Meet at the Paris hotel chosen by the group and transfer to the rail station for the TGV high-speed train to Béziers. Join ‘Belmond Alouette’ for a welcome reception and a cruise to the pretty village of Colombières, followed by a first gourmet dinner on board.
Visit l’Abbaye de Fontfroide, an 11th-century Cistercian monastery, lovingly restored with a well-kept garden and peaceful cloister. After lunch, cruise to Capestang.
Journey to l’Oppidum d’Enserune, an ancient hill town that is one of the region’s most important archaeological sites. Occupied from the sixth century and expanded because of its strategic location, it served as a melting pot for the many civilizations that made southern France their home. Return to ‘Belmond Alouette’ for a relaxing afternoon on the beautiful Canal du Midi, the 17th-century creation of Pierre-Paul Riquet.
Experience the wonderful covered market in Narbonne, a lively Mediterranean city and important center of wine production. Enjoy lunch at a local seafood bistro near the market before returning to your barge for a leisurely afternoon cruise .
After breakfast, visit Minerve, an old village on a limestone cliff that dominates the vineyards below. The ruined castle, once a Cathar stronghold, was besieged and captured by Simon de Montfort in 1210. Stop at Peyriac-Minervois for a wine tasting before returning to ‘Belmond Alouette’ for lunch and a cruise to the pretty town of Trèbes.
Explore Carcassonne, Europe’s largest medieval fortress town, admiring the intricate fortifications. The cathedral here is remarkable for its stained-glass windows, fine statues and elegant transepts. Back on board the barge this evening, enjoy a memorable farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to Carcassonne for the TGV high-speed train to Paris, where your journey ends on arrival.
Route runs in reverse on alternate weeks and may differ on selected cruise dates.
2020 Travel | 2020 prices available on request. Please contact A&K for details.