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 board 6 night cruise, a 3 night cruise and also a self-catering option for your week’s vacation on the delightful Canal du Midi.

Saraphina has one queen-sized double cabin in traditional style at the aft and one queen sized double or twin-bedded cabin in modern style to the fore. Both are around 190 sq ft with en-suite bathrooms and are heated and air-conditioned.

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 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
  • Full board, 5 meals ashore in restaurants (4 lunches and 1 dinner).
  • Self catering charters available April, July, August and October
  • 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
  • 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 Canal du Midi

Your Hosts:
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.

What’s included:
6 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

Not included:
Air fares to and within France; travel, medical and cancellation insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% suggested)

Guest Comments:

“We feel so blessed to have met you both and cruised on your beautiful Saraphina. We enjoyed every day, the variety, the champagne, wine and food. What a special experience it has been. Thanks for taking us for a trip at such short notice. It was a great opportunity for us to be with you for the week. A wonderful journey with a remarkable couple. Love that you share your home. Gracious hosts and a wow trip.
Rosanne, Mike, Carol and Rich Sept 2018

“We all thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The barge was perfect in every way…It was meticulously clean and very comfortable.
It was very relaxing and we were in very good company with Finn and Emily….they were so helpful to make this an incredible experience every single day! We became fast friends!

The restaurants they recommended were great, especially the one we went to our first day, on the beach, Mediterranean Sea….we would never have found it ourselves! It was a pop up seafood restaurant that clears out in the fall. Quite fabulous!
Thank you for all of your assistance with this trip.”
Lynn H, June 2018

Hotel Barge Saraphina:
Portiragnes Plage to Carcassonne, Canal du Midi, southern France

Day 1 Sunday | Arrival

Hotel barge Saraphina, Canal du Mid, France

Pick up from your hotel, train station or a local airport for private minibus transfer to barge Saraphina, moored close to Beziers at Portiragnes Plage. After a Champagne welcome and settling in to your quarters enjoy a short early evening cruise before your first dinner is served aboard.

Day 2 Monday | Beziers to Fonserannes

Hotel Barge Saraphina Canal du Midi France

After breakfast, Saraphina’s tour guide will take you via minibus to explore the historic streets of renaissance Pezenas. As well as wonderful views and ancient buildings to admire this fascinating town has a lively ambience with arts, crafts and antique shops to explore. Then, take lunch in a typical bistro  in Beziers itself and experience the authentic dining out atmosphere with local inhabitants. Then the much renowned cruise over the Beziers aqueduct to climb the majestic flight of locks at Fonserannes, one of the marvels of this ancient canal.
Another lovely dinner on board tonight.

Day 3 Tuesday | Fonserannes to countryside mooring

Hotel Barge Savannah Canal du Midi

This morning, an excursion to explore the medieval Cathar village of Minerve, a vital stronghold with a tragic history. You will learn about its history and how its hilltop position and panorama was vital to its survival. Then, to the famous olive oil factory, Oulibo, to discover the regions olives and have a taste. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant with stunning views across the countryside, before continuing the cruise as the canal meanders to the mooring for the night and dinner on board.

Day 4 Wednesday | Visit the Mediterranean city of Narbonne

hotel barge Saraphina Canal du Midi France

This morning’s visit is to the ancient, and very modern, city of Narbonne. Known for the archbishop’s palace and its Gothic cathedral, this ancient city has history, architectur and culture to offer – but there’s also 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

Hotel barge Saraphina Canal du Midi France

Visit to the Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, an important religious site dating back to the 11th century and part of Narbonne’s turbulent history Then return to Saraphina for 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 stop for a delicious wine tasting before dinner on board.

Day 6 Friday | Homps to Carcassonne

Hotel Barge Saraphina Canal du Midi France

A visit to the extraordinary medieval city of Carcassonne is a highlight of the week. Take a guided tour around Europe’s largest medieval fortified town, walk the ramparts and soak up the historical significance of this UNESCO protected treasure. Lunch is taken is a local restaurant and then the final cruise to the mooring at Carcassonne and the Captain’s farewell dinner on board.

