The ideal location for your river cruise on the inland water ways of Southern France is Caroline. She offers an absolutely exceptional way of relaxation during your stay in Europe. From a few days till a week or two; You will discover the unique charme, navigating on one of the UNESCO world culturale heritages: The Canal Du Midi.
This terrific waterway is part of UNESCO World Heritage
Carolines huge flowered sun deck has comfortable teak seatings and is laid with a carpet and is the best place to admire the gurgling waters in the famous oval locks or the shady plane trees while underway. Enjoy relaxing on the sundeck with a cool drink of your choice or sitting in front of the steering position in the shade, watching the wonderful french countryside passing by.
The unique sound and rhythm of Caroline´s original three-cylinder diesel engine and her displacement of more than 90 tons will give you a smooth journey without any seasickness - guaranteed!
The three air-conditioned guest cabins aboard are spacious. There is one double-bed and two twin-bed cabins. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower, wardrobes and shelves for your clothes. For cabin sizes please scroll down.
With those three double cabins why not invite friends or family to experience the wonder and beauty of a holiday on the Canal du Midi?
Along the way you will be able to visit medieval villages, stroll through local markets or enjoy culinary delights on Caroline or in a local Auberge. Visit one of the many vineyards and taste the wonderful wines of the Languedoc. The Languedoc is the world´s largest wine producing area. The mild climate and the relaxing and friendly atmosphere will make your holidays unforgettable.
Did you know, that you can talk to us in your language ? We speak English, Español, Deutsch en Nederlands.
WiFi aboard is available for email and web browsing, but cannot be used for streaming video, skype, up/downloads of your pictures or other high bandwidth uses. It may not always be available at all times. If, during your stay in France and on Caroline, you should need high speed / high volume internet access, we recommend one of those data roaming offers of your wireless carrier at home in collaboration with the French cell operators.
You start into your day with an extensive continental breakfast. Coffee, tea, fruit juices, croissants and baguettes, jams, ham, cereals...
Apart from the meals, every day has two additional highlights: The cruise on Caroline through the picturesque French landscape plus a daily excursion guided by your Captain. Uli likes to show you our personal collections of many particularly highlights ashore.
After lunch Caroline takes off for the afternoon cruise. Maybe today you have had a light lunch because you still feel not that hungry from breakfast.
But be prepared for the 4-course-dinner tonight on board!
Double bed - 2.00 m x 1.40 m
Cabin Size: 3.60 m x 2.85 m (10 m2)
Bath ensuite: 1.40 m x 1.50 m (2.1 m2)
Double bed - 6.6 ft x 4,6 ft
Cabin Size: 11.8 ft x 9.35 ft (108 sqft)
Bath ensuite: 4.6 x 4.9 (23 sqft)
Twin beds - 2.10 m x 0.90 m
Cabin Size: 2.10 m x 2.80 m (5.9 m2)
Bath: 2.00 m x 1.15 m (2.3 m2)
Twin beds - 6.9 ft x 3 ft each
Cabin Size: 6.9 ft x 9.2 ft (63 sqft)
Bath: 6.5 ft x 3.8 ft (25 sqft)
Twin beds - 2.10 m x 0.90 m
Cabin Size: 2.10 m x 3.20 m (6.7 m2)
Bath: 2.30 m x 1.05 m (2.4 m2)
Twin beds - 6.9 ft x 3 ft each
Cabin Size: 6.9 ft x 10.5 ft (82 sqft)
Bath: 7.5 ft x 3.4 ft (26 sqft)
The height of the ceiling throughout Caroline (cabins, baths, hall, dining) is about 7,2 ft. Cabin #1 has 6,5 ft
Caroline travels the idyllic Canal du Midi - also known as: Royal Canal in the Languedoc - in the sunny southern part of France.
Carcassonne is famous for the old fortified fairytale castle La Cité !
Narbonne has a long history too, founded 118 BC by the romans. This first Roman colony outside of Italy was located on the Via Domitia, build to connect Italy and Spain.
Close to the Mediterranean and the historic sites of the Cathar country of Languedoc-Roussillon, the Canal du Midi connects the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since 1681. This terrific waterway is part of UNESCO World Heritage since 1996.
