Charming, spacious cruising for four guests on the Canal du Midi, France
A traditional Dutch barge from the late 1920’s Saraphina has been delightfully converted to convey four guests on a graceful and relaxing cruise in southern France. She offers a full 6 night cruise and also a shorter 3 night cruise, allowing a short stay elsewhere perhaps on your week’s vacation on the Canal du Midi.
Saraphina has one queen-sized double cabin in traditional style at the aft and one queen sized double/twin-bedded cabin in modern style to the fore. Both are around 190 sq ft with ensuite bathrooms and are heated and air-conditioned.
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 Saraphina :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Portiragens Plage to Carcassonne, Canal du Midi, southern France
- Charter bookings only, 6 or 3 nights cruises, April to October
- Self-catering cruises; charter, 6 nights only; July August and October only
- 4 guests / 2 double cabins with en-suite bathrooms
- Air conditioning and heating throughout
- Fully stocked bar with a selection of cocktails, digestives and soft drinks
- Full board and Half board, some meals taken ashore
- Sun deck with loungers
- Wifi (limited in some places)
- Air-conditioned minibus for transfers and excursions
Hotel Barge Saraphina: Cruise Highlights
- Excursion to the medieval fortress of Carcassonne
- Visit to the pre-Roman city of Narbonne
- Delicious wine-tasting at Languedoc vineyard
- Explore Beziers and Minerve and discover the Cathar history
- Delight in the canalside village charm of Homps
- Stroll and cycle along the towpath and explore the villages
Hotel Barge Saraphina is privately owned and operated by Finnegan and Emily Campfens, both highly experienced and talented hosts, Finn being the previous much-loved long-standing skpper aboard Roi Soleil. Saraphina their first new venture together. You will be warmly welcomed and your needs and interests will be ably met throughout your vacation aboard.
6 nights or 3 nights accommodation, pick-up and transfer from agreed meeting point to the barge, all meals and drinks on board, all excursion fees and associated transport
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)
Hotel Barge Saraphina: Cruise Portiragnes Plage to Carcassonne, Canal du Midi, southern France
Day 1 Sunday – Arrival
Pick up from hotel, train station, or local airport and transfer to barge Saraphina, moored close to Beziers. After a Champagne welcome and a short cruise your first dinner will be served aboard.
Day 2 Monday Beziers to Fonserannes
After breakfast you will be driven by executive minibus to explore the historic streets of renaissance Pezenas, to explore this ancient town with its lively arts, crafts and antique shops. After a typical bistro lunch in Beziers itself, cruise over the aquaduct and up the majestic flight of locks at Fonserannes, one of the marvels of this ancient canal.
Day 3 Tuesday Fonserannes to countryside mooring
Morning visit to explore the medieval Cathar village of Minerve, a vital stronghold with a tragichistory. Then to the olive oil factory Oulibo to discover and taste the regions olives. After lunch at a local restaurant with stunning views across the countryside, continue the cruise meandering through the countryside to the mooring for the night and dinner on board.
Day 4 Wednesday Cruise through the countryside
An excursion to the ancient, and modern, city of Narbonne, known for the archbishop’s palace and gothic cathedral, but there’s time for shopping and browsing the famous covered food market, where you will enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant. Then, back on board Saraphina to cruise on through the afternoon to another stunning mooring for the night and dinner on board.
Day 5 Thursday Cruise to Homps
Visit to the Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, an important religious site, and then lunch on board (on deck if the weather permits) whilst cruising to the delightful waterside town of Homps. Moor for the night, browse around the village and a delicious wine tasting before dinner on board.
Day 6 Friday Homps to Carcassonne
A visit to the extraordinary medieval city of Carcassonne is a highlight of the week. After a guided tour around Europe’s largest medieval fortified town take lunch in a local restaurant. Then, the final cruise to the mooring at Carcassonne and Captain’s farewell dinner on board.
Day 7 Saturday Departure
After breakfast transfer to the train station, hotel or local airport for onward
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Please note: Hotel Barge Saraphina also offers 3 night and half-board cruises. Enquire for more details.
