of Les Baux de Provence
Today, continue your discovery of Provençal vineyards by visiting Les Baux de Provençe, the regional cradle of dynamic organic farming. The theme addressed in this appellation is the cultivation of the vine. The natural geography of Les Baux is recognised as being the most typical and representative of Provençe.

Through the Alpilles, a small mountain chain classified as a natural site, you’ll be introduced to an atypical cultural method called ‘bio-dynamics’ and its resulting wines.Two areas will be visited:
The first is located on the edge of Saint Remy de Provençe in the Coteaux d’Aix appellation. The Domaine d’Eole, although recent, has already gained notoriety for its magnificent wines.The second estate is a magical and unmissable place, Château Romanin, and its superb cathedral-like cellar.
After a good lunch and a restorative nap, we sail to Arles, the open air museum of Provençe.

Day 4 – Wednesday: Discovering grape varieties in the Arles region
In a domain that combines passion and originality, the Mas de Rey, guests will discover the world of grape varieties and the secrets of wine-making. For two generations, the Mazzoleni family has been striving for excellence and now their local wines are held in high esteem along with many AOC wines.

Their secret is simply the desire to develop wines of pleasure – original, healthy and well-constituted – and the result is right there in the glass. Whether white, rosé or red, you can recognise a Mas de Rey with the first ‘nose’.

The strong personality of these wines rests on the encépagement (planting good vine stock). In addition to the traditional grape varieties of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Merlot and Cabernet-Franc, there are four new grape varieties on this 65 hectare estate, the fruits of many years of research and trials in collaboration with INRA.

Bellegarde le phenicien french-waterways

This afternoon, we set sail for the Camargue with a fascinating cruise on the Rhône, the Petit Rhône and then the canal Rhône à Sète. We stop at Bellegarde, a typical village of the Camargue Gard, very tranquil and full of Taurines traditions.

Day 5 – Thursday: A reconstruction of the past
The Mas des Tourelles is located on a Roman archaeological site dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Discover the first reconstruction in the world of a Gallo-Roman cellar, full size that you can walk around, with press, earthenware jars and amphorae.

The Mas des Tourelles is also an active research centre on the techniques of Roman vinification so this visit will include a tasting of Roman wines, eg mulsum (wine with honey) and carrenum – you’ll discover the distant origins of wine.

After lunch, we sail on serenely to St Gilles, a traditional destination for Christian pilgrimages.

Day 6 – Friday: The Sea 
Our final destination is Aigues-Mortes, a 14th century fortified city emerging from the sands of the Camargue but once the embarkation point for Richard the Lionheart and his crusades. During an unforgettable day in the heart of this unique natural environment, we discover the production of quality wines in a maritime environment: wines from the Sands of the Gulf of Lion. Guests will visit the Domaine de Jarras, which produces a splendid Chardonnay created between the sea and salt-marsh ponds, close to where the famous Camargue bulls roam free.

Gala Dinner – Aperitif and ‘Provence in the glass’ evening:
Back on board, you’re treated to an original and fun wine-themed evening. During dinner, four wines typical of the appellations of Provençe will be presented in the form of tasting games (we select the wines according to certain criteria and notoriety), and the choice of wines will of course complement the dishes served.

Each wine will be the subject of questions related to its tasting and more general questions around a Casino table (on the theme of wine). The results of the challenge of the day and the evening are given at the end of the meal, during a tasting of liqueurs and digestifs from Provençe, and each participant of the winning team will receive a bottle as a gift.

And, at the end of the evening, a surprise competition: a question will be asked to all guests individually, and the winner will receive a magnum of wine.

Day 7 – Saturday: 
After breakfast, departure to the agreed transfer point.

This cruise is for charter parties only and incurs and extra charge of 600 EUR per person.

Other themed cruises:

Golf and cycling. Enquire for more details.

Grande-Motte Le Phenicien

Vallabregues cycling le phenicien french-waterways

Hotel Barge Phénicien cruises in Provence and Camargue

Barge Cruising Region – Camargue and Mediterranean Coast

map camargue provence► Hotel Barges cruising in this locality

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.