This more than 300 year old Canal offers behind every bend enchanting views. The waterway follows the contours of the landscape. Sometimes one curve leads into the next and then suddenly spacious vineyards.
Fascinating History & Local Culture
The locks, the avenues of plane trees, who’s roots are securing the banks of the canal, every bridge or aqueduct speaks volumes of the ingenuity of the builder - Pierre-Paul Riquet, who, with the knowledge and engineering ingenuity of those days, constructed a technical masterpiece.
Now and then we cross a river on an aqueduct or we approach tiny bridges where we can not believe that Caroline can pass through; this always excites interest and many photos.
Several cover stories and articles about the relaxed canal cruise with Caroline have been published over the last years. The latest one is published recently as cover story of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s travel section in 2016.
You´ll find Caroline in the travel section of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Australian Magazine Worldwide Cruising News, Wine Enthusiast Magazin, TravelThruHistory, The Daily Meal.
Please find the corresponding links in the section "Guest Book"
Caroline´s unique 3/4 Board - Full daily breakfasts plus eight to nine lunches/dinners per week aboard. This gives the flexibility to sample also the local cuisine ashore on two or three occasions. This feels like full-board at a half-board rate.
"Welcome Dinner" on Caroline on your arrival day, aswell the "Farewell Dinner" aboard Thursday or Friday evening.
All beverages aboard wines, beers, soft drinks and drinks from the well equiped open bar. Coffee and tea are served at any time. Accommodation for six nights aboard. All excursions and side trips with Uli in Caroline´s luxury Mercedes V-Class Van.
If not differently agreed, you are picked up by Uli at your hotel, train station or airport at Beziers, Narbonne or Carcassonne. Your arrival aboard will be on Sunday afternoon near Carcassonne or near Beziers.
After breakfast on the next Saturday, Uli will drive you back to your next station or airport.
Accommodation in spacious cabins with individual shower/bath. There is one cabin with double bed and two cabins with twin beds.
Please take a look at the Itinerary Page for more details.
Places we´re going to see can be Carcassonne, Minerve or Narbonne. Abbeys, wineries, oliveoil production ... Excursions are done with Caroline´s Mercedes V-Class Van. Those excursions and others are of course at no extra charge!
Any suggestion? Please let us know - we are known for our flexibility.
You plan to cruise with family or friends? Your group has more than 6 guests? No problem at all. We have arranged "Tandem Cruises" over the 10 years with up to 12 guests with another hotel barge.
Perhaps the most memorable part of your trip will be the wines you will drink and the mediterranean food you will taste. Uli explores the local wineries regularly, looking for regional gems with which to delight you. He is especially adept at pairing the wines with Ute's creative dishes. Her cuisine is inspired by experience living in France, Spain and Italy. The dishes are all the more enjoyable because you may have participated in picking the ingredients at a local market!
A meal without wine is like a day without sun
You will have a plentiful breakfast daily, with Uli sneaking off early to get fresh breads and pastries from a local bakery.
Other Highlights: Sunday evening ‘Welcome Dinner’ aboard, the ‘Farewell Dinner’ aboard Thursday or Friday evening, the 3 or 4-course lunches or dinners for example could be composed by: Duck breast, leg of lamb, espresso sherbet, coquille st. jacques with foam of sauternes, fresh salads from the region with different dressings like roquefort or walnut dressing, local cheese specialities ...
... all individual courses served with their matching wines.
All beverages aboard, wines, beers, soft drinks and drinks from the well equiped open bar, coffee and tea are included and served at any time.
Do you have any likes or dislikes, special (dietry) requests or allergies?
If you get in touch with us before hand, we will try, with pleasure, to help you - we are known for our flexibility.
Every day brings up a side trip where Uli invites you to hop into Caroline’s comfortable Mercedes V-Class Van, driving with you to an individual attraction every day.
Typically Caroline will plan to cruise half a day. Depending on the stretch of the canal we are in and how many locks we have to pass, the cruise might be in the morning or the afternoon. The waterway also offers walking and biking occasions along the flat and well maintained towpath.
