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Enchanté joins the Fleet

Go Barging is pleased to announce the addition of Enchanté to its fleet for 2009.. more>

Special Offer

For cruises departing 2nd and 9th November 2008, Anjodi is offering a special itinerary. more>


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La Belle Epoque
Welcome to the September-October 2008 Lock-Keeper

Hello Lock-Keeper Reader,

Welcome to the 59th edition of the European Waterways Newsletter.

In this issue, we have some fantastic special offers on barges cruising some of the most beautiful parts of Europe, where the colours of Autumn are often at their finest.

We have news of two luxurious barges that will be joining our fleet in the South of France in 2009 – Enchanté and Napoleon, and I tell you all about a hectic week I spent in June visiting some of our most popular barges.

If the idea appeals of a relaxing cruise on the beautiful Canal du Midi in Southern France aboard Anjodi in early November, when the weather down there is still warm, take a look at the special itinerary that we’ve put together.

Once again, we are running a great competition, with the chance to win a cruise for two aboard Scottish Highlander as it cruises along the Caledonian Canal through some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery.

Also in this issue, we are including a selection of comments we have received recently from some of our passengers. It’s very gratifying for our dedicated crews and reservations team to know that all their hard work has been recognised and that their guests have had such a good time. Please remember that we are always keen to get any feedback from our passengers, whether it is during, or after, a cruise.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to drop us an email with any comments about The Lock-Keeper, or indeed anything else – it’s always good to hear from you. I hope to see you at our website, www.gobarging.com where you can find out all about GoBarging and keep up to date with the latest barging news.

Best Regards,

Derek Banks - Chairman and Barge skipper

Latest Special Offer 2008 Cruises


La Belle Epoque, Burgundy

Savoir Faire, Upper Loire

Saint Louis, South West France


Latest Special Offers for 2008 Cruises

L’Impressionniste – Provence & Camargue
We are offering a 20% discount on all available cabins for October departures, including charters for 10 to 13 people.

L’Art de Vivre – Burgundy
Again, we are offering a 20% discount on all available cabins for October departures, including charters for 6 - 8 people.

Nymphea - the Loire Valley, France
For all cruises through this enchanting region of France in September and October 2008, we are pleased to offer a $350/£175 discount per passenge

Alouette - Canal du Midi
$500/£250 discount per passenger for charters of 2-4 people on 19th October and 26th October departures.

Hirondelle - Burgundy
$500/£250 discount per passenger on all cabins including charters for 6, 7 & 8 passengers on 19th October and 26th October departures.

La Dolce Vita - Italy
$500/£250 discount per passenger on cabins available on three departure dates: 14th September on the Fioritta Regatta Cruise (see Lock-Keeper Issue 57 for details); 5th October; 19th October)

Magna Carta - England
$750/£375 per passenger discount for all 6 night cruises departing September, October, November and December 2008, including charter groups of 6-8 passengers.

Savoir Faire – Various Locations
There is a 15% discount on a variety of European cruises in October on these departure dates: 5th October, the Chablis region; 19th October, Northern France & Belgium; 26th October, Belgium & Holland.

Our normal Terms & Conditions apply.

Visit the GoBarging special offers page

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Renaissance Barge




La Belle Epoque

L'Art de Vivre


Canal du midi

Chairman's Tour

Chairman Derek Banks visits the
GoBarging French Fleet

With another busy season well underway, it was time for another visit to our French fleet in June. I started by dropping in on Renaissance, cruising with some repeat guests on the River Yonne in Burgundy - although a taxi drivers’ strike meant I nearly missed the first course of a great meal they were enjoying at the Madelaine Restaurant in Sens!
With two “amuse bouche” between courses and a superb menu accompanied by fine local Burgundies, I soaked up the atmosphere and enjoyed hearing one of our guests, Bob Glover, complimenting Phillippe and his crew on the cleanliness and high standard aboard our newest acquisition Renaissance . Everything was perfect.

The following day, I dropped in on Belle Epoque and L’Art de Vivre, with our experienced returning crews repositioning L'Art de Vivre back up to her Upper Nivernais traditional route following the 11th yearly tandem cruise by Steve Furgal’s Tennis Group, which had just been to watch the French Open in Paris.

