Cruise France's secret south-west corner in Aquitaine and Gascony
Rosa is a delightfully re-fitted Dutch Clipper barge with light and airy interiors and four staterooms for eight guests. Outside there is a spacious sun deck for enjoying the sunny cruise through the beautiful fruit-growing regions of Gascony and Aquitaine, a relatively unknown cruising region.
She offers two routes through glorious countryside and excellent itineraries for wine-lovers, visiting famed appelations, as well as excursions to ancient chateaux and pretty bastides villages. She features culinary excellence, too – Rosa was chosen by famous chef Rick Stein for his TV series, ‘French Odyssey’, a culinary discovery through southern 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 Rosa :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Canal de Garonne, Gascony and Aquitaine, south-west France
- Two routes and itineraries
- Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, May to October
- 8 guests / 4 cabins with ensuite bathrooms
- Spacious living and dining area
- Full board dining
- Sundeck with dining area, partial shade and loungers
- Bicycles for exploring the towpath and villages
Hotel Barge Rosa: Cruise Highlights in Gascony and Aquitaine
Gascony (March to July)
- Visit the renowned Château Bellevue la Fôret for a tour and tasting
- Cruise the stunning aqueduct over the River Tarn
- Excursion to Château de Goudourville and a tour of Auvillar
- Visit to Moissac and its UNESCO-classified abbey
- Tour the fabulous medieval town and castle of Nérac
- Exclusive tour and tasting at a renowned local Armagnac producer
Bordeaux (August to November)
- Tour the famous Saint Emilion winery
- Marvel at the impressive Château de Duras
- Explore the bastide villages of Vianne and ancient Barbaste
- Savour wine, cheese and Armagnac tastings
- Visits to the village of Le Mas d’Agenais and colourful market of Marmande
- Cruise across one of the longest masonry aqueducts in France, spanning the River Garonne
6 nights/7 days accommodation, transfers to and from Toulouse or Bordeaux, all meals and wines on board; daily excursions, fees, tour guide and associated transport
Air fares and travel to and from the meeting point before and after cruise; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; personal expenses; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)
Dominique and Catherine Monclus have owned Rosa for many years. Passionate about green tourism, Dominique created the Rives du Sud company in 2008 and has been providing luxury barge cruises aboard Rosa ever since.
Hotel Barge Rosa: Guest Comments
This has been a truly wonderful experience … So relaxing, friendly and interesting. Superb food + wine and great hospitality … We leave with very fond memories of Rosa and the crew, this has been one of our best holidays ever.
Allison and Arthur W, Auckland, New Zealand
Hotel Barge Rosa cruises in Gascony and the Bordeaux regions of south-west France
Itinerary 1. Gascony Cruise (eastern section)
Day 1 Sunday – Arrival
Guests are met in Toulouse and escorted by air-conditioned minibus to Rosa, moored in Agen. Following a Champagne Welcome, time for a stroll around the port before returning to Rosa for dinner on board.
Day 2 Monday – Agen to Valence d’Agen
After breakfast and excursion to Domaine Lapeyrade for private tastings of their esteemed Armagnac and Floc du Gascogne wines. Then, tour the nearby medieval town of Nérac and its chateau, once home to Henry IV of France. After lunch on board, a leisurely cruise through the bucolic countryside to Valence d’Agen, an 18th century ‘Bastide’ town with a Palladian canal side public wash-house and arcaded market place. Dinner on board.
Day 3 Tuesday – Valence d’Agen to Moissac
Morning excursion to the 11th century Château de Goudourville and then drive to Auvillar, a medieval red-stone village perched high above the River Garonne and renowned for its circular 17th century covered market. Return to Rosa for lunch, then an afternoon cruise through the countryside and brick-lined canal through Moissac onto the glorious River Tarn, perhaps for some swimming or canoeing. Then, return to moor in Moissac port and dine at the excellent restaurant Le Florentin, in front of the spectacular entrance portal of the Abbaye St-Pierre de Moissac.
Day 4 Wednesday – Moissac to Castelsarrasin
A morning visit Moissac’s ancient Abbey, one of the architectural highlights of the region, founded in the 7th century with its wonderfully preserved cloisters and chapel and explore the charming town with its abundance of arts and crafts workshops. After lunch, continue cruising towards the night’s mooring in Castelsarrasin crossing the River Tarn via the 1,000 ft red-bricked Pont-Canal du Cacor. Dinner on board.