Hotel Barge Saraphina Self-catering Cruise
Enjoy the freedom of a self-catered holiday on the Canal du Midi without the responsibility of navigating and servicing the boat. The Captain and Hostess are on board to take care of everything – except catering.
The Captain takes care of the navigation (although you are welcome to assist at the wheel), and the Hostess services your cabins each day, keeping the boat clean and sparkling for you.
Full concierge services are included, for example, you might need help reserving a restaurant, or organising a guided day tour to Carcassonne, Pezenas or Narbonne, or other local destinations off the beaten track. Advice is free and transport can be provided at a small extra cost.
Cooking and eating
You have the run of a fully equipped kitchen, with fridge and freezer and there is a bar-b-cue on deck too. Supplies can even be picked up for you during the week.
Included in the charter price:
6 nights’ accommodation in two air conditioned cabins, use of the kitchen, 2 crew (Pilot and Hostess), bicycles, towels, bathrobes, hairdryers, and 3 – 5 hours of cruising each day
Not included: Tours, transport services, food, beverages
Prices from : €4,225 for 6 nights
250 Euros per person (1 tour per day, 5 in total).
50 Euros per hour (local trips of 5 minutes or are not charged for)
2 trips to the local supermarket during the week are included in the fee, either accompanies or by giving a list. Additional shopping trips will be charged as taxi service above.
Can be parked safely. Transferring it to the end of cruise point, 100 Euros.
Hotel Barge Saraphina 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 Saraphina: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 82ft (25m) x 12ft (4m)
- The suites measure around 66 sq ft (20m2) including the ensuite bathrooms
The aft cabin, Iona, has a fixed queen size bed and original 1924 features; the fore cabin, Ysee, has a queen-size double or twin beds and more contemporary decor.
- Bathrooms have showers, hand basin and WC, toiletries, towels, bathrobes and hairdryer
- Expert and professional English-speaking crew of 2
Other items on board:
- 4 bicycles
- Small library of books and games
- Wifi (may be limited in some areas)
- Lounge and dining area with stereo system
DVD player and DVDs
Hotel Barge Saraphina: Cuisine
All meals on board Saraphina are freshly prepared, using produce from local suppliers. They are served either in the dining area or up on deck in the wheelhouse for all weather dining and great views. The galley is open so that guests can watch meals being prepared.
All meals are accompanied by carefully matched wines from the region. Vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan and non-allergenic dishes can be arranged given at least 8 weeks notice prior to departure. Meals on shore are taken in carefully chosen restaurants to provide guests with excellent dishes with the local ambience.
Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Full-board rate weeks (6 nights):
April 8, 15, 22, 29
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
October 7, 14, 21, 28
2 guest charter: 13,700 USD / 11,720 EUR
4 guest charter: 17,050 USD / 14,650 EUR
5-night full-board cruises:
2 guest charter: 12,050 USD / 10,280 EUR
4 guest charter: 15,050 USD / 12,850 EUR
4-night full-board cruises:
2 guest charter: 10,500 USD / 8,840 EUR
4 guest charter: 13,050 USD / 11,050 EUR
3-night full-board cruises:
2 guest charter: 8,700 USD / 7,400 EUR
4 guest charter: 11,0500 USD / 9,250 EUR
Dine-ashore* rate weeks (6 nights):
* Meals ashore (at recommended local restaurants) at guests’ own expense.
2 guest charter: 12,500 USD / 10,720 EUR
4 guest charter: 16,050 USD / 13,650 EUR
5-night dine-ashore* rate:
2 guest charter: 11,050 USD / 9,280 EUR
4 guest charter: 14,050 USD / 11,850 EUR
4-night dine-ashore* rate
2 guest charter: 9.500 USD / 7,840 EUR
4 guest charter: 12,050 USD / 10,050 EUR
3-night dine-ashore* rate
2 guest charter: 7,700 USD / 6,420 EUR
4 guest charter: 10,050 USD / 8,250 EUR
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.