The French Midi Canal

WELCOME ABOARD BEATRICE

Hotel Barge cruises on the Canal du Midi

Cruises on the "Canal du Midi" in the South of France, between Beziers and Carcassonne in the Languedoc

and visit the castles road of the Pays Cathar Carcassonne and Minerve or Fontfroide Abbey

Email :
bateau-beatrice@wanadoo.fr

Contact :
00336 88 10 90 26
00336 03 25 00 42

Discover boating holidays on the Canal du Midi and cruise aboard the hotel barge Beatrice with crew

Barge holidays for 2 to 4 passengers
A must on your Canal du Midi trip

Minerve Cathar village
 
Carcassonne
 

OUR CONCEPT
Our tours explores the stories of the Cathar country. Free tours of Carcassonne and Minerve or Fontfroide Abbey, a new way to discover the places you visit with all your senses. Further information will be given to you on the beginning of every tour. Free tours that means it's free to join, and we'll do our best to make sure you have a good time, and learn about Cathar land. Aboard Beatrice you will cruise for over 80 Km. and you will experience the history, the monuments and the landscapes of the Canal du Midi. Four to five hours a day are dedicated to cruising and you can pilot the boat with the captain if you wish. Beatrice offers a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, gourmet food and wines and a delightful culinary and cultural cruise through the idyllic French countryside along this famous route.

We also offer a range of short cruise for guests looking for a short hotel barge cruising.

Canal du Midi in Southern France is steeped in history and heritage. You'll see stunning cathedrals, grand chateaux, ancient Cathar ruines and the fortified citadel of Carcassonne. This rural journey by boat is peaceful and enchanting. Experience the old world charm of rural France, delight in the fresh local produce and the rich heritage of its timeless towns and villages.

HOTEL BARGE BEATRICE
Beatrice
has been entirely renovated using natural oak to ensure a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The barge is based at Port Cassafières in Portiragnes near Agde, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the south of France, just 1,5 km from the beaches. Hotel Barge Beatrice cruises the famous Canal du Midi from Portiragnes at the eastern end of the Canal. She will give you a lovely relaxed introduction to the most iconic waterway in France with a wide variety of fascinating things to see and explore, from the sun deck, on foot or by bike.

The interior consists of a living room with a wood-burning stove, comfortable sofa, TV, DVD, central heating and air conditioning when required. The lounge also has a bar area for those delicious pre-dinner drinks and an open galley where you can watch chef at work.
The sundeck is perfect for relaxing during the day and the warm summer evenings is accessed by ladder from the side-deck, leading to a terrace where there is a table and four lounge chairs. Bicycles are provided for guests that would like to accompany the barge along the tow-path as she cruises or to explore the surrounding villages and countryside.

 
 
 

THE ACCOMMODATION
The " master " cabin has a large double bed measuring 160cm x 200cm, with excellent views of the passing scenery through a large picture window. There is a desk and plenty of storage.The ensuite has a bath, hand basin and toilet. This cabin also has doors to its own private shaded terrace at the bow.

 
 
The second cabin has two single beds and it's own adjacent bathroom with hand basin, shower and toilet.
 
 
 
OUR ON BOARD MENUS
We offer you a quality service in a convivial and welcoming environment. We offer you a mix of French and Italian cuisine. We take pride in our menu of seasonal, fresh food. Fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets, seafood and regional wines, and a choice selection of traditional french cheeses. The southern regions in France are a delicious mix of colors, aromas and flavors just waiting to give pleasure. All meals are served in the spacious wheelhouse, with excellent views of the canal, its bridges, monuments and countryside. Beatrice gives priority to organic foods and special meals can be arranged: vegetarian or non-allergenic.




OUR CRUISE
route takes us through the villages of Colombiers, Poilhès, Capestang, Le Somail, Ventenac, Argens in Minervois, Homps. The castles route of the Pays Cathare offers a visit to the heart of the history of the cathars and many impressive monuments. Beatrice - as all the barges of the canal - will cruise at between 4 and 6 Km/hour depending on the meanders of the Canal and the traffic. Our objective is that you spend between 4 and 5 hours a day cruising.