I really enjoyed taking the helm for an hour and couldn’t help but admire the sparkling varnish and brasswork on “Arty’s “ upper deck. Later on, I spotted one of Belle Epoque’s passengers wearing a J5 Shamrock Polo shirt   - meeting a fellow yachtsman always breaks the ice. This American gentleman, a retired journalist, was overflowing with praise for crew, vessel and route. We moored under Saussois, a limestone cliff in perfect weather and I spent a tranquil night aboard L’Art de Vivre.

Thursday morning saw an early start and jumping on the TGV train down to Beziers, where Anjodi was moored. Just 4 hours from Paris, this has to be the most comfortable way to travel across France at speed (private jet not withstanding) In the evening I met up with some old friends Paul and Sue Pascoe, who built a barge called the Tortue, a 19th century iron Tjalk (pronounced ‘challuk’) about 25 years ago. Now retired at 65, Paul still gets out on his bike every day and must be looking forward to the day he can bounce his grandchildren on his knee. With three charming daughters and an older son, it surely won’t be long.  

Up with the lark again on Friday, Anjodi’s skipper Julian and I moved her minibus farther up the tree-lined Canal du Midi. Then I was back aboard easing Anjodi round the tight bends above Capestang. What a treat this route is with its 300 year-old stone bridges and vineyards stretching across to the Pyrenees. The family of six who had chartered Anjodi had nothing but praise for the whole operation again as I very reluctantly left “my first barge” to lunch with a couple who worked for me some 10 years ago.


GoBarging Cruise Competition


L'Impressionniste Cruise

Ouche Valley

Ouche Valley

Ouche Valley

Chairman's Tour Cont'd

After much thought they have decided to build their own hotel barge and join the Go Barging fleet in the South of France next year. It will take a long time to do all the steel work and fit her out to the luxurious standard our passengers have come to expect, so she won’t be available for cruises until August 2009. She will be named Enchanté and I’m sure everyone who cruises aboard her will be delighted with what they find. More details on Enchanté can be found further on in this issue of The Lock-Keeper

.Later on, I made a quick pit-stop in Sete to talk with our trusty mechanics at Nautic Diesel, who assured me the overall engine maintenance schedule for our Southern France fleet was in good hands. They would be fitting a new back-up generator on L’Impressionniste the weekend after I returned to the UK and they seemed quite relaxed about the time schedule to complete the work.

On a Friday evening, the journey by car from Sete to Avignon to rendezvous with Impressionniste took 2 hours and I was glad Captain’s dinner was delayed due to a prolonged Chateauneuf du Pape wine tasting session enjoyed by our guests! I was greeted by a full house of Amercians, Canadians, Australians and Brits all getting on famously and literally singing our praises at the pre-dinner champagne reception we laid on. They all wanted to come back and see L’Impressioniste’s new route next season.

What do these trips achieve? Well, it gives me the opportunity to hear passenger and crew feedback, carry out a mechanical appraisal, scrutinise overall vessel maintenance and to get a feel for how the season is going generally. It is 31 years since my start date - Friday 13th May 1977 - and I can’t help but feel as passionate about the business as ever. Happy barging!

Passenger Comments

Of course, we are always delighted to get positive feedback from our clients. To see what some of our delighted clients have said recently about cruises on some of our luxury hotel barges click here

Enchante - 6 Night Cruise




La Belle Epoque Cuisine

Canal du Midi

Enchanté joins the Fleet

Go Barging is pleased to announce the addition of Enchanté to its fleet for 2009. A state-of-the-art, double-decked hotel-barge, she will offer the highest standards of elegance and comfort to our discerning passengers.

She will be operating two new, specially designed itineraries - one on the Canal du Midi and the other in Provence & the Camargue – two of the most alluring regions of Southern France.

Enchanté can accommodate up to eight passengers in the four double-bedded air-conditioned suites, each of which features a lavish bathroom appointed with an array of luxurious bath products. The vessel’s exotic hardwoods and elegant furnishings complement the guest suites, and guests can avail themselves of the onboard TV, DVD player, and Internet connection. However, guests will want to spend most of their time taking in the beautiful surrounding countryside on the spacious sun deck, with its alfresco dining area, hot tub, and comfortable loungers.

As with all of Go Barging’s cruises, on-board dining is real highlight. Gourmet meals will be expertly prepared by Enchanté’s experiencedchef, and enhanced by fine regional wines.  Five dinners will be served on-board, and guests will dine out one evening at an outstanding local restaurant. Those with a special interest in cooking will have the opportunity to observe the chef at work in the vessel’s demonstration galley.  Six nights aboardEnchanté includes a choice of itinerary, all meals prepared by our onboard chef, regional wines, open bar and excursion admittance fees.  Also included is pick-up and transfers to and from designated meeting points.

