Locally known as Le Midi, this region of Southern France is one of the most picturesque and popular vacation destinations in the world.
A UNESCO world heritage site, it features charming towns with ancient Roman architecture, a widely diverse landscape that spans the vineyards of Bordeaux to the sunflower fields in Gascony, and the majestic views of the Pyrenees Mountains. Its gastronomic offerings are second to none, with more days of sunshine than any other region in France.
Leisurely traversing this popular region is the quiet, tree-lined waterway of the Canal du Midi, where European Waterways – Europe’s largest luxury hotel barge cruising company – offers more cruise options than any other company. With the area served by excellent regional airports and airlines that include Air France and British Airways, it is easy for travelers to enjoy all that Southern France has to offer, by experiencing the region “up close and personal” on a luxury hotel barge.
A Lock on Innovation
Renowned as an incredible engineering accomplishment that paved the way for the industrial revolution, the Canal du Midi passes through 328 multi-level locks, aqueducts, tunnels, and bridges, to link the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. European Waterways operates five vessels – the largest number in the region – that cruise its waterways: the Anjodi, Athos, Enchanté, Alouette,and the Rosa. Each offers its own unique charm, a variety of excursion options, and gastronomic experiences to satisfy the most demanding food lover. Along with the classic cruises, vacation options also include special cruises for golf, families, food lovers, and wine appreciation.
Regional cuisines feature fabulous local dishes such as cassoulet, a signature dish of Castelnaudary, and bouillabaisse, a classic French shellfish and fish stew. Aboard the Athos, you will visit Minerve, a hilltop Cathar village that featured prominently in the crusades; on Enchanté, travelers enjoy, among numerous scheduled excursions, a wine tasting in Saint Chinian, which is famous for its fine red wine.
The 8-passenger Anjodi visits landmarks such as Pezenas, the cobblestoned village that inspired the French playwright Moliere and Carcassonne, a medieval fortified city on the river Aude. She cruises through the rolling vineyards that line the countryside of the Minervois and Corbieres, featuring views of the Montagnes Noires and the Pyrenees. The vessel boasts mahogany paneling and brass lamps and portholes, and was designed specifically to navigate the Canal Du Midi. As on all European Waterways vessels, bicycles are available for exploring picturesque ancient villages, such as the Roman Mediterranean city of Narbonne. Anjodi is fully air-conditioned and equipped with a highly experienced crew of four, lead by the knowledgeable captain Julian Allsop.
“European Waterways has the largest number of vessels in Southern France for a reason,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “The region has so much to offer, from the tree-lined canals to the ancient Roman architecture, to classic French cuisine and world-class wines. Even if you’re just looking to relax and enjoy the view, we invite you to join us on one of the many vessels that cruise the Canal Du Midi.”
Savings Make Cruising Extra Special
European Waterways is offering numerous specials on the Canal Du Midi this year that include 50% off companion price for April 1, 8, and 15 departures on the Anjodi, as well as $1,000 off per cabin for May 20 and June 10 departures. There is also a $1,000 off per cabin for April 29, May 6 and May 27 departures on Enchanté. Rosa offers 50% off companion price for March 11 & 25, April 29 and May 6 departures, as well as $1,000 off per cabin for June 3 and 10 departures. All rates are based on double occupancy and must be booked by April 6 to qualify. Additional restrictions may apply. Visit www.gobarging.com for additional specials and other conditions.
About European Waterways European Waterways is Europe’s largest all-inclusive luxury hotel barging company, offering vacations in nine countries and carrying nearly 2,000 passengers a year. Founded nearly 40 years ago, the company designs, builds, owns and operates a private fleet of luxury barges with cruises in France, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Pioneers in hotel barging, they were the first company to operate a hotel barge on the Upper Nivernais in Burgundy, and the “real” Loire Valley. They are also the only cruise company offering barge cruises in Scotland and in the Venetian lagoon and River Po valley, as well as the first company to offer an Avignon-to-Amsterdam 6-week trans-Europe cruise, a 1,000 mile journey along Western Europe’s inland waterways.