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Cruise Destinations

-France, Canal Du Midi on Barge Esperance-

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 6 guests
  • 100 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter Only
  • Hosts: Mathais Gilles
  • English Speaking Crew of 3
  • 6 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2017

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, transfers to and from Narbonne/Beziers to the barge, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning (unless the charter books a half-board cruise in which case only two dinners are included on board), all wines with lunch & dinner on board, open bar on board, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from France, transportation to and from Narbonne/Beziers (we will assist you with this), if a half-board charter cruise is booked then four dinners are taken ashore at guest expense, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


Esperance

Barge Lady Sales Manager Lori Young recently visited Esperance, she says:

Captain Mathais, barge Esperance owner“I had the most delightful and informative visit to Esperance with owner, Mathias Gilles in August 2013. His warm welcome aboard was the perfect introduction to the overall ambiance on this charming hotel barge. Boutique style comes to mind. Thoroughly modern, comfortable, and well-appointed, all with fabulous attention to detail. Captain Mathias, pictured at right, has practically spent his life on the water; after many years of practice as medical doctors, his parents decided to discover the world on their sailing yacht. At the young age of 13 Mathias started to experience boat life year round, doing his studies in different countries while enjoying new cultures. As a young adult, after some years on charter vessels in North Africa and the Canary Islands, Mathias returned to France and bought his first canal barge. It was time to discover the inland waterways of France! Mathias is a wonderful story-teller, happy to share his experiences with his guests.

Esperance was built with the comfort and the security of its passengers in mind. Redesigned as a private yacht with rich materials this barge offers an oversized master suite and spacious guest accommodation for a total of six passengers. You may privately charter Esperance with two, four, or six-guests. The hull of Esperance is a one level construction, which not only preserves her elegant line, but also allows for a shallow draft giving great flexibility and freedom to our guests, allowing them many opportunities to go ashore for a bicycle ride or a walk. We encourage guests to take advantage of the charming canal towpath and villages along the route. How about a game of pétanque from your picturesque mooring with the crew?

Décor is very important to Mathias and reflects his personal expression and experience, where space, privacy and service are very important. Esperance is fully air conditioned. The interior accommodation is decorated with light cream colored fabrics. Windows open throughout. Even while seated at the dining table, guests always have a view! For those who need to be connected, there is a satellite TV in the salon and internet available when the signal is strong. Cabins have televisions available for watching DVD videos. The upper deck is huge and offers different areas to relax. There are six lounge chairs for sun bathing or if you prefer to read, let the crew arrange a spot for you in the shade. Sip wine and watch the idyllic French countryside gloriously float by. There is also a spa tub on deck for your enjoyment. Weather permitting; guests have the pleasure to dine al fresco under the shade awning!

There is something for everyone to be personally a part of the Esperance experience. Mathias welcomes you to join him in his expansive wheelhouse. The wheelhouse offers an extra outside area, covered with a permanent awning where guests can learn to drive the boat or just relax on one of the sofas. Perhaps you are more at home in the kitchen and hope to hone your culinary skills, guests are encouraged to cozy up to the open-air kitchen and share recipes and techniques with your delightful chef. How about practicing your French while out on an excursion with your Tour Guide, they are happy to indulge you! Your captain and his crew are masters in creating a relaxing and personal atmosphere with a perfect touch of class. Bon voyage!”


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise
2017 rates
Full Board Charter Half Board Charter
Charter of 6: $29,000 Charter of 6: $26,000
Charter of 4: $23,000 Charter of 4: $21,000
Charter of 2: $17,500 Charter of 2: $15,500

 

Half Board / Dine Around Cruise: Includes two dinners onboard Esperance, and all breakfasts & lunches thereafter. Four dinners will be at passenger’s expense in authentic local restaurants along the route, all carefully selected and recommended by your Captain, for a true regional French dining experience.