Getting There
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 –

sete1-500x300  camargue-beach-500x300  camargue-horses2-500x300

chateauneuf-pape-500x300  van-gogh-arles-500x300  arles-500x300

avignon-pont-500x300  pont-du-gard-500x300  aigues-mortes2-500x300

Beach ©Les Jardins de Tivoli | Avignon ©Yann de Fareins | Aigues-Mortes ©Framepool AG | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Hotel Barge Phénicien: Details and facilities

Hotel Barge Le Phenicien deck plan Provence and Camargue

  • Dimensions: 127ft (38m) x 17ft (5m)
  • Cabins: 107 sq ft, 6 queen-size double cabins, 3 twin-bedded cabins, all with ensuite bathrooms with toiletries and hair-dryers
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating throughout
  • Professional English-speaking crew of 6 – captain, tour guide, deckhand, chef, two hostesses

Other items on board:

  • Library of books
  • Gorgeous 1000 sq ft lounge
  • Facilities for business meetings
  • 8 Bicycles
  • Teak sundeck with comfy chairs
  • Powder room on main deck
  • Defibrillator
  • WiFi for use with personal devices (limited in remote areas)
  • TV/DVD/CD: TV and Sound System in salon

Hotel Barge Phénicien: Cuisine

Hotel Barge Le Phenicien Provence and Camargue

The chef is French and his cuisine is French/Provençal with a personal twist. Everything is hand-made with fresh ingredients. Lunches usually consist of a buffet with choices of starters, main courses and desserts. Evening meals are 4 or 5 courses. Le Phénicien is pleased to cater for individual culinary requests and medical/allergic conditions.

Le Phenicien guinea fowl stuffed with chanterelles mushrooms, pumpkin puré and chesnut

During your cruise you will be served over 20 different wines; whites reds and rosés, all selected from the best wineries in the Rhône valley, Provence and Languedoc. All wines are introduced before they are served.

Le Phenicien melted chocolat cake with almond chantilly cream
You will have cheese at every meal; goat, ewe or cow, raw or cooked.

Unless otherwise specified, your cruise includes a full open bar. Most standard alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available as cocktails with some local aperitifs.

^ click to enlarge images and open gallery ^

Hotel Barge Le Phénicien – 2018 Rates

Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday

Value rate weeks:

March 19, 26
April 2, 9, 16, 23
July 16, 23, 30
August 6
October 22, 29

up to 12 guest charter: 33,120 EUR
13 guest charter: 33,685 EUR
14 guest charter: 35,370 EUR
15 guest charter: 37,065 EUR
16 guest charter: 38,740 EUR
17 guest charter: 40,425 EUR
18 guest charter: 42,105 EUR
Themed charter* supplements: on application
(* Cycling, Golf, Wine, Cuisine, VIP)

Per Cabin bookings
Double Cabin: 2,600 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,000 EUR

Mid rate weeks:

April 29
May 6
June 24
July 1, 8
August 12, 19
September 30
October 7, 14

up to 12 guest charter: 37,065 EUR
13 guest charter: 38,740 EUR
14 guest charter: 40,430 EUR
15 guest charter: 42,105 EUR
16 guest charter: 43,790 EUR
17 guest charter: 45,480 EUR
18 guest charter: 47,160 EUR
Themed charter* supplements: on application
(* Cycling, Golf, Wine, Cuisine, VIP)

Per Cabin bookings
Double Cabin: 2,980 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,020 EUR

Regular rate weeks:

May 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17
August 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23

up to 12 guest charter: 42,960 EUR
13 guest charter: 44,640 EUR
14 guest charter: 46,330 EUR
15 guest charter: 48,015 EUR
16 guest charter: 49,695 EUR
17 guest charter: 51,375 EUR
18 guest charter: 53,055 EUR
Themed charter* supplements: on application
(* Cycling, Golf, Wine, Cuisine, VIP)

Per Cabin bookings
Double Cabin: 3,200 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,400 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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