carcassonne

Canal du Midi – Languedoc :: Hotel Barge Canal and River Cruises

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The sun-drenched South of France home of vineyards, sunflower fields and the world-famous, historic, Canal du Midi.

Picturesque Languedoc is France’s most productive wine region with many delicious ‘drink now’ varieties on sale, direct from the vineyards (free tastings welcomed) that border the waterway, for just a few euros per bottle. If at the end of the canal there is the great city of Toulouse (home to France’s space and aeronautics industries) , then half-way along there is the amazing medieval ‘city’ of Carcassonne, famed for its huge, fortified, hilltop castle – a favoured location for many heroic swashbuckling films.

Branching off the Canal du Midi near Capestang village (with a much-photographed low stone arch canal bridge) the Robine Canal, bordered by umbrella pine trees, connects with the Mediterranean, passing through the must-see town of Narbonne. And at Agde (founded by the Ancient Greeks in 500BC) it is possible to sail upstream from the unique round lock along 10km of the calm, clear and ‘secret’ River Herault.


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 –

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

Style: 5* Grand Luxe

EnchantéE W Fleet

  • Style: 5* Grand Luxe
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

A simply enchanting hotel barge offering exceptionally spacious accommodation for up to 8 passengers. With luxury oozing from all quarters and... Read more

SavannahOwner Operated

  • Style: 5* Grand Luxe
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault, Short Stay Option

Savannah cruises along the world-famous Canal du Midi and is a stunning hotel barge, her warm exterior colouring attracting envious looks all... Read more

Roi SoleilOwner Operated

  • Style: 5* Grand Luxe
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Provence‑Camargue, Midi‑Herault

Roi Soleil is possibly the most distinctively elegant hotel barge - a true river yacht - cruising the French waterways. She is curvaceous on the... Read more

Alouette Belmond

  • Style: 5* Grand Luxe
  • Capacity: 2 cabins / 4 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Just four privileged passengers can charter this luxurious Belmond barge to progress regally along the reknowned 17th century Canal du Midi. The... Read more

Style: 4* Excellence

EsperanceOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Luxury hotel barge Esperance offers delightful cruising for up to 6 guests looking for a real French experience on board an authentic but... Read more

Clair de LuneOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Clair de Lune offers relaxed superior cruising for four to six guests, and has a choice of two routes along the iconic Canal du Midi. She is... Read more

AlegriaOwner Operated

  • Style: 4* Excellence
  • Capacity: 2 cabins / 4 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Alegria is a very striking, much photographed hotel barge - unique along the Canal du Midi with her large round port-hole style picture windows -... Read more

Style: 3* Premier

AthosE W Fleet

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 5 cabins / 10 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

A top-class hotel barge for up to ten guests, Athos is beautifully designed to combine luxury and cosy richness. With smart, contemporary decor... Read more

AnjodiE W Fleet

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Hotel Barge Anjodi creates a charming holiday cruise for 8 passengers in four air-conditioned staterooms on the delightful Canal du Midi. With... Read more

CarolineOwner Operated

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Hotel barge Caroline is a delightful family-friendly barge for a group of 6 guests, with children especially welcome. With homely interiors she... Read more

MirageOwner Operated

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

Mirage is a beautifully renovated boutique barge cruising the Canal du Midi and offering luxury cruises for up to 6 guests. Spacious and distinctive... Read more

EmmaOwner Operated

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests
  • Cruising: Provence‑Camargue, Midi‑Herault

A delightfully presented barge, with distinctive arched windows and top quality fitments and furnishings throughout, Emma offers six guests superb... Read more

SaraphinaOwner Operated

  • Style: 3* Premier
  • Capacity: 2 cabins / 4 guests
  • Cruising: Midi‑Herault

A traditional Dutch barge from the late 1920's Saraphina has been delightfully converted to convey four guests on a graceful and relaxing cruise... Read more

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