HOTEL BARGES / ALEGRIA
We have chosen to offer you what we feel is the most magnificent itinerary, which is the Canal du Midi between BEZIERS and CARCASSONNE . We are also keen to study any specific request for a possible tailor-made cruise (such as above Carcassonne in the direction of Toulouse, or rather east-wards to the Petite Camargue and Aigues-Mortes).
Please bear in mind that Alegria – as all the barges on the Canal - will cruise at between 4 and 6 kms/hour depending on the meanders of the Canal and the traffic. Our objective is that you spend between 3 and 4 hours a day cruising. The day is split nicely between navigating the canal and visiting some of the exceptional sites in the region. You can also run or cycle along the Canal: you will go faster than the barge!! While cruising ... just relax, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the locks, refresh yourself in the pool and enjoy the drinks offered by your hostess!!
When you look at the itinerary below you might be surprised that no Wine Tasting or Cellar Tour is planned … Do not worry!!!! Our Languedoc region offers many treasures of the local great wine makers. Depending on your taste and your willingness to discover some of them, we will personalize each cruise including visits which will appeal to you.
The itinerary will be similar to the one below, but it can be changed according to your taste or due to unforeseeable circumstances. (This itinerary is therefore not to be considered as binding.) The same itinerary is also proposed the other way round depending on the dates.
POILHES to PUICHERIC:
We have the pleasure of welcoming you at the airport or at the railway station (from 4pm) and transfering you to Alegria, moored in Poilhes. After the crew is introduced to you and after you settle down, you are served a welcome Champagne drink while we start cruising slowly along the Canal. After a u-turn we come back to the mooring of Poilhes. You can slowly stroll through this lovely village of less than 500 inhabitants before you are proposed some apéritifs… We serve your first dinner onboard and spend the night in Poilhes, our "home mooring".
SUNDAY/THE “MEANDERS DAY” OF CAPESTANG AND LA CROISADE
On this Sunday morning our guide proposes you a “multi-site” excursion: the City of Béziers, the famous “stair case” of the Nine Locks of Fonsérane, the archeological (6th century BC) site of the Oppidum of Ensérune, and the Malpas Tunnel, the first tunner built in the world for a canal. After the lunch (or during lunch… depending on the weather conditions) you cruise to La Croisade and pass underneath the lowest bridge on the Canal: the famous bridge of Capestang. Mind you head! This 18km cruise is typical with its numerous meanders: yes the Canal actually looks like a River!
After this four-hour cruise the dinner is served onboard and you spend the night in a restful place, a stone's throw away from ... an old 17th century stone bridge.
MONDAY/ THE UNBEATABLE CHARM OF THE VILLAGE OF “LE SOMAIL”
In the morning we cruise slowly to Le Somail, one of the most charming villages along the Canal. Should you need a book for the week you can buy one from a unique book shop that has approximately 50 000 second-hand books in stock ... in many different languages! In the afternoon you may chose to relax on the barge, roam around, cycle, etc but we also propose you to visit a wine farm or an olive mill nearby, or any other site that might suit your wishes. At the end of the day your Captain has the pleasure of inviting you for a dinner in a local restaurant. It's the perfect opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of a French restaurant!
TUESDAY/ A TYPICAL MINERVOIS SITE: ROUBIA
In the morning you go to one of the best market in the region, in Olonzac. You can look and buy anything you wish, from a provençal table cloth to special olives locally grown (well… we have some on board too!). Then the guide takes you to Minerve, a fascinating site and a previously fortified village in a very special rocky environment. Minerve was attacked in 1210 by the terrible army led by Simon de Montfort: the right time for us to tell you everything about the Crusade of the Albigeois in the 13th Century, one of the harshest stories of our past …
The afternoon cruise takes you to the typical Minervois village of Roubia for the overnight mooring. The dinner is served onboard.
WEDNESDAY/ A “BUSY” HARBOR FROM THE OLD TIMES OF THE CANAL: HOMPS
In the morning you visit a beautiful town, Narbonne. Narbonne is full of Roman history and includes the "Palace of the Archbishop". You will love its Mediterranean and Gothic style. And ... you will be offered lunch there in a typical restaurant that has some fish specialties.
After lunch you are driven back to the barge for the afternoon cruise. You pass your first lock after Roubia and we cruise to the port of Homps, one of the busiest harbors in the old times of the Canal commercial era.
THURSDAY/ PUICHERIC and its ARTISTIC LOCK
In the morning you visit the great City of Carcassonne, the biggest medieval City in Europe. You are just fascinated by the size of the walls and the narrow streets inside. You are right there in the middle of French history! There also many shops where you can buy typical souvenirs to bring back to friends or children.
After lunch you embark on the last leg of the cruise for the week, from Homps to the area of Puichéric. You pass the last lock of the cruise and you can admire the wooden and iron sculptures made by the most famous lock-keeper on the Canal. The barge is moored just on top of this most beautiful lock. You spend your last night onboard Alegria after the Farewell Dinner prepared by our Chef.
FRIDAY/ A SAD DEPARTURE...
After your breakfast, it is unfortunately time to conclude this unforgettable cruise. We transfer you back to the airport or railway station … so that you can continue your adventure in Europe or wherever!!!
We are happy to propose on request some cruises with a specific theme (please ask for a speacial quote):
THE WINE LOVERS CRUISE, which is directed and led by a Wine Master.
The GOLF CRUISE, where we will propose some golf courses along the cruise, in function of your tastes.