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Barge Cruises in France ~
- Languedoc II
towns, lush vineyards and the deep blue sea
southern France along the Canal du Midi aboard a classy 10-passenger barge-hotel
(7 days - 6 nights). This historic canal, which was built during the reign of
Louis XIV, is nestled between giant plane trees and surrounded by the endless
vineyards of the Languedoc province. The river boat, a beautifully retrofitted
former commercial sand, grain and wine barge, cruises under low 16th century stone
bridges, past rustic stable houses and through peaceful southern French villages.
This historical and pastoral setting makes for a unique experience, as well as
total relaxation and tranquility.
BARGE CRUISE ITINERARY
(actual program may vary)
1 - Sunday: Argeliers.
You will be met at a designated location and taken to the barge by private air-conditioned
minivan. Meet the crew while enjoying champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Time to settle
into your cabin before indulging in your first 4-course dinner prepared by the
barge's onboard chef.
Day 2 - Monday: Argeliers
Capestang. This morning you'll
see the famous medieval walled city of Carcassonne, a World Heritage Site. Your
knowledgeable guide will take you on a guided tour, with time left over for shopping.
Back on the barge, enjoy a gourmet lunch. An afternoon cruise will take you to
Argeliers, the start of your trip on the picturesque Canal du Midi. By early evening
you will arrive in Argeliers, with enough time for a stroll into the village before
the barge chef serves dinner.
3 - Tuesday: Capestang to Regismont le Haut.
After breakfast, enjoy a tasting at Oulibo, a cooperative that produces some of
the best olives and olive oil in France. Next, a short drive up the Gorge de la
Cesse brings you to the hilltop village of Minerve, scene of one of the many Cathar
sieges during the 13th century. After a leisurely lunch on the barge and an afternoon
of relaxed cruising, you'll arrive in the charming village of Capestang, where
the barge will moor with a clear view of the flood-lit St. Etienne cathedral.
Dinner on board the barge.
4 - Wednesday: Regismont le Haut to Fonserannes.
This morning you'll visit Narbonne. You can go to the outdoor market, explore
an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia, visit the Roman
Museum, tour St. Juste Cathedral, or simply relax in one of the many cafés.
Stop for a pre-lunch wine tasting at one of the few remaining traditional 19th-century
wineries. The cruise route today offers spectacular views of the Pyrenees across
the sunny plain. This evening you'll moor at the top of the Fonserannes locks
and enjoy dinner on board the barge.
5 - Thursday: Fonserannes to Portiragnes.
Visit the old market town of Pezenas, the first seat of the Languedoc court. Your
guide will show you some of the mansions built for the nobility and let you browse
in the local artisans' shops. Later, cruise through a 17th-century feat of canal
engineering, the staircase locks of Fonserannes, and the 18th-century canal bridge
that carries the barge over the Orb River to Portiragnes. It is an ideal afternoon
for walking or bicycling. Dinner on board the barge.
6 - Friday: Portiragnes. to Marseillan.
This morning you'll cruise through the "Petite Camargue," a joy for
bird watchers with its pink flamingos, African rollers and bee eaters that frequent
the surrounding estuaries. As you enjoy lunch on the barge, you'll leave the Canal
du Midi and enter the open waters of the Etang de Thau, home of Europe's largest
mussel and oyster park. Moor in the port at Marseillan, near the Noillly Prat
vermouth distillery, where you can take a tour and enjoy a tasting. Captain's
farewell dinner on board the barge.
7 - Saturday: Marseillan to Montpellier. After
by private minivan to the designated drop-off point.
alternate weeks, cruise will be in the reverse direction.
This itinerary is
subject to change without notice.
The medieval walled city of Carcassonne, a World Heritage Site
and olive oil tasting
village of Minerve
Roman museum, St. Juste Cathedral
Canal du Midi and stairstep locks of Fonserannes
Camargue and Etang de Thau
with private bath or shower and all meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on
with lunch and dinner and selected alcoholic beverages consumed aboard the barge
tours and entrance fees as specified
trip transfers from specified meeting points
to and from beginning and end points
and travel insurance
crew gratuities (suggested 5-7% of cruise price)
activities when available
items not specifically listed under "Included" above
(140 sq. ft. each) can be set up as twin or queen (10 passengers)
103 ft. long
conditioning and central heating
minibus for excursions
Sunday subject to availability (except winter)
barge can be chartered for groups. Various themes (wine, painting, golf, tennis,
family cruise) can be arranged to fit the specific interests of each group. Contact
us for details.