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Athos - Canal du Midi Wine Appreciation Cruise

Argeliers to Marseillan

ITINERARY*


Sunday, Day 1 Argeliers

You will be met at the designated meeting point and transferred to where the Athos awaits you at her moorings in Argeliers. A full-crew Welcome aboard follows, with Champagne and Mediterranean canapés. Once you are settled into your cabin, you will be invited to a 4-course dinner, prepared by our on board Chef and your guide will speak about the acclaimed Languedoc wines chosen for each meal.

Monday, Day 2 Ageliers to Pigasse

Enjoy your first breakfast sitting in a comfortable chair on the upper deck of ATHOS. The morning visit is a drive to the famous medieval double-walled city of Carcassonne. Your knowledgeable on-board guide will offer the historical & guided visit -- making sure that you have time to browse those shops! Finishing up the visit, your guide suggests a quick wine tasting at one of the Caves in the Medieval Cité. This will provide a starting point for browsing the region’s wine collections! While the Captain gets ATHOS underway for an afternoon's cruise to Argeliers, Chef will serve up a local 3-course gourmet meal (perhaps including the famous duck confit stew, Cassoulet?) By early evening you have arrived in Pigasse, where ATHOS' mooring is beside the picturesque Pont du Pigasse. A quick visit to the local wine co-operative where wine is served on tap! There is still time for a glass of the local rosé as an aperitif before al-fresco dining, under the shade of the Plain trees would be nice?

Tuesday, Day 3 Pigasse to Capestang

After breakfast, this morning's suggested visit is a tasting at the Oulibo - the local olive oil pressoir. After tasting those organic and wholesome olives (accompanied, bien sûr by a small glass of rosé!!), a short drive up the Gorge de la Cesse and into the hilltop village of Minerve is in order. Your guide will regale you with the harrowing tale of the Cathar siege launched at Minerve during the 13th C. En route back to the Athos, your guide points out some of the many respectable Minervois wineries in the Gorge de la Cesse area, recommended by Wine Spectator is Chateau Coupe. Lunch on board and then the barge cruises to Capestang. ATHOS will be moored with a clear view of the flood lit St. Etienne cathedral. The village is a 5-minute walk. Dinner on board.

Wednesday, Day 4 Capestang to Fonserannes 

After breakfast, we stroll into the village square where the morning market is being held? Taste some of the local winemakers’ fare, the local cheese-makers’ cheese, and the local butchers’ sausage. From the market, your guide suggests a tasting at one of the acclaimed Saint Chinian wineries: Cave Laurent Miquel. Return to the barge for lunch on board and then cruise to Fonserannes. This section of canal offers spectacular views of the Pyrenees across the sunny, clear plain. This evening’s mooring is the breath-taking viewpoint at the Fonserannes. A short drive into Beziers before dinner, where enthusiastic wine tasters can enjoy a guided visit and tasting at Domaine de la Colombette. Vignerons Mr Pugibet and his son are nationally and internationally acclaimed for their successful use of new wine technology, along with their superb Sauvignon Blanc and Lledoner Pelut. Returning to the Athos for a game of Pétanque before dinner on board. 

Thursday, Fonserannes to Portiragnes

Visit to weekly morning market in Narbonne? Even for non-shoppers, Narbonne offers much entertainment on a Thursday morning. Explore an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia, or, browse through the well-compiled Roman Museum, or, discover the beauty of St. Juste Cathedral, or, simply take a moment to blend into the scene. For wine enthusiasts who might like to purchase and ship certain bottles, Athos recommends our long-time Caviste at the Cave du Palais in Narbonne and offers to take those interested to look at this large collection. Although shipping is costly, it can be arranged from here for those who are interested. After lunch we begin cruising through the 17th Century feat of engineering, the "Neuf Ecluses" (or staircase locks). ATHOS crew expertly tie her up in each lock, and wait for the gates to close safely behind her before the water levels empty out and allow her to pass one locks into the next. Coming up next is the 18thC Canal Bridge, which will carry the ATHOS over the Orb River. The evening's mooring will be at the small village of Portiragnes. The paved towpath and the many locks leading to this village make it an ideal afternoon for walking or cycling alongside the ATHOS. Dinner on board.

Friday, Day 6 Portiragnes to Marseillan

From the scenic mooring at Portiragnes, we get underway earlier than usual, cruising through the Petit Camargue where bulls stand casually in fields, Pink Flamingos grace estuaries, and African Rollers fly overhead. A spectacular (and appropriate!) seafood lunch awaits you, as you enter the open-waters of the Etang de Thau. The Etang hosts Europe's largest Mussel and Oyster Park. Your hostess has made sure that plenty of the local specialties, Picpoul de Pinet, is available to accompany the seafood according to the local pairing. As the barge comes to moor in the port at Marseillan, you will notice the enclosure which makes up the Noillly Prat Vermouth distillery. End a perfect day with a private tour of the Distillery -- and, of course, a taste of Noilly Prat vermouth! Chef's efforts are sure to make this evening worth remembering! Your Captain will join your party for your final dinner on board this evening, and your crew will have chosen particularly special wines for your final meal on board. During the evening, he will invite the crew to make a farewell toast with you.

Saturday, Day 7 Marseillan

After breakfast transfer to the designated drop off point.
 
 
*Wine themed cruises are charter only. This sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction. **Various pick up and drop off points are avaiable for charter groups.
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