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Cruise Destinations

-Athos Family Fun Cruise on the Canal du Midi-

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 10 guests
  • 100 Ft. Long
  • Rating: First Class
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • Hosts: Captain Julian Farrant
  • English Speaking Crew of 5
  • 10 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2015

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, transportation to and from Beziers to the barge, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from France, transportation to the cruise route (we will assist you with this), cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


Athos Family Fun Cruise on the Canal du Midi

We here at the Barge Lady love welcoming two and three generation families to the canals of France! We know that families can truly relax and bond while floating on tranquil waterways miles away from their homes and usual responsibilities. Several of the French barges offer special cruises for families. However, we are especially pleased to present the Athos Family Fun program as it is planned by barge owners who themselves are parents of small children! Captain Julian Farrant is on board at all time, while Operations Manager Dannielle Farrant is active behind the scenes of your cruise. Julian and Dannielle met as crew aboard the Athos and subsequently married and started a family. Their home is in a village along the canal so they know the secrets to keeping children active and happy on the Canal du Midi. And as we also know: Happy children means happy parents!

The barge itself is such a perfect fit for families. It is supremely comfortable but not “fancy.” Ambiance and décor is informal in feel. Guests can spread out on the large deck or relax in the salon with two sink-in couches. The cabins are “country French” in feel, with lovely flower bouquets and beautiful tiled baths. Amenities include individually controlled heating/air conditioning units, showers with plenty of water pressure and hot water, and wonderful beds.

The Canal itself makes a wonderful backdrop for families to relax. The Athos cruise begins or ends at the Mediterranean port of Marseillan which looks like a petite town on the Riviera. Colorful sailboats moor at the docks. while white stucco buildings line the streets and overlook the enchanting port. The rest of the route is on the Canal du Midi, which is still tree-lined in most locations, despite premature reports of widespread destruction and replanting of the Plane trees. The canal-side villages are adorable and there is a wealth of sightseeing possibilities. The area is very historic (with Roman ruins and roads to be discovered) but travelers can also shop in local food markets and boutiques; taste olive oil; and general enjoy the good life in southwest France.

Family fun is offered every day and includes such activities as kayaking, swimming (on a Mediterranean beach if desired), bicycling, tennis, picking out produce and then lunch with the chef in a covered food market, and playing French boules with the locals beside the canal.

The Athos lies but a four hour TGV train ride from Paris, so can easily be combined with 3-4 days in this city which offers so much to see for families. Let us find a hotel with connecting accommodations or "family” rooms, to make your stay in Paris extra- comfortable.


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise
2017 value season Rates

Whole-Boat Charter for up to 6: $36,800
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $39,400
Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $42,000


2017 value season dates
April 2 - 8 April 24 - 29 October 15 - 21
April 9 - 15 October 8 - 14 October 22 - 28
April 16 - 22    

 

2017 regular season Rates

Whole-Boat Charter for up to 6: $38,825
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $43,300
Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $47,650

2017 regular season dates
April 30 - May 6 June 11 - 17 July 23 - 29 September 3 - 9
May 7 - 13 June 18 - 24 July 30 - August 5 September 10 - 16
May 14 - 20 June 25 - July 1 August 6 - 12 September 17 - 23
May 21 - 27 July 2 - 8 August 13 - 19 September 24 - 30
May 28 - June 3 July 9 - 15 August 20 - 26 October 1 - 7
 June 4 - 10 July 16 - 22 August 27 - September 2
Barge Cruise

Athos Accommodations and Amenities

  • 100 Feet Long
  • Five cabins 93 - 108 sq feet
  • Choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Ensuite tiled baths with shower
  • Also in the Cabins
  • Teak flooring, Upscale toiletries
  • Egyptian cotton linens
  • In the Public Areas
  • Salon/dining room with picture windows
  • Large picture windows
  • Large sun deck with canopy
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • 10 bicycles
  • B-Twin Hybrid mountain/road bicycles with 18 gears



















Athos Family Fun Cruise Itinerary

Argeliers to Marseillan on the Canal du Midi

Sunday: Beziers to Argeliers
Welcome Aboard!
Sunday 4pm pick up at designated point in Beziers ATHOS Captain Julian and Manager / Guide, Matt, will meet your family. In the comfort of ATHOS' private air-conditioned Chrysler minivans, you will be chauffeured to where the ATHOS awaits you at her moorings. You will be treated to a full-crew Welcome Aboard. Toasting with either Champagne or soft drinks, the Chef will offer a selection of Mediterranean canapés fit for kids and adults alike.

