Facts About The Hotel Barge Athos
The French Hotel Barge Athos was built in 1964 as a commercial sand, grain and wine barge and was converted into a luxury hotel barge in 1982. Her association with wine continues today as she gracefully meanders through the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France along the canal du midi.
LENGTH : 98.5ft (30m)
BEAM : 16.5ft (5m)
5 crew: Captain, Tour guide, Chef, 2 Hostesses
Up to 10 passengers (12 if family with kids)
5 staterooms, configured as doubles or twins
Air conditioned / Central heat
Sun deck with loungers
10 touring bikes, 21 gears
Wi-Fi (Subject to local reception)
2 air conditioned minivans
- Former purpose: Commercial sand, grain and wine barge
- Year of construction: 1964
- Dimensions: 98.32ft x 16.56ft (29.97m x 5.05m)
- Year converted into a hotel barge: 1982
- Generators: Daytime 30KVA Kabuto 5 cylinder; Night-time silent running 23KVA Kabuto 5 cylinder
- Main Engine: GM 180CV 6 cylinder
- Max Speed: 6 Knots on open water & 2.5 Knots on canals
- Water & fuel capacity: 9 tons of water & 1,500 litres of fuel
Your Crew On Board
- Crew of 5: Captain, Tour Guide, Chef and 2 Hostesses
- Nationality of Crew: International crew, English speaking and other European languages
Accommodation On Board
Maximum of 10 guests in 5 staterooms. 12 passengers permitted if a charter group with 4 children.
All cabins can be configured with twin beds or a double bed. Narcissou-Fontfroide is slightly larger and it is possible to replace the beds with 2 x bunk beds accommodating up to 4 children.
All cabins have en-suite shower, wash basin & WC.
Each cabin has 2 portholes and 1 porthole in the bathroom. All portholes can be opened.
Staterooms are all approximately the same size but the bow stateroom is a little larger.
- Aft: St Sauveur & Mireval: 93 ft² (8.64m²)
- Middle: St Amans & Montségur: 93 ft² (8.64m²)
- Forward: Narcissou-Fontfroide: 102 ft² (9.5m²)
The ceiling height in all cabins is 7ft (2.13m)
All cabin sizes are approximate and include the bathrooms.
Size of the beds: As single beds they are each 6ft 4” x 2ft 7” (1.9m x 80cm). As a double bed, they measure 6ft 4” x 5ft 2” (1.9m x 1.6m). We recommend cabins are configured as twin beds for any passengers with restricted mobility.
Shower Rooms: All cabins have en-suite shower rooms with a full-sized wash basin, WC and a shower cubicle with base tray measuring 80cm². They are fully tiled in Provencal blue & white tiles and supplied with towels, hairdryer, shampoo, shower gel, moisturiser, soap and conditioner.
Separate air conditioning and central heating throughout with individual controls.
Computer and Telephone
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on board for guests bringing their own appliances. Connectivity can be limited in remote locations.
There is no passenger telephone on Athos.
The local currency in France is the Euros. Athos is unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.
Cycling & Walking
You are welcome to walk or cycle using the on board bicycles as often as you wish. Most guests choose to disembark the barge at a lock and visit local villages, returning to the canal and meeting the barge a little further along. The barge travels at a slow speed therefore catching up is not a problem.
There are 10 touring-bikes on board with sloping cross bars & 21 gears. Children’s bikes, helmets & child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please contact Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks prior to your departure.
Dining Room & Saloon
The light, airy Saloon is 16.5ft x 30ft (5.05m x 10m) with 2 sofas and 2 armchairs for relaxing, a coffee table, and a dining table seating up to 10 passengers at one sitting. The flooring is wooden and there is a small library of books and an open bar area with fridge.
Three steps lead from the Saloon down to the cabin level.
Athos is wired for 220 volts. We suggest you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds to the standard French 2 pin plugs.
If you wish to use your electrical appliance on board, please ask one of the crew when you arrive on board to ensure that it is suitable to the barge’s electrical system.