Day 5 Thursday – Castelsarrasin to Montech
After breakfast explore Castelsarrasin’s morning market, and a short drive to the Ferme des Jauberts at Angeville to tour the estate and taste the foie gras of Eric Couderc. After lunch on board, a leisurely cruise to Montech with opportunties or walk and cycle along the towpath and view the remarkable inclined Water Plane, an amazing feat of engineering that used to by-pass five locks, raising vessels 43 feet. Dinner on board.
Day 6 Friday – Montech to Montauban
The final cruise is down a flight of ten locks on the beautiful and recently restored branch canal skirting the Forest of Agre, to moor in the port of Montauban. After lunch on board an excursion into the Côtes du Frontonnais wine region for a tasting at the renowned Château Bellevue la Fôret and an introduction to the outstanding Cuvée Optimum. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Day 7 Saturday – Departure
After breakfast, guests disembark for transfer to Toulouse.
On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
Itinerary 2. Bordeaux Cruise (western section)
Day 1 Sunday – Arrival
Guests are met in Bordeaux and escorted by air-conditioned minibus to Rosa, moored in Castets-en-Dorthe. Following a champagne welcome, there is time for a stroll before returning for dinner on board.
Day 2 Monday – Castets-en-Dorthe to Meilhan-sur-Garonne
Morning excursion to the medieval town of Saint Emilion, a Unesco World Heritage site and centre of the most famous of the Bordeaux appellations. Later, a stop at Château Beau-Sejour-Becot, producer of premier grand crus and a tasting. After lunch on board an afternoon cruise to the port of Meilhan-sur-Garonne and dinner on board.
Day 3 Tuesday – Meilhan-sur-Garonne to Le Mas d’Agenais
Morning cruise to Le Mas d’Agenais with an opportunity to cycle or walk along the tow path through the stunning countryside. After lunch on board visit the 14th century Château de Duras which has been both a fortress and a stately home. Return to Rosa and freshen up before dinner ashore at a local auberge.
Day 4 Wednesday – Le Mas d’Agenais to Damazan
An early start to catch the colourful market of Marmande and visit the Church (Notre-Dame de Marmande) with its French gardens and Renaissance cloisters. Then cruise to Damazan, a fortified village with pastel-coloured houses. After lunch on board a visit to Le Mas d’Agenais – its 11th century church has a beautiful Romanesque doorway and an original masterpiece by Rembrandt (1631). Then, a cheese workshop where you can see the different stages of manufacture, ending with a tasting of different goat cheeses, including some flavoured with ash and chilli. Dinner on board.
Day 5 – Thursday, Damazan to Serignac-sur-Garonne
A morning excursion to the traditional cooperage of St. Martin to discover the secrets of making the barrels that enhance the great wines of Bordeaux. Then a visit to the 13th century bastide of Vianne, and then to Barbaste with its fortified mill and the nearby 12th century bridge. After lunch on board the afternoon is devoted to relaxation and cruising. Dinner on board.
Day 6 Friday – Serignac-sur-Garonne to Boé
After breakfast visit the medieval town of Nerac and tread in the footsteps of King Henry IV and Queen Margot. Built in the 15th century only the impressive north wing remains of the castle, however. Then, a stop at the Lapeyrade estate for a cellar tasting of Armagnac, the oldest alcohol in France. In the afternoon, cruise on towards Boé and cross one of the longest masonry aqueducts in France, spanning the River Garonne. Captains Farewell Dinner on board.
Day 7 Saturday – Departure
After breakfast, guests disembark for transfer to Bordeaux and onward journey.
On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
Wine Appreciation Charter Cruise
August to October
Sunday, Day 1 Castets-en-Dorthe
Guests are met in Bordeaux and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Rosa. Following a champagne and canapés welcome, there is time for a stroll before returning for your first dinner on board. A knowledgeable sommelier also visits the barge to give the first of several talks during the cruise on the vineyards of Bordeaux and ensures that everyone has mastered their wine-tasting technique!