Once you are settled into your cabin, there may still be time for a quick bicycle ride alongside the canal. The Athos collection of children’s and adult bicycles and helmets are at your disposal throughout the week.

You will be invited to a 4-course dinner, prepared by our highly acclaimed Chef. Athos will have asked in advance about your family’s likes and dislikes so that the crew can present you with meals that meet the whole family’s approval! Discuss with the Chef about whether you’d like to have a few adults-only evening meals, or whether your gourmet experience will be a Family Dinner every evening.

Monday: Argeliers to La Croisade
Medieval Walled Town of Carcassonne
While coffee is available at any time from the bar, continental-style breakfast is served, at your leisure, beginning at 8:30am. A breakfast buffet offers a selection to please everyone: cereals, juices, yogurts, cold meats and cheese, and of course fresh pastries and bread from the local boulangerie! Your guide suggests an excursion to the famous Medieval double-walled city of Carcassonne where he will includes the legendary tales of Dame Carcas, and a visit to the tombstone of Simon de Montfort. She will also make sure that there is still time to browse the shops!

The Captain is getting ATHOS underway for an afternoon's cruise to La Croisade, and Chef serves up another gourmet meal while the whole family relaxes on the sunny deck.

If exercise and a swim are in order, cycling enthusiasts might like to hop off with bicycles and Jill the dog. Alternatively, your guide proposes a quick drive to the swimming hole at the Cesse River under the 17thC Canal Bridge. Ready for a refreshing glass of wine or a cold drink? Another delicious meal has been prepared. The on board hostess asks if everyone would like to eat al fresco, under the shade of the Plain Trees?

Tuesday: La Croisade to Capestang
Go for a Trail Ride!
After breakfast, your guide suggests a morning outing to the local equestrian centre. Along with the sheep, goats & chickens, la Fount del Bosc has a collection of very well-kept, well-educated poneys and horses. Your guide suggests a morning trail-ride en famille. On the way back, your guide stops at Bize Minervois, where the locals swim in the river – a refreshing cool-down at the end of an enjoyable hack.

Returning to Athos for a well-earned lunch on the Athos deck, Captain Julian starts the engines, and the Athos moves off. As Athos moors for evening, the crew suggests a quick game of Petanque (or French boules). The vineyards surrounding are sprawling and the view over Capestang towards the floodlit St Etienne collegiale is a pleasant setting for an outdoor dinner.

Wednesday: Capestang to Fonserannes
Kayak the River Orb!
This morning your guide invites enthusiastic swimmers and paddlers on an excursion into the Cevennes mountains, where large, wide kayaks float down the River Orb! After the scenic drive into the hills, everyone is handed a helmet and lifejacket, then set off in kayaking groups to navigate the mostly-shallow riverbed. Chef has packed a superb picnic lunch to be served by crew who have accompanied you on the adventure. For those more enthusiastic about relaxing than kayaking, Julian invites you to stay on board for a leisurely cruise, lunch on deck, and a quiet time under the parasol. When kayakers return to Athos, cruising continues as far as the Fonserannes.

This evening's mooring is the breath-taking viewpoint at the Fonserannes. Perhaps a little cycle ride down to the famous staircase locks and the Canal Bridge will work up your appetite for the Chef's creations this evening?

Thursday: Fonserannes to Portiragnes
Narbonne - Roman ruins and Lunch in the Market
Following breakfast, your guide invites you on a side-trip to the weekly morning market in Narbonne. Even for non-shoppers, Narbonne offers bustling entertainment on a Thursday morning. Explore an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia, or, browse through the well-compiled Roman Museum and the beauty of St. Juste Cathedral. Or, simply take a moment to blend into the scene by sitting and relaxing in one of the many cafés. At 12 o’clock, your guide leads you to one of the most popular lunch spots at the brasserie Chez Bebelle in the covered food market. It is a busy, atmospheric and in-demand spot run by ex-rugby player Gilles Bebelle. The lunch is a casual affair, and the entertainment is Bebelle himself who calls out orders between the butchers’ stall and his grill. Heads up – the cuts fly!