2017 dates
April 2 - 8 May 28 - June 3 July 23 - 29 September 10 - 16
April 9 - 15 June 4 - 10 July 30 - August 5 September 17 - 23
April 16 - 22 June 11 - 17 August 6 - 12 September 24 - 30
April 23 - 29 June 18 - 24 August 13 - 19 October 1 - 7
April 30 - May 6 June 25 - July 1 August 20 - 26 October 8 - 14
May 7 - 13 July 2 - 8 August 27 - September 2 October 15 - 21
May 14 - 20 July 9 - 15 September 3 - 9 October 22 - 28
May 21 - 27 July 16 - 22  
Barge Cruise

Esperance Accommodations and Amenities

  • 100 Feet Long
  • Three Suites with ensuite bath
  • Romaniu Suite - 200 sq feet
    Choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Farigola Suite - 200 sq feet
    Choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Sauvia Suite - 200 sq feet
    Queen bed configuration only
  • Also in Each Cabin
  • TV for DVD player
  • Small sofa
  • Hair dryer
  • In the Public Areas
  • Salon and dining room
  • Central air and heat
  • HiFi system with iPod
  • DVD player
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • Half covered deck for shade
  • Lounge chairs & dining table on deck
  • Spa tub on deck
  • Large Wheelhouse
  • Mercedes SUV for tours
  • 6 touring bicycles









 

 

canal du midi cruise esperance salon

barge esperance master suite

guest cabin aboard barge esperance

Esperance Canal du Midi Cruise Itinerary

Beziers – Carcassonne on the Canal du Midi

Sunday: Welcome in Beziers
Board Esperance moored on the Canal du Midi
Your Tour Guide will welcome you at the Beziers Train Station at approximately 4 PM and transfer you the Esperance moored in the enchanting countryside along the famous Canal du Midi. (Your train fare to and from the Midi is in addition to the cruise price. We are happy to provide assistance well before departure with booking and ticketing your trains.) Meet Captain Mathias and the rest of the crew at the traditional champagne welcome reception. You will then have plenty of time to unpack and explore your beautiful barge before the first of many gourmet dinners.Beziers

Monday: Cruise to Capestang
Float from village to village on this historical canal
Today is a very relaxing day aboard Esperance! As we set off after breakfast, you will be surprised by the peacefulness of the barge while gliding along this beautiful 16th Century canal. We stop in Colombiers, where you will have time to explore before lunch. The pretty canal side village boasts a small church built in the 12th century. Our cruise this afternoon takes us through the exciting tunnel de Malpas, excavated in 1679; it was Europe’s first navigable tunnel. We arrive to the pretty village of Capestang; time to walk into the village, admire the Cathedral and have a drink at the main square. Today is the perfect day to go for a bicycle ride or enjoy a hike while the barge is moving slowly.

Tuesday: Cruise to a canal side mooring
Stroll in enchanting Pezenas, where history and charm come alive!
After a morning cruise with many turns and loops we will find a romantic mooring in the middle of the vines and arched trees. A perfect spot to enjoy a gourmet lunch! Following lunch your guide will come and pick you up for a visit to Pézenas,pictured below, a magical city full of art and history. The entire old town is rich with period mansions, wonderful wrought iron balconies, stone sculpture and ornate doorways. Molière is reputed to have created some of his famous characters right here in Pézenas, in the barber’s shop!pezanas

Wednesday: Cruise to Le Somail
Narbonne-Roman ruins and shopping - a great combination!
The world floats by as the barge is moving slowly along the picturesque canal. We will cruise to Le Somail, a famous local village with a fascinating antique bookshop, local potters, and artists. Guests are welcome to stroll about this petite and charming village. Your guide can then drive to you to Narbonne, a lively city dating back from the Roman time. The choice is yours; you can go shopping around the old town center, visit the colorful covered market, the Archbishop's Palace, or the archaeological museum. Or, you may choose to spend your afternoon at the Mediterranean Sea and 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. We will customize the day to your interests.sightseeing tour of Minerve

Thursday: Le Somail to Homps
Dramatic perched village of Minerve
A peaceful morning cruise will take us through a couple of villages where we may stop to get some wine for your lunch; the best way to discover true local wines! Enjoy a scenic drive into the Minervois hills and les gorges de la Cesse to arrive in Minerve, pictured above. This amazing medieval village is perched on a spectacular rocky outcrop formed by the rivers Cesse and Brian. Famous for its tragic Cathar history, this village is not to be missed. On the way back to Esperance, how about a little wine tasting to discover more about the excellent wines this region has to offer?

