3 to 6-nigh all-inclusive discovery cruise on the Canal du Midi! Experience Occitanie region and traditions in a unique way!
Cruise from Portiragnes to Homps onboard our beautiful barge with the best gastronomy and activities
River trip highlights
- Experience the quite beauty and wildness of the Canal du Midi
- Discover Occitane history and culture through gastronomy and visits
- Enjoy an intimate barge with warm, cozy and comfy interiors
- Discover the medieval cities of Carcassone, Narbonne, and Béziers
- Experiene the life of the river for and dicover all it has to offer
- Taste the local gastronomy and the wide variety of ingredients
River trip summary
WHAT WE WILL DO TOGETHER;
- Together, we will explore the vast resources that the Languedoc-Rousillon region (part of Occitanie), has to offer in terms of gastronomy, culture and nature! We will be cruising on the famous 350 years old masterpiece that is the Canal du Midi, today classified as a UNESCO world heritage.
- Our main mission will be to make your cruise unforgettable! That is why from the moment you step on board, our crew of three will do everything that needs to be done, leaving you with only one task; RELAX.
- All along the week, we will cruise through tiny bridges, picturesque villages, lots of vineyards and impressive river and canal locks! The perfect occasion to learn about river cruising. You will be struck by the beautiful landscapes that you will be able to see from the boat's deck.
- Our barge is a Dutch ship that was built in 1924 and recently restored, refitted and carefully designed to ensure our guests enjoy the comfort and purpose-built amenities. Its interiors are contemporary, bright and welcoming, and we know you will feel at home.
- In addition to our sun deck where you will be able to relax, enjoy your meals, and observe the surrounding landscapes and wildlife, there are two en-suite cabins where four can sleep (One cabin 183 sq ft (17 sq mt) with twin beds or queen and one cabin 140 sq ft (13 sq mt) with double bed). Both are equipped with everything you might need, and dutch bikes will be available for you to use whenever you feel like it.
- Not only you will have the owners onboard 24/7 to ensure the service is perfect and that you are enjoying your time! Furthermore, your cruise will be a real cultural and immersive experience.
WHAT WILL FOOD BE LIKE ONBOARD;
- With the Mediterranean sea being only a few kilometers away, we can offer a wide choice of fresh seafood. The owner and the cook constantly work hard on original menus to give you an eclectic range of dishes incorporating local specialties and paired with local wines (such as a juicy and rich Syrah or a delightfully crisp Sauvignon).
- The gastronomic experience is central to your cruise with us, and it is one of our main tasks to source only the best locally sourced and fresh ingredients. You will be able to enjoy your four-course evening meals in our spacious salon with views on the surroundings, in the cozy wheelhouse or on our sun deck.
- We will adapt to any of your dietary requests and can arrange special ingredients, dishes or wines upon request (feel free to discuss that with our Bookarivertrip.com agent). We took the stand of selecting a wide range of restaurants onshore where you will be having most of your lunches, as we think that discovering the local restaurants is crucial to enjoying french culinary tradition and conception of customer service.
- Let us know if you would like to access the list of restaurants where you will be transported from one culinary experience to another!
River trip description
Our barge cruises between Portiragnes-Plage (very close to the sea) and the UNESCO world heritage city of Carcassone, which are linked by the Canal du Midi. Depending on the date of departure, your cruise will either take you from Portiragnes to Carcassone or from Carcassone to Portiragnes.
- To ensure that you get the best out of your trip, we set the equilibrium between relaxing and doing activities. We decided to split the days that you spend onboard between exploration of the surrounding areas and cruising. It will even be the occasion to learn about river navigation and take the wheel from our comfy steering house!
- While we cruise (3 to 5 hours per day) you are free to unwind as you like; relax on the sun deck or in the lounge with views on passing canal and villages, walk, jog or cycle along the towpaths that rune parallel to the canal all along the cruise.
- Every morning, following our breakfast, your personal tour guide will pick you up to explore the local areas and enjoy lunch in one restaurant. There are many activities and destinations available depending on your inclinations. Ask our Bookarvertrip.com agent!
- Specific sites of interest that you might want to visit, such as wineries and museums, can be added to your planning! Our daily activities include visits to; the medieval city of Carcassonne, the historic streets of Pezenas and the Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide, or the beautiful towns of Béziers and Narbonne.
- Our barge is perfect for romantic honeymoon couples, groups of friends or families of four. We welcome children and know how to entertain them properly during the cruise!
