The Esperance is owned and managed by the charming and artistic Mathias Gilles. His passion for hospitality is reflected in the barge’s sophisticated amenities, literate itineraries, and deluxe accommodations.
Mathias has practically spent his life on the water, having been raised on a yacht and spending his formative years in North Africa and the Canary Islands. Today, Mathias ensures guests aboard the Esperance are introduced to the many cultural highlights and culinary happenings found along the Canal du Midi. Accordingly, the daily excursions reflect the region’s artisanal specialties, charming villages, and historic landmarks, all curated through an intimate lens.
The Esperance’s aesthetically pleasing interior is no accident, as Mathias is an admitted perfectionist about décor and style. Beautifully appointed cabins provide havens of quiet comfort through modern design. Epicurean adventures on the Esperance abound; cooking enthusiasts are encouraged to join Chef in the open kitchen for informal culinary demonstrations, special samplings, and wine-tastings, while fellow seafarers are always welcome to visit the Captain in his spacious wheelhouse. Alternatively, guests can watch the idyllic French countryside gloriously float by while socializing on the expansive deck, or just relaxing in the hot tub.
Onboard meals are fresh and flavorful, and emphasize seasonally inspired menus with a rich southern influence. Carefully selected with an emphasis on the region’s emerging wineries, the wine pairings encourage guests to discover the nuanced bounty of the Languedoc’s many vineyards. Those wishing to further sample the Canal du Midi’s cuisine scene can choose the half board cruise, with four dinners ashore at local bistros and lively auberges at their expense.