You might find that you are walking faster than Caroline can follow you
Guests are picked up at approximately 4 p.m. by Uli, your Captain, at the pre-arranged meeting point and transferred by private air-conditioned Mercedes V-Class Van to the Caroline mooring.
Champagne welcome reception aboard by Ute, your Chef, and time to settle in while Caroline is starting her first little cruise to your evening mooring. Relax on deck and watch the picturesque French landscape glide past. On this first evening you will enjoy the first four course welcome gourmet dinner aboard.
Awaken to enjoy an extensive continental breakfast with freshly brewed coffee, tea, fruit juices, croissants and baguettes, jams, ham, cereals...
Before we start the daily cruise you might decide to have a morning visit to the pre-Roman site of Oppidum d'Enserunes, which is a historical site from around 800 BC and has been part of the Roman Via Domitia. This area also overlooks the famous Etang de Montady.
We set off cruising, meandering through truly unbelievable and stunning scenery. Ute will serve the lunch on deck `al fresco´. This afternoon while relaxing on deck with a chilled drink enjoy yourself and watch the countryside pass by as we cruise to our mooring destination for the evening.
Each day the Canal du Midi offers walking and biking along the flat and well maintained towpath. Perhaps a stroll into a little village? Caroline can stop nearly everywhere along the Canal. And you might find that you are walking faster than Caroline can follow you.
After another rich breakfast, we will drive by car into the pretty village of Olonzac. Here we explore the local farmers market with their colourful display of fresh fruit and vegetables. Here, your Captain will introduce you - among other - to local cheeses and seafood. Maybe you like to have a "café crème" in one of the typical bars, watching the crowd passing by? Than we will return to the Caroline, where Ute is preparing your lunch, in which you will find lots of the local products, your Captain has bought with you on the market.
The afternoon cruise with the barge will guide you through the pleasant landscape of Languedoc-Roussillon, which is known as the biggest wine producing area worldwide. Probably we will moor at night in Le Somail, a very charming little Hameau. Here you have the chance sampling the local food in one of the restaurants nearby.
When, after having had your dinner ashore, you´re coming home, enjoy the evening sitting on deck with a glass of wine or digestive, talking, laughing ...
Today’s morning visit is the little scenic hilltop village of Minerve, one of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France". Still there are about 100 people living. Minerve´s history is old and connected to the Cathar Crusades which took place in the early 12th century. Visiting the little Museum of Hurepel, telling everything about the cruelties which have happened in this area 800 years ago, you´ll find out about their hard lifes.
The cruise this afternoon will take us to the first look this week. But before getting there, we will make a stop-over in Ventenac. Here Caroline will moor in front of the local Chateau which sits directly on the banks of the canal. Chateau Ventenac invites you in for a wine tasting of their famous "AOC Minervois". The vines of the "Appellation Minervois" have been introduced by the romans.
When we have reached the mooring later on, maybe you like to take a walk or a bike ride along the towpath before Ute gives you a call for starting the dinner tonight.
This morning we´re taking off with the Van to see ancient Narbonne. We visit the Palace of the Archbishop, the Roman underground cave storages and the Cathedral St Just, with its impressive organ. From this vantage the ancient Via Domitia can be seen. Narbonne was founded 118 BC by the Romans along the Via Domitia. This is the more than 2000 years old trade route connecting ancient Rome with Spain.
While enjoying the town you can chase for souvenirs before your Captain Uli invites you for Lunch at a typical bar in the covered food market in the centre of Narbonne.
Today's cruise will take us through the first locks. The first one has a single chamber while the next lock has a double chamber. A total of 4 locks with 6 chambers will bring us to our evening stop at Homps, a small vineyard village. We moor along a quay in the middle of this village where guests have a wide choice of restaurants for your dinner and a stroll tonight.
Today’s excursion will be another highlight of your week! La Cité! Tour of the famous walled city of Carcassonne, a fascinating fortified medieval fortress, situated on top of Carcassonne overlooking the city.
