2-week houseboat tour from Carnon to Beaucaire and Sète
“Gallicaian was very beautiful, as well as the castle in Tarascon. We went fishing about 20 km above Carnon. We also enjoyed the nature very much." reports Boris, who decided this year to rent a houseboat starting in Carnon, in the south of France and to travel 2 weeks on a Triton 860 Fly. However, due to the changes made by the shipping company, they are then finally on a Espade Concept Fly.
EIt was their first houseboat trip and despite some downsides, they enjoyed the journey very much. They first sailed down one side of the canal from the Rhone to Beaucaire from Carnon and then back the other way, beyond Carnon to Séte. Boris tells me that he can recommend the side from Carnon to Séte more than the other side. There, people were very open and helpful everywhere.
The journey at a glance
Boarding in Carnon
DAY 1 : Carnon → Aigues-Mortes 2:30h, 20km, 0 locks
DAY 2 : Aigues-Mortes → Gallician 1:40h, 12km, 0 locks
DAY 3 : Gallician → Saint-Gilles 1:45h, 15km, 0 locks
DAY 4 : Saint Gilles → Bellegarde 1:22h, 11km, 0 locks
DAY 5: Bellegarde → Beaucaire/ Tarascone 2h, 13km, 1 locks
DAY 6 : Beaucaire → Saint Gilles 3:20h, 24km, 1 locks
DAY 7 : Saint Gilles → La Grande-Motte 6h, 47km, 0 locks
DAY 8 : La Grande-Motte → Carnon 1:22h, 11km, 0 locks
DAY 9 : Carnon → Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone 1h, 8km, 0 locks
DAY 10 : Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone → Vic-la-Gardiole 1h, 7,5km, 0 locks
DAY 11 : Vic-la-Gardiole→ Frontignan 0:45h, 5km, 0 locks
DAY 12 : Frontignan → Sete 1:25h, 8,5km, 0 locks
DAY 13 : Sète → Carnon 4:45h, 28km, 0 locks
Disembarkation in Carnon
The route of the houseboat tour (clickable map)
When they took the boat over, not everything went smoothly, the service of the base and the boat did not meet their expectations, the boat they had actually booked was no longer available and they had to take another boat. But they didn't let that spoil their holiday and after the boat inspection they set off with the houseboat towards Beaucaire.
They roughly planned the route in advance, but then always decided spontaneously where they wanted to stay longer. They also rented bicycles, which, according to Boris were Gold value, because that way they could go to the bakery in the morning and get something for breakfast.
DAY 1: Carnon → Aigues-Mortes 2:30h, 20km, 0 locks
Boris and his wife picked up the boat in Carnon and set off towards Beaucaire. Their first stop along the way was Aigues-Mortes. Here they could admire the pink flamingos and visit the medieval town, where you can walk the impressive town wall, for example.
DAY 2: Aigues-Mortes → Gallician 1:40h, 12km, 0 locks
"Gallician was very beautiful", Boris tells me. The region around Gallician offers good opportunities for cycling. Boris and his wife booked bicycles for their houseboat holiday and were able to explore the towns they visited by bike.
DAY 3: Gallician → Saint-Gilles 1:45h, 15km, 0 locks
In Saint-Gilles you can visit the Saint-Gilles Abbey (Abbaye de Saint-Gilles), the abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an impressive example of Romanesque architecture. Here you can explore the magnificent columns, capitals and the tomb of Saint Gilles. You can also explore the Camargue Nature Park with your houseboat. Take a boat trip through the river arms, observe the unique wildlife and discover the fascinating landscape, just like Boris and his wife did.
DAY 4: Saint Gilles → Bellegarde 1:22h, 11km, 0 locks
Bellegarde offers fewer tourist attractions compared to larger cities, but it is a good base for exploring nature and the surrounding sights. For example, you can visit the Château de Bellegarde, an impressive 13th century fortress. The castle is open to the public and offers an interesting history as well as a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.
DAY 5: Bellegarde → Beaucaire/Tarascone 2h, 13km, 1 lock
In Beaucaire, apart from some impressive churches you can visit, there is the weekly market of Beaucaire, which takes place every Thursday. Here you will find local produce, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, cold meats and much more. Here you can also visit the Place Georges Clemenceau, this central square in Beaucaire is a popular meeting place and a place to observe local life. However, the personal highlight of Boris and his wife was the castle of Tarascone, which impressed them both very much.
DAY 6: Beaucaire → Saint Gilles 3:20h, 24km, 1 lock
There are many fish in Saint Gilles, which makes the waters here the perfect place for fishing. Here they spend another day. Throughout the Camargue region, you can also observe many wild animals, such as wild horses, from the houseboat.
DAY 7: Saint Gilles → La Grande-Motte 6h, 47km, 0 locks
La Grande-Motte is known for its long sandy beaches. Here you can relax on the beaches, sunbathe, swim or try out various water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing or stand-up paddling. In addition, La Grande-Motte offers many cycle paths along the coast and through the town. These can be super explored with rented bikes, like the ones Boris and his wife have.
DAY 8: La Grande-Motte → Carnon 1:22h, 11km, 0 locks
Carnon has a local market where you can discover and sample regional produce, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and other local delicacies. The market is often lively and offers a variety of products. Carnon also has a lively nightlife with bars, clubs and restaurants where you can enjoy and end the evening.
DAY 9: Carnon → Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone 1h, 8km, 0 locks
In Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, you can visit Saint-Pierre Cathedral. The town is home to the imposing Saint-Pierre Cathedral, a Romanesque cathedral from the 11th century. You can admire the architecture and visit the cathedral from the inside. In addition, the region around Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone is known for its wines. Here you can go wine tasting at one of the local wineries and learn more about the local grape varieties and winemaking.
DAY 10: Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone → Vic-la-Gardiole 1h, 7.5km, 0 locks
Vic-la-Gardiole has a small harbour where you can moor your houseboat. You can use the harbour's amenities to secure the boat, refill water or use other necessary services. There are also cycling and hiking trails for you to discover near Vic-la-Gardiole.
DAY 11: Vic-la-Gardiole → Frontignan 0:45h, 5km, 0 locks
Frontignan is known for its salt marshes where sea salt is extracted. Here you can take a guided tour of the salt marshes to learn more about salt production and explore the unique landscape.Frontignan is also known for its sweet Muscat wine. You can visit local wineries here to taste the muscat wine.
DAY 12: Frontignan → Sete 1:25h, 8,5km, 0 locks
The port of Sète is the heart of the city. You can moor the houseboat in the harbour and enjoy the atmosphere of the busy port. You can watch the fishing boats, yachts and sailing ships and explore the surrounding waterfront promenades. You can also climb Mont Saint-Clair, Sète's distinctive hill. From there you have a breathtaking panoramic view over the town, the harbour and the Mediterranean Sea. There are also hiking trails that lead through nature.
DAY 13: Sète → Carnon 4:45h, 28km, 0 locks
On the penultimate day, Boris and his wife set off again towards Carnon to return the houseboat there the next day. They spend the night on the houseboat on the way to Carnon, where their journey then ends.
I thank Boris very much for the feedback! Also to his wife: thank you for sending us the photos which allow us to share some memories of your houseboat trip.