The Experience

Alouette, a luxury barge in the Orient-Express collection, travels the historic Canal du Midi between Baziers and Carcassonne. The two spacious cabins have a unique intercom system, and an open kitchen allows guests to observe the chef at work, preparing the gourmet meals. ‘Alouette’ is the perfect vessel for enjoying the beautiful unspoiled landscape of this scenic part of France.

Day 1: SUNDAY
Meet at the Paris hotel chosen by the group and transfer to the rail station for the train to Baziers. Join Alouett for a champagne welcome and a cruise to the pretty village of Colombia¨res, followed by a first gourmet dinner on board.

‘Alouette’ | Meals: D
Day 2: MONDAY
Visit la Abbaye de Fontfroide, an 11th-century Cistercian monastery, lovingly restored with a well-kept garden and peaceful cloister. After lunch, cruise to Capestang.

‘Alouette’ | Meals: B L D
Day 3: TUESDAY
Journey to la Oppidum 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 Alouette for a relaxing afternoon on the beautiful Canal du Midi, a brilliant feat of engineering and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The Canal’s 328 locks, bridges, aqueducts and tunnels have scarcely changed since their creation in the 17th century by Pierre-Paul Riquet.

‘Alouette’ | Meals: B L D
Day 4: WEDNESDAY
Experience the wonderful covered market in Narbonne, a lively Mediterranean city and important center of wine production. Enjoy lunch at a local bistro near the market before returning to Alouette for a leisurely afternoon cruise to Homps.

‘Alouette’ | Meals: B L D
Day 5: THURSDAY
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 Alouette for lunch and a cruise to the pretty town of Trabes.

‘Alouette’ | Meals: B L D
Day 6: FRIDAY
Cruise to Carcassonne, Europe’s largest medieval fortress town, to admire 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.

‘Alouette’ | Meals: B L D
Day 7: SATURDAY
After breakfast, transfer to the rail station in Carcassonne for the train to Paris, where your journey ends.

Meals: B
Cruise itinerary operates in reverse direction on alternate weeks.

Canal Barge Cruising in Europe is a relaxed way of travel that is inherently flexible and subject to change. The above itinerary is an example of the places you may see and visit during your cruise; your actual itinerary may vary.

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