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Water Canal in Strasbourg, Alsace, France

French Luxury Canal Cruising



6 Days

Prices Start from

£2,900 (ex. flights)

Luxury hotel barging is the ultimate in slow-travel and is a wonderfully relaxing and luxurious introduction to some of France’s fascinating history, local culture and fine cuisine.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary


Gentle Cruising

The itineraries are all designed to gently show off some of France’s most delightful regions on some of the most beautiful waterways.


Hotel Barging

A hotel barge is a very comfortable and stress-free way to travel without the strains of packing and unpacking.


Fine Food & Wine

Sample fine wines at renowned family-owned vineyards and indulge in regional specialities at one of the many local cheese, olive or truffle producers.



An Inclusive Experience

Everything is included from the arrival transfers and guided excursions to the excellent selection of fine regional food and hand-picked wine on board.

Why we like it

There is everything to love about this holiday -the gentle pace and the comfort of a well-equipped and superbly crewed barge. Imagine having a chef on board to create the finest of dishes, tasting regional specialities and drinking locally made wine or beer (in Alsace). Also, we know that the regions we are suggesting for your trip are some of France’s finest, celebrated for the interesting history, culture and scenery, all to be enjoyed from the tranquillity of your barge. Add in family or friends and choose to charter a barge and you have the recipe for a perfect, stress-free holiday.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Days 1-6
  • Days 1-6
    Canal du Midi
  • Days 1-6
    Alsace & Lorraine

What is a Luxury Hotel Barge Experience?

These fully crewed – captain, chef, housekeeper, deckhand and tour guide – all-inclusive, luxury hotel barges are some of the most comfortable in Europe. All have outside-facing cabins with en suite facilities and natural daylight. Each barge has spacious saloon and dining areas, central heating, air-conditioning and umbrella-shaded sun decks. Many have a small library, games and a music centre, while some carry bicycles for some leisurely rides along the towpaths. Covering around 70 miles during a six-day journey, this is one of the best slow travel experiences available. With a master chef on board creating regional recipes beautifully paired with the well-stocked wine cellar, this is the perfect way to spend a holiday. Your captain is also well versed in this region and will double up as your guide, taking you around family-owned vineyards and fine castles, before returning you to the hotel barge for your next culinary extravaganza.

Chateau de Saumur, Loire Valley, France
Avignon Bridge with Popes Palace and Rhone river at sunset, Pont Saint Benezet, Provence, France
Avignon, France

Cruise Medieval Villages of Burgundy

Renowned for its world-class wines, beautiful medieval villages and impressive chateaux’s, Burgundy is crisscrossed by a network of canals and some wonderful countryside making it a perfect choice for a hotel barging holiday. Met in Paris, you will transfer to the medieval town of Auxerre to begin a six-day cruise along the Canal du Nivernais passing through delightful locks and countryside ranging from rolling vineyards to pastureland with plenty of opportunities to hop off your barge to explore on foot or bicycle. Onshore excursions include wine-tasting in Chablis, a visit to the pilgrimage town of Vezelay and the Romanesque Basilica of St Mary Magdalene.

Canal du Midi, Hotel Barging, France
Chateau de Saumur, Loire Valley, France

Landscapes of the Canal du Midi

One of the most picturesque canals in France, lined with charming villages, ancient Roman sites and world-class vineyards, the Canal du Midi now has UNESCO status due to the remarkable feat of engineering taken to construct it. Excursions include the frescoes at the 14th century Chateau de Perdiguier, the bustling indoor market at Narbonne and of course the superb medieval fortified settlement at Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the cruise, experience the ascent of the seven-flight staircase lock of Fonserannes and moor above it before dining out at a Michelin rated restaurant in Beziers. There are always plenty of opportunities to cycle or walk along the canal.

Water Canal in Strasbourg, Alsace, France
Strasbourg, France
Family Bike Ride, La Voie Verte, Pyrenees
Ariege, France

French and German Architecture of Alsace & Lorraine

Mixing German and French architecture, cuisine and even language, Alsace & Lorraine have a distinct feel to the rest of France. Home to fairy tale castles, vineyards and mountaintop villages, this less-visited corner of France are both fascinating and picturesque. Your cruise begins in Strasbourg and passes through the beautiful Alsatian countryside along the Canal de la Marne au Rhine. Highlights include the beautiful Gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg, private wine tasting, and visits to The Rene Lalique Collection in the mountain village of La Petite Pierre. For canal fanatics you will be amazed as you ascend the Arzviller boat elevator, lifting the vessel some 450 feet up the mountainside. Cruise through the Arzviller tunnels by candlelight. There are also optional excursions for beer tasting and an early morning visit to a local patisserie as well as plenty of opportunities to cycle or walk along the canal.

Celebrations and Occasions - Exclusive Charter

Hotel barges are available for both individual cabin reservations for travel with like-minded people, or for exclusive charter by larger parties, for the most wonderful holiday with family or friends. Everything is included, from arrival transfers to all meals including an excellent selection of fine wines and spirits, so no confusion over the bill. When chartering a barge, the itinerary can be tailored to the interests of your group whether that be wine, cycling or keeping the children happy. Please just let us know. Please note however that child under the age of 12 years are not accepted unless it is a charter booking or a special family departure.

We have chosen three of our favourite journeys in France travelling through contrasting regions. If you were considering a hotel barging holiday in a different part of France or maybe another part of Europe or Scotland please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?

Why Steppes

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