Day 7 Saturday | Departure

Hotel barge Saraphina Canal du Midi France

After breakfast transfer to the train station, hotel or local airport for onward journey.

hotel barge canal du midi saraphinaThis 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.

hotel barge saraphina Canal du Midi

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.

hotel barge saraphina Canal du Midi

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.

hotel barge saraphina Canal du Midi

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
6 nights only
2 – 4 guest charter: 6,650 USD / 5,550 EUR

Guided tours:
250 EUR per person (1 tour per day, 5 in total).

Taxi service:
50 EUR per hour (local trips of 5 minutes or are not charged for)

Shopping trips:
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.

Own car:
Can be parked safely. Transferring it to the end of cruise point = 100 EUR.

Hotel Barge Saraphina cruises through Midi-Languedoc, southern France

Barge Cruising – Midi-Languedoc

map midi languedoc► Hotel Barges cruising in this locality

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.

Getting There
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 –

minervois2-500x300  midi-sunflowers-500x300  minerve2-500x300

midi-lock-500x300  midi-somail2-500x300  midi-canal-500x300

beziers3-500x300  narbonne-500x300  carcassonne-musicians-500x300

Minerve ©Ian Cameron | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

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
  • Air conditioned luxury VW multi-van for private transfers and excursions

Hotel Barge Saraphina Canal du Midi

Hotel Barge Saraphina: CuisineHotel Barge Saraphina Canal du Midi France

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.

Hotel barge Saraphina, Canal du Mid, France

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.

Hotel Barge Saraphina - Canal du Midi

Hotel Barge Saraphina – 2019 Rates  ➤ 2020 Rates

Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday

Full-board rate weeks (6 nights):

Appreciate the full French experience this year with 5 meals ashore in restaurants (4 lunches and 1 dinner).

Mar 31
April 7, 14, 21, 28
May 5, 12, 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
July 7, 14, 21, 28
August 4, 11, 18, 25
September 1, 8, 15, 22
September 29 – October 5 will be Beziers to Avignon
October 6 – 12 will be Avignon to Beziers
13, 20 as normal

2 guest charter: 13,900 USD / 11,720 EUR
4 guest charter: 17,450 USD / 14,650 EUR

5-night full-board cruises:

2 guest charter:  12,250 USD / 10,280 EUR
4 guest charter: 15,450 USD / 12,850 EUR

4-night full-board cruises:

2 guest charter:  10,700 USD / 8,840 EUR
4 guest charter: 13,450 USD / 11,050 EUR

3-night full-board cruises:

2 guest charter: 8,900 USD / 7,400 EUR
4 guest charter: 11,450 USD / 9,250 EUR

Self-catering cruises:

6 nights only
2 – 4 guest charter: 6,650 USD / 5,550 EUR

Hotel Barge Saraphina – 2020 Rates

Charter only bookings
Sunday to Saturday

Full-board rate weeks (6 nights):

Appreciate the full French experience this year with 5 meals ashore in restaurants (4 lunches and 1 dinner).

March 29
April 5, 12, 19, 26
May 3, 10, 17, 24
June 7, 14, 21, 28
July 5, 12, 19, 26
August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
September 6, 13, 20, 27
October 4, 11, 18, 25

2 guest charter: 13,900 USD / 11,720 EUR
4 guest charter: 17,450 USD / 14,650 EUR

5-night full-board cruises:

2 guest charter:  12,250 USD / 10,280 EUR
4 guest charter: 15,450 USD / 12,850 EUR

4-night full-board cruises:

2 guest charter:  10,700 USD / 8,840 EUR
4 guest charter: 13,450 USD / 11,050 EUR

3-night full-board cruises:

2 guest charter: 8,900 USD / 7,400 EUR
4 guest charter: 11,450 USD / 9,250 EUR

Self-catering cruises:

6 nights only
2 – 4 guest charter: 6,650 USD / 5,550 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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