Spacious and luxuriously comfortable cruising on the Canal du Midi
Louisa is a large, spacious and very comfortable hotel barge for up to four lucky guests looking for a cruising vacation on the marvellous Canal du Midi in France. Her contemporary style and a relaxed atmosphere help guests make full use of her large, shaded top deck for relaxing and watching the world go gently by. Savour the region’s delicious flavours and local wines, explore the towns and villages en route, and enjoy the super excursion to the stunning medieval castle at Carcassonne.
Cruising between the historic French town of Castelnaudary and the bustle of lively Trebes Louisa provides a fine introduction to the western part of the iconic Canal du Midi; masterpiece of 17th century engineering and now a beautiful waterway for life-restoring cruises in heavenly France.
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 Louisa :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Canal du Midi, southern France
- Charter bookings only, 6, 4 or 3 nights, April to October
- 4 guests / 1 double cabin, 1 twin cabin, both with ensuite bathrooms
- Will sail with 2 guests only
- Individually controlled air conditioning and heating
- Full board, on-board dining
- Very large sun deck with shaded dining area and loungers
- 4 all-terrain bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
- Cruise the world renowned Canal du Midi, a unique destination
- Visit the stunning medieval fortress city of Carcassonne
- Short week cruises
- Stroll through pretty villages and towns
- Wine tasting at Chateau Pennautier
- Discover the tastes of local Languedoc dishes (Cassoulet for example) and wines
Jenny and David Tremain are highly experienced barge owners and operators, having brought Louisa from London where she was successfully run for corporate events. They bring a fresh approach to the Canal du Midi, offering cruising for one or two couples and cruises of flexible length.
6 nights or 3 nights accommodation, transfers to and from the pick up point, all meals and drinks on board, excursion guide, fees and associated transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5–10% suggested)
“It was all perfect. The food and wines were lovely and the sightseeing excursions were interesting and well-arranged. Jenny and David were perfect hosts, attentive and knowledgeable, and we’ll certainly recommend this cruise to anyone!”
Mark D party, Jersey – Channel Islands, September 2017
“Spent a glorious 6 nights aboard the hotel barge Louisa while winding our way up the Canal du Midi from Trebes to Castelnaudary. The operators Jen and David were very welcoming, good humored and outstanding hosts. Louisa is a boutique hotel barge beautifully appointed for two couples to travel in comfort and style. Meals were delicious and of locally sourced, high quality ingredients. Louisa served as the stage upon which I proposed to Betsy, my now fiance, presenting her with a ring that our hosts had conspired with me to locate in a small Castelnaudary jewelry store. Our traveling companions Bill and Shelly served as witnesses. Aside from engagements, there were side trips to castles. medieval villages and wineries. Autumn along the Canal du Midi was a beautiful backdrop for a very memorable vacation. We would highly recommend a six night cruise aboard the good barge Louisa!”
Luke S and Betsy, fiancée, Arizona, USA 2016
“David and Jenny have been the most generous hosts and have gone out of their way to ensure that we have been provided with gourmet meals, excellent wines and a lovely trip on the canal with the most magnificent scenery. David has chauffeured us around the places of interest while Jenny has worked hard in the kitchen to prepare delicious local produce. We will have no hesitation in recommending any of our friends to come on board the Louisa and enjoy the very unique and beautiful experience of cruising along the Canal du Midi.”
Lorna & Donald, NSW, Australia 2016
‘It is almost a fortnight since we left Louisa and your wonderful hospitality and kindness. We had a lovely time with you – Louisa was so well appointed and graceful, the food and drink delicious, your care and consideration, and readiness to do anything to meet our wishes second to none. You were perfect hosts. On top of this we had: the weather, the canal, the locks, the itinerary and the places and things you took us to. It was a lovely holiday and we will always remember it, we are most grateful. THANK YOU’
Su & Jack, Essex, UK
Hotel Barge Louisa: Cruises along the Canal di Midi, southern France
Classic 6 night cruise – Trebes to Castelnaudary
Day 1 – Arrival
Collection from Toulouse at around 10:00, to arrive at Louisa moored at Trebes by 11.30. Welcome reception and introductions to crew before a delicious lunch served on the sun-deck. Then time to explore Trebes before cruising gently along to the village of Villedubert to moor for the night.
Day 2 – Villedubert to Carcassonne
After breakfast cruise on to the port of Carcassonne where, after lunch on board, the afternoon will be spent in the Cité of Carcassonne itself. This medieval city is of major importance, a UNESCO Heritage site, now restored and alive with shops, cafes and restaurants. Its hilltop position commands wonderful views over the canal and surrounding countryside. There will be plenty of time to wander and wonder; an audio unit for the official tour inside the castle will also be arranged for you. Dinner on board and mooring in port.
Day 3 – Carcassonne to Villesquelande
Cruise to the lovely village of Villesequelande, the mooring for the night, in the centre of famous wine-growing region. After lunch on board, the excursion is to the grounds of a beautiful chateau for your first wine tasting.
Day 4 – Villesquelande to Bram
Plenty of cruising time today as the canal meanders slowly through the glorious countryside. Time to step off and walk or cycle along the excellent tow-path or just relax on deck. Moor at Bram and lunch on deck and then visit the ancient town of Montolieu where an expert wine merchant awaits to offer ‘degustation’ of some new exciting wines.