- We can offer other options, such as a beach and picnic day, horse riding, or water and adventure parks and canoeing experiences! The region has so much to offer, feel free to ask, we will propose activities corresponding to your cruise period.
* Find here a sample itinerary from Portiragnes to Homps - Full board option
Day 1-Sunday: Arrival onboard and barge discovery
- Upon arrival, our private guide will come and pick you up from the local airport, hotel or train station on which we will have agreed on. It will be your first glimpse of the french countryside, and we can tell you, this part of France has some of the top ones!
- Once arrived onboard, we will start by a cruise in what locals call "the mini Camargue", because of its preserved nature, Camargue being a natural reserve located eastwards.
- It will be the perfect time for our Champagne Welcome, and our chef will prepare some delicacies to get you going before dinner is served on board at our beautiful mooring in the countryside, close to Portiragnes.
Day 2-Monday: Visit of Pezenas town and afternoon aqueduct cruise
- After you relax in your spacious and comfy cabins, a delicious french breakfast will be served, get ready for French pastries! Our guide will then take you to the historic streets of Pezenas, a charming renaissance village. There is plenty to do, mingle around from an antique shop to a craft shop, and discover the regional art in its galleries.
- After a typical lunch in one lovely restaurant there, we are back to the barge for our afternoon cruise, which will cross over the famous aqueduct and up the impressive series of locks at Fonserannes.
- This evening, we selected a mooring that is very close to Béziers, so you can go and discover the town and its incredibly rich patrimonial architecture by yourself. Don't be late for dinner, as we got the best local products for you! Why not follow up with some cocktails and listen to some French music on our hi-fi system? You decide.
Day 3-Tuesday: Visit a spectacular Abbey and cruise to Capestang
- This morning, we will be off to visit the Abbey of Fontfroide, lost in the middle of trees. You will be charmed by the very particular ambiance within the walls and courtyard of this site, and learn about the history of religious communities from those times.
- For lunch, we will stop at a scenic restaurant that has a stunning view over the "Pond of Montady" which construction dates to the 13th century and that has dried out since then. Today, it offers a very particular view of its circular agriculture setting.
- During the afternoon, we will cruise through the windiest part of the Canal du Midi to our next mooring. This part of France is known for its strong winds, which have led to teh development of wind farms all around, that today supply green electricity to locals.
- Our mooring at Capestang, a charming village, will give you the opportunity to enjoy drinks on the deck, with a unique view on the village's 12th-century collegial church. Perfect setting and perfect ambiance for your next culinary experience onboard!
Day 4-Wednesday: Guided tour to Narbonne historic city and cruise to Le Somail
- After an amazing sleep onboard (you will see there is nowhere where you can sleep better than on a river!), our guide will drive you to Narbonne, a city with a thousand years of history behind, founded BC by the Romans.
- Many sites a must-do there, such as the famous covered food market where you can choose a selection of seafood and "charcuterie" that will later be enjoyed back onboard. We will also visit the Archibishop palace, the gothic cathedral, and the tens of craft and artisan shops that flourished in its medieval streets.
- The afternoon will be spent cruising to our next destination, the sleepy village of Le Sommail, known behind borders for its antique bookshop and as a barge repair stop! This evening, we will recommend a few restaurants to dine and drink.
Day 5-Thursday: Olive oil factory visit and cruise to Roubia
- Today, we will visit the medieval Cathar (dissident movement of the Christian church from the medieval ages) village of Minerve, which will transport you back in time with its old buildings built on the cliff!
- There, we will an olive factory called Oulibo, where the producers will tell us all the secrets about the olive oil making process and show us around their site.
- After we have taken lunch in one of the local restaurants, it will be time to return on board for our afternoon cruise to Roubi village, where a wine tasting can be organized before or after dinner is taken on board. Again, you decide!
Day 6-Friday: Visit Carcassonne and final cruise to Homps
- Today, it is what we can say the highlight of the week, with the visit of the Medieval city of Carcassonne, which has bee stunningly restored for decades and is now the best-preserved and largest medieval fortress in whole Europe!
- Again, a list of the restaurants will be proposed to you a few days in advance, so you can select the one that best suits your taste, even though all those we have selected will seduce your taste buds.
- We are then off for our final cruise lap; enjoy the views and landscapes that scrawl around you, take a sunbath on the deck, or mediate with nature all around you, just in time to reach the village of Homps for our farewell dinner onboard.
Day 7-Saturday: Day of departure
- After breakfast, you still have some time to enjoy the barge's amenities, and collect all your memories and laughter to bring back home. We are sad that you leave already!
