French Hotel Barge EMMA : ITINERARIES
LANGUEDOC AND THE CANAL DU MIDI
This whole area is steeped in history. The Romans built villas overlooking the Via Domitia connecting Italy with Spain a few kilometers north of the etang.
After the Romans left, there were ferocious religious wars. The Cathars built fortresses all the way up to Carcassonne to defend themselves. In 1681, the Canal du Midi was completed, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. It had been a dream of the Romans, but it took the might of the French Crown, the determination of Baron Pierre-Paul Riquet, twelve thousand men and almost twenty years before this mighty endeavour was achieved.
Earlier, Molière had been presenting his plays in summer seasons in Pézenas,and the world's first medical school, established in the 13th century in Montpellier, was becoming indeed world famous. In the 19th century, the arrival of the railroad turned Languedoc into the world's biggest wine producing region and Sète into the principal connecting port to North Africa.
This was a period of prosperity that made the towns and villages what they are today. Modern commercial transport made the Canal du Midi obsolete, but it has been preserved as a National Monument and is perfect for our leisurely cruise.
Instead of saying in advance which routes we will be doing on a given date, we shall leave the options open to give our guests the widest possible choice depending on the route which suits them best. As the planning fills up, the chosen routes of one week will dictate the route of the following week. Example: If week one ends in Aigues Mortes, then it would be impossible to begin in Toulouse for week 2.
The Carassonne-Toulouse route, which we started in 2010, has proven to be very popular with our guests who have all cruised the other routes with us. The canal is very pretty, the lockkeepers' houses are charming, the variety of trees and vegetation stunning (in July the sunflowers are out everywhere) but most of all it was the peace and quiet with not having so many Rent-a-Boats (Tupperwares as René calls them). The route still takes in the highlight of Carcassonne, includes visits to Rennes le Chateau, Revel, Lac St Ferreol and Castelnaudary. Pick ups and drop offs would be from Toulouse well served by Blagnac Airport and the TGV and/or Carcassonne Airport/ TGV. And, of course, we will always consider other routes and visits at your request.
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