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Canal du Midi Cruises

The Midi - A land with rich heritage - diverse Mediterranean landscapes, sun-drenched vineyards and Cathar fortresses

The 330-year-old Canal du Midi skirts the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean before meandering inland through ancient villages, Roman fortifications and famed vineyards. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this canal is defined by its beauty, lined with shady plane trees which often touch to form an arc of green above the water from bank to bank, and crossed by pretty arched bridges. The warm Mediterranean weather and relaxed pace of life is sure to lull you into unwinding as your luxury Canal du Midi cruise meanders gently downstream.

Our Canal du Midi cruises are the perfect choice for cycling or walking along scenic tow paths, or simply watching the scenery pass by as you relax on the deck of your Canal du Midi barge with a cool drink. In the distance you can see the Pyrenees, whereas closer to hand are the vineyards that stretch for thousands of square miles. Enjoy private wine tastings at one of the various chateaux en route.

On our Canal du Midi cruises you will discover a marvellous blend of ancient Gallo-Roman and traditional influences reflected throughout this very historic region. Explore this further with your tour guide when you visit the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, the cathar stronghold of Minerve or the underground Roman market in Narbonne.

Hotel Barge Cruises on the Canal du Midi

  • Experience a taste of barging history aboard 8-passenger Anjodi, a 1929 Luxemotor barge and the founding member of our fleet
  • Travel in the height of elegance and style aboard ultra-deluxe Enchanté
  • Witness a naturalist’s idyll on a cruise through the ‘Petite Camarge’ aboard 10-passenger Athos

Cruising between Le Somail and Marseillan, the first of our classic Canal du Midi cruises takes place aboard our pretty 8-passenger First Class hotel barge Anjodi, which has been cruising in the region for more than 25 years. Anjodi has never been more popular since British TV chef and restauranteur, Rick Stein brought her to the attention of the world in his very successful BBC TV series ‘French Odyssey’.

Ultra-Deluxe Enchanté, cruising between Sallèles d’Aude and Trèbes, is the only double-decker Canal du Midi cruise, providing the space for large cabins and additional facilities whilst still able to squeeze through the waterway’s old locks. Onboard, guests adore the open-plan demonstration galley, where the onboard master chef prepares a selection of gourmet delights each day.

One of the more traditional barges to grace the Canal du Midi, 10-passenger First Class hotel barge, Athos, is a great choice for larger groups wanting to explore the region. Cruising between Argeliers and Marseillan, Athos, once a commercial sand, grain and wine barge continues her rich wine heritage as she cruises the Langedoc-Rousillon Great Wine Region of France.

Wining & Dining

Did you know, Midi cuisine enjoys a delicious combination of Provençale and Mediterranean flavours? Fresh seafood and regional specialities, paired with the excellent local Corbières and Minervois wines, produce an unforgettable repertoire of gastronomic experiences. The Languedoc region is home to over half a million acres of vines and is the biggest wine producing region in the world, creating over a third of France’s wine production.

Aboard your Canal du Midi cruise, you can expect first-class regional French cuisine, with dishes such as Cassoulet de Castelnaudary, Ragout de Calamars à la Provençale, and Filet de Dorade aux Olives Lucques among the barge chef’s specialities. Each meal is perfectly complemented by a selection of fine wines including Domaine Hubert de Beauvignac; Picpoul de Pinet, Clos Bagatelle, St Chinian ‘La Terre de Mon Père’ and Domaine Mas Amiel, Côtes de Rousillon ‘Le Plaisir.

Of course, a four-course meal isn’t complete without a selection of French cheeses! Savour a fine selection including Roquefort Papillon; Cathar au Chèvre; Tomme au Piment d’Espelette, and Bleu de Causses. As you’ll soon see, dining is a true event on our Canal du Midi cruises, with our chef’s presenting their creations before each course, whilst the host presents each wine, demonstrating its individual flavour profiles and why it makes the ideal choice for your meal.

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Canal du Midi Cruise Videos

Our Hotel Barges on the Canal du Midi

Ultra Deluxe 8 Passengers 5 Crew

Enchanté is an ultra-deluxe, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the Canal du Midi in southwest France between Salèlles d’Aude and Trèbes from April to October

First Class 8 Passengers 4 Crew Cruise Rates

Anjodi is a first-class, 8 passenger hotel barge that cruises the Canal du Midi in southwest France between Marseillan and Le Somail from April to October

First Class 10 Passengers 5 Crew Cruise Rates

Athos is a first class, 10 passenger hotel barge that cruises the Canal du Midi in southwest France between Argeliers and Marseillan from April to October

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.

FROM THE LOCK-KEEPER BLOG

Exploring the Canal du Midi’s Fonserannes Locks

The seven-rise Fonserannes Locks are an architectural highlight of any barge cruise. France is rightfully proud of this 17th-century engineering gem. Read More

The Construction of the Canal du Midi

Holidays on the Canal du Midi are very popular today, but not many know about the construction of the Canal du Midi. Find out about its rocky history here… Read More

The Ultimate Guide to the Étang de Thau

The Étang de Thau, sometimes known as the Bassin de Thau, is the largest of a collection of saltwater lagoons that span along the French coast from the Rhône to... Read More

Languedoc Wine Guide: One of the Largest Wine Producing Regions in the World

Languedoc Wine Guide: All you need to know about one of the largest wine producing regions in the world Read More

Wine and Wonder at the Château Pech-Celeyran

Discover fine Languedoc wines at the Château Pech-Celeyran, where guests aboard hotel barge Anjodi can enjoy an unforgettable tour and tasting... Read More

The Ultimate Guide to the Southern Rhône River

Southern Rhône River Guide: All you need to know about one of the most significant waterways of Europe Read More

The Ultimate Guide to the Canal du Midi

The Ultimate Guide to the Canal du Midi - History, interesting facts, maps, nearby towns and villages, places of interest and lots more! Read More

Visiting L’Oulibo Olive Press on a Canal du Midi Cruise

The olive press of l’Oulibo is located on the banks of the Canal du Midi. Those on a cruise aboard Enchanté can stop by and taste the famous Lucques olives. Read More

Guest Post – Our Delicious Canal du Midi Cruise aboard Enchanté

Fine dining, fresh ingredients & open air markets, Sue Reddel's cruise aboard Enchante is foodie heaven! Read More

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