The standard trips that we propose can, if you so wish, be modified and personalized according to your personal desires, and visits to vineyards and wine tastings can be organized around the cruise. You will visit Carcassonne, whose City and Canal du Midi are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites, nowadays enjoys an international reputation and welcomes several million visitors every year. It is also told that the Cité inspired Walt Disney for the Castle of his Sleeping Beauty. You will take an excursion to Minerve, the ancient capital of Minervois, which boasts a 12th century cathar fort sorrounded by deep limestone gorges. Fontfroide Abbey was founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1093 and affiliated with the Cistercians in 1145. Construction on the church began soon after.The cloisters and chapter house date from the 12th century and are excellent examples of Romanesque architecture. The monastery flourished and soon became a center of orthodoxy. However, construction of Fontfroide was temporarily interrupted by the turmoil of the Cathar wars. It was the murder in 1208 of Pierre de Castelnau, a Fontfroide monk and legate to Pope Innocent III, that led to the Albigensian Crusade. Depending on the dates and availability, your departure location will be near to Béziers or to Homps. You plan to cruise only 2 people the entire boat ? No problem at all. We have arranged " Romantic Cruise " with up to 2 guests with a special cruise rate of 8400 euros for 2 people.

What's included:

- 5 night's accomodation aboard

- 2 crew members and private chauffeur for your free tours

- all meals on board ( breakfast, lunch and dinner )

- fully stocked bar with a selection of cocktails and soft drinks

- free tours of Medieval Cathar village of Minerve or Fontfroide Abbey and to the medieval citadel and castle at Carcassonne in the air conditioned vehicle

- all free tours fees and associated transport

Not included:

- personal expenses

- pick-up and transfer from agreed meeting point to the barge

- the gratuities for the crew ( we recommend between 5 and 10% of the cruise rate depending on your level of satisfaction, payable in Euros to the Captain ).

 


PRICES 2018



5 nights / 6 days Portiragnes - Homps or reverse,
one way
Portiragnes - The pont canal Béziers - the 7 locks of Foncérannes - Colombiers - the Oppidum d'Enserune - the Tunnel du Malpas - Capestang - Minerve -Le Somail - Carcassonne -
Argens in Minervois - Homps
Including free tours
to Carcassonne and Minerve or Fontfroide Abbey (Cathar Land)

 

3.200 euros
price per person
in double bedroom


Private Barge Cruise
exclusively for one couple
Portiragnes - Homps
or reverse
one way
Portiragnes - The pont canal Béziers - the 7 locks of Foncérannes - Colombiers - the Oppidum d'Enserune - the Tunnel du Malpas - Capestang - Minerve -Le Somail - Carcassonne - Argens in Minervois - Homps

Including free tours
to Carcassonne and Minerve or Fontfroide Abbey (Cathar Land)

Charter for 2 guests
The entire boat
Master cabin booking
8.400 euros

3 nights / 4 days Portiragnes - Le Somail or reverse, one way
Portiragnes - The pont canal Béziers - the 7 locks of Foncérannes - Colombiers - the Oppidum d'Enserune - the Tunnel du Malpas - Capestang - Le Somail.

This price does not include visits to Carcassonne and Minerve

1.950 euros
price per person
in double bedroom

Price including accommodation, wines, drinks and all meals.
Accomodation for up to 4 passengers for 5 nights or less in 2 double cabins with bathrooms.
All meals including wine with meals and drinks from the bar, other than vintage wines, Champagnes.
Excursions in the air conditioned vehicle.
Use of on-board bicycles.
Champagne welcome aboard.
Wireless internet access.Not included are travel and cancellation insurance; gratuities for the crew; and personal expenses.

