Serene, spacious, perfectly appointed - one of the Canal du Midi's best
Roi Soleil is possibly the most distinctively elegant hotel barge – a true river yacht – cruising the French waterways. She is curvaceous on the outside and spacious on the inside, exuding luxury and style in every detail. She glides, swan-like, along the most ancient and iconic waterway in France – through sunflower fields, rolling meadows and of course the leafy, plane-tree lined stretches of the Canal du Midi.
Choose Roi Soleil and you can look forward to superior excursions, cuisine and service, and take home delightful memories to treasure for a lifetime.
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 Roi Soleil :: Key Features
- Grand Luxe class (5*)
- Canal du Midi, southern France
- Charter and occasional cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, March to October
- 6 guests / 3 double or twin cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Air conditioning and heating throughout
- Full board, on-board dining
- Sun deck with dining area and spa pool
- Themed and bespoke cruises
- 6 bicycles
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned Mercedes Viano minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil: Cruise Highlights
- Explore the historic, iconic and fascinating Canal du Midi
- Cruise through Béziers and navigate the nine locks of Fonserannes
- Excursion to Narbonne, the first Roman colony of the Gaulles
- Opidum of Ensérune, an ancient
- The fortified medieval villages of Minervois and Carcassonne
- Fontfroide, one of the best preserved Cistercian abbeys
- Delightful open salon, dining and galley deck, where guests are invited to cooking demonstrations
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil is owned by Guillaume and Tracey de Perthuis, a highly experienced luxury yacht-skipper and chef team for many years previous to launching Roi Soleil in 1999. They supervise their crew very closely making sure that top class service is provided at all times.
6 nights accommodation, chauffeured transfer from the designated meeting point, all meals and drinks on board, excursion fees, tour guide and associated transport
Air and train fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil: Guest Comments
A cruise aboard Roi Soleil is like no other – and this is what guests think:
” What a delightful week out of our busy lives, to have a holiday in France supported by such lovely and attentive people as the crew of Roi Soleil. It has been a perfect slice of time. We could not have written it better had we been writing a favourite novel!”
“Experiencing navigating the locks, learning the local history from our guide, coming back after a hard afternoon’s explorations to the comforting sight of our hostess with cocktails and snacks as she welcomes us home. Thank you for a wonderful holiday! “
” As true veterans of barging on the waterways of France, we have no hesitancy in declaring this journey as the finest of them all!
Yes, the food, the wines and the beds were excellent, but what we really appreciated is the caring extended to each one of us.You were superb in responding to our every request and we thank you most sincerely while hoping that we will be with each and every one of you in the near future again. That’s a real hope for happy travels in France!”
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil: Cruise – Beziers to Homps (near Carcassonne), Canal du Midi, Languedoc, southern France
Roi Soleil is entirely flexible and works closely with guests to design a cruise that is perfect for them. Tailored cruises are standard; the itinerary below is just a suggestion.
Day 1 Sunday | Arrival
Pick-up from the designated meeting point at a nearby airport or railway station for private chauffeured transfer to charter barge Roi Soleil. Meet the crew over a welcome reception with cocktails and settle into your luxurious surroundings on board. Then, take your first cruise through a rural area of wetlands, flamingos and horses on the edge of the Camargue region. Moor for the night in the sea-side town of Portiragnes and take dinner on board.
Day 2 Monday – Portiragnes to Fonserannes
This morning, cruise through the astonishing Fonserannes staircase of locks, designed and built centuries ago to enable barges laden with wine and other goods to reach the markets of Europe. Then lunch on board, followed by an excursion to the historic town of Pézenas with its famed architecture and many artisan and antique shops.
Alternatively, take an excursion to the hill village of Roquebrun by the river Orb for a swim or kayak. Your choice, depending on the weather and your interests. Then dinner on board at Fonserannes.
Day 3 Tuesday – Fonserannes to Capestang
Today, cruise on through the delightful countryside to the village of Capestang, a delighful and very popular mooring for many boats along the canal. After lunch on board there’s an excursion to the Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide, one of the finest remaining examples for this order of monks in France. Alternatively, your party might prefer a more exciting excursion to a Camargue bull and horse ranch, with the opportunity to round up the bulls on horseback. Or, take a wine tasting tour of the cellar of a top French Sommelier and supplier to Michelin starred chefs. Whichever you choose, return to the Roi Soleil for another delicious dinner on board at Capestang.