- You will then be transferred to the agreed point for your next adventure. We hope to see you back soon, ask our bookarivertrip.com agent for information about alternative cruises for you or your friends.
How to get there
- In order to reach Portiragnes, the best option for you is to get to the big towns of Béziers, Narbonne or Montpellier.
- You can reach them through the motorways A9, A75 or A61. Please note that we can arrange a pick up at a meeting point with our private shuttle.
- Feel free to ask our Bookarivetrip.com agent about such pickup/dropoff locations.
- There are many options to reach Portiragnes by train, through the Intercity of TGV (high-speed train) from France's main cities, or from other European capitals such as Barcelona.
- You can either reach Béziers from Paris Gare de Lyon train station or other regional cities (Montpellier, Narbonne, Toulouse).
- You can reach Portiragnes by plane, using the closest local airport of Béziers-Cap d'Agde. During the summer season, flights to this destination take place from Bristol, London (Luton Airport), Düsseldorf (Weeze) and Stockholm (Skavsta).
- There is also the option to chose one of the regional airports at Montpellier, Toulouse, Carcassone or Perpignan airports that have many more destinations available.
About the area
DISCOVER THE CANAL DU MIDI;
- When it was first engineered and constructed in the 17th century under King Louis XIV rule, the canal name was "Canal Royal en Languedoc". Of course, French revolutionaries renamed it after 1789 and adopted the Canal du Midi appellation.
- The Canal is often considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. It is true that it still works very well today, with more than 350 years of service! The only difference is that it was originally used for trade, and today it is for tourism.
- It took not less than 15 years of work and 12 000 workers to complete, all that under the supervision of Pierre-Paul Riquet, who will die before seeing it completed. It was built to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, in combination with the Canal Lateral à la Garonne, that runs from Toulouse to Bordeaux.
- Running through the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon area, within the Occitanie region, you will be cruising through the biggest wine-producing region in the world, that is responsible for more than a third of France's total wine production. it is home to numerous grape varieties, such as famous Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.
River trip owner
Finnegan grew up in Holland close to Amsterdam. His love of sailing and boating was apparent from a very young age, and has for his whole life become more than a passion, almost an obsession. Emily, from Manchester, started her journey into hospitality at the age of 19 in the French Alps working in luxury ski chalets. Discovering Hotel barging a few years later Emily fell in love with the French Waterways and Finnegan. Together they bring 27 years of barging experience to this particular offer to make your stay aboard memorable.
Building a boat from scratch was Finnegan's lifelong dream. As he bought the barge she was just an empty shell allowing him to completely design and build the boat himself, he couldn't be prouder of the result.
Whilst Finnegan navigates the barge along the beautiful Canal du Midi, Emily will be preparing homemade delicious delights in the open kitchen. Priding themselves on sourcing the best local ingredients the region has to offer and using only the eggs from their own free range much-loved chickens.
A personal experienced Tour Guide will be on hand to take you to the hidden gems of the Languedoc and share his vast knowledge with you. Your tours will be tailored to your interests.
17 Reviews - 3 to 6-nigh all-inclusive discovery cruise on the Canal du Midi! Experience Occitanie region and traditions in a unique way!
Ross and Lynn - England
Merci Beaucoup Finn and Emily and Lula too. Wow, we had a wonderful and relaxing time on your beautiful barge! Such an amazing escape from our busy lives. A dream holiday! Thank you so much for your hospitality and friendship.
Becky - the United States
Dearest Emily, Finn and Lula,
There are not enough words to tell you how special this trip has been.....for all of us. You are both artisans in every way. Every minute spent with you two has been LOVELY and I will treasure this time spent with you and on your beautiful barge for as long as I have memory.
Thank you so much for sharing your home and yourselves with us.
With blessings and Love
Jennifer - England
This trip was so good for my soul. To truly get away from everything is the goal and rarely does that happen to the extent that it happed this week. Moving through the Canal was like going through a French landscape painting and completely changed how I look at paintings from now on. Thank you for what you've done to this barge and sharing it with others.
Pat and David - the United States
Thank you doesn't begin to say what a great trip this has been. The food, boat, visits, canal combined to give an experience like no other but the best part was meeting both of you and of course Lula and Barry, the walking, talking guide on our field trips.
Judy - the United States
I hope the course of the rest of my life is like the Canal du Midi with Finn and Emily. You two made a beautiful experience more so. May your lives be filled with red poppies and Noilly Prat Amber. Merci Beaucoup