Portiragnes to Carcassonne
A member of the crew will welcome you at Beziers railway station at 4PM and transfer you to your beautiful barge Esperance, moored in the enchanting countryside of the famous Canal du Midi.
A champagne reception hosted by Captain Mathias will be served on deck as an excellent premise to your week cruise.
You will then have plenty of time to meet the charming crew, discover the barge, its environment and to settle into your comfortable cabin before the first gourmet dinner on board.
Monday: Portiragnes - Capestang
Today be prepared for a very relaxing day.
You will be surprised by the peacefulness of the barge while gliding through this beautiful 16th-century canal.
We will stop in Colombiers where you will have time to go for a walk before lunch and to visit the 12th-century church.
This afternoon our cruise will take us to the pretty village of Capestang, through the new tunnel de Malpas which dates back to 1679!
Famous for its unique structure, it is the earliest navigable tunnel built in Europe.
Quite an experience!
This is the perfect day to go for a bicycle ride or enjoy a hike while the barge is moving slowly.
Tuesday: Capestang - An idyllic spot!
After a morning cruise with many twist and turns, we will find a romantic mooring in the middle of the vines and arched trees, a perfect spot to enjoy a gourmet lunch!
From this peaceful setting, we will visit Pezenas, a magical city full of art and history where you can admire the entire old town with its lavish period mansions, beautiful wrought-iron balconies, stone sculpture and ornate doorways.
Moliere is reputed to have created some of his famous characters right here in Pezenas, in the barber's shop!
Wednesday: Onward to Le Somail
Today we continue our slow pace towards Le Somail, an ancient fishing port now popular among our guests due to its local potters and artists drawn to this region by the beautiful light made famous by the Impressionists, but also the fascinating antique book shop.
Your guide can then drive to you to the Roman town of Narbonne.
Here you can go shopping around the old town centre with its various boutiques selling local products, visit the colourful covered market, explore the Archbishop's Palace, or the archaeological museum.
Alternatively, you may choose to spend your afternoon overlooking the glorious Mediterranean Sea and then a visit the Olive factory at LOulibo, a prize-winning olive oil mill.
Enjoy some tasting and learn the secrets of the production of this precious oil and Tapenade too.
Thursday: Le Somail - Homps
Today we will enjoy a very scenic drive into the Minervois hills and Les Gorges de la Cesse to get to Minerve.
This amazing medieval village is perched on a spectacular rocky outcrop formed by the rivers Cesse and Brian.
Famous for its tragic Cathar history and its wine countryside, this village is full of charm and history and not to be missed.
On the way back, how about a little wine tasting to discover more about the excellent wines this region has to offer?
Time to relax on deck, as your floating hotel is on the move and the cruise will take you to a quiet mooring close to Homps.
Friday: Homps - Carcassonne
This is a day for photography!
Going through a couple of traditional locks Esperance will cruise to our last mooring for the week, close to Carcassonne.
After lunch, you will have plenty of time to discover the world-famous walled medieval town, the City of Carcassonne.
This extraordinary place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to be the most visited site in France.
If you have already visited the city, we can visit Lagrasse; an attractive village now home to numerous potters and artists attracted by the village itself and the renowned natural light of the region.
Don't miss the Abbey and the bridges, although the narrow medieval streets of the village itself are also beautiful, and the remains of the town walls can still be seen.