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“Le Boat Canal Holiday France” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi
11492, France
0033-386-91-72-72
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Activities: Motor-boating
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Attraction details
Owner description: A 360-km network of canals linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.
BRISTOL
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“Le Boat Canal Holiday France”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2011

We hired a Clipper, from Le Boat at Decize for a short 4 day cruise along the Canal du Lateral de Loire.

Tips: In April not much is open, plan your route well and ring ahead for Auberge's - some will open for you. Otherwise food is scarce!

I would say that May / September are ideal as in height of summer the locks are jammed and queuing can be hours long.

The boat company were great, good instructions, handover and briefing plus the boat itself was in perfect order. All very professional. BUT watch the fuel charges; ours was Euro 150.00 extra at the end for 20 hours cruising. (7.50 per hour!!)

Choose your route carefully, a loop is more exciting than a 'there and back' trip. And the Nivernais is more picturesque than the Lateral.

Also, take mosquito candles/guard as they come in at dusk.

Visited April 2011
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Canal barge Enchante -Surpassed all expectations in comfort and food/wine.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2010

The Canal du Midi is beautiful. The leaves were just beginning to turn so it was a lovely time of year to go. The staff - Roger, Luisa, Kate, and Frederic - were so lovely - friendly, warm, calm. Roger and Luisa are extremely knowledgeable and careful. Kate made the table look special and different every night and had different dinner attire as well. Frederic was great fun and open.
The barge made the best use of space possible so it felt open and bright and cozy at the same time.

The cabins arevery spacious and plenty of portholes for fresh air. They were completely quiet - you couldn't hear any noise from the next cabin at all. The linens were attractive and the beds were very comfortable and large, The bathroom made good use of space and there was plenty of hot water and good water pressure.
The service was first rate - it couldn't have been better. Kate, our hostess, was always on hand to pour drinks, introduce wines and cheeses, serve dinner, and in the meantime, would quietly pop down to the cabins to do housekeep and evening turndown service. The barge overall was spotless in the common areas.

The food was gourmet - and there was more of it than one would have imagined. Breakfast was a full selection of cereal, yogurt, fruit, granola, ham/cheese, baguettes, croissants, tea, coffee, juice, jams. Lunch was three courses and dinner included a cheese course. Frederic, our chef for the week, was enthusiastic, explained all he cooked, modified for guests with different dietary needs or preferences, and was meticulous about presentation. The food looked as special as it tasted.
We had a wonderful selection of rose wines, often for lunch, and a different white and red each evening sometimes followed by a dessert wine. This is gourmet eating at its finest. We loved it. Warning for those who like simpler cooking - make your food preferences/needs known in advance to avoid awkward moments and give the chef advance warning.

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Kilmarnock Scotland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great holiday,,pity about the floating gin palaces”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2010

Just returned from 7 days hard on the Canal du Midi. Thoroughly enjoyed the experiences especially the camaraderie of all the other holidaymakers who had hired their boat. The only sour note for me in the whole week was the right of way these hotel barges had over all the rest of the hired craft. When you are working your butt off to get through the locks to reach your destination it grates somewhat to see these barges glide serenely through the locks without interuption whilst the rest of us who have been waiting patiently have to wait that bit longer. Time for another French Revolution!!!!

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Fort Pierce, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Tour the canal du Midi on the barge Alegria”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2010

My wife and I along with two friends, spent a wonderful week in late September 2010 on the barge Alegria (www.hotelbargealegria.com). Our captain Olivier Baudry and his crew treated us to wondrfully prepared meals by chef Gladys. Our two master suites were extremely spacious. All drinks and wines, including many wonderful local chateaus, were included. We also used the built in pool on board on several occasions. The service was exemplary as was the friendly atmosphere the crew provided. Since there are several routes available, you can tailor your cruise. We toured several wineries at our request and a number of historic sites. What a great vacation!!! Jack and Mardette Miller, Ft. Pierce, FL, USA

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Zurich
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“A week on the hotel barge Emma St. Patrick—Paradise Found”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2010

Gliding through Impressionist landscapes on an authentic early 20th century canal barge meticulously converted into a floating luxury hotel in the company of four of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet while drinking fantastic locally produced wine and eating Michelin three star quality meals prepared on board--this is how you will experience the Canal du Midi when you arrange a trip on the Emma St. Patrick. Your first contact will likely be with co-owner Liz who in addition to being an incredibly talented chef is an absolutely lovely person with a beautiful Irish brogue. She will offer to tailor the menu to suit your taste; my suggestion, let her work her magic in the kitchen unhindered, she is a culinary genius. You will come to admire her husband and co-owner Rene; he is the truly delightful and unflappable skipper of the Emma St Patrick who is able to make maneuvering the massive barge through some very tight spots look effortless (it’s not!). Having grown up in the region and possessing an intimate knowledge of the waterway, Rene will always manage to find the perfect spot to enjoy the spectacular sunsets. The young Gerard Depardieu look-alike Christophe will act as your tour guide for land based excursions; a true polymath with a special interest in French history, he can effortlessly switch between a discussion on the origins of the Cathar rebellion to the details involved in the creation of locally produced olive oil to the logic behind Middle Age castle design. His wonderful Australian wife Anita will act as your hostess, she will keep you in high spirits with her sparkling personality, her wicked Aussie sense of humor, her opinions on the latest fiction titles (she seems to have read everything!) and her amazing artistry with a pat of butter her canvas (must be seen to be believed).
The accommodations are luxurious. On the expansive deck, there is a large teak dining table where meals can be taken al fresco, a separate lounge area toward the bow for the requisite afternoon wine and cheese, and teak deck chairs toward the stern for the nap that invariably follows. Inside the barge is a beautiful salon area with original French and Irish artwork, an additional dining table, a fully stocked fridge, a TV/DVD player, and a library of videos and books. The three cabins are beautifully appointed and surprisingly spacious with quite comfortable beds. The three ensuite bathrooms boast magnificent tilework. Needless to say, everything is impeccably maintained and shipshape with air conditioning, electricity, and hot water in abundance.
The only stress you will experience while on board the Emma St Patrick will result from the awareness that your week in paradise must invariably come to an end. If you are like me and many others who have experienced this magical vacation, upon disembarking you will immediately begin planning next year’s voyage

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