CONDITIONS OF USE
A nonrefundable deposit of 30% of the cruise is due at time of booking.The balance will be paid no later than 60 ( sixty ) days before the departure. For bookings within 30 days of departure, the full amount of the cruise must be paid. When booking cancellation (illness, flight cancellations, strikes or other ...) must be notified by recorded letter. In this case the costs withheld are:
more than 6 weeks before departure: 30% of the cruise, between 6 weeks and one month before departure: 60% of the same amount, less than a month: the entire cruise.Hotel Barge Beatrice reserves the right to modify the route and the program content of the cruise. The Hotel Barge Beatrice accepts no responsibility for delays caused by waterways flooding, flood streams or exceptionally high rivers or any navigational works or other circumstances beyond their control and reserve the right to restrict or vary the location of cruising if unusual or hazardous conditions prevail or because of water shortage. If such events occur the Hotel Barge Beatrice will endeavor to re-route and notify Customers of any alterations to embarkation or disembarkation points.
Changes in the cruise program could be possible to improve customer service without being entitled to compensation or indemnity. The price does not include personal insurance, baggage and trip cancellation. The passengers are responsible for any breakages or damage caused by themselves during the cruise and it is then the responsibility of the client to replace or reimburse the object lost or broken.We ask our passengers to respect the basic rules of prudence and recommendations of the crew. Hotel Barge Beatrice insurance may not cover passengers following a careless or unconscious behaviour on board. Hotel Barge Beatrice accepts no liability for theft, accidents or incidents on board. In the event of cancellation by Hotel Barge Beatrice an alternative date for the cruise will be proposed. In the case of force majeure Hotel Barge Beatrice reserves the right to make any necessary changes to the itinerary, cruise dates, pick up/drop off points. The barge will inform the clients as soon as is reasonably possible of any such changes. Such events would generally include: technical closing of navigation along the Canal du Midi, lock blockings, canal works, low water levels, floodings, mechanical or technical problems with the barge, industrial dispute, natural disasters etc. Although this English translation is fair, only the French text will be accepted in case of dispute. Any dispute would be settled by Courts depending on the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Béziers. Any reservation involves the acceptance of all as defined above.


 
 

THE CANAL DU MIDI BUILT IN 1667
to 1681 by Pierre-Paul Riquet, is classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Born in Béziers, Riquet supervised the work to link the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean sea, via the Garonne.
Along the length of the canal are vineyards and typical villages with their narrow streets protected from the sun, and in the distance, as far as the eye can see, the Pyrennes with the Canigou Mountain, the Cevennes with the lake of Salagou, Pézénas, Roquebrune and the Cirque de Navacelles canyon.

The 7-locks flight at Fonserannes, which raises the barge 21,5m, allows us to navigate on the Grand Bief, a 54km lock-free section of the canal.
You will pass under the Malpas Tunnel to the foot of the Oppidium d'Ensérunes which dates back several centuries before JC, and can visit the museum.

A Languedoc archaeological site that is now a listed National Monument, the Oppidum d’Ensérune is one of the most important Gaulish villages in the South of France. Just 10km from Béziers, this archaeological site is an outstanding example of a prehistoric village. Built on a rocky headland, it offers a 360° view of the wine-growing plains and the astonishing Etang de Montady, a wetland drained by monks in the 13th century and reminiscent of a bicycle wheel. The oppidum is located on a steep hillside, at the crossroads of many important land and sea routes.

Down below, the Roman Via Domitia used to connect Rome with Spain. Today, the oppidum dominates the plains of Béziers and its famous vineyards.
The view here is truly amazing, owing chiefly to the Etang de Montady, a drained wetland situated on the plain and just a few hundred metres from the oppidum. It is a real curiosity in itself, with fields that have radiated out from a central point like the rays of the sun since the ditches were first dug to drain the land in the 13th century. And the Oppidum d'Ensérune offers the very best view.
Running under the hillside, the Canal du Midi takes the 170 metre long Malpas Tunnel, bored in 1679
and the first tunnel in the world to have been dug specifically for a canal.

In Languedoc, between the Montagne Noire and the Canal du Midi, the Cathar city of Minerve offers an imposing entrance to the Haut-Languedoc Regional Natural Park, and is listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France. Minerve is perched on a rocky headland and surrounded by vineyards boasting the Minervois AOC label. In the Middle Ages, this powerful city was a refuge for the Cathar heretics. The natural bridges carved out by the Cesse and Brian rivers make this a really remarkable site.