Friday: Homps to Carcassonne
Walled Medieval Carcassonne is a cruise high point
After going thru a couple of traditional locks and some double ones, the barge will cruise to our last mooring for the week. After lunch, it’s a short drive to discover the world famous medieval cite of Carcassonne. This extraordinary walled-city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to be one of the most visited sites in all of France.( If you have already visited “la Cité" on a past holiday, we can instead 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 itself are also very attractive, and remains of the town walls can still be seen.) Either of these two magical excursions will end your cruise in style.

Saturday: A Sad Farewell
After a wonderful breakfast our time together ends. At 9:00 am you will be chauffeured to the pre-arranged drop off point. We hope you have enjoyed your stay with us and we look forward to have the pleasure to welcome you on board again!

Esperance Sample Menus

dessert on barge esperance

Lunch

Mesculun, pear and parmesan salad

Sautéed Ravioli,
with local mushrooms and pancetta

Cider and green apple sorbet

 

Lunch

Ceviche

Chicken goujons
in a white wine and thyme jus

Pear tiramisu

Dinner

Comté soufflé,
seared scallop, tomato vanilla jam

Grilled cod,
Pernod cream sauce,
horseradish lentils, petit pois

Poached pear on sugar nest,
with its syrup,
vanilla ice cream

Dinner

Spiced lamb meatball on artichoke,
aubergine relish, cream cheese, orange-saffron sauce

Slow-roast duck in madeira sauce
with root vegetables

Cirton tarte, rosé jelly

 

Picture a Barge Cruise on Esperance

a canal du midi cruise week on barge esperance

Esperance Guest Book

“We had a wonderful time on the barge…absolutely beautiful, relaxing, and we honestly couldn’t have wished for more. Captain Mathias and his crew were just amazing, and the food and wine just the best (too good for our waistlines I’m afraid!). David, his Chef, is a real jewel and his cooking is as good as it gets anywhere. I would highly and without reservation recommend Mathias and the Esperance to anyone looking for a barge experience in southern France. He really knows the area and was wonderful at getting us dinner reservations and winery/chateau tours, as well as determining what we liked and making sure the crew accommodated us in all ways.”

- Linda Klosterman, cruised June, 2016

"The crew couldn't have been more accommodating! They were fun, attentive, and absolutely delightful! We loved having Herve as our Tour Guide and driver. It was great just being a group of six! We loved all the onboard cuisine, and it was fun to eat off the barge a few times too. Captain Mathias was the best at reserving the best bistros for us. Maybe the food was too good ...a few extra pounds were gained, thanks to all the the cheeses! We loved our cabin! We are already considering another barge trip in a different part of France."

- Gail Howey, cruised September, 2015

"We loved the Esperance! Chef David, who has been part of the crew for two years, was wonderful! Captain Mattias is a honey. Herve was a good Tour Guide, a great pilot, and very sweet. Excursions were fun and the cabins were huge! We could not have been happier anywhere. We also want to thank you for the great recommendation to stay at Domaine la Veronique the two nights before the barge. It was so wonderful that we were afraid the barge would be a letdown...of course it was just a precursor to the absolutely fabulous cruise. The Paris hotel, Le Senat, was also a perfect recommendation. You can be sure that we will be recommending the Barge Lady to anyone who asks (and anyone who doesn't ask!). And you can also be sure we will be traveling with you again in the very near future. You Barge Ladies rock!! Thank you thank you thank you."

- Janie Stein, cruised June, 2015

"An outstanding experience that exceeded all expectations! We could not have asked for a better crew. Mathias was supremely confident in his abilities and passionate about making our trip spectacular, not just merely excellent. He is meticulous about all the details. Herve was as pleasant a guide and host as could be. Always smiling, always in good humor. David was an outstanding Chef! Every meal was different, yet exquisitely prepared and tasty. The wine was free-flowing and excellent, so we sampled many varieties. We loved the leisurely pace, the casualness and simplicity of the routine. With this huge boat to ourselves, we had tons of room to vary where sat and loll about. We felt pampered at all times. Ellen, the Barge Lady, and her staff did a great job, and we thank them very much!"