On your return, Captain Julian and his deck hand are busy getting ATHOS underway. This 17thC feat of engineering, the Neuf Ecluses (or staircase locks), pictured below, is sure to impress! ATHOS crew expertly tie her up in each lock, and wait for the gates to close safely behind her before the water levels empty out and allow her to pass one locks into the next. But it's not over yet! Coming up next is the 18thC Canal Bridge that will carry the ATHOS over the Orb River.The paved towpath and the many locks leading to this village make it an ideal afternoon for walking or cycling alongside the ATHOS.

When we arrive at the evening's mooring just outside the small village of Portiragnes, your guide invites swimmers for a quick trip to the white sand beach (either by bicycle or car, as it’s only 1.5km away!) and a swim in the Mediterranean! Dinner on board.

Friday: Portiragnes to Marseillan

Go for a Swim in the Etang!
Athos will get underway just after breakfast. Some active family members may like to take the bicycles back to the beach for a swim in the waves of the Mediterranean, and then return to re-board the Athos as she makes her way under the Portiragnes bridge.

A spectacular seafood lunch arrives as you enter the open-waters of the Etang de Thau. The Etang hosts Europe's largest Mussel and Oyster Park. The crew’s favourite swimming pool is the Etang! Join them and jump in to cool off!

As ATHOS comes to moor in the port at Marseillan, you will notice the enclosure of the Noillly Prat Vermouth distillery. End a perfect day with a walking visit of the village, a romp around the seaside play-park which is a stone’s throw from Athos’ mooring, or a leisurely cycle ride down the promenade. Alternatively, ask your guide to book you Tennis courts on the clay courts here. Captain Julian is keen and there might be a family vs crew tournament to be had?

Chef's efforts are sure to make this evening worth remembering! Captain Julian will join your party for your final dinner on board this evening. During the evening, he will also invite the crew, including Jill, to make a farewell toast with you.

Saturday: Return to Beziers
A Sad Farewell
After breakfast, everyone waves goodbye to Jill and the Crew, who have looked after your every need throughout the week. The minivans will now depart to the appointed destination in Montpellier. (All transfers to and from the cruise route are in addition to the cruise fare and must be booked separately.) We hope you enjoyed your cruise on Athos!

Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks. Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Cruises on the hotel-barge Athos and barging the Canal du Midi Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.

Athos Sample Menus

Dinner
Foie Gras sauteed in Armangac on Brioche Toasts
Caramelized Pears, Melted Camembert
* * *
Rack of Lamb in a Dijon Mustard and Rosemary Crust
Served on Chilled Polenta Cakes
Mediterranean Vegetables,
Tomato and Black Olive Salsa
* * *
Cheese Platter
Roquefort
Crottin de Chavignol
Laguiole
****
Molten Fondant au Chocolat with Creme Anglaise
Fresh Raspberries
* * * * *
~ Wines ~
Hugues de Beauvignac
AOC Picpoul de Pinet
Domaine de la Barroubio
AOC Muscat St. Jean de Minervois

Lunch
Salad of Fresh Greens and Roquette with
Garlic Roasted, Peppers Pine Nuts
* * *
Moules Marinieres with White Wine Sauce and Parsley,
Herb-Crusted Roast Potato Wedges
* * *
White Chocolate Mousse with Passionfruit Coulis
* * * * *

Picture a Family Fun Cruise on Athos

 Family cruise in France barge Athos, cruising on the Canal du Midi in the South of France

Athos Guest Book

guests on canal du midi barge athos

"We would go again in a heartbeat, and we would book the Athos first. It was a great experience in every way. Wow! The crew could not have been nicer, or more helpful, or more informative, or more talented in so many ways. They are a great team. Tour Guide Matthieu was one of the best tour guides we have ever experienced. He is very customer-centered, always focused on what activities would appeal to our group, and how to make our excursions as informative and as enjoyable as possible. And he was great fun besides. Chef Emma's cuisine was of uniformly high quality, and the presentation was always lovely. Highest marks! We especially enjoyed the local wines served and the accompanying commentary, and ditto the cheese. The beds in our cabin was extremely comfortable. The air conditioning wasn't necessary most of the time, but on the few occasions we needed it, it worked perfectly. The bathroom was excellent. The pre-trip information provided by the Barge Lady was very helpful and of an appropriate amount. We have only the happiest of memories of our trip."

