saraphina - canal du midi


canal cruising in france


hotel barge holidays in france

book now for 2019 & 2020


saraphina - canal du midi

canal cruising in france




hotel barge in france



We endeavour to make your holiday one to remember. From the moment you step onboard
you will have only one thing to do, RELAX and let a crew of 3 take care of your every need.
We invite you to cruise with us through tiny bridges, unique oval locks, and the French
countryside enveloped by vines.


visitors' book


Click here to check our specials


saraphina - canal du midi

Canal Barge in France



"Drifting down the Canal du Midi on Saraphina is a life changing experience: cozy cabins and exquisite meals make river cruising with Finnegan and Emily perfection."

Owners Finnegan and Emily bring their extensive experience in hospitality and piloting from their years on luxury barges, to make your week cruising on Saraphina the perfect holiday. Saraphina is a Dutch barge, built in 1924. Finnegan converted the barge in 2007. She cruises between Portiragnes plage and the majestic medieval city of Carcassonne, the locks at Beziers, the winding "grand bief" (long stretch of water between 2 locks) with beautiful views and pretty villages. Finnegan and Emily select unique places for your lunches or dinners ashore.



video







THE 4 PASSENGER BARGE saraphina

Saraphina has 2 spacious cabins each about 20 square meters in size. The aft cabin, which is designed for a couple has many original features giving it a traditional "boaty" feel. The front cabin is more contemporary modern with queen size or twin beds. Both cabins have en-suite bathrooms. Lunches and dinners can be enjoyed outside, in our covered wheelhouse, or in Saraphina's spacious dining area. The open kitchen allows you to see your meals being prepared by your hosts.


on board



7 day self catering cruise
4 to 7 day all inclusive cruise
beziers- Avignon




Self catered sample itinerary


SUNDAY

Sunday afternoon, arrival to the barge. After showing you around we will take you on a short cruise through the "Mini Camargue". Sunday night will be spent the night in the country side in a beautiful spot. Use this opportunity to enjoy dinner at a lovely seafood restaurant on the sand overlooking the mediterranean. We will be your chauffeur free of charge.


MONDAY

During the Morning we will cruise from Portiragnes to Beziers, over the aqueduct and up the majestic flight of locks at Fonserannes. During the afternoon we can organise a visit to the historic streets of Pezenas, renaissance village with its arts, crafts and antique shops. In the evening you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner at Restaurant "Le 9" over looking the cathédrale Saint-Nazaire lighted at night.

TUESDAY

Today, we will cruise from Beziers to a small village called Capestang, with a charming square where you can enjoy an aperitif with a view of the enormous 12th century collegial church. If you fancy an excursion our guide can take you for a visit of the Cistercian Abbey of Fontfroide.


WEDNESDAY

Narbonne market is a "must see". The market halls of Narbonne are famous across the south. The market counts more than 70 stalls: bakers, pastries, butchers, caterers, fishmongers, greengrocers, poultry merchants, delicatessens, bars and wine merchants. Every morning the market welcomes hungry visitors, cooks and gourmets. Local producers are at your disposal, offering the best products and advice on how to prepare them. Whilst there you must experience "Chez Bebelle" - http://www.chez-bebelle.fr/. When you return to the boat, we will cruise to another stunning mooring next to the sleepy village of Le Somail. While there, visit the world famous antique book shop and the ateliers. In the evening you can walk to one of the many restaurants in the village to wine and dine.


THURSDAY

We can organise a morning visit to the picturesque medieval village of Minerve and the olive oil factory Oulibo. In Minerve, there is a spectacular restaurant we highly recommend: "Le Relais Chantovent" - https://www.relaischantovent-minerve.fr/en/. The afternoon cruise will take you to Argens where you can have dinner at the local "guinguette" - https://www.laguinguette-restaurant.com.


FRIDAY

Today, we propose a visit of the world famous fortified town of Carcassonne, a highlight of the trip. There are many restaurants there where you can enjoy lunch and experience the famous "Cassoulet". On your return we will spend the afternoon cruising up-stream the remainder of the locks, followed by a farewell drink on deck together. The village of Homps boasts many restaurants for your evening meal, our favourite being "En Bonne Compagnie" _ http://www.en-bonne-compagnie.com/en.


SATURDAY

After breakfast you will be tranferred to train station, hotel or local airport for your onward journey.



On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.



classic itinerary - Portiragnes plage to Homps


SUNDAY

We pick you up from your hotel, train station, or local airport and bring you safely aboard Saraphina. After a short cruise through the "mini Camargue" and Champagne welcome, your first dinner will be served aboard. A beautiful mooring in the country side close to the village of Portiragnes.