- Marc Rosenberg, cruised May, 2015

"The highlight of our trip, other than the scenery, was the crew. They were FANTASTIC! Mathias, PHervé, David, and June couldn't have been sweeter or more helpful. They were always wonderful. We miss them!! The food was terrific! Chef David prepared the most delicious meals. We loved seeing the historical sites and the olive processing facility. We enjoyed the beautiful stretches of the tree-lined canal, and couldn't have been more pleased with our crew. They made it fun!"

- Ann Poole, cruised October, 2014

"I think Esperance was the envy of the Canal du Midi. Mathias kept Esperance in beautiful condition, not a scratch anywhere to be seen; he is a very fastidious captain, every rope coiled, nothing out of place or haphazard. Very ship shape! People would snap photos all day long when we’d glide past. I guess we had a taste of what it must be like to be a celebrity. People would just marvel at Esperance.  We were lucky enought to spend our 25th wedding anniversary cruise was on Esperiance with Mathias and his crew David, June, and Hervé -- it was unforgettable and there are not words enough to thank you and your crew for taking such outstanding care of us. The entire experience was terrific, your attention to detail simply remarkable! I shall never, ever forget the very romantic dinner and atmosphere your created on our anniversary night feast. My wife and I count ourselves extraordinarily fortunate to have found Mathias and Esperance. You are an amazing Captain and host."

- Steve Wallace, cruised June, 2014

 

 

 

Esperance Blog Posts, Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

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5 Cruises for Francophile Foodies
Combining gourmet cuisine with luxe onboard living, Esperance easily clinches a spot on our list of favorite barge cruises for French foodies.

 

Happy Crew Year!
Chef David's innovative cuisine and decadent cakes leave barge guests fat, happy and singing his praises! A spotlight on the hardworking and personable crew who help make barge cruises extraordinary experiences with happy memories.

+ - Overview

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 6 guests
  • 100 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter Only
  • Hosts: Mathais Gilles
  • English Speaking Crew of 3
  • 6 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2017

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, transfers to and from Narbonne/Beziers to the barge, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning (unless the charter books a half-board cruise in which case only two dinners are included on board), all wines with lunch & dinner on board, open bar on board, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from France, transportation to and from Narbonne/Beziers (we will assist you with this), if a half-board charter cruise is booked then four dinners are taken ashore at guest expense, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


Esperance

Barge Lady Sales Manager Lori Young recently visited Esperance, she says:

Captain Mathais, barge Esperance owner“I had the most delightful and informative visit to Esperance with owner, Mathias Gilles in August 2013. His warm welcome aboard was the perfect introduction to the overall ambiance on this charming hotel barge. Boutique style comes to mind. Thoroughly modern, comfortable, and well-appointed, all with fabulous attention to detail. Captain Mathias, pictured at right, has practically spent his life on the water; after many years of practice as medical doctors, his parents decided to discover the world on their sailing yacht. At the young age of 13 Mathias started to experience boat life year round, doing his studies in different countries while enjoying new cultures. As a young adult, after some years on charter vessels in North Africa and the Canary Islands, Mathias returned to France and bought his first canal barge. It was time to discover the inland waterways of France! Mathias is a wonderful story-teller, happy to share his experiences with his guests.

Esperance was built with the comfort and the security of its passengers in mind. Redesigned as a private yacht with rich materials this barge offers an oversized master suite and spacious guest accommodation for a total of six passengers. You may privately charter Esperance with two, four, or six-guests. The hull of Esperance is a one level construction, which not only preserves her elegant line, but also allows for a shallow draft giving great flexibility and freedom to our guests, allowing them many opportunities to go ashore for a bicycle ride or a walk. We encourage guests to take advantage of the charming canal towpath and villages along the route. How about a game of pétanque from your picturesque mooring with the crew?

