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Esperance

Canal du Midi

Going through bridge © EsperanceOn deck © EsperanceLiving Room © Esperance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise from Béziers to Carcassonne (v.v.)

 

Esperance, meaning ‘expectation’ in French, is a rare find as she is one of the last traditional ‘Canal du Midi’ barges still cruising. Not only does Esperance live up to its name, and with so much cruising experience, she exceeds expectations every time. Ideal for 4 to 6 passengers, this lovely barge boasts 3 equal-size cabins each with sofa, TV with DVD player and ensuite bathroom. Esperance has received a great deal of attention with regard to space, light and peacefulness, which creates a beautiful contrast to the vibrant and engaging Canal du Midi.

Esperance has been refurbished with a new color scheme and is extremely bright and chic. The picture windows in the salon enable the guests to enjoy the landscape from inside and the upper deck is geared for entertainment and relaxation. The owner and captain, Mathias, has a rich knowledge of the region and his hosting and entertaining expertise are second to none. Mathias’ enthusiasm and charm is a bonus to any passengers’ barging experience.

Esperance is one of the youngest traditional barges operating on the Canal, built in 1967 as a cargo Vessel carrying wine between the Mediterranean and Bordeaux. Her career was to last only for 15 years as commercial traffic started to decline rapidly in the late 70’s when rail and road became the most popular mode of transport between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. After being sold, she was converted into a private luxury vessel designed to cruise the French waterways. Renovated with loving care and no expense spared by her present owner, Esperance is now one of the most unique and authentic barge in Southern France.

 

* Click here to take a 360° tour of the Esperance barge! *

 

Features

Esperance is a 4-passenger barge that can accommodate up to 6 guests:

 

  • Esperance - Private ChefThe living area is on one level with a large salon & dinning area with an open planned kitchen, so you can chat to your private chef while sipping a glass of wine…
    • There are picture windows encompassing the barge, giving you the opportunity to see the world float by from every room, even including the bathroom. For your privacy the bedrooms do not have any common walls between them and there is a direct access just off your bedroom corridor onto the main deck. For your comfort the whole boat is fully air conditioned and contains wifi access.
  • Esperance - Sauvia Suite © Charlotte RoutierThe Sauvia Suite (20 m²) boasts space and comfort and is well appointed with a queen bed, a classical footed bath, walk in shower and separate toilet room with bidet and washbasin. The split level flooring separates the bedroom area to the lounge/couch area.
  • The Farigola Suite (20 m²) is light and spacious with an ensuite bathroom including washbasin, shower and toilet. There is plenty of room to move either side of the queen bed or twin beds if preferred. The windows allow plenty of light into the cabin.
      • Hot tub on deck © EsperanceThe original Captain’s cabin, the Romaniu Suite (17 m²) oozes a more traditional boaty feel. Located to the rear of the barge and accessible via the wheel house. Queen or twin bed options, with private ensuite. Perfect for passengers that like their own space.
    • Since guests are going to spend most of the day outside the very roomy and half covered sundeck was designed with safety and comfort in mind. The deck is surrounded by a safety railing and as a direct access to the bedrooms (between the hot tub and the table).
      • Esperance - Dinning RoomOn board amenities:
        – Fully air conditioned and powerful central heating system;
        – WI-FI internet access;
         In the living room: automatic satellite TV system, DVDs, music, library, board games;
        – In every room: TV to watch DVDs, iPod docking station;
        – On deck: hot tub, dining table with 6 comfortable chairs, 6 lounge chairs, exercise mats;
        – Bicycles
      • Mercedes Viano © EsperancePrivate vehicle for excursions – Extra long Mercedes Viano (new model):
        – Full leather;
        – Double open roof;
        – Double sliding doors;
        – TV with individual wireless headphone;
        – Wood inserts;
        – and many more

 

Floorplan

Esperance Floor Plan

Sample itinerary: Béziers to Carcassonne

Sunday – Day 1

 

A member of the crew will welcome you in the afternoon at Béziers railway station and transfer you to your beautiful barge. Esperance will be moored in the enchanting countryside of the famous Canal du Midi and a champagne reception awaits you. Join the crew on deck who will welcome you as a nice premise to your week cruise. You will then have plenty of time to discover the barge, its environment and to settle in your bedroom before dinner on-board with our gourmet chef.