One of Enchanté’s two alternating itineraries features the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered a marvel of 17th Century engineering. The cruise begins in the city of Montpellier and explores historic chateaux, the world’s oldest canal tunnel at Malpas, bustling old towns, and draws to a close in Le Somail.

The second itinerary explores Provence and Camargue. Highlights include: visits to the town of Avignon and the Palais des Papes; cruising through the picturesque Camargue National Park; and tours of the towns of Arles and Pezenas – once homes to the artist, Vincent van Gogh and the writer, Moliere.

Contact us today about a cruise on Enchanté or Visit Enchanté page

Renaissance in new livery


cruise highlights

All-inclusive open bar, free wines,gourmet cuisine, entry fees to excursions.
Tour Carcassonne, the most complete medieval fortified city in existence.
Visit the ancient Roman city of Narbonne.
Explore the 12th century hill-top fort of Minerve.
Private tastings of Corbières wine at Domaine de Guery.
See the Pyrenees mountains across the vineyards and discover Cathar history. Experience Narbonne's colorful indoor market.
&Visit Béziers and 600 B.C. L'Oppium D'Enserune.

Enchanté (cont'd)

Both of Enchanté’s new cruise itineraries were specially designed for Go Barging by Louisa and Roger Gronow, who will operate her and together they have more than 20 years luxury barging experience. Louisa, who is originally from the Loire Valley, and Roger from Essex in England, both fell in love with the South of France and all it had to offer. Over the years they have built up an extensive knowledge and understanding of the Midi region, enjoying the natural and cultural beauty of the Languedoc.

There are no photographs of Enchanté available just now, but the drawings below will give you a very good idea of her lovely lines, luxury accommodation and other outstanding guest facilities.Enchante Artists impression

Contact us today about a cruise on Enchanté or Visit Enchanté page




circular lock



Anjodi carries a maximum of eight passengers in two-person cabins, with a cruising season that normally runs from the end of March through early November. "Value" rates apply at the beginning and end of the season and in midsummer; these are about 15 percent less than the "regular" rates from mid-May to late July and from the end of August to mid-October.

Visit Anjodi Itinerary page

Enjoy a November Cruise Aboard Anjodi

For cruises departing 2nd and 9th November 2008, Anjodi is offering a special itinerary from Beziers to Bellegarde that will ensure passengers have the opportunity to really appreciate this area of Southern France and its surrounding historic towns and area at this time of year.

Sunday, Day 1
You will be met at The Metropole Hotel in Montpellier at 4pm and then transferred to Anjodi, moored in Beziers.  Champagne welcome followed by time to relax, or take a walk along the footpath, before dinner aboard.

Monday, Day 2
This morning leave Beziers and cruise the Canal du Midi to the old village of Portiragnes.  This pretty village has a 12th century church and village shops.  After lunch an informative wine tasting in the 14th Century Chateau de Perdiguier, famed for its 15th century frescoes and Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.  Dinner aboard.

Tuesday, Day 3
The barge sets off this morning along the 300 year old Canal du Midi, through the famous round lock, before heading out onto the inland lake of Thau, where we berth in the fishing village of Marseillan.  After lunch we visit Pezenas.  Walk into the old-town which is virtually untouched by the drive of modern development and you feel the pulse of life from a bygone time.  Dinner aboard.

Wednesday, Day 4
After breakfast we stroll over to, and tour the unique 'Vermoutherie' of Noilly Prat, and enjoy a tasting.  We may also cruise down the length of the lake to the oyster growing hamlet of Bouzigues, then visit to the exhibition explaining the shellfish raising culture of the lake.  After lunch we cruise Lake Thau to Magalone.  Dinner aboard.

Thursday, Day 5
This morning we cruise the Canal du Rhone a Sete, passing the pink flamingos and the white horses, of the Camargue National Park. We moor beneath the medieval fortified walls of Aigues Mortes.  After lunch we climb the 12th century defensive Tower of Constance. Our more energetic guests may wish to walk the one mile circumference of the town on the parapet of its walls.  Tonight we eat out at a local Auberge.