Cathar city of Minerve
Cathar city of Minerve
Fontfroide Abbey
 

HIGHLIGHTS
The pont canal de Béziers a bridge which carries the Canal du Midi over the Orb River in the city of Béziers
The 7 locks of Foncérannes
6th century BC Oppidum of Enserune
Visit the medieval citadel of Carcassonne, the largest preserved town of its kind
Discover the Cathar history in the hilltop village of Minerve
Visit the Abbey of Fontfroide one of the most complete abbey complexes remaining today
Visit the chateau at Colombiers, and its wine cellars
Visit the 13th century cathedral of St Etienne at Capestang and the local market
See the marvels of the UNESCO Canal du Midi, including the Fonserranes lock staircase

With a unique combination of French and Sicilian cuisine and wine, this barge, with a flexible itinerary, has been operating with great success for 15 years.

Aboard the Hotel Barge Beatrice you will be charmed by the gentle tranquillity of the Canal du Midi.

Jean François and Michel bring their extensive experience in hospitality and piloting from their years on luxury barges, to make your week cruising on Beatrice the perfect holiday. Hotel barge Beatrice is privately owned and operated by Jean François and Michel, both highly experienced and talented hosts. You will be warmly welcomed and your needs and interests will be ably met throughout your vacation aboard.

 
Etang de Montady
13th century cathedral of St Etienne at Capestang
Tunnel of Malpas
 

Sample Itinerary Canal du Midi Portiragnes - Homps or reverse

Day 1 : Monday 14:00 Portiragnes Lock
We will be waiting to meet you at Portiragnes lock ( écluses de Portiragnes village ).
Our cruise will begin at 2pm... enjoy an informal introduction to barging as we cruise towards Ariage, the pont canal and then up the astonishing 7 locks of Foncérannes where we moor for the night.
You may like to watch the DVD on the history of the canal, built from 1667 to 1681 by Pierre-Paul Riquet.
Dinner will begin at 8, after which you may enjoy a walk along the canal before turning in to your cabin for a peaceful night.

Day 2 : Tuesday
Breakfast at 9:00 then cruise to Colombiers and visit the ancient wine cellar of the chateau. Then continue to Enserune hill. After lunch on board there's an excursion to Enserune archaeological site and museum just 30 minutes of walking. This type of hilltop village is characteristic of the celtic world of Iron Age southern Gaul. The site was discovered in 1860 by Abbot Giniès. The museum is housed in a villa built in 1915 and redesigned in the 1940s by Jules Formigé.We will pass through the Tunnel du Malpas, the first canal tunnel built in the world and we will continue to Regiment Le Haut, a very beautiful hamlet in the countryside. All meals on board and moor for the night.

Day 3 : Wednesday
Cruise to Capestang and visit the local market and the 13th century cathedral of St Etienne. After lunch on board in Capestang, there's a tour to Minerve or Fontfroide Abbey. Minerve was a powerful small town in the middles ages. The residence of the viscounts of Minerve dominated the Minervois Region. The natural site of Minerve is one of the most astonishing in the departement of Herault, and is part of the upper Languedoc Regional Nature Park. The Abbey of Fontfroide is one of the most complete abbey complexes remaining today. Then return to Beatrice, dinner on board and moor for the night.

Day 4 : Thursday
After breakfast leave Capestang through its tiny arched bridge and cruise to La Croisade where we moor for the lunch. La croisade is located in the heart of the nature. You can relax on the sun deck and enjoy the quiet life.Then we cruise to Le Somail and visit this lovely hamlet. Of note is the librairie ancienne which houses thousands of rare books, prints and posters. Dine on board in Le Somail and moor for the night.

Day 5 : Friday
After breakfast there's a tour in Carcassonne the medieval city, Unesco World Heritage Site, a town, a "Cité"...an history. You will discover one of the most accomplished fortified towns in Europe. Then return to Beatrice for lunch on board. After lunch continue and Argens in Minervois where we dine on board and moor for the night. This is a good chance to walk or cycle the excellent towpath alongside Beatrice.

Day 6 : Saturday
Cruise to Homps, through several locks for lunch on board. Disembark at 15:00

Time to say goodbye and 'au revoir'.