Monday, Day 2 Castets-en-Dorthe to Meilhan-sur-Garonne
This morning is spent cruising the picturesque canal, following the River Garonne, to the port of Meilhan-sur-Garonne. In the afternoon, we visit the medieval town of Saint Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site and centre of the most famous of the Bordeaux appellations. Later, we stop at Château Beau-Sejour-Becot, a long-established, family-run producer of some highly-praised premier and grand cru Saint Emilion wines, where we are given a private tour and, of course, enjoy a tasting. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Meilhan-sur-Garonne to Le Mas d’Agenais
After breakfast, we cruise to the charming little village of Le Mas d’Agenais, the perfect time to walk or cycle the towpath through stunning countryside with views over the valley of the Garonne. After lunch on board, we visit Château de Malle, an exquisite residence set in Italian-style gardens with vineyards situated in some of the most sought after wine-growing land in the region. Since being built in the 17th century, it has remained in the hands of the same family and produces its renowned sweet wine, Sauternes “Grand Cru Classe”, a recognition awarded back in 1855, as well as red and white Graves wines. After a tour, we enjoy a private tasting of these delicious wines. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 Le Mas d’Agenais to Buzet-sur-Baise
This morning, we enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruise past Damazan, a pretty fortified village with pastel-coloured houses, to our mooring at Buzet-sur-Baise, a town at the heart of the Garonne terroir that produces some excellent wines. In the afternoon, we visit the 14th century Château de Duras, an architectural wonder, which has been both a fortress and a stately home over its 900-year history. We wander through its 35 rooms and museum, then take a short drive to the nearby “Maison des Vins”, with its exhibition telling the story of the wine-making that has taken place in the area since the 12th century. After returning to the hotel barge for lunch, Dinner ashore this evening at a charming waterside restaurant, Le Moulin des Saveurs.
Thursday, Day 5 Buzet-sur-Baise to Serignac-sur-Garonne
In the morning, we visit the traditional cooperage of St. Martin, where we discover the secrets of making the barrels that enhance the great wines of Bordeaux. Before returning to the barge, we also visit the Buzet wine co-operative, Les Vignerons de Buzet, for a tour of the cellars and tasting. After lunch on board, the afternoon is devoted to relaxation and cruising further along the canal, where you will be able to spot some of Gascony’s famous pigeon-houses, before arriving at our mooring in the little village of Serignac-sur-Garonne. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Serignac-sur-Garonne to Boé
We start the day with a visit to the fascinating Cork Museum in Mézin, a small town at the centre of an area that boasted over 50 cork factories back in the 1800’s. There, we learn about the history of cork-making and see an exhibition of tools and machines used by workers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Later, we see the medieval riverside village of Lavardac and some of the nearby cork trees, then stop at the Lapeyrade Estate for a cellar tasting of Armagnac, the oldest alcohol in France. In the afternoon, we cruise towards our final destination of Boé, crossing en route the Plan Canal d’Agen, one of the longest aqueducts in France which spans the River Garonne. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Boé
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Bordeaux.
*This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On certain weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction.
Hotel Barge Rosa cruises through Aquitaine and Gascony, South-West France
Barge Cruising – Aquitaine
Canal de Garonne – Canal de Montech-Montauban
Aquitaine, in the far southwest corner of France, belonged to the English Crown during the middle ages and British wine lovers today may mourn the fact that it passed back to the French. The regional capital is Bordeaux, which is a stately presence on the estuary of the Garonne river and a name that is ineffably associated with fine wines, and claret in particular. The Maison du Vin in the city centre offers a broad-based introduction to many sought after vintages, but a visit to some of the prestigious vineyards themselves is hard to beat. St Emilion it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this beautiful town and its environs has been known for its vineyards since Roman times.
Helping to link Bordeaux to Toulouse, the Canal de Garonne has sometimes been overshadowed by its older sibling the Canal du Midi, which has had the benefit of leaving it largely unspoiled. It shadows a popular pilgrimage route to Compostella and one of its outstanding attractions is the town of Moissac, with its world famous Romanesque abbey cloister. There are a number of exquisite country villages to discover, including Serignac, whose church has a distinctive twisted spire, and Duras which is famed not just for its chateau, but as the birthplace of the French writer Marguerite Duras.
As you travel inland from the Atlantic and the vineyards peter out, they are replaced by orchards growing apples, pears and particularly Ente plums. The town of Agen has become synonymous with prunes and the Pruneau d’Agen is so fine that it has earned itself a Protected Geographical Indication, which governs the location and means of its production.
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Bordfeaux or Toulouse hotel. French international airports are at Toulouse, Bordeaux – and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also European-flight airports at Bergerac and Carcassonne. TGV express train stations are located at Bordeaux, Montauban and Toulouse; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Bordeaux, Duras, Moissac, St Emilion, Bordeaux Wine, Canal de Garonne, Serignac, Agen –
Hotel Barge Rosa: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 98ft x 16ft 4” (29.5m x 5m)
Jean-Francois Champollion (Bow): 8ft x 13ft (2.5m x 4m)
Jean-Dominique Ingres (Bow): 8ft x 11ft 5” (2.5m x 3.5m)
Deodat de Severac (Stern): 6ft 5” x 16ft 5” (2m x 5m)
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (Stern): 10ft x 11ft 5” (3m x 3.5m)
- Jean-Francois Champollion & Henri Toulouse-Lautrec each have a double bed 4ft 6” wide x 6ft 5” long (1.4m x 2m).
