• Hotel barge
  • Discover
    the canal du midi
    a world heritage

Welcome aboard Alegria!

Imagine yourselves... aboard the beautiful modern and unique hotel-barge Alegria, pampered by your crew...
Alegria: the only Boutique-barge on the Canal du Midi...



  • The crew

    A very dedicated crew of four led by the Captain-owner with a fully personalised service

  • Capacity

    Alegria hosts a maximum of four guests in two large cabins fitted with king size beds.

  • Relaxation

    Barge cruising offers a week of relaxation, gastronomy, excellent wines, fascinating culture, great landscapes and friendship with a warm nation. Every day is a new day of discoveries ... and of unexpected surprises!

IN A FEW WORDS ...

The barge Alégria
ALEGRIA is a barge of the Freyssinet type,

built in 1937 at a shipyard in Thuin, Belgium.

She was originally 38,5 meters long and 5,07 meters wide, designed for loads of 400 tons, but in 1999 the ship was converted to a houseboat and shortened to 29.37 meters (100 feet).

Her present length now allows passage through the smaller locks of the famous Canal du Midi. She is docked near Poilhes, a charming village on the Canal du Midi, 12 km from Beziers, 20 km from the Mediterranean Sea and close to Narbonne.

You will either embark or disembark from this village that contains many remains from the Roman times. Do not hesitate to enjoy the (heated!) pool after a warm afternoon … or just relax while enjoying some pre-dinner drinks …

.
The Lounge

The large lounge / dining room has two big portholes offering direct views of the Canal … and its inhabitants: our friends the ducks and geese.

A home theatre with a wide choice of DVDs and CDs will give you some added pleasure, as well as a choice of books and parlour games. We offer you internet access through a Wifi connection based on the cellular network (2G or 3G).

The bar is well stocked with many of your favorite drinks, all of them offered to you. There is also a specific bar fridge and a coffee/tea making machine for your own use.

The kitchen is either open onto the lounge or closed, depending on whether our chef will allow you to watch him prepare his secret dishes … but, don't despair, he sometimes does share his secrets with you!!!

For your important documents or anything of value, we have a safe.

We hope it will never need to be used: we do have a CARDIAC DEFRIBILLATOR on board...

The Cabins

Two large guest rooms with en-suite bathrooms, totaling between 18 and 20 sq m ( 190 to 210 sq ft) each, are located on the sides of the boat.

These cabins each have two entrances: one leading directly outside to the front of the barge near the pool and another one opening inside to the lounge. This allows both intimacy and independence.
The rooms have large portholes which offer panoramic views of the Canal du Midi.

The cabins are fitted with king size beds that can be separated into single beds upon request. You will be supplied with bath robes, bath amenities (from the famous product line "L’Occitane en Provence") and a hair drier. In your room, you'll also find a mini-fridge full of cool drinks and a tea & coffee tray with biscuits.

Both cabins have air conditioning. In the event of a cool night at the end of the season, the cabins are equipped with central heating, as are the bathrooms which are also fitted with heated towel rails.

Daily housekeeping is provided and we can propose a laundry service upon request.

The Crew

The Alegria has a crew of 4, either French either foreign, including the Captain, Olivier Baudry. •

Olivier Baudry, the owner of the barge, is a French native. He has been passionate about rivers, canals and river boats for thirty years. In the 1980’s he owned successively two house-boats moored in Paris and he had a great time cruising with friends across the French capital for several years.
In 1989, with his passion in mind, Olivier left his secure job as a corporate banker and launched two luxurious river-boats in Paris. These were focused on the market of corporate and incentive events.
Olivier then passed fifteen years in Cape Town, South Africa, managing his own tour-operating company. Late 2007 he came back to France to fulfill his passion and launch a cruising hotel-barge.
Olivier has settled down along the Canal du Midi and he now runs Alegria for your pleasure ...

Having a real French Native as your Captain is definitely a Huge Plus for your cruise!!!

