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Barging in France: Canal du Midi French Barge Cruises

Enjoy a barge cruise on the French Canal du Midi in the south of France. This region is a land with a rich heritage, diverse Mediterranean landscapes, sun-drenched vineyards, and formidable Cathar fortresses.

Cruising the Canal du Midi

The 340-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, and crossed by appealing arched bridges.

map of south of france
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The warm Mediterranean weather and relaxed pace of life will entice you to unwind and enjoy your luxury Canal du Midi cruise while meandering along this historic waterway.


This is the perfect place for cycling or walking along scenic tow paths, or simply watching the scenery pass by as you relax on the deck of your chartered 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 châteaux en route, the locations of which vary depending on your choice of Canal du Midi cruise.


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.

Canal du Midi Hotel Barges

Experience a taste of barging history aboard 8-passenger Anjodi, a 1929 Luxemotor barge and the founding member of the fleet

Hotel Barge Anjodi

Cruising between Le Somail and Marseillan, the first of our classic Canal du Midi cruises takes place aboard our popular, 8-passenger, first-class hotel barge Anjodi, which has been cruising in the region for more than 40 years. The British TV chef and restauranteur, Rick Stein brought Anjodi to the attention of the world in his very successful BBC TV series "French Odyssey".

Travel in the height of elegance and style aboard ultra-deluxe, 8-passenger Enchanté

Hotel Barge Enchante

The ultra-deluxe hotel barge Enchanté is the only double-decker on the Canal du Midi and provides the space for large cabins and additional facilities while still able to squeeze through the canal's old locks. Onboard, guests adore the open-plan demonstration galley where the onboard master chef prepares a selection of gourmet delights each day.

Witness a naturalist's idyll on a river cruise through the "Petite Camargue" aboard 10-passenger Athos

Hotel Barge Athos

One of the more traditional barges to grace the Canal du Midi, the 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.

Experience the Best Food and Drink

Do you know that Midi cuisine enjoys a delicious combination of Provençale and Mediterranean flavors? 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 one of the largest wine producing regions in the world.

Local Oysters
Local Oysters for Starters

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 realize, dining is a true event on our Canal du Midi cruises, with the chef presenting their creations before each course, while the host presents each wine, demonstrating its individual flavor profiles and why it makes the ideal choice for your meal. A barge cruise in France isn't complete without some of the best wines the region has to offer.

Canal du Midi Cruise Highlights

With many of our cruises exploring some of the best wine-growing regions of France, Canal du Midi cruise itineraries never fail to impress. 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 when it is floodlitat night.

Sitting atop a rocky outcrop at the junction of the Cesse and Brian Rivers is Minerve, the ancient capital of Minervois. It 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 Cathedral
Narbonne Cathedral

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 passing through the tunnel on our Canal du Midi cruises aboard Anjodi, the captain and deckhands will often throw a piece of bread into the opening of the nook as a "gift for the hermit."

Hotel Barge Anjodi at Fonserannes Lock
Les Neuf Écluses de Fonseranes

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 Staircase Lock of Fonserannes on the Canal du Midi. On this Canal du Midi cruise highlight, over the span of 300 meters you'll travel 21.5 meters up or down seven ovoid chambers – passing through just one set of gates between each chamber, with water levels maintained by use of a side pond.

While the barge cruises from lock to lock, this is the perfect time to hop off to stretch your legs or take advantage of the barge's bicycles to explore the towpath. Simply meet up with the barge at one of the approaching locks. If you'd like to explore further afield, many of our barges offer recommended cycling routes. If you prefer to use e-bikes, this can be arranged 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, centering around interests such as local culture and gastronomy, art/painting, wine appreciation, plus more active pursuits such as golf or tennis. Popular themed itineraries include Family Cruises which are 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.

Visit local markets
Visit Local Markets

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.

Most themed cruises are for private charter groups and supplements may apply. Check the Itinerary link in the barge's online brochure to investigate what themed cruises they offer. As always, feel free to contact us for more information.

Why Book a Canal du Midi Barge Cruise?

There are many reasons: Sunnier climes, Cathar history, French and Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, and colorful street markets – our Canal du Midi barging cruises offer the very best of the South of France.

Getting to your Canal du Midi cruise couldn't be easier. There are many high-speed TGV trains from Barcelona or Paris, for example, allowing you to enjoy these cities before or after your cruise. International airports include Carcassonne, Toulouse, Montpellier, Bezier, Carcassonne Airport, Perpignan Airport, and Barcelona.

Learn more about the Canal du Midi:

Map Canal du Midi France Barge cruises

Canal du Midi between Carcassonne and Marseillan, France


Click for videos featuring the canal du midi

French Hotel Barges Cruising the Canal du Midi


Hotel Barge ANJODI - Barging in France, Canal du Midi -

Canal du Midi
Up to 8 guests
Charters and Cabin cruises
Themed charters:
Family, Golf, Wine Appreciation

Online Brochure


Hotel Barge ATHOS - Barging in France, Canal du Midi -

Canal du Midi
Up to 10 guests
Charters and Cabin cruises
Themed Cruises:
Art (painting), Family, Golf, Tennis, Wine

Online Brochure


Hotel Barge ENCHANTE - Barging in France -

Canal du Midi, Camargue/ Provence
Up to 8 guests
Charters and Cabin cruises
Themed Cruises:
Culinary, Family, Golf, Wine

Online Brochure

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