- Lor and Mike Gehret, cruised September, 2016

"Our cruise on the Athos was an experience we will recommend highly to friends. Crew was beyond fabulous! Consistently upbeat, smiling and energetic. Tour Guide Mathieu was additionally helpful with after tour ideas that made our next few days in the region. Hostesses Zusa and Marianna were wonderful and much appreciated by all of us. Captain Julian was a great raconteur at the Captain's dinner. He also made sure all connections before and after the cruise were smoothly made. Chef Emma produced exceptional food and delightful, cheery commentary. Her cuisine was excellent. Varied, locally sourced, featured local specialties and was superbly cooked and presented. Excursion were fun and varied. Cabins offered plenty of room to stow everything in an accessible manner. Very clean and maintained that way during the week. Nice toiletries. The individual room-controlled air/heat and the good water pressure and ample hot water were pleasant surprises. Barge Lady support was excellent, and services were all performed in a timely, professional, and friendly manner."

- Beth Watson, cruised September, 2016

"An awesome time. The Athos crew could not have been better -- very engaged and caring about the comfort of all of the passengers. We LOVED the cuisine -- Chef Andy is a genius. We really enjoyed the excursions, and the time spent exploring new areas. Barge Lady Lori was great. She was very communicative and always immediately responsive to all of my questions. Keep doing what you're doing, Barge Ladies."

- Ken Wilson, cruised May, 2016

"A most pleasant and relaxing six days. We enjoyed the crew very much, all lovely people, who work together as a team. Good food and excellent wine selection, and we liked all the excursions. The cabin was clean with good space for luggage under the bed. Pre-trip infomation was very detailed and delivered on timely basis."

- Kevin Meehan, cruised September, 2015

"Our trip on the Athos was fabulous! I cannot say enough nice things about the crew. The pilot, Pierre, was very good, and a delightful person to chat with. Mathieu, the Tour Guide, was fabulous!!! I asked him how he learned so much history, and he said that he loves it so he has read and listened. The daily tours were varied and informative. I’m not sure I can say which one I enjoyed the most as I liked them all. Steven, the Chef, was quite skilled and we loved everything he fixed. His presentations were fun and the plates were always beautifully presented. We thoroughly enjoyed everyone on the crew, all were quite personable and interesting.

The cabin was very nice. They had made the beds up into a queen, which was great, and very comfortable. We slept quite well, just not enough as we were having such a wonderful time at dinner we didn’t want to stop and go to bed! The storage under the bed was quite adequate as was the closet space. The bathroom was great, and the linens were very nice, much nicer than I expected.

We felt we had been very well served by The Barge Lady and had recommended you to several people even before we left, but since we have been back we will continue to do so with even more zeal. The pre-trip information was great and I can’t think of anything else we needed. It was great to already have our train tickets. Your services were perfect and if we ever go on another barge trip, we will certainly call you so you can give us another wonderful experience. Thank you for giving us such a great vacation!"

- Caroline Morton, cruised May, 2015

"My overall experience of the barge: Excellent..Memorable...I would highly recommend this barge and its crew. I have come to realize that while traveling I have certain standards of expectation. My expectations were exceeded on this barge.

The crew made each person feel like 'Kings and Queens'. So attentive, kind, and thoughtful, each and every one. Give them an A+++! As far as cuisine goes, I'm a complete and certified 'foodie', and the cuisine, wine list, and cheese selection surpassed what I had even imagined. This rating goes off chart. Sightseeing excursions were enjoyable. The Tour Guide, Mathew, was entertaining and educational with a fantastic list of things to see and do. I would give him a triple A rating as well.

I must confess, I was a little apprehensive going on the barge as I am a boat person, and know how some boats don't leave much in the way of comfort, especially when it comes to storage space and bathroom facilities. However, the barge was so well designed that even the most selective of travelers could be very comfortable and 'at home'. A good design is everything and this barge had a great design. For example, cabins were way better than expected. Shower was wonderful, great water temperature and good pressure. Loved having my own air conditioning unit which was nice and cold. The bed was very comfortable, and my 6'4'' husband had plenty of head room.