We cannot be held responsible for unforeseen voltage fluctuations which sometimes occur when swapping from one voltage system to another.
Athos has two 6-seater Chrysler minivans which are both air-conditioned and used for transfers and excursions.
For charter bookings, the itinerary can be adapted to suit your group’s particular needs. If a destination or excursion is within a reasonable distance of the barge, we will do everything we can to arrange it. Please speak with Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise and we can pre-arrange with the Captain.
Any guests not wishing to participate in an excursion are welcome to remain on the barge.
Facilities On Board
- 10 Bicycles (See Cycling & Walking, above)
- A small library of books and maps
- A collection of board games
- Binoculars for watching the bird life
- iPod speaker mount for use with Athos iPod or passengers’ own devices.
- Guitar (on request)
Food & Drink
All meals on board are freshly prepared by your chef and most meals are a set-menu (there is no choice available). International and French cuisine is featured.
We are able to arrange special meals, e.g. vegetarian / no fish / vegan etc, and we are able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However, it is most important that we are notified of any specific requirements at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.
There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining table on board Athos accommodates all guests at a single sitting.
Breakfast: Your day on Athos starts with a wholesome and balanced variety of breakfast foods, along with fresh breads & pastries, freshly-squeezed orange juice and hot beverages.
Lunch is usually a selection of colourful salads, pates and cold meats accompanied by hot soup or entrée, delectable desserts and a different selection of regional cheeses accompanied by quality wines selected by the chef.
Dinner: Always a gastronomic adventure created by your talented chef. A taste of regional cuisine by candlelight, complemented by fine wines, followed by a selection of regional cheeses, coffee and liqueurs.
Captain’s farewell dinner is held on the last night of your cruise. Guests may choose to dress slightly more formal.
Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk, are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24 hours, which includes wines, spirits, beers & soft drinks. All wines are provided with meals and there is a Champagne welcome on arrival.
Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some Champagnes (with the exception of the Captain’s reception) and special vintage wines, however these can be purchased in advance of your cruise at cost price, please speak to Paradise Connections. We do not recommend specific beverage orders unless you are chartering the whole barge.
Hot Air Balooning
The region Athos cruises in is not suitable for hot air ballooning.
We recommend you bring sufficient clean clothing for your cruise as there are no laundry facilities on board. However, the crew may be able to assist in an emergency on a request basis.
Luggage / What To Pack
Space is limited on board so please try and fit everything for your cruise into one medium sized suitcase per person. Soft bags are preferable as there are drawers beneath each bed which fit 2 cases. Space on each minibus is limited to 6 medium / large cases and 6 pieces of hand luggage.
Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard Athos and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal. For the Captain’s Farewell Dinner on the final evening, guests often dress up, which is optional.
The weather in the South of France is generally warm. June, July, and August is the warmest often being in the mid 30°C.
Suggested things to pack:
- Light clothing including shorts and T-shirts. A sweater or lightweight jacket is recommended for evenings and the air-conditioned interiors.
- During spring and autumn, you may need medium weight clothing. A lightweight raincoat for showery times would be advisable.
- In summer, a sun hat can be useful.
- Comfortable walking shoes with textured non-slip soles are recommended.
Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you require frequent or ongoing medical attention.
The crew are unable to administer medicines but can accompany you to a chemist for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medication with you.
Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.
Problem During Your Cruise
If you have a problem during your cruise, please give us the immediate opportunity to make things right. Please bring any concern to the private attention of your Captain who will often be able to solve any issue immediately.
Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you have a physical disability and require any assistance.
Athos is accessed via an aluminium gangplank with handrails and 2 steps mid-way. There are 6 steps between the deck and Saloon with sturdy handrails. There are a further 3 steps between the Saloon to the cabin level. The crew will assist guests whenever required.
Wheelchairs cannot be used on Athos and can only be used to assist on excursions, however many visits encounter cobbled streets or rough ground which may hinder wheelchair access.
We recommend the cabins are configured with twin beds for any passengers with restricted mobility.
