Luxury Barge tour of the Canal du Midi
Stay for 6 nights in one of 4 air-conditioned twin/double staterooms with full ensuite facilities. For your relaxation, the barge has a spacious, shaded sun deck with a heated sunken spa pool and comfortable sun lounges. A delicious cuisine of Provencale and Mediterranean specialities of the region and a great selection of French wines produce some memorable dining experiences.
This canal is a UNESCO World heritage site, defined by its beauty lined with shady plane trees, canalside villages, and crossed by pretty, arched bridges. A perfect place for cycling or walking along the towpath, or watching the scenery as you drift by.
6 Nights accommodation on board in an air-conditioned, en-suite cabin.
The services of an experienced Captain / Host, Chef, Hostess(es), Driver/Tour Guide.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner aboard. A local meal ashore, once per week on most barges.
An excellent selection of fine regional and international wines and spirits, plus an all day open bar, tea and coffee.
Daily excursions by chauffeured minibus and entry fees to castles, vineyards, markets and other local places of interest.
Use of barge facilities such as bicycles, boules, barge library and on certain vessels, a spa pool.
Return transfers to and from the local meeting/drop off point.
Guests are met at the designated meeting point and escorted in an air-conditioned minibus to the barge mooring at Marseillan to settle into their rooms. A champagne welcome and sumptuous dinner served in the evening.
Marseillan to Portiragnes.
This morning we embark on our cruise toalong the 330 year old Canal du Midi through the nature reserve of Bagnas with potential sightings of flamingos, white egrets and other wildfowl, under bridges built from local black volcanic stone. After lunch on board, we visit the 16th century town of Pezenas, mostly known for its association with the French playwright Moliere, who is said to have written many plays while staying there. Dinner on board.
Portiragnes to Beziers.
After breakfast, we cruise further along the Canal du Midi to our mooring near Beziers, with plenty of opportunity to walk or cycle along the towpath. After lunch, we enjoy a winery tour and tasting at the 14th century Chateau de Perdiguier, named after Kind Charles V's finance minister, and famed for its frescoes and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Dinner on board.
Beziers to Fonserannes.
This morning's excursion is to Narbonne, a Roman Mediterranean capital where the Visigoth monarchs once lived. We tour the Archbishop’s palace, Cathedral and Via Domitia and explore the indoor market at the hub of this bustling town, where you will have time to shop or simply absorb the vibrant atmosphere. We return to the barge for lunch and cross the aqueduct over the River Orb before ascending the 7-lock flight of Fonserannes to moor above it for the evening. Dinner ashore in a local restaurant in Beziers.
Fonserannes to Capestang.
This morning we continue our cruise, passing through the world's oldest canal tunnel at Malpas to Capestang, again with perfect cycling and walking opportunities along the way. Following lunch, an excursion will take you to a 12th century Cathar fort at Minerve, surrounded by steep limestone gorges. Besieged by Simon de Montfort in 1210, its hilltop location affords spectacular views. A fascinating recreation in miniature of the bloodthirsty Cathar rebellion and small museum complete the intriguing picture. Returning to the barge, there is time to explore Capestang, once the summer retreat of the Bishops of Narbonne, with its magnificent 14th century collegiate church. Dinner on board.
Capestang to Le Somail.
In the morning, we embark on our final cruise along the historic Canal du Midi to the delightful village of Le Somail. After lunch, we visit Carcassonne, the most complete medieval fortified city in existence today. With its 52 watchtowers, portcullis and extraordinary repertoire of defences, it resisted the many armies that tried to storm this Camelot setting. Captain's farewell dinner on board.
Where you will disembark after breakfast and transfer to Montpelier.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.
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