Décor is very important to Mathias and reflects his personal expression and experience, where space, privacy and service are very important. Esperance is fully air conditioned. The interior accommodation is decorated with light cream colored fabrics. Windows open throughout. Even while seated at the dining table, guests always have a view! For those who need to be connected, there is a satellite TV in the salon and internet available when the signal is strong. Cabins have televisions available for watching DVD videos. The upper deck is huge and offers different areas to relax. There are six lounge chairs for sun bathing or if you prefer to read, let the crew arrange a spot for you in the shade. Sip wine and watch the idyllic French countryside gloriously float by. There is also a spa tub on deck for your enjoyment. Weather permitting; guests have the pleasure to dine al fresco under the shade awning!

There is something for everyone to be personally a part of the Esperance experience. Mathias welcomes you to join him in his expansive wheelhouse. The wheelhouse offers an extra outside area, covered with a permanent awning where guests can learn to drive the boat or just relax on one of the sofas. Perhaps you are more at home in the kitchen and hope to hone your culinary skills, guests are encouraged to cozy up to the open-air kitchen and share recipes and techniques with your delightful chef. How about practicing your French while out on an excursion with your Tour Guide, they are happy to indulge you! Your captain and his crew are masters in creating a relaxing and personal atmosphere with a perfect touch of class. Bon voyage!”


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise
2017 rates
Full Board Charter Half Board Charter
Charter of 6: $29,000 Charter of 6: $26,000
Charter of 4: $23,000 Charter of 4: $21,000
Charter of 2: $17,500 Charter of 2: $15,500

 

Half Board / Dine Around Cruise: Includes two dinners onboard Esperance, and all breakfasts & lunches thereafter. Four dinners will be at passenger’s expense in authentic local restaurants along the route, all carefully selected and recommended by your Captain, for a true regional French dining experience.

2017 dates
April 2 - 8 May 28 - June 3 July 23 - 29 September 10 - 16
April 9 - 15 June 4 - 10 July 30 - August 5 September 17 - 23
April 16 - 22 June 11 - 17 August 6 - 12 September 24 - 30
April 23 - 29 June 18 - 24 August 13 - 19 October 1 - 7
April 30 - May 6 June 25 - July 1 August 20 - 26 October 8 - 14
May 7 - 13 July 2 - 8 August 27 - September 2 October 15 - 21
May 14 - 20 July 9 - 15 September 3 - 9 October 22 - 28
May 21 - 27 July 16 - 22  

Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

Esperance Accommodations and Amenities

  • 100 Feet Long
  • Three Suites with ensuite bath
  • Romaniu Suite - 200 sq feet
    Choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Farigola Suite - 200 sq feet
    Choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Sauvia Suite - 200 sq feet
    Queen bed configuration only
  • Also in Each Cabin
  • TV for DVD player
  • Small sofa
  • Hair dryer
  • In the Public Areas
  • Salon and dining room
  • Central air and heat
  • HiFi system with iPod
  • DVD player
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • Half covered deck for shade
  • Lounge chairs & dining table on deck
  • Spa tub on deck
  • Large Wheelhouse
  • Mercedes SUV for tours
  • 6 touring bicycles









 

 

canal du midi cruise esperance salon

barge esperance master suite

guest cabin aboard barge esperance

Esperance Canal du Midi Cruise Itinerary

Beziers – Carcassonne on the Canal du Midi

Sunday: Welcome in Beziers
Board Esperance moored on the Canal du Midi
Your Tour Guide will welcome you at the Beziers Train Station at approximately 4 PM and transfer you the Esperance moored in the enchanting countryside along the famous Canal du Midi. (Your train fare to and from the Midi is in addition to the cruise price. We are happy to provide assistance well before departure with booking and ticketing your trains.) Meet Captain Mathias and the rest of the crew at the traditional champagne welcome reception. You will then have plenty of time to unpack and explore your beautiful barge before the first of many gourmet dinners.Beziers

Monday: Cruise to Capestang
Float from village to village on this historical canal
Today is a very relaxing day aboard Esperance! As we set off after breakfast, you will be surprised by the peacefulness of the barge while gliding along this beautiful 16th Century canal. We stop in Colombiers, where you will have time to explore before lunch. The pretty canal side village boasts a small church built in the 12th century. Our cruise this afternoon takes us through the exciting tunnel de Malpas, excavated in 1679; it was Europe’s first navigable tunnel. We arrive to the pretty village of Capestang; time to walk into the village, admire the Cathedral and have a drink at the main square. Today is the perfect day to go for a bicycle ride or enjoy a hike while the barge is moving slowly.

