Video: Cruising the Canal du Midi Aboard Hotel Barge Anjodi
Hotel Barge Anjodi
Anjodi is very much a hotel barge of the classic Dutch design and also the founding member of our fleet, embarking on her first cruises along the historic Canal du Midi 35 years ago.
Her beautiful interior makes the most of traditional materials such as African hardwoods and shining brass to create a warm onboard feel, reminiscent of a classic yacht.
The charming saloon is particularly welcoming, with its combination of richly coloured wooden flooring, elegant French dining furniture and comfortable banquette seating, as well as a fully stocked bar.
The four compact, cleverly-designed cabins, featuring hardwood panelling and brass Portholes, offer a choice of twin or double bedded accommodation, each with en suite facilities.
The spacious sundeck is shaded by an adjustable canopy and there are comfortable sun loungers and a spa pool to soak in with a glass of chilled white wine.
Anjodi is a very well-known hotel barge having achieved “film star” status some years ago following her many appearances in the television series Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, when she carried the eponymous chef on a voyage of culinary discovery through Southern France. Why not follow in his footsteps with a cruise along the Canal du Midi, a 330-year-old canal with UNESCO World Heritage status.
The Canal du Midi
From Roman times, a link between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic had long been on the minds of those wishing to avoid a trip around the Strait of Gibraltar. Charlemagne considered it in the 8th century. François I and Leonardo da Vinci talked about it in 1516. But it took a wealthy salt tax collector in the 17th century to bring it to pass.
Pierre Paul Riquet (1604-1680) of Béziers supplied the vision, the drive, and even part of the financing for the Canal du Midi. In 1666 an edict by Louis XIV proclaimed that construction could begin. Seven million cubic meters of earth were excavated for the project, which employed 12,000 men over a period of 12 years.
The Canal du Midi was built to enable the more efficient transport of goods and add to the mobility of the French navy. It was also intended from the beginning to bring glory to Le Roi Soleil, Louis XIV, the Sun King. Covering 150 miles, it includes 328 structures such as locks, tunnels, bridges, and aqueducts. The canal’s 63 locks include double, triple, quadruple and sextuple staircase locks.
The canal has changed little in its 300 years. Now lock gates are steel rather than timber. An aqueduct was built to create a waterway over the River Orb. And a “water slope” was built at Béziers to allow boats to avoid the six-rise staircase. In 1996 the canal was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The high quality of construction that went into the locks, aqueducts, and buildings is responsible for making the Canal du Midi the oldest canal in Europe still functioning. The canal remains not only functional but of high quality, making it the most popular canal in France.
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