I understand each guest has certain requirements, but for those who want a wonderful experience on the Canal du Midi, fabulous foods, wines and cheeses, great crew, well designed and comfortable rooms, personal attention on all tours and connections to and from the barge -- then this barge is the one I would personally recommend. With ten total passengers on board having five crew members who did everything they could to make the experience a positive and enjoyable one, from the Captain, to the Tour Guide, to the two Hostesses, to the Chef -- I felt like a Queen!

Can you tell I LOVED THIS BARGE EXPERIENCE!!! It will always be a treasured memory in my path of life's special experiences. I might never pass that way again...but when I did...It was a wonderful and memorable moment in time."

- Janet Pyle, cruised May, 2015

 

Athos Blog Posts,Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

 

Put Some Mussel into Your Bastille Day Celebration
Atho's Favorite Mussels in White Wine - Chef Carlene's original (and doable!) recipe from her wonderful mussel pot. Enjoy a taste of the Canal du Midi – right in your home!

 

 

Romantic Route: Seeing France up close from a luxury canal barge
By Cheryl Blackerby, Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

 

 

 

+ - Overview

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 10 guests
  • 100 Ft. Long
  • Rating: First Class
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • Hosts: Captain Julian Farrant
  • English Speaking Crew of 5
  • 10 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2015

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, transportation to and from Beziers to the barge, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from France, transportation to the cruise route (we will assist you with this), cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


Athos Family Fun Cruise on the Canal du Midi

We here at the Barge Lady love welcoming two and three generation families to the canals of France! We know that families can truly relax and bond while floating on tranquil waterways miles away from their homes and usual responsibilities. Several of the French barges offer special cruises for families. However, we are especially pleased to present the Athos Family Fun program as it is planned by barge owners who themselves are parents of small children! Captain Julian Farrant is on board at all time, while Operations Manager Dannielle Farrant is active behind the scenes of your cruise. Julian and Dannielle met as crew aboard the Athos and subsequently married and started a family. Their home is in a village along the canal so they know the secrets to keeping children active and happy on the Canal du Midi. And as we also know: Happy children means happy parents!

The barge itself is such a perfect fit for families. It is supremely comfortable but not “fancy.” Ambiance and décor is informal in feel. Guests can spread out on the large deck or relax in the salon with two sink-in couches. The cabins are “country French” in feel, with lovely flower bouquets and beautiful tiled baths. Amenities include individually controlled heating/air conditioning units, showers with plenty of water pressure and hot water, and wonderful beds.

The Canal itself makes a wonderful backdrop for families to relax. The Athos cruise begins or ends at the Mediterranean port of Marseillan which looks like a petite town on the Riviera. Colorful sailboats moor at the docks. while white stucco buildings line the streets and overlook the enchanting port. The rest of the route is on the Canal du Midi, which is still tree-lined in most locations, despite premature reports of widespread destruction and replanting of the Plane trees. The canal-side villages are adorable and there is a wealth of sightseeing possibilities. The area is very historic (with Roman ruins and roads to be discovered) but travelers can also shop in local food markets and boutiques; taste olive oil; and general enjoy the good life in southwest France.

Family fun is offered every day and includes such activities as kayaking, swimming (on a Mediterranean beach if desired), bicycling, tennis, picking out produce and then lunch with the chef in a covered food market, and playing French boules with the locals beside the canal.

The Athos lies but a four hour TGV train ride from Paris, so can easily be combined with 3-4 days in this city which offers so much to see for families. Let us find a hotel with connecting accommodations or "family” rooms, to make your stay in Paris extra- comfortable.


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise
2017 value season Rates

Whole-Boat Charter for up to 6: $36,800
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $39,400
Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $42,000


2017 value season dates
April 2 - 8 April 24 - 29 October 15 - 21
April 9 - 15 October 8 - 14 October 22 - 28
April 16 - 22    

 

2017 regular season Rates

Whole-Boat Charter for up to 6: $38,825
Whole-Boat Charter for 8: $43,300
Whole-Boat Charter for 10: $47,650

