Canal du Midi Cruise Highlights
With many of our cruises exploring some of the best wine-growing regions of France, our Canal du Midi cruise itineraries never fail to impress! Oenophines (wine-lovers), will appreciate our private wine tours and tastings at popular domaines such as the five-generation family-run Château Pech-Celeyran, aboard hotel barge Anjodi.
Carcassonne is a medieval fortified city set atop a hill overlooking the Aude River, and you can explore this city on any of our Canal du Midi cruises. Composed of a circle of towers and battlements, turrets and ramparts, with the longest city wall in Europe, it’s a perfectly restored medieval town. The oldest sections of its encircling wall were built by the Romans in the third century AD. Rising against the backdrop of the Black Mountains, Carcassonne is striking not only during the day but also at night, when it is floodlit!
Sitting atop a rocky outcrop at the junction of the Cesse and Brian Rivers, Minerve, the ancient capital of Minervois is considered by many as a quintessentially medieval French village. First founded in the 8th century, it is surrounded by deep limestone gorges and offers magnificent views of surrounding countryside. Wander in the shadows of a 12th century Cathar fort surrounded by these gorges as part of our Canal du Midi cruise itineraries.
Narbonne was the first town outside of Italy to be colonised by the Romans and grew to be the largest port outside Rome. Once a coastal port, it prospered until the sea receded in the Middle Ages. It is now eight miles inland. Today Narbonne has a well-restored medieval quarter and is famous for its magnificent art-nouveau covered food market, Archbishop’s Palace, Cathedral and Via Domitia (Roman road). Experience the very best of Narbonne on any of our Canal du Midi cruises.
Between Poilhes and Colombiers lies the Malpas Tunnel, the world’s first section of navigable underground canal. At 525 feet, it is not particularly long, but it is certainly wide and high! Cut through sandstone, look up and you’ll notice that most of the inside is lined with ornate stone vaulting. Local folklore suggests after the completion of the canal, that one of the workers built a small nook inside the ceiling of the tunnel and lived as a hermit inside it. When barges pass through the tunnel on our Canal du Midi cruises aboard Anjodi, look out as the captain and deckhands will often throw a piece of bread into the opening of the nook as a “gift for the hermit!”
And on the subject of architectural wonders and engineering feats, a key highlight on all our cruises are the unique lock experiences, such as the Seven-Rise Lock Staircase of Fonserannes on the Canal du Midi. On this Canal du Midi cruise highlight, you’ll get to travel 21.5 metres up or down seven ovoid chambers, over 300 metres – passing through just one set of gates between each chamber, so water levels are maintained by use of a side pond.
Whilst our Canal du Midi cruises pass from lock to lock, now is the perfect time to hop-off, and perhaps stretch your legs or take advantage of the barge’s bicycles to explore the towpath. Simply meet the barge at one of the approaching locks; or, if you’d like to explore further afield – many of our barges offer recommended cycling routes which your Captain will be provide more information on. If you prefer to use e-bikes, our Cruise Team can arrange this for you at the time of booking (supplement applies).
Canal du Midi Theme Cruises
We can arrange a wide selection of themed charter cruises which can appeal to all types of groups, large or small, and centres around interests from local culture and gastronomy to more active pursuits such as golf and walking. Popular Theme itineraries include Family Cruises – suitable for multi-generational travellers including young children, our Family Cruises take into consideration the ages and interest of all those in the group, offering a wide range of activities, equipment such as high chairs, car seats, and bicycles.
Gourmands are sure to enjoy our impressive Culinary Cruises that offer an array of cooking demonstrations, local market visits to discover fresh, seasonal produce and gourmet meals prepared by top-class chefs. A handful of ‘Insider Experiences’ such as private wine tours and tastings, truffle hunting and unique olive oil co-operatives are also included.
Supplements may apply. For more information on Canal du Midi Theme Cruises including Canal du Midi Art Cruises and Canal du Midi Tennis Cruises, please speak to a member of our Cruise Team.
Why Book a Canal du Midi Cruise?
Sunnier climes, Cathar history, French and Mediterranean-influenced cuisine and colourful street markets – our Canal du Midi cruises offer the very best of the South of France. Getting to your Canal du Midi cruise couldn’t be easier, with easy to navigate TGV trains from Barcelona or Paris – a great way to enjoy a pre- or post-cruise stay. International airports include Carcassonne, Toulouse, Montpellier, Bezier, Carcassonne Airport, Perpignan Airport and Barcelona.