Caroline takes off after breakfast, leaving Homps, cruising again through locks, transporting us 'uphill' to the next level of the Canal. Our evening mooring tonight is away from the villages and somewhere in the countryside.
The dinner tonight will be - sad enough - the Farewell dinner. Again Ute will serve a spectacular 4 course gourmet meal. Once more you can enjoy her cuisine, corresponding wines followed by cheeses and desert with matching wines, coffee and liquors.
Dearest Ute and Ulie -
what great fun we´ve had being your guests on this wonderful Barge/Hotel "The Caroline". Spending six days with you has allowed us to see you more as fine human beings and not just attendants extraordinaire. We find ourselves putting aside books, games and sketching materials to be slowly swept away to the speed of life. We have a list of friends whom we think will be interested in what you have to offer ...
Do we really have to leave today? Please may we stay. We could wash the decks, wash up, stoke the fire, hide in a cupboard maybe.
When we have been ashore and see her when we return, she makes me smile with pleasure at the thought of moving slowly down the Canal again.
What else can I say that hasn't been said already on the previous pages. We agree with it all.
Ute, you must realise by now you could compete with Michelin Star Chefs – thank you for your work in the kitchen, we have enjoyed every morsel.
Uli – thanks for the rest, captain, host, tour guide.
It has been a pleasure to meet you both and hope we can keep in touch over the years and see you again.
With love from John + Elizabeth (ex Sidney, Australia)
If you are reading these words, you probably have just arrived on board the Caroline, you lucky dog !
You are about to embark on a most memorable voyage. I envy you.
I would, however, offer one bit of advice : No matter how tempted you are towards having a second portion of an Entré or Main Course prepared by Ute, be sure to leave room oin your tommy for dessert.
Stuart + Adrienne, Long Beach, California
Nothing could be finer than to be on Caroline for a month or two.
Nothing could be sweeter than to dine on Caroline for a meal or two or more.
Nothing could be safer than to glide along with Uli admiring the panoramic scenes of the Midi.
With the Aussie flag unfurled under blankets we are digesting yet another Ute feast.
Nothing could be sweeter than to see the Tuppies tremble as the majestic Caroline approaches.
Thank you for a wonderful experience from the Aussies who love to read. (especially after lunch)
Ros . Greg . Deb . Chris
XO XO XO XO
We have had nearly everything in the way of weather; sun, shade, heat, wind, snow in the Pyrenees that blew cold weather here - & it was all delightful. To wake in the night to total silence & than in the morning to the sound of church bells – to bike to Minerve (& actually make it) – to sit like Cleopatra in front of the wheel house – how can anything equal that??
I am writing this while waiting for supper. What marvellous creations will Ute produce to-night? As Bill said, "There must be 2 Utes – the one who stands at the bow, directing traffic & carries enormous ropes around trees to anchor the Caroline - - - & the 2nd who produces gourmet treat. As for Uli, he is waiter par excellence, sommelier, boat captain & repair man.
Thank you for a never-to-be-forgotten experience.
Nancy (Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada) and Bill (Toronto, Canada)
... "a relaxing week on the canal" but go with memories of one of the most enjoyable times of our "travelling" lifes. 2007 is a year of the Rugby World Cup but if there was a "World Cup for Barging" - Team Caroline would be the winner
Elaine & Sid ...
the most relaxing + carefree holiday we have ever taken + hat has to be the best way to see the South of France. From the moment we met you at Gare Carcassonne + then came aboard Caroline you have both made us feeling very welcome + the hospitality has been first class.
The food + meals prepared for us, what can we say, but exceptional, + please email us some recipes. Thank you Ute, your cooking has been marvellous, and the service + presentation, again first class. Loved the table decorations, + salt + pepper shakers for every day, favourite was definitely the spring bolt + screw.
This has certainly been a holiday to remember, repeat + tell everyone who will listen. Thank you again + hope to see you again
Linda + Brian, Melbourne ...
... thank you so much for making this a very special family holiday. We all really hate to see the end, ...but fortunately we have the wonderful memories, now and for a long time. Not to mention the extra pounds "Made in France", hopefully not for such a long time ...
Please come visit us on Orcas Island! Harold and Elsie