MONDAY

After breakfast you will be taken to the historic streets of renaissance Pezenas with its arts, crafts and antique shops. After a typical bistro lunch in Béziers we cruise over the aquaduct and up the majestic flight of locks at fonserannes. This evenings mooring a stones through away from Béziers.

TUESDAY

The morning visit brings you to the cistercien abbey of Fontfroide. After lunch at a quaint restaurant with a stunning view of the "pond of Montady" we cruise along the windiest part of the canal to our mooring in Capestang, a small village with a charming square where you can enjoy an aperitif with a view on the enormous 12th century collegial church .


WEDNESDAY

Our tour guide takes you to Narbonne. known for the archbishops palace, the gothic cathedral, shopping, and the famous covered foodmarket, where you will choose a selection of sea food or charcuterie to enjoy back onboard. We then cruise to another stunning mooring next to the sleepy village of Le Somail. Take the opportunity to visit the world famous antique book shop and the ateliers. In the evening you can walk to a restaurant in the village to wine and dine.


THURSDAY

Thursday's visit brings you to the medieval cathar village Minerve and the olive oil factory «Oulibo». You will then enjoy your lunch ashore returning to the barge for an afternoon cruise to Roubia. A wine tasting before dinner could be organised if you wish.


FRIDAY

The medieval city of Carcassonne is a highlight of the week. After a guided tour around europe’s largest medieval fortified town and lunch there we set off for the final cruise to the village of Homps and farewell dinner aboard.


SATURDAY

After breakfast you will be tranferred to train station, hotel or local airport for your onward journey.


On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.



Provence Itinerary - beziers to Avignon


SUNDAY

We pick you up from your hotel, train station, or local airport and bring you safely aboard Saraphina. After a short cruise and Champagne welcome, your first dinner will be served aboard. A beautiful mooring in the country side close to the village of Portiragnes.


MONDAY

Portiragnes to Marseillan.
We will spend the morning cruising with ever changing scenery. Pass through the unique round lock of Agde, cross the river Hérault and then cruise the last bit of the Canal du Midi which opens up on to the Etang de Thau. This lagoon is famous for oysters, and is the second biggest production in France. You will enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants, followed by a visit of Noilly Prat, world famous vermouth distillery.

TUESDAY
Marseillan to Villeneuve le Maguelone

We cross the Etang de Thau once more to take you to the famous fishing town of Sete, Known as the Venice of Languedoc. It is a port and a seaside resort on the Mediterranean with its own very strong cultural identity, traditions, cuisine and dialect. It is also the hometown of artists like Paul Valéry, Jean Vilar, Georges Brassens, Gregory Del Piero, Hervé Di Rosa, Manitas de Plata, and Robert Combas. After a visit and lunch in Sete we start our journey on the "Canal du Rhone à Sete". During the cruise, you can enjoy watching many different species of birds . Our mooring for the night is close to the Cathédrale of Maguelone.


WEDNESDAY
Villeneuve le Maguelone to Aigues Mortes

Your morning cruise will bring you to Aigues Mortes, a fortified city where you will stop for lunch. The foundation of the city is dated around 102BC. The medieval walls surrounding the city are well preserved. Aigues Mortes is famous for its salt. The etangs (salt- water lagoons) surrounding the southern end of Aigues Mortes are red due to the high concentration of salt in them. Beyond the red ponds, you’ll notice huge mountains of salt. Aigues Mortes salt production has been going on for hundreds of years, and is famous throughout France for its superior flavour.


THURSDAY
Aigues Mortes to Arles

Today we have a lengthy cruise through the heart of the Camargue. The canal is surrounded by the famous white Camargue horses. We then cruise on the "Petit Rhone" to Arles. Founded by Greek-Phoenicians in the 6th century BC, the town has a long and rich history. In the 1st century AD, Julius Caesar annexed Arles to his empire making it the capital of Roman Provence and using its shipyards to build warships in the fight against Massalia (ancient name of Marseille). For four centuries the town prospered as a major trading centre. It was during this time that the Amphitheatre, and Thermes de Constantin were built (they still stand today). When the Roman Empire collapsed during the 5th century, Arles went into decline. In 1888 the artist Vincent Van Gogh came to Arles and stayed for over a year. In this time he produced more than 200 paintings including ‘The Starry Night’, ‘Café de Nuit’ and ‘The Sunflowers’. Unfortunately many of the places that Van Gogh had visited and painted were destroyed during World War II. Lunch on board, whilst dinner will be ashore.


FRIDAY
Arles to Avignon

We leave the Petit Rhone behind to enter the mighty Rhone river which takes us upstream to Avignon. The city is famous since 14th Century, when the Popes quitted Roma and created a second Pope city in Avignon. They built a palace, 'Le Palais des Papes,' or the palace of popes, today the world's largest Gothic edifice. In Avignon, we then propose a visit to the famous Chateau Neuf du Pape for a private wine tasting, or tour to les Baux de Provence, one of the "Beautiful Villages in France”. The village can only be visited by foot. You will also have the opportunity to visit St Remy. Wander around the narrow little streets, discovering squares where fountains play, and the attractive boutiques and art galleries that make the town’s historic centre so lively. One of your meals will be ashore and the other on-board depending on the visit you choose.


