French Hotel Barge EMMA - Barging in France -

Canal du Midi - France
Aigues Mortes - Béziers - Puicheric - Castelnaudary

Puicheric to Castelnaudary

The Puicheric to Castelnaudary route is the calmest of the 3 cruises Emma has to offer. There are a lot of locks for the barge along this route and the nighttime stops are often out in the wilds of the beautiful Lauragais countryside with its views of the Pyrenees in the distance. The tow path here is great for cyclists.

Visits on this route include, the walled City of Carcassonne, Lagrasse in the heart of the Corbières with its arty boutiques and potteries and the fabulous monastry, Mirepoix with its amazing outdoor market and wooden structured arched quare and of course Revel and the Lac St Férreol, the birthplace of the Canal du Midi.

French hotel barge Emma - itinerary map
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Your guide will meet you at 5pm at your chosen rendezvous point and bring you to where Emma is moored at the lock of Aiguille, with its crazy sculptures, to meet the rest of the crew, Captain René, chef Liz and your hostess. Once you are settled on board we shall cruise off with champagne cocktails out into the vineyards to Marseillette.


We go off to explore the biggest and best fortified city in Europe, Carcassonne. Although dating from the time of Charlemagne, it has been extensively restored. You can walk along the ramparts, visit the Chateau Comptal, shop in the boutiques along the cobbled streets, visit galleries and museums and get the feel of life in the middle ages. Put your feet up and relax during our afternoon cruise, which takes us through a few locks past the town of Trèbes to Villedubert. Have a stroll through the vineyards, cycle the towpath or just sit and have a glass of local wine, read your book while your gourmet dinner is being prepared.


This morning your guide will take you up into the hills to visit the Gouffre Geant de Cabrespine. This fabulous cave is so vast that you can fit the Eiffel Tower inside with room to spare so no feeling claustrophobic here. After lunch we shall cruise through locks, under bridges over rivers, through the typical Languedocian countryside to moor up for your evening halt near Villesèquelande.


This morning your visit will take you through the rolling plains of the Lauraigais, fields of sunflowers in summer and views of the snow-capped mountains on a clear day, to the town of Mirepoix. We shall stop off at Fanjeaux, home of St Dominic and the Dominican Convent; the views are spectacular. Mirepoix itself is renowned for its wooden columns surrounding the main market square, its colombaged houses and its cathedral. After lunch Emma will gently guide along the canal, going through a selection of locks to moor up in the lovely Lauragais countryside.


This morning we shall cruise to the town of Bram. This is what is known as a "Circulade" as the village follows a spiral pattern like a snail's shell. It is market day in Bram so if you like to go to the market, this is your day. For lovers of sparkling wine, this afternoon's visit is to Limoux. This was where the very first bubble was discovered by the monks who didn't think to patent the discovery and so it was taken to the north and became Champagne.


Our cruise this morning is to the town famous for its cassoulet, Castelnaudary. After the canal, we come out into Le Grand Bassin with its views over the rooftops of the city. There is a Gothic Collegiale with its 56 meter bell tower, the 17th Century windmill and the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Pitié with its gold covered wooden sculptures. This afternoon's visit is to the Lac St Ferreol, the reason why the Canal du Midi was possible. It was the only land which had slopes both to the Atlantic and to the Mediterranean. You will see the intricate irrigation system, which allows us to have the canal we love today. To think this was all discovered in the 1600's on horseback by Paul Riquet. Return to Emma for your final gala dinner, lovingly prepared by your personal chef.


Sadly you must leave us this morning, and after breakfast, your guide will be ready to escort you to your onward departure point.

NOTE: This is a sample itinerary as each cruise is adapted to take in the likes and interests of its guests. It runs in reverse on alternate weeks.

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