Friday, Day 6
Today we leave Aigues Mortes behind and cruise to the pretty, peaceful mooring in the old town of Bellegarde.  An afternoon excursion to the magnificent Roman city of Arles with its 1st century amphitheatre, theatre and gorgeous 12th century Romanesque St. Trophime cathedral. Have a coffee in the café painted by Van Gogh or stroll through the Alyscamps which has inspired many a poet along with painters Gaughin and Van Gogh. Upon our return we cruise to a quiet mooring. Captains Farewell Dinner aboard.

Saturday, Day 7
Depart after a last breakfast aboard and transfer to Avignon, to either the TGV train station, or The Grand Hotel by about 11am.

This itinerary is subject to change.   
On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.

Contact us today about a cruise on Anjodi or Visit Anjodi Itinerary page

Lock-Keeper Competition



Scottish Highlander


Eilean Donan Castle


L'Art de Vivre Competition Winner

In our last edition of The Lock-Keeper, Issue 58, we had a fabulous prize to give away, a cabin for 2 on L'Art de Vivre in October 2008 as it cruises through the breathtakingly beautiful The Upper Nivernais in Burgundy.

Find out who won this wonderful cruise on L’Art de Vivre


For this issue of The Lock-Keeper, we have another wonderful prize to give away - a cruise for two in 2009 aboard Scottish Highlander on the Caledonian Canal in Scotland. The cruise will be through some of the finest inland waterways scenery in the world, taking in the Great Glen, lochs, ancient castles and much more.

The 8-passenger Scottish Highlander has the atmosphere of a Scottish Country House with subtle use of tartan furnishings and landscape paintings. At 117 feet she is spacious and has every comfort for year round cruising. Cuisine is traditional Scottish fare - Salmon, Game, Venison and Seafood, prepared by your own Master Chef, and her experienced crew of four will take care of your every need.

Scottish Highlander deck plan

Cruise Highlights

All-inclusive - open bar, free wines, gourmet cuisine, excursion entry fees:
Cawdor Castle, home of Shakespeare's Macbeth:
Culloden Moor, last British-based battleground in 1746:
Tea at Glengarry Castle Hotel:
Overnight mooring alongside 13th century Urquhart Castle:
Cruise Lochs' Ness, Oich, Lochy and the Caledonian canal:
Spectacular scenery, wildlife and folklore Visit Glencoe, scenery of treachery between the Campbell and MacDonald clans.

The magic of a cruise on Scottish Highlander will certainly be an unforgettable experience for two lucky people.

Enter Scottish Highlander Cruise Competition

GoBarging News



map of scotland


GoBarging News

Napoleon – Another Luxury Barge Cruising in 2009

Scottish Highlander

The 129ft double-decked hotel barge Napoleon, owned by Orient Express, will be available through Go Barging next year. She combines all the amenities of a luxury hotel with the friendly ambience of a country inn. She is beautifully appointed with large picture windows that provide unsurpassed views of the countryside.

Napoleon was converted from the hull of a commercial freight-carrying barge built in Belgium in 1963 and was one of the last commercial barges to have been built. She was converted to a luxury hotel barge in a small shipyard in Bruges and her beautifully appointed interior was fitted by a team of craftsmen, including British chips’ carpenters.

As you would expect, she has a wide range of facilities for our passengers’ comfort, including air-conditioning, hi-fi stereo, small piano and TV/video. She accommodates up to 12 passengers in six luxurious double/twin-bedded staterooms, all with ensuite bathrooms.

Napoléon will be cruising the River Rhône between Arles and Tain L’Hermitage/Tournon, where sun-drenched landscapes inspired the canvasses of Cézanne and Van Gogh. 

It is a region full of sophisticated architecture dating back to the Roman civilization with ruins of fortifications, arenas and aqueducts that continue to amaze modern engineers.  The endless vistas of tiled roofs, lavender fields and olive groves are synonymous with Provence. 

There will be excursions to the wine region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and historic towns of Avignon, Arles, St Rémy - birthplace of Nostradamus - as well as the ancient Roman and Greek ruins of Pont-du-Gard and Glanum.

Go Barging is now accepting reservations for Napoleon for the 2009 season, so please contact us for more details and cabin availability.

That's about it for this 59th edition of the Lock-Keeper. We hope it has whetted your appetite for that well-earned luxury cruise! Please visit GoBarging and have a look around, or follow the individual links above.

The next edition of the lock-keeper will be out in November 2008, so we'll see you then.