If you would like to hire a wheelchair to be available for your arrival, please notify Paradise Connections at least 10 weeks before departure. A rental charge will apply.
Safety & Security
Once you are on board, your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures. Safety Instructions are detailed below.
Please note that we cannot be responsible for any valuables that you bring on board. We strongly recommend that you do not bring valuables with you unless required and that you ensure that all valuables are covered by your travel insurance.
We have a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of your fellow passengers.
If you would like to smoke, we request that you do so outside or on the deck away from other passengers.
There is a very large sundeck 16ft 6” x 36ft (5.5m x 12m) which is equipped with 10 reclining chairs with foot-rests and a large table for outside dining. A permanent large hydraulic canopy provides shelter from the sun and rain. This moves up and down automatically when cruising under bridges and allows passengers to remain seated on deck. There is also space on the sundeck to relax on sun-chairs not requiring shade.
Wine Appreciation, Tennis, Golf, and Family cruise itineraries are available for charter groups. Please contact Paradise Connections for more details. Special interest cruises often have a supplement. For details please visit Athos' Itinerary page and Rates page.
Gratuities are not included in the cruise fare. Tipping is entirely discretionary but is greatly appreciated by the crew if you are fully satisfied with the level of service on board.
As a guideline, the average tip given by our guests from around the world is approximately 5% of the Cruise Fare.
The usual way to give the tip is to give the amount in cash as one lump sum to the Captain / Cruise Director on the last day of the cruise. They will distribute the amount equally amongst the crew.
Euros or Dollars are equally appreciated. ATMs are accessible for cash withdrawal on most itineraries during the cruise and the crew can advise where these are located.
For details of the Athos vehicles, please see “Excursions” abpve. The approximate transfer duration between Beziers and Athos is 30 minutes.
Tap water in France and onboard Athos is potable and bottled water is available.
Safety Instructions On Board Athos
On arrival the Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures on board. In addition, it is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety instructions detailed below.
- Please follow the instructions of the Captain and crew at all times.
- Remember that decks can be slippery. Please wear non-slip shoes and do not run or jump whilst on board.
- Do not walk on the side or rear decks or outside the guard rails.
- Passengers are not permitted in the engine rooms, technical areas or crew accommodation at any time, or in the galley or wheelhouse unless accompanied by a crew member.
- Do not embark or disembark the barge unless the gangplank and handrail are in place or the crew have advised that it is safe to do so. Never do so when the barge is moving.
- Be careful when the vessel is being moored up with the barge ropes. In particular do not step into a loop in the rope or try to release the mooring rope from a bollard.
- Keep clear of any overhead obstructions and remain seated if on deck whilst the barge passes under bridges with restricted headroom.
- Do not attempt to touch the sides of any lock or bridge.
- Do not open lower deck portholes whilst the barge is moving.
- Life jacket preservers are located in designated lockers in your cabin or in designated deck lockers. Once on board, please take the time to identify their location and read the instructions.
- For fire safety reasons, smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the barge.
- The barge’s equipment such as bicycles must only be used following preparation by the crew. Use of the bicycles is at your own risk.
- There is an open bar policy on board. However, excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous, particularly in a warm climate and in proximity to deep water and the Captain has the discretion to withhold alcohol if safety to passengers or crew is at risk.
In an emergency:
- Keep calm. Do not return to your cabin to recover your possessions.
- If you discover a fire on board, sound the fire alarm and notify a crew member immediately.If possible, close doors behind you to confine the fire. Please take the time to identify the location of fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
- If the alarm sounds or you hear repeated continuous blasts on the barge horn, you must, if possible, assemble on the sundeck for further instructions.
- If you discover water below deck, notify a crew member immediately and go to the sundeck to await further instructions.
- If you are in your cabin and the way to the sundeck is obstructed, follow the signs to the alternative fire exit. Please take the time to identify all fire exits.
- The emergency number for fire, police or medical assistance on all public phone networks is 112.
Please ask a member of the crew on board if you require any further safety advice
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