2017 regular season dates
April 30 - May 6 June 11 - 17 July 23 - 29 September 3 - 9
May 7 - 13 June 18 - 24 July 30 - August 5 September 10 - 16
May 14 - 20 June 25 - July 1 August 6 - 12 September 17 - 23
May 21 - 27 July 2 - 8 August 13 - 19 September 24 - 30
May 28 - June 3 July 9 - 15 August 20 - 26 October 1 - 7
 June 4 - 10 July 16 - 22 August 27 - September 2

Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

Athos Accommodations and Amenities

  • 100 Feet Long
  • Five cabins 93 - 108 sq feet
  • Choice of one queen or two twin beds
  • Ensuite tiled baths with shower
  • Also in the Cabins
  • Teak flooring, Upscale toiletries
  • Egyptian cotton linens
  • In the Public Areas
  • Salon/dining room with picture windows
  • Large picture windows
  • Large sun deck with canopy
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • 10 bicycles
  • B-Twin Hybrid mountain/road bicycles with 18 gears



















Athos Family Fun Cruise Itinerary

Argeliers to Marseillan on the Canal du Midi

Sunday: Beziers to Argeliers
Welcome Aboard!
Sunday 4pm pick up at designated point in Beziers ATHOS Captain Julian and Manager / Guide, Matt, will meet your family. In the comfort of ATHOS' private air-conditioned Chrysler minivans, you will be chauffeured to where the ATHOS awaits you at her moorings. You will be treated to a full-crew Welcome Aboard. Toasting with either Champagne or soft drinks, the Chef will offer a selection of Mediterranean canapés fit for kids and adults alike.

Once you are settled into your cabin, there may still be time for a quick bicycle ride alongside the canal. The Athos collection of children’s and adult bicycles and helmets are at your disposal throughout the week.

You will be invited to a 4-course dinner, prepared by our highly acclaimed Chef. Athos will have asked in advance about your family’s likes and dislikes so that the crew can present you with meals that meet the whole family’s approval! Discuss with the Chef about whether you’d like to have a few adults-only evening meals, or whether your gourmet experience will be a Family Dinner every evening.

Monday: Argeliers to La Croisade
Medieval Walled Town of Carcassonne
While coffee is available at any time from the bar, continental-style breakfast is served, at your leisure, beginning at 8:30am. A breakfast buffet offers a selection to please everyone: cereals, juices, yogurts, cold meats and cheese, and of course fresh pastries and bread from the local boulangerie! Your guide suggests an excursion to the famous Medieval double-walled city of Carcassonne where he will includes the legendary tales of Dame Carcas, and a visit to the tombstone of Simon de Montfort. She will also make sure that there is still time to browse the shops!

The Captain is getting ATHOS underway for an afternoon's cruise to La Croisade, and Chef serves up another gourmet meal while the whole family relaxes on the sunny deck.

If exercise and a swim are in order, cycling enthusiasts might like to hop off with bicycles and Jill the dog. Alternatively, your guide proposes a quick drive to the swimming hole at the Cesse River under the 17thC Canal Bridge. Ready for a refreshing glass of wine or a cold drink? Another delicious meal has been prepared. The on board hostess asks if everyone would like to eat al fresco, under the shade of the Plain Trees?

Tuesday: La Croisade to Capestang
Go for a Trail Ride!
After breakfast, your guide suggests a morning outing to the local equestrian centre. Along with the sheep, goats & chickens, la Fount del Bosc has a collection of very well-kept, well-educated poneys and horses. Your guide suggests a morning trail-ride en famille. On the way back, your guide stops at Bize Minervois, where the locals swim in the river – a refreshing cool-down at the end of an enjoyable hack.

Returning to Athos for a well-earned lunch on the Athos deck, Captain Julian starts the engines, and the Athos moves off. As Athos moors for evening, the crew suggests a quick game of Petanque (or French boules). The vineyards surrounding are sprawling and the view over Capestang towards the floodlit St Etienne collegiale is a pleasant setting for an outdoor dinner.

Wednesday: Capestang to Fonserannes
Kayak the River Orb!
This morning your guide invites enthusiastic swimmers and paddlers on an excursion into the Cevennes mountains, where large, wide kayaks float down the River Orb! After the scenic drive into the hills, everyone is handed a helmet and lifejacket, then set off in kayaking groups to navigate the mostly-shallow riverbed. Chef has packed a superb picnic lunch to be served by crew who have accompanied you on the adventure. For those more enthusiastic about relaxing than kayaking, Julian invites you to stay on board for a leisurely cruise, lunch on deck, and a quiet time under the parasol. When kayakers return to Athos, cruising continues as far as the Fonserannes.

