Guests are met at The Clarion Suites in Narbonne and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Clair de Lune. The crew welcomes you on board with a glass of chilled champagne and canapés. Time for a short cruise before your first dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Le Somail to Argens-Minervois
After breakfast, we cruise to Argens-Minervois, through beautiful, far reaching scenery as far as the foothills of the Pyrenees which you can admire from the sundeck. After lunch, we take you to the impressive village of Minerve, boasting a 12th century Cathar fort surrounded by deep 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 a small museum complete this intriguing visit. On the way back to the hotel barge we visit a producer of fine Minervois wines, Domaine Massamier La Mignarde, for a private tasting. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Argens-Minervois to La Redorte
This morning we cruise through a series of locks and the little port of Homps to moor at La Redorte, with plenty of opportunity to explore the Canal du Midi towpath on foot or bicycle. After lunch on board, we visit a local goats’ cheese farm at Combebelle to meet the cheese-makers and sample their award-winning products, then continue to “L’Oulibo”, a local olive oil press where we will sample the local Lucques olives. Return to the hotel barge, to relax with an aperitif in the shade of the plane trees. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 La Redorte to Marseillette
After breakfast, we drive you to the beautiful city of Narbonne, a Roman Mediterranean capital where the Visigoth monarchs once lived. Enjoy the Archbishop’s Palace and Roman Horreum and explore the indoor market – les Halles de Narbonnes - at the hub of this bustling town where you will have time to shop or simply absorb the relaxed atmosphere. Then we enjoy lunch in a typical French restaurant close to Les Halles. After returning to Clair de Lune, a relaxing afternoon cruise to Marseillette. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 Marseillette to Villedubert
Morning cruise to our mooring at the lock near the village of Villedubert, another perfect opportunity for walking or cycling, or just lying back in the spa pool and enjoying the day. Lunch is prepared by your chef, before we leave the hotel barge and drive to the medieval village of Lagrasse. It is one of the most beautiful villages in France, with an 8th century Benedictine abbey and many skilled artisans’ workshops located amongst the narrow, winding streets. Then enjoy a wine tasting at Château Villemagne, an established family-run domaine producing distinctive Corbières and other wines. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Villedubert to Carcassonne
This morning we cruise to our final destination and one of the highlights of the week, Carcassonne. After lunch on board, your guide will accompany you to the restored and most complete medieval fortified city in existence today, dating back to the Gallo Roman era. With its 52 watchtowers, portcullis and extraordinary repertoire of defences, it resisted the many armies that tried to storm this Camelot setting. You can walk the ramparts and step back in time. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Carcassonne
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Narbonne.
*This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.