Day 5 – Bram to Treboul
Cruise towards Castelnaudary but there’s a scheduled stop at the lovely rural village of Treboul for lunch on board. The afternoon’s visit will be to the medieval town of Revel, site of the important lake that feeds the canal system and a museum about Pierre Paul Riquet, the 17th century tax collector who made the Canal du Midi happen. Moor for the night in Treboul.
Day 6 – Treboul to Castelnaudary
Cruise to the port of Castelnaudary for a day of exploration. This lovely town has the largest basin on the Canal du Midi, a wonderful windmill, beautiful churches and local produce shops and cafes. Home of the ‘cassoulet’, the war still rages as to who makes the best! If you’d like to try this dish it can be served for the Farewell dinner on board.
Day 7 – Departure
After breakfast on board, depart at 10:00 for transfer to drop off point and onward travel.
Please note: This is a sample Itinerary and is subject to change. The direction of the route will be reversed on alternate weeks.
3 night cruise: Lalande to Trebes
Day 1 – Lalande
You will be met by your skipper David in Carcassonne or Toulouse between 10:00 – 11:00, or by arrangement. Travelling by luxury air conditioned estate car, arrive on board‘Louisa beside the beautiful rural lock, Lalande. Jenny will be there to greet you and welcome you on board. After making yourselves comfortable in your cabins and the crew has stored any extra luggage in the bow, David will open the champagne and lunch will be served on deck. After lunch we will cruise for an hour toward Carcassonne, mooring Louisa in a pretty rural location for your first evening. Today, David will take you to wine tasting, one of the best in the region. This is your first evening on board Louisa and your dinner will be leisurely, with wines for each course presented by David.
Day 2 – Carcassonne
Breakfast is French style – Fresh bread, croissants, jams, ham and cheese, juice, fresh coffee and teas. Today, cruise to Carcassonne. You can relax on deck and enjoy the sunshine and scenery as we travel slowly through the lovely countryside towards Carcassonne. We will arrive in Carcassonne in time for lunch on deck. After lunch David will escort you to the city of Carcassonne, to explore the ramparts, shop or just sit in a café in one of the lovely squares. This evening, dinner will be served on board in Carcassonne.
Day 3 – Carcassonne toward Trebes
After breakfast, cruise toward Trebes, a pretty port with an olive oil plant and factory, and a great triple lock. We will moor in another beautiful location for the evening. After lunch David will take you into Trebes to visit the olive oil plant and wander in the old port. Dinner tonight will be on board.
Day 4 – toward Trebes
Leisurely breakfast on board. Transfer to the drop off point in Toulouse or Carcassonne between 10:00 – 11:00.
Hotel Barge Louisa 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 Louisa: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 24m x 4.97m
- 2 Staterooms: 12′ x 10′ king size double bed, with ensuite 7′ x 3′; and
10′ x 10′ twin beds 2’6” x 6’6”, with ensuite 10′ x 3′
- Beds are dressed with white Egyptian linen
Ensuites have luxury toiletries and soft white bath robes
- Cabins have individually controlled air-conditioning and heating
- Professional English-speaking crew of 3 – captain, chef/hostess and matelot / tourguide. All speak fluent English.
Other items on board:
- Central heating and air conditioning throughout
- TV for DVD player, music system and iPOD terminal
- Small library of books and DVDs
- WIFI with limited availability
- 20m deck with sun loungers, canopy, dining table & chairs
- Air-conditioned car for transfers and excursions
- 4 all-terrain bicycles
Hotel Barge Louisa: Cuisine
Breakfast is continental with fresh bread, croissants, jams, fruit, cheese and meats.
Lunch is an informal, two course affair and is generally served on the sundeck dining table, with freshly prepared salads, meats, cheese and quiches.
Dinner is the culinary highlight of the day. Prepared by your chef and using fresh local ingredients, the cuisine is mainly French with Italian and Spanish influences.
You will be served different wines each day to complement the dishes, although your preference for any particular wine will always take precedence. Some of the wine will be local and from the vineyard that you will visit, but France has an abundance of great wines and you’ll have the opportunity to taste as many varieties as possible.
Cheese is as much a passion for the French as their wine. The Louisa cheese board reflects this with a different cheese introduced
Sample Dinner Menu
Spinach and sorrel soup garnished with soft poached egg
and chicken julienne
Roasted cod tournedos, fresh herb stuffed vegetables and virgin
olive oil sauce
Selection of French cheeses – too many to mention!
Apricot mousse and redcurrants; shortbread biscuit and apricot sorbet
Hotel Barge Louisa – 2017 Rates ➤ 2018 Rates
Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Regular rate weeks (6-nights):
April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
May 7, 14, 21, 28
June 4, 11, 18, 25
July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
August 6, 13, 20, 27
September 3, 10, 17, 24
October 1, 8, 15, 22
2 guest charter: 7,080 USD / 4,500 GBP
3 guest charter: 10,620 USD / 6,750 GBP
4 guest charter: 14,160 USD / 9,000 GBP
2 guest charter: 4,720 USD / 3,000 GBP
3 guest charter: 7,080 USD / 4,500 GBP
4 guest charter: 9,440 USD / 6,000 GBP
2 guest charter: 3,540 USD / 2,250 GBP
3 guest charter: 5,310 USD / 3,375 GBP
4 guest charter: 7,080 USD / 4,500 GBP
Not yet published
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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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.
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