This evening's mooring is the breath-taking viewpoint at the Fonserannes. Perhaps a little cycle ride down to the famous staircase locks and the Canal Bridge will work up your appetite for the Chef's creations this evening?

Thursday: Fonserannes to Portiragnes
Narbonne - Roman ruins and Lunch in the Market
Following breakfast, your guide invites you on a side-trip to the weekly morning market in Narbonne. Even for non-shoppers, Narbonne offers bustling entertainment on a Thursday morning. Explore an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia, or, browse through the well-compiled Roman Museum and the beauty of St. Juste Cathedral. Or, simply take a moment to blend into the scene by sitting and relaxing in one of the many cafés. At 12 o’clock, your guide leads you to one of the most popular lunch spots at the brasserie Chez Bebelle in the covered food market. It is a busy, atmospheric and in-demand spot run by ex-rugby player Gilles Bebelle. The lunch is a casual affair, and the entertainment is Bebelle himself who calls out orders between the butchers’ stall and his grill. Heads up – the cuts fly!

On your return, Captain Julian and his deck hand are busy getting ATHOS underway. This 17thC feat of engineering, the Neuf Ecluses (or staircase locks), pictured below, is sure to impress! ATHOS crew expertly tie her up in each lock, and wait for the gates to close safely behind her before the water levels empty out and allow her to pass one locks into the next. But it's not over yet! Coming up next is the 18thC Canal Bridge that will carry the ATHOS over the Orb River.The paved towpath and the many locks leading to this village make it an ideal afternoon for walking or cycling alongside the ATHOS.

When we arrive at the evening's mooring just outside the small village of Portiragnes, your guide invites swimmers for a quick trip to the white sand beach (either by bicycle or car, as it’s only 1.5km away!) and a swim in the Mediterranean! Dinner on board.

Friday: Portiragnes to Marseillan

Go for a Swim in the Etang!
Athos will get underway just after breakfast. Some active family members may like to take the bicycles back to the beach for a swim in the waves of the Mediterranean, and then return to re-board the Athos as she makes her way under the Portiragnes bridge.

A spectacular seafood lunch arrives as you enter the open-waters of the Etang de Thau. The Etang hosts Europe's largest Mussel and Oyster Park. The crew’s favourite swimming pool is the Etang! Join them and jump in to cool off!

As ATHOS comes to moor in the port at Marseillan, you will notice the enclosure of the Noillly Prat Vermouth distillery. End a perfect day with a walking visit of the village, a romp around the seaside play-park which is a stone’s throw from Athos’ mooring, or a leisurely cycle ride down the promenade. Alternatively, ask your guide to book you Tennis courts on the clay courts here. Captain Julian is keen and there might be a family vs crew tournament to be had?

Chef's efforts are sure to make this evening worth remembering! Captain Julian will join your party for your final dinner on board this evening. During the evening, he will also invite the crew, including Jill, to make a farewell toast with you.

Saturday: Return to Beziers
A Sad Farewell
After breakfast, everyone waves goodbye to Jill and the Crew, who have looked after your every need throughout the week. The minivans will now depart to the appointed destination in Montpellier. (All transfers to and from the cruise route are in addition to the cruise fare and must be booked separately.) We hope you enjoyed your cruise on Athos!

Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks. Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Cruises on the hotel-barge Athos and barging the Canal du Midi Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.

+ - Menu

Athos Sample Menus

Dinner
Foie Gras sauteed in Armangac on Brioche Toasts
Caramelized Pears, Melted Camembert
* * *
Rack of Lamb in a Dijon Mustard and Rosemary Crust
Served on Chilled Polenta Cakes
Mediterranean Vegetables,
Tomato and Black Olive Salsa
* * *
Cheese Platter
Roquefort
Crottin de Chavignol
Laguiole
****
Molten Fondant au Chocolat with Creme Anglaise
Fresh Raspberries
* * * * *
~ Wines ~
Hugues de Beauvignac
AOC Picpoul de Pinet
Domaine de la Barroubio
AOC Muscat St. Jean de Minervois