• You have your own exclusive CHEF on board! Our Chef will provide some outstanding gastronomic meals through typical and sophisticated French cuisine... The wines we carefully chosed will perfectly match your dishes and you will enjoy up to three different French wines with every meal...

• Your hostess is English and French speaking. She is an important part of your daily life on board for serving the meals, preparing your rooms and being available to help you to find your way on the barge... and around the Canal.

• The Tour Guide is also French and English speaking; His/ her knowledge of the region and its history will ensure you some great visits around the region, and will allow you to deepen your knowledge of the French culture. o

• The maintainance of the barge and the asistance to moorings are provided by a Matelot.

Gastronomy

Our Chef proposes a gastronomy based on a few excellent principles, such as giving priority to ORGANIC FOOD and to buy FAIR TRADE products whenever possible.
You will taste some typical French local dishes as well as the best French gastronomy. Each meal will be accompanied by different wines and we mainly serve the excellent vintages from Languedoc and Rousillon (the Minervois, Faugères, St-Chinian, Corbières becoming more and more renowned) straight from our Wine Cellar on board. You will never be offered the same wine twice during the week (unless you insist on drinking again "that one" you particularly loved !)

For your added pleasure, we set your table with different services for breakfast, lunch and dinner: from the festive one through the ethnic one to the classic one with its Silver cuttlery. Weather permitting your meal is served outside on the deck.
• Our Chef will cater specifically for you and might even share some of his cooking tips as he prepares a dish.
• And ... we will also invite you for two meals (drinks included) off the barge in some local restaurants!
• For Breakfast you will be served a selection of pastries and breads, cereals, yogurts, fruits, fresh fruit juice, cheeses, cold meats, smoked salmon, eggs cooked to order, a selection of teas, coffee, etc

a few useful facts ...

ALEGRIA

  • Length:100 feet (30 meters)
    width: 16 feet (5 meters)
    Cabins: 2 - Total guests: 4

  • Size of cabins: 190 and 220 sq m. ( 18 and 20 sq m approx) incl. bathroom
    In each cabin: - king size bed (180 cm wide) or 2 twins on request - mini fridge filled with complimentary drinks - tea and coffee tray - air conditioning - central heating - heated towel rails - hair drier - bath robes
  • Lounge & dining area 17 ft X 15 ft (5,2 X 4,6 m)
    Available in the lounge: - DVD player, CD player, books, games, Internet access with a Hotspot Wifi. "Barge laptop" also free for use.
  • 2 decks: 15 ft X 13 ft & 36 ft X 13 ft (4,6 X 4 m & 11 X 4m)
    Ceilings: 7 ft (2,1 m) in lounge and cabins; 6,6 ft (2 m) in bathrooms
  • Heated pool on deck: 13 ft X 7 ft (4 X 2 m)

  • Also available: - 4 bikes (free use)
  • Please note:
    - No wheelchair access - Smoking prohibited inside - Electricity: 220 Volts

At your disposal:

  • 1 Heated plunge pool
  • 4 bikes
  • Wifi *******

Cruises on Canal du Midi

We have chosen to offer you what we feel is the most magnificent itinerary, which is the Canal du Midi between BEZIERS (specifically the port of Poilhes) and CARCASSONNE (village of Puichéric). 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: please have a look at the schedule of the 2013 cruises.

POILHES to PUICHERIC: a meandering cruise of nearly 70 kms (44 miles):

Cruise Calendar


SEASONS, DATES & CRUISES
Season value April 5 to 11
April 12 to 18
April 19 to 25
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Season high April 26 to May 2
May 3 to May 9
May 10 to May 16
May 17 to May 23
May 24 to May 30
May 31 to June 6
June 7 to June 13
June 14 to June 20
June 21 to June 27
June 20 to July 4
July 5 to July 11
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Season value July 12 to July 18
July 19 to July 25
July 26 to August 1
August 2 to Aug 8
August 9 to Aug 15
August 16 to Aug 22
August 23 to August 29
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Season high Aug 30 to Sept 5
Sept 6 to Sept 12
Sept 13 to Sept 19
Sept 20 to Sept 26
Sept 27 to Oct 3
Oct 4 to Oct 10
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Season value Oct 11 to Oct 17
Oct 18 to Oct 24
Oct 25 to Oct 31
Carcassonne/Béziers
Béziers/Carcassonne
Carcassonne/Béziers
     