Jean-Dominique Ingres & Deodat de Severac each have 2 single beds. Each bed is 2ft 9”wide x 6ft 5” long (84cm x 2m)
- Ceiling Heights:
Severac & Lautrec is 7ft 4” (2.25m)
Ingres & Champollion is 8ft 2” (2.5m)
- All cabins have en-suite bathroom with shower, wash basin and WC, washing gel, hand soap, shampoo, towels and hair dryer.
- Each stateroom has individually controlled air conditioning and central heating.
- 110v and 220v electrical fittings (please bring adaptors as required)
- Professional English-speaking crew of 4 – Captain, tour guide, master chef and housekeeper
Other items on board
- A small library of books, maps, board games
- Music centre / CD player
- Wifi (limited in some areas)
- Hot air balloon flights may be available as an extra, booked in advance
- Air-conditioned executive minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Rosa: Cuisine in Aquitaine and Gascony
The Gascony/Aquitaine region has a wide variety of regional cheeses, superb wines from Bordeaux to Cahors, foie gras, truffles, confits, fruit, fish and meat producers. Rosa’s cruising area is a real paradise for those who enjoy a rich culinary tradition.
Given 8 weeks notice chef will be delighted to meet your preferences or dietary requirements, especially for personal celebrations – with a glass of champagne and appropriate dessert.
Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet with fresh breads, fruit, cereals etc.
Lunch: Buffet of colourful salads, pates and cold meats, accompanied by hot soup or entrée, delectable desserts and a different selection of regional cheeses and wines daily.
Dinner: Always a gastronomic adventure. A taste of regional cuisine by candlelight, harmonising food and good wines from the best vineyards; followed by a selection of regional cheeses. Coffee and liqueurs served in the salon.
Meals are prepared with first-class fresh products, and will vary according to the itinerary, local markets and seasons. They will be served either in the dining area or on the sun deck. Gourmet dinners will be served according to French tradition.
On board, a stock of carefully selected prominent white, rose and red wines from Bordeaux vineyards. Amateurs will appreciate meeting and sharing the knowledge of local wine makers.
The Wine Cellar:
Buzet (Baron d’Ardeuil, Côtes de Buzet)
Sauternes Bordeaux Superieur, Barsac, Haut Medoc
Cotes du Frontonnais (Château Bellevue La Forêt)
France offers a wide variety of cheeses – cow, goat, sheep – and you can taste a different one every day.
The Cheese Board:
Le Bleu de Quercy, Templais Sec, Tomme de Lomagne, Cabécou, Roquefort, Laguiole.
- Regional Specialties
Entrecôte de Bazas à la Bordelaise
Magret de Canard aux Pommes et aux Oignons Confit
Tourtière de Pommes
Confit de Canard et Son Jus au Thym
Foie Gras Poélé Déglacé au Vin de Figues
Filet de Truite au Beurre Blanc
Pruneaux à l’Armagnac
Sample Dinner Menu
Roquefort mousse, beetroot & red onion tarte
Pintarde supreme, summer truffle, shaved asparagus, Comte pomme purée, Madiera jus
Strawberry parfait, basil sorbet, black pepper sable
Mi cuit fois gras & apricot terrine, compressed apricot & chutney
Fillet of beef a la bordelaise, girolles, pomme fondant, spinach
Agen prune & Armagnac soufflé, vanilla bean ice cream
Hotel Barge Rosa – 2017 Rates ➤ 2018 Rates
Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
April 16, 23
July 23, 30
August 6, 13, 20
October 8, 15
6 guest charter: 30,400 USD / 18,800 GBP / 24,900 EUR
7 guest charter: 31,600 USD / 19,500 GBP / 25,800 EUR
8 guest charter: 32,800 USD / 20,200 GBP / 26,700 EUR
Per Cabin bookings
Stateroom Double Cabin: 4,390 USD / 2,750 GBP / 3,590 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,650 USD / 1,050 GBP / 1,300 EUR
Regular rate weeks:
May 7, 14, 21, 28
June 4, 11, 18, 25
July 2, 9, 16
September 3, 10, 17, 24
6 guest charter: 34,700 USD / 21,600 GBP / 28,500 EUR
7 guest charter: 36,100 USD / 22,400 GBP / 29,500 EUR
8 guest charter: 37,500 USD / 23,200 GBP / 30,500 EUR
Per Cabin bookings
Stateroom Double Cabin: 4,990 USD / 3,090 GBP / 4,150 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,850 USD / 1,200 GBP / 1,500 EUR
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!
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.
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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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