Tuesday: Cruise to a canal side mooring
Stroll in enchanting Pezenas, where history and charm come alive!
After a morning cruise with many turns and loops we will find a romantic mooring in the middle of the vines and arched trees. A perfect spot to enjoy a gourmet lunch! Following lunch your guide will come and pick you up for a visit to Pézenas,pictured below, a magical city full of art and history. The entire old town is rich with period mansions, wonderful wrought iron balconies, stone sculpture and ornate doorways. Molière is reputed to have created some of his famous characters right here in Pézenas, in the barber’s shop!pezanas

Wednesday: Cruise to Le Somail
Narbonne-Roman ruins and shopping - a great combination!
The world floats by as the barge is moving slowly along the picturesque canal. We will cruise to Le Somail, a famous local village with a fascinating antique bookshop, local potters, and artists. Guests are welcome to stroll about this petite and charming village. Your guide can then drive to you to Narbonne, a lively city dating back from the Roman time. The choice is yours; you can go shopping around the old town center, visit the colorful covered market, the Archbishop's Palace, or the archaeological museum. Or, you may choose to spend your afternoon at the Mediterranean Sea and 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. We will customize the day to your interests.sightseeing tour of Minerve

Thursday: Le Somail to Homps
Dramatic perched village of Minerve
A peaceful morning cruise will take us through a couple of villages where we may stop to get some wine for your lunch; the best way to discover true local wines! Enjoy a scenic drive into the Minervois hills and les gorges de la Cesse to arrive in Minerve, pictured above. This amazing medieval village is perched on a spectacular rocky outcrop formed by the rivers Cesse and Brian. Famous for its tragic Cathar history, this village is not to be missed. On the way back to Esperance, how about a little wine tasting to discover more about the excellent wines this region has to offer?

Friday: Homps to Carcassonne
Walled Medieval Carcassonne is a cruise high point
After going thru a couple of traditional locks and some double ones, the barge will cruise to our last mooring for the week. After lunch, it’s a short drive to discover the world famous medieval cite of Carcassonne. This extraordinary walled-city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to be one of the most visited sites in all of France.( If you have already visited “la Cité" on a past holiday, we can instead 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 itself are also very attractive, and remains of the town walls can still be seen.) Either of these two magical excursions will end your cruise in style.

Saturday: A Sad Farewell
After a wonderful breakfast our time together ends. At 9:00 am you will be chauffeured to the pre-arranged drop off point. We hope you have enjoyed your stay with us and we look forward to have the pleasure to welcome you on board again!

+ - Menu

Esperance Sample Menus

dessert on barge esperance

Lunch

Mesculun, pear and parmesan salad

Sautéed Ravioli,
with local mushrooms and pancetta

Cider and green apple sorbet

 

Lunch

Ceviche

Chicken goujons
in a white wine and thyme jus

Pear tiramisu

Dinner

Comté soufflé,
seared scallop, tomato vanilla jam

Grilled cod,
Pernod cream sauce,
horseradish lentils, petit pois

Poached pear on sugar nest,
with its syrup,
vanilla ice cream

Dinner

Spiced lamb meatball on artichoke,
aubergine relish, cream cheese, orange-saffron sauce

Slow-roast duck in madeira sauce
with root vegetables

Cirton tarte, rosé jelly

 

Picture a Barge Cruise on Esperance

a canal du midi cruise week on barge esperance

Esperance Guest Book

“We had a wonderful time on the barge…absolutely beautiful, relaxing, and we honestly couldn’t have wished for more. Captain Mathias and his crew were just amazing, and the food and wine just the best (too good for our waistlines I’m afraid!). David, his Chef, is a real jewel and his cooking is as good as it gets anywhere. I would highly and without reservation recommend Mathias and the Esperance to anyone looking for a barge experience in southern France. He really knows the area and was wonderful at getting us dinner reservations and winery/chateau tours, as well as determining what we liked and making sure the crew accommodated us in all ways.”