 

The sundeck

The old inn of Le Somail
The 7 locks of Fonseranne
Le Somail
Beatrice passing through the locks
The pont canal
Panoramic views from the sun deck in a field full of horses
 
 
Jung, our dalmatian at work
The owners, Michel and Jean-Francois welcome you
The Tunnel du Malpas

 

TO PRINT the Plan acces

Access by road : Motorway A7 and A9 from Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Montpellier: Exit n° 35 “Béziers Est”
Direction Valras/Sérignan, at the roundabout, take direction to Portiragnes and Portiragnes plage. Port Cassafières is on the left after the bridge on the Canal du Midi. Look for the sign :”Péniche Béatrice”.

Access by A75 motorway from Paris and Clermont-Ferrand by the “Viaduct of Millau” Direction Béziers and Valras/Villeneuve/Portiragnes... (see above)

By rail :
TGV station at Béziers ( TGV, high speed train from Paris ) or Agde.

By air :
Airport at Béziers - Cap d'Agde ( flights from Paris, Orly airport ), French international airports are at Toulouse, Bordeaux, Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also European-flights airports at Carcassonne and Montpellier. TGV express train stations are located at Toulouse, Carcassonne, Narbonne and Montpellier, and many other towns in the region have railway connections.

GPS POSITION :
Longitude 3° 22' 22.95 EAST

Latitude 43° 17' 33.95 NORTH
Chart MICHELIN
n°339 F9 .

ADDRESS : Péniche BEATRICE, Port Cassafières, 34420 PORTIRAGNES France

Email : bateau-beatrice@wanadoo.fr
 
The light of the Canal du Midi
Special atmosphere of the Canal
Old bridge area of the old hamlet of Le Somail
The old hamlet of Le Somail
Fonserannes 7 locks canal is a lock system which allow the barge to be raised a height of 21,5 m
Visiting the original Farmers Market in Capestang, so fresh, so many colors and smells.
If you want character and history with a touch of ancient atmosphere this is the place for you.
Guest's comments

Herman & Veronique - Holland

Dear Michel and Jean François, thank you so much for the wonderful days we enjoyed on board of your barge Beatrice in the company of Jung the dalmatian. It was an unforgettable experience sailing on le Canal du Midi with the beautiful landscapes, the locks, the wonderful sicilien and french cuisine on board and your great hearted company ! thank you for the map on which Jean François indicated all the nice and interesting sites ! we felt at home with you. We both liked to navigate and thank you for the good instructions. All the best for you and good luck.

Scott & Judy - Sydney ( Australia )

Dear Jean François and Michel, merci beaucoup for these wonderful relaxing days on Beatrice. It was a great way to spend on 30th wedding anniversary. As novices to barging your hospitality, meals, captaincy all helped to make this a very enjoyable time. You both provide the right mix of cruising to see the surrounding countryside, explore local villages and markets. We are now definitely fars of barging the french canals. A bientôt.

Stephen & Debbie - Seattle ( USA )

What a wonderful week this has been. Coming to know the beauty that is the Canal du Midi, its simplicity ever changing face you've thaught us much of life in southern France of its people, its customs, its marvelous food. A unique ospitality. You both are not only gentle souls but wonderful spirits - each in your way - together. You make new adventures come to life. The seven month wait for this celebratory cruise was worth every moment of anticipation. We will remember this week. You both for many years to come.

Jo & Michael - Brighton ( Australia )

Dear Michel, Jean François and Jung, le bateau Beatrice is a beautiful boat but to Jo and I it was much more as you immediately welcomed us into your home. For several years we have wanted experience the french locks and canals and how lucky we were to select team Beatrice. Your easy going and relaxed manner quickly had us enjoying the tranquil pace of le canal du midi from day one. We marvelled at Jean François masterly navigation and ably supported by Michel. Both Michel's and Jean François cuisine always 5 stars, and together you made sure our time on board would be so memorable. Our day excursions with Gwen were both informative and interesting and gave us a good overview of the early history of the region. Thank you both once again for sharing your life and home with us - we could not ask more. Merci beaucoup.