Day 4 Wednesday – Capestang to Le Somail
After breakfast this morning, there’s an excursion to Narbonne, the Roman Capital of the early Gauls. Visit its vibrant food market and famed art and Roman archaeology museums within the Bishop’s Palace – a highlight of the week. After lunch on board leave Capestang through its tiny arched bridge and cruise to the peaceful village of Le Somail with its unique antique bookstore and numerous artisan workshops. Moor up and take aperitifs before dinner on board.
Day 5 Thursday – Le Somail to Paraza
Leave the canal and drive into the countryside to the historic hilltop village of Minerve, perched on a rocky outcrop and one of the last strongholds of the Cathars. Plenty of history and stunning views. Alternatively, choose a visit to a prized olive oil mill, the Oulibo, and an historic Languedoc village. Learn how olive oil is made, taste the different kinds and discover the many ways that olive wood can be used. Lunch is taken on board and then there’s a wonderful afternoon cruise to the mooring at Paraza for a private wine tasting in a renowned Minervois domain. Dinner on board.
Day 6 Friday – Paraza to Homps
A major excursion to the fortified city of Carcassonne, Europe’s largest medieval fortress. Absorb the medieval history of this UNESCO World Heritage site, shop in the bastide and sample the street cafes. After lunch on board cruise on to Homps, through the countryside and several locks on this last part of your voyage. This is a great chance to walk or cycle the excellent towpath alongside Roi Soleil. Tonight, it’s the Captain’s farewell dinner on board.
Day 7 Saturday – Departure
Depart at 10:00 after breakfast for transfer to the drop off point and onward travel.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.
The Roi Soleil Provençal itinerary (available by request) lies between the Mediterranean (Agde and Sete) and Avignon (Rhone).
On this cruise, joining the Rhone and the Canal Rhone a Sete, you’ll see the fortified Crusader town of Aigues-Mortes where you can walk the ramparts and enjoy the its bustling centre; see the flamingo lagoons, explore Van Gogh’s home town of Arles; go wine-tasting at Chateauneuf du Pape; admire the very different scenery of the Camargue; and visit the incredible Roman aqueduct – the Pont du Gard.
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil cruises through the Midi and the Camargue in the South of 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 Roi Soleil: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 98ft x 16.5 ft
- All cabins are 160 sq ft (15m2),and have an opening skylight
Queen-size double or twin beds
Fabric wall coverings from the Braquenié collection by Pierre Frey, Paris. The motifs date back to the 18th century.
Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
Ensuite bathrooms have l’Occitaine toiletries, bathrobe for each guest, heated towel rack
- Professional English-speaking crew of 4 – captain, chef, guide and hostess
Other items on board
- 6 bicycles
- Small library of books and games
- TV/DVD/CD: DVD library, Bose sound system and iPod dock
- Laptop for guest use and Wifi (limited in some areas)
- Forward sundeck
- Aft sundeck with dining area, spa pool, retractable awning and ‘bendy’ beds
- Mercedes Viano Minibus
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil: Cuisine
Roi Soleil provides full-board catering – the highest quality of cuisine and wines, prepared by the master chef on-board. Vegetarian and other dietary preferences happily accommodated, with imagination and skill. Some meals may be enjoyed off-barge at local restaurants, also of the highest quality.
Hotel Barge Roi Soleil – 2018 Rates ➤ 2019 Rates
Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
April 1, 8, 15
July 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12
October 14, 21
4 guest charter: 29,700 USD* / 23,800 EUR
6 guest charter: 33,000 USD* / 26,400 EUR
Regular rate weeks:
April 22, 29
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8
August 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
4 guest charter: 34,100 USD* / 27,400 EUR
6 guest charter: 37,900 USD* / 30,400 EUR
*US citizens only
Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
March 24, 31
April 7, 14
July 14, 21, 28
August 4, 11
October 13, 20
4 guest charter: 30,500 USD* / 23,800 EUR
6 guest charter: 33,900 USD* / 26,400 EUR (1,000 USD or 800 EUR discount before 30 September)
Regular rate weeks:
April 21, 28
May 5, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 11, 16, 23, 29
August 18, 25
September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
4 guest charter: 35,000 USD* / 27,400 EUR
6 guest charter: 38,900 USD* / 30,400 EUR (1,000 USD or 800 EUR discount before 30 September)
*US citizens only
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.