     
SATURDAY/BEZIERS-POILHES
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

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

In the morning we cruise slowly to Le Sommail, 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 you are invited for the Captain's Dinner in a local auberge. It's the perfect opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of a French restaurant!

TUESDAY
In the morning you go to one of the best market in the region, in Olonzac. Youcan 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

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

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
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!!!

CRUISES WITH A THEME

    We are happy to propose on request some cruises with a specific theme (a quote has to be asked for):
  • 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 to your tastes.

Our rates 2014 & 2015

  • VALUE season
    Apr 12 thru Apr 25
    Jul 12 thru Aug 29
    Oct 18 thru Oct 31


  • WEEK CRUISE / Cabin (Per person, double occupancy)


  • 4500€ / $6,100.


  • Single Occupancy Supplement

  • 1700€ / $2,300


  • WEEK CRUISE / Charter for 2

  • 14000€ /$18,000


  • WEEK CRUISE / Charter for 3

  • 14500€ / $18,700


  • WEEK CRUISE / Charter for 4

  • 14900€ / $19,400


  • Three Night/ Four Day Charter for 2

  • $12,500

    2014 Season Special:8100€/ $11,300



  • Three Night/ Four Day Charter for 3

  • $13,000

    2014 Season Special:8500€/ $11,900



  • Three Night/ Four Day Charter for 4

  • $13,880

    2014 Season Special:8900€/ $12400

  • HIGH season
    Apr 26 thru Jul 11
    Aug 30 thru Oct 17


  • WEEK CRUISE / Cabin (Per person, double occupancy)


  • 4500€ / $6,100.


  • Single Occupancy Supplement

  • 1700€ / $2,300


  • WEEK CRUISE / Charter for 2

  • 15500€ / $20,600


  • WEEK CRUISE / Charter for 3

  • 16000€ / $21,300


  • WEEK CRUISE / Charter for 4

  • 16500€ / $22,000


  • Three Night/ Four Day Charter for 2

  • $12,500

    2014 Season Special:8100€/ $11,300



  • Three Night/ Four Day Charter for 3

  • $13,000

    2014 Season Special:8500€/ $11,900



  • Three Night/ Four Day Charter for 4

  • $13,880

    2014 Season Special:8900€/ $12,400






LAST MINUTE:
10% OFF FOR CRUISES DEPARTING IN APRIL AND MAY

(Departures from April 26 to May 24 : charter rate for 4 guests is 14850€ or 196800$)



These rates include:



- Transfer from the railway station or the nearest airport and return.
- Accommodation in a cabin fitted with a king size bed or two single beds.
- Service in the cabin, the use of a bar-fridge and the complimentary drinks inside (except alcohol), a tray with tea, coffee, kettle.
- All meals served both on board Alegria and in outside restaurants (two meals with the Week Cruise; one with the Discovery Cruise). All the pre-drinks and beverages with the meals.
- Open bar : all drinks offered.
- Excursions as mentioned above, including the guide and the entrance fees. The use of a computer with internet connections, free of charge, through a 3G+ USB modem
- The use of bicycles.
- And above all ... the surprises or gifts that await you and that will not be disclosed in advance ...!

