Canal du Midi ~ Carcassonne ~ Robine Canal ~ Narbonne

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 cruising the Canal du Midi

Wonderful Midi-Languedoc Places

– [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

Getting to the Midi
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.

Capacity: 5 cabins / 10 guests

AthosE W Fleet

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

Capacity: 4 cabins / 8 guests

EnchantéE W Fleet

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

AnjodiE W Fleet

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

Capacity: 3 cabins / 6 guests

SavannahOwner Operated

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

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

EsperanceOwner Operated

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

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

CarolineOwner Operated

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

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

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

Capacity: 2 cabins / 4 guests

AlouetteBelmond

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

AlegriaOwner Operated

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

SaraphinaOwner Operated

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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We have explored the rivers and canals of France on our own yacht and motor boat since 2003, logging up nearly 10,000km along most waterways, in most regions, at all times of year. Independent, impartial and enthusiastic, we have personally visited and know every hotel barge, every owner-operator and fleet, published on french-waterways.com.

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advice-350x217We 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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