SATURDAY

After breakfast we will transport you to the train station or your hotel for your next adventure.





  • cruise 2019


    April to October
    us$ price on request

    2 passengers
    Private charter

    4 passengers
    private charter



    we pilot the boat
    you do the rest!


  • 4 day / 3 night cruise
    full board



    7420 Euros


    9250 Euros




    self-catering
    on request

    5550 Euros

    Contact us

  • 5 day / 4 night cruise
    full board



    8840 Euros


    11050 Euros




    self-catering
    on request

    5550 Euros

    Contact us

  • 6 day / 5 night cruise
    full board



    10280 Euros


    12850 Euros




    self-catering
    on request

    5550 Euros

    Contact us

  • 7 day / 6 night cruise
    FULL board



    11720 Euros


    14650 Euros




    self-catering
    on request

    5550 Euros

    Contact us


Price for Saraphina includes:

7 days full board price includes: • Full Board includes: - All meals from Sunday dinner through to Saturday breakfast, including some meals ashore (with house wine) at restaurants selected by the owners. • Wines with meals on board • Open bar • All escorted excursions (golf, horse riding, etc at extra cost) • Use of bicycles • Transfers to and from the barge.

These rates do not include:
• Insurance • Personal expenses • Gratuities to the crew (between 7 and 10%)



Self catering inlcudes:

• Rental of the boat with 2 air conditioned cabins • use of the kitchen and BBQ • 2 crew (Pilot and Hostess) • bicycles • towels • bathrobes • hairdryers • 3-5 hours of cruising each day.

These rates do not include:
• Tours • transport service • food • beverages




To avoid currency exchange fees

• Australians can pay in Australian dollars by direct deposit or credit card. • New Zealanders can pay in New Zealand dollars by direct deposit or credit card. • US citizens will be charged in US dollars using credit card.

  OR  

Click on image to check availability.



visitors' book


april 2018
Thank you for the trip of a lifetime. The food was to die for, the wines were wonderful and we loved getting to know both of you, everything was perfect. It was so special having Lula cruise with us, and it was a treat to be on the prettiest boat on the Canal du Midi. Gary and Marcia.

may 2018
Emily, Finnegan and Barry. I love staying on your barge!!! Thank you Emily and Finn for teaching me lots of new things about cooking!!! I loved this trip, thank you so much Sincerely Olive aged 10.
Finnegan, Emily and Barry gave us an amazing journey along the Canal du Midi. Barry showed us the high points of Ancient and medieval France and explained the subtleties of architecture and culture. Emily and Finnegan provided us with bicycles and exquisite food. Their kindness, professionalism and knowledge made this a week we will never forget Bob and Mary.

june
This trip was so good for my soul. To truly get away from everything is the goal and rarely does that happen to the extent that it happed this week. Moving through the Canal was like going through a French landscape painting and completely changed how I look at paintings from now on. Thank you for what you've done to this barge and sharing it with others. Jennifer.

july
The gods of good luck were with us when we happened upon your website. We had anticipated so much after making reservations. Giddy with excitement we started to cruise only to have this trip exceed our expectations. Only to top that was the warmth, personalities, and hospitality of our hosts. You made your home our home and we felt like family around you and of course enjoyed Lula and Louis! This has been one of our lives most memorable experiences. JR.

august
We have just come to the end of the most amazing week for us - being accepted into the home of Finn and Emily. Not as strangers (from Australia) but as friends. The creativity we experienced both in meals and in the whole presentation & decor was outstanding, so special Emily, thank you. Finn's expertise with fluids was impressive - his skill on the canal & his comprehension knowledge of the wines he brought us to drink with dinner have left us in awe. Both Emily and Finn have made this experience for us a very special time, because of their care, interest and engagement. Thank you both Peter and Elizabeth.

september
It was a magical journey along the Canal du Midi with Finn and Emily. Our thanks to you both for making the celebration of our 30th anniversary so special. The barge, the food, the wine and most importantly your company will never be forgotten. Your love and affection for each other and your guests make the Saraphina unique. We will never forget you and hope its just Au Revoir for now. With Love Scott and Rachel.

october
Dearest Emily, Finn and Lula, There are not enough words to tell you how special this trip has been.....for all of us. You are both artisans in every way. Every minute spent with you two has been LOVELY and I will treasure this time spent with you and Saraphina for as long as I have memory. Thank you so much for sharing your home and yourselves with us. With blessings and Love, Becky.




Bon voyage!