These rates do not include:

- Any insurance
- Personal expenses
- The gratuities to the crew (we recommend between 5 and 10% of the stay, payable to the Captain and then shared between all).
- Your own dry laundry or ironing (prices given on board)
- Telephone calls apart from the internet connections

Payment terms are:

 

- Deposit of 25% of the cost of the cruise for confirming the booking
- The balance of 75% has to be paid 90 days prior the departure date of the cruise.
Please find our "General Terms and Conditions" at the far end of this site. They will be supposed to be accepted by the clients upon payment of the deposit.

Booking Terms & Conditions



le canal du midi

It was the vision of Pierre-Paul Riquet to connect the Atlantic to the Mediterranean by a canal. It would allow the safe passage of goods and services avoiding the long and dangerous route via the Straits of Gibraltar. This vision was presented to Colbert, Minister of the King of France in 1660.
It took Riquet 6 years of arguing with skeptics and adversaries to finally convince Colbert, the most powerful man in the country. On the advice of his Minister, Louis XIV ordered the construction of the Royal Canal of Languedoc, which, subsequently, under the French Revolution, became the "Canal du Midi". At 60 and extremely wealthy, Pierre-Paul Riquet embarked on the greatest adventure of his life. Concurrent to the digging of the canal, Riquet designed a water collection system in the Black Mountains. He built the reserve of Saint-Ferréol to store the water.

Lateral canals brought the water to the summit of Naurouze thereby feeding the canal in two directions; to the Mediterranean in the East, and to the Atlantic in the West.

Tragically, Riquet died in 1680, a ruined man, unable to see the fulfillment of his dream; a few months later, the canal opened.
With the completion of the "Canal du Rhône à Sète" in 1829, and the "Canal Latéral à la Garonne" in 1856, the waterway at last connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean.
....................................
The Canal du Midi represents a huge undertaking for the 17th century: 15 years of work, 12 000 workmen including 600 women, 328 structures (bridges, quays, locks, aqueducts, tunnels...), 45 000 plane trees and cypresses planted along the banks.
On the whole, 240 km were dug by shovel and pickaxe between the cities of Toulouse and Sète.
There are two principal uses of the Canal today: irrigation and tourism. The canal irrigates 300 million square meters per year. River tourism sees on average 400 boats hired which translates into approx 8200 passages listed at the locks of Fonseranes. Boat traffic on the Canal continues to grow, and offers a perfect alternative way for visitors to see the countryside. Some significant Dates:
• 1667: first stone laid
• October 1, 1680: death of Pierre-Paul Riquet in Toulouse
• May 24, 1681: official inauguration of the Royal Canal of Languedoc
• October 1996: designation of the locks of Fonseranes as a Heritage site
• December 1996 : The Canal du Midi is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
• April 1997: The Government of France classifies the Canal du Midi as a protected Site.
• May 2008: the Exclusive Hotel Barge Alegria is launched!!

Links:
www.midicanal.fr
canaldumidi.org
For some beautiful 360° pictures



Guest Comments

“…The Alegria is truly a 5 star hotel afloat, from its glamorous & intimate salon, decks & boudoir…” Barry C, Wine Estate Owner in California

“There is no way we can really thank you for such a wonderful voyage and for making us feel so much at home in your beautiful barge. This was absolutely one of the most memorable trips we have ever taken. …” Lucy and Henry W, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

“… Merci; thank-you again, we love all of you!” Dave and Cookie M, Ohio, USA

“Too many highspots, too many unforgettable experiences and too few words to describe our feelings after such a fabulous week aboard the beautiful Alegria…” Richard & Angela A, Salisbury, England

"Doug and I had the most wonderful time aboard your beautiful Alegria. We both agree it was the best holiday we have had and we have had many" Doug and Bev, Australia

"...I cannot begin to tell you how much my husband and I relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. He was ill recently, and you were the best thing that happened to him. Thank you" Susan and John, UK

"We have traveled by barge before and our expectations were surpassed. Algeria gave us 5 star service the entire trip. The service was fabulous. Every day arrived with something which blew me away. I said it all except you have Alegria listed as deluxe and I think it was definitely ultra deluxe" Janet and David, USA"

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