- Linda Klosterman, cruised June, 2016

"The crew couldn't have been more accommodating! They were fun, attentive, and absolutely delightful! We loved having Herve as our Tour Guide and driver. It was great just being a group of six! We loved all the onboard cuisine, and it was fun to eat off the barge a few times too. Captain Mathias was the best at reserving the best bistros for us. Maybe the food was too good ...a few extra pounds were gained, thanks to all the the cheeses! We loved our cabin! We are already considering another barge trip in a different part of France."

- Gail Howey, cruised September, 2015

"We loved the Esperance! Chef David, who has been part of the crew for two years, was wonderful! Captain Mattias is a honey. Herve was a good Tour Guide, a great pilot, and very sweet. Excursions were fun and the cabins were huge! We could not have been happier anywhere. We also want to thank you for the great recommendation to stay at Domaine la Veronique the two nights before the barge. It was so wonderful that we were afraid the barge would be a letdown...of course it was just a precursor to the absolutely fabulous cruise. The Paris hotel, Le Senat, was also a perfect recommendation. You can be sure that we will be recommending the Barge Lady to anyone who asks (and anyone who doesn't ask!). And you can also be sure we will be traveling with you again in the very near future. You Barge Ladies rock!! Thank you thank you thank you."

- Janie Stein, cruised June, 2015

"An outstanding experience that exceeded all expectations! We could not have asked for a better crew. Mathias was supremely confident in his abilities and passionate about making our trip spectacular, not just merely excellent. He is meticulous about all the details. Herve was as pleasant a guide and host as could be. Always smiling, always in good humor. David was an outstanding Chef! Every meal was different, yet exquisitely prepared and tasty. The wine was free-flowing and excellent, so we sampled many varieties. We loved the leisurely pace, the casualness and simplicity of the routine. With this huge boat to ourselves, we had tons of room to vary where sat and loll about. We felt pampered at all times. Ellen, the Barge Lady, and her staff did a great job, and we thank them very much!"

- Marc Rosenberg, cruised May, 2015

"The highlight of our trip, other than the scenery, was the crew. They were FANTASTIC! Mathias, PHervé, David, and June couldn't have been sweeter or more helpful. They were always wonderful. We miss them!! The food was terrific! Chef David prepared the most delicious meals. We loved seeing the historical sites and the olive processing facility. We enjoyed the beautiful stretches of the tree-lined canal, and couldn't have been more pleased with our crew. They made it fun!"

- Ann Poole, cruised October, 2014

"I think Esperance was the envy of the Canal du Midi. Mathias kept Esperance in beautiful condition, not a scratch anywhere to be seen; he is a very fastidious captain, every rope coiled, nothing out of place or haphazard. Very ship shape! People would snap photos all day long when we’d glide past. I guess we had a taste of what it must be like to be a celebrity. People would just marvel at Esperance.  We were lucky enought to spend our 25th wedding anniversary cruise was on Esperiance with Mathias and his crew David, June, and Hervé -- it was unforgettable and there are not words enough to thank you and your crew for taking such outstanding care of us. The entire experience was terrific, your attention to detail simply remarkable! I shall never, ever forget the very romantic dinner and atmosphere your created on our anniversary night feast. My wife and I count ourselves extraordinarily fortunate to have found Mathias and Esperance. You are an amazing Captain and host."

- Steve Wallace, cruised June, 2014

 

 

 

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Esperance Blog Posts, Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

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5 Cruises for Francophile Foodies
Combining gourmet cuisine with luxe onboard living, Esperance easily clinches a spot on our list of favorite barge cruises for French foodies.

 

Happy Crew Year!
Chef David's innovative cuisine and decadent cakes leave barge guests fat, happy and singing his praises! A spotlight on the hardworking and personable crew who help make barge cruises extraordinary experiences with happy memories.


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