Jim & Tina - United Kindom

Dear Jean François, Michel and Jung, we can sum up our holiday with you in one word: delightful ! delightful food, accomodation, hosts, scenery, weather. Above all delightfully relaxing and enjoyable. We wish you all the best for your seasons. Very many thanks from us both.

Roswitha & Kinley - Switzerland

This time it was our second time on board Beatrice and like last year we enjoyed so much to stay here. We would like to visit every year ! we will follow your dreams because you two are so special to us. Michel we will never forget your delicious cuisine menus and service. Jean François we will never forget your humor and hospitality. We felt really at home and all our wishes are with you and your future dreams. Thank you so much.

Nadia & Evgeny - Russia

Dear Jean François and Michel or dear friends ! it was a great voyage for us with fabulous cuisine. You have a very beautiful and comfortable barge. We felt at home and we were impressed by your friendliness. We are so thankful that you made the best for us so that we had the most interesting tour. We will remember for a long time. Thank you Michel and Jean François that you remain the genuine representatives of your cultures and of your countries and share with your guests. From Russia with love.

Robert & Kathe - Los Angeles

Dear Jean François and Michel and Jung, thank you so very much for the most wonderful experience. We are so glad we came aboard Beatrice and so very appreciative with most fantastic hospitality. The beauty, cruising, the meals ( oh là là !!! ), the culture. Never have we been so relaxed ! we will never forget ...please stay in touch. All the best.

Russell & Elisabeth - New Zealand

Very pleasurable cruise with Jean François and Michel. Quiet and relaxing, superb food and great company. An experience that all should enjoy.

Fiona - United Kindom

What a beautiful holiday! Beatrice was so welcoming, warm and so clean and comfortable. Michel and Jean François are the perfect hosts. The food was absolutely fantastic. I particulary enjoyed the outings to Carcassonne with the most amazing cassoulet. Thank you so very much. I can't wait to return. A bientôt.

Roma & Philip - New Zealand

Michel and Jean François our love and best wishes to you and Beatrice for the future. You have given us an unforgettable holiday on the Canal du Midi. One day we would love to return. Thank you so much for your hospitality and for all of your care and attention.

Sylvette & Donald - Panama

A wonderful cruise. A delightful way to spend one week on board Beatrice. Beautiful crewed boat and of course " Jung " is every one's best friend. Hope to see you again.

Monique & Anthony - California

Dear Jean François and Michel, we thank you both for giving us a magnificent and most memorable vacation on board Beatrice. Your attention to our well-being, your superb cuisine, your delightful conversation and your navigation - all those and so much more give us a wonderful experience and a stock of delightful memories. We cannot imagine a better tour of the Canal du Midi but the highlights of the trip were your kindness and your generosity. You are the perfect pair to show people this uniquely beautiful waterways and its surrounding landscape. Merci beaucoup and au revoir.

Anne & John - United Kindom

Dear Jean François and Michel, of all our boat trips on Beatrice has been the most memorable. Your excellent hospitality on this beautiful boat through the peaceful countryside, has given us a great holiday. The meals - what can we say ! Superb, delicious, beautifully presented. This week have given us a great experience of the Canal du Midi, your attention and kindness have made it unforgetable. Aussi Jung il est grand ! Merci bien and au revoir.

Esther & Alexandre - California

Chers Jean François and Michel, our trip with you was more wonderful than we could have imagined. You are wonderful hosts - you made us feel so at home, le bateau Beatrice is so comfortable, has a good variety of spaces, the meals very magnificent and of course the Canal du Midi is so beautiful and we loved the slow pace of the barge, the quiet, peaceful moorings. Thank you for being so attentive to our needs and giving us an unforgettable experience.

John & Tina - Michigan

Dear Jean François and Michel, this was our first trip on the Midi Canal and an excellent introduction to traveling by barge, especially our new knowledge of the canal and the surrounding region ! you are both most professional in all aspects of péniche Beatrice and we are so fortunate to have share these past six days with you both. Merci beaucoup.

Alison and Billy - Scotland

Jean François, Michel and Jung, your Beatrice is so charming. Good food, good company, lovely weather. Adventures on the canal, with food and wine, and visits to Minerve and Carcassonne with Gwen were very informative. We will recommend you. Thank you.