 

Monday – Day 2

 

Deck - EsperanceToday, be prepared for a very relaxing day cruising. You will be surprised by the peacefulness of the barge while gliding through this beautiful 16th century canal. We will stop in Colombiers where you have time to meander through the village before lunch.

The afternoon cruise will take us to the pretty village of Capestang, as we pass through the exciting tunnel de Malpa, famous for its unique geometric structure. Quite an experience! This is the perfect day to venture onto the tow path at your own leisure and enjoy a bicycle ride or a hike while the barge continues to move gracefully along the canal. This provides a perfect opportunity to see the boat from another angle and capture it at its best, with the beautiful French country side as a back drop.

 

Tuesday – Day 3

Narbonne Canal

This morning we drive to Narbonne in our Mercedes minivan, a lively city full of art and history. The choice is yours, for those who love to shop, venture through the many walking streets around the old town center and discover the quaint boutique shops that offer the best of southern French souvenirs. Otherwise, visit the colorful covered market, the Archbishop’s Palace, the archaeological museum, or spend your morning at the Mediterranean Sea. A beautiful cruise today with many turns and loops and a romantic night mooring in the middle of the vines and arched trees.

 

Wednesday – Day 4

 

Olive Oil OuliboFor the religious history fans, Fontfroide is quite a site! This Abbey was founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1093 and affiliated with the Cistercians in 1145. It is a beautiful collection of religious buildings and the gardens around it are stunning. Or, if you prefer, we can visit the Olive factory at L’Oulibo, a prize winning olive oil mill and a great place for tasting and buying olive oil or tapenade.

This afternoon let the world float by as your lunch will be served on deck while the barge is moving slowly on this peaceful tree lined canal. We cruise all the way to a romantic night mooring in Le Somail with its fascinating antique bookshops and local potters and artists.

 

Thursday – Day 5

Minerve

Today, we have a very scenic drive into the Minervois hills and ‘les gorges de la Cesse’ on our way to Minerve. This amazing medieval village is perched on a spectacular rocky outcrop formed by the rivers, Cesse and Brian. Famous for its Cathar history and its wine countryside, this village is full of charm and history. On the way back, how about a little wine tasting to discover more about the excellent wines this region has to offer? Time to relax on deck, as your floating hotel is on the move and the cruise will take you to a quiet mooring close to Homps.

 

Friday – Day 6

 

CarcassonneGoing through a couple of traditional locks the barge will cruise to our last mooring for the week, close to Carcassonne. After lunch you will have plenty of time to discover the world famous walled medieval town, la Cité de Carcassonne. This extraordinary place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to be the most visited site in France. If you have already visited “La  Cité,” we will visit Lagrasse, an attractive village now home to numerous pottery workers and artists attracted by the place itself and the renowned natural light of the region. The two ‘highlights’ of the village are perhaps the Abbey and the bridges, although the narrow medieval streets of the village are also very attractive, and remains of the town walls can still be seen.

 

Saturday – Day 7

 

After a wonderful week on board, enjoy you final breakfast then your guide will transfer you to Carcassonne or to the railway station for your onward journey.

 

Location Map

Esperance Cruise – Béziers to Carcassonne (classic)

 

Cruise Meeting point Point of interest    

Photo Gallery

Cruise Fares

Esperance cruise fares for 2017:

 

 Private charter – Full board: from US $4,835 per person based on 6 passengers

Included in the fare:

– Six nights accommodation
– All gourmet meals prepared by your private chef
– All wines, bar, and refreshment drinks aboard
– Transfers to and from the barge from the designated meeting point
– Daily excursions with your tour guide in private vehicle
– Use of on-board bicycles, library and sound system

 

 Private charter – Half board: from US $4,335 per person based on 6 passengers

Included in the fare:

– Six nights accommodation
– All breakfasts and lunches, plus two dinners aboard (the other dinners will be at passengers’ expense in an authentic local restaurant)
– All wines, bar, and refreshment drinks aboard
– Transfers to and from the barge from the designated meeting point
– Daily excursions with your tour guide in private vehicle
– Use of on-board bicycles, library and sound system

 

 

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