Lunch
Salad of Fresh Greens and Roquette with
Garlic Roasted, Peppers Pine Nuts
* * *
Moules Marinieres with White Wine Sauce and Parsley,
Herb-Crusted Roast Potato Wedges
* * *
White Chocolate Mousse with Passionfruit Coulis
* * * * *

Picture a Family Fun Cruise on Athos

 Family cruise in France barge Athos, cruising on the Canal du Midi in the South of France

Athos Guest Book

guests on canal du midi barge athos

"We would go again in a heartbeat, and we would book the Athos first. It was a great experience in every way. Wow! The crew could not have been nicer, or more helpful, or more informative, or more talented in so many ways. They are a great team. Tour Guide Matthieu was one of the best tour guides we have ever experienced. He is very customer-centered, always focused on what activities would appeal to our group, and how to make our excursions as informative and as enjoyable as possible. And he was great fun besides. Chef Emma's cuisine was of uniformly high quality, and the presentation was always lovely. Highest marks! We especially enjoyed the local wines served and the accompanying commentary, and ditto the cheese. The beds in our cabin was extremely comfortable. The air conditioning wasn't necessary most of the time, but on the few occasions we needed it, it worked perfectly. The bathroom was excellent. The pre-trip information provided by the Barge Lady was very helpful and of an appropriate amount. We have only the happiest of memories of our trip."

- Lor and Mike Gehret, cruised September, 2016

"Our cruise on the Athos was an experience we will recommend highly to friends. Crew was beyond fabulous! Consistently upbeat, smiling and energetic. Tour Guide Mathieu was additionally helpful with after tour ideas that made our next few days in the region. Hostesses Zusa and Marianna were wonderful and much appreciated by all of us. Captain Julian was a great raconteur at the Captain's dinner. He also made sure all connections before and after the cruise were smoothly made. Chef Emma produced exceptional food and delightful, cheery commentary. Her cuisine was excellent. Varied, locally sourced, featured local specialties and was superbly cooked and presented. Excursion were fun and varied. Cabins offered plenty of room to stow everything in an accessible manner. Very clean and maintained that way during the week. Nice toiletries. The individual room-controlled air/heat and the good water pressure and ample hot water were pleasant surprises. Barge Lady support was excellent, and services were all performed in a timely, professional, and friendly manner."

- Beth Watson, cruised September, 2016

"An awesome time. The Athos crew could not have been better -- very engaged and caring about the comfort of all of the passengers. We LOVED the cuisine -- Chef Andy is a genius. We really enjoyed the excursions, and the time spent exploring new areas. Barge Lady Lori was great. She was very communicative and always immediately responsive to all of my questions. Keep doing what you're doing, Barge Ladies."

- Ken Wilson, cruised May, 2016

"A most pleasant and relaxing six days. We enjoyed the crew very much, all lovely people, who work together as a team. Good food and excellent wine selection, and we liked all the excursions. The cabin was clean with good space for luggage under the bed. Pre-trip infomation was very detailed and delivered on timely basis."

- Kevin Meehan, cruised September, 2015

"Our trip on the Athos was fabulous! I cannot say enough nice things about the crew. The pilot, Pierre, was very good, and a delightful person to chat with. Mathieu, the Tour Guide, was fabulous!!! I asked him how he learned so much history, and he said that he loves it so he has read and listened. The daily tours were varied and informative. I’m not sure I can say which one I enjoyed the most as I liked them all. Steven, the Chef, was quite skilled and we loved everything he fixed. His presentations were fun and the plates were always beautifully presented. We thoroughly enjoyed everyone on the crew, all were quite personable and interesting.

The cabin was very nice. They had made the beds up into a queen, which was great, and very comfortable. We slept quite well, just not enough as we were having such a wonderful time at dinner we didn’t want to stop and go to bed! The storage under the bed was quite adequate as was the closet space. The bathroom was great, and the linens were very nice, much nicer than I expected.

We felt we had been very well served by The Barge Lady and had recommended you to several people even before we left, but since we have been back we will continue to do so with even more zeal. The pre-trip information was great and I can’t think of anything else we needed. It was great to already have our train tickets. Your services were perfect and if we ever go on another barge trip, we will certainly call you so you can give us another wonderful experience. Thank you for giving us such a great vacation!"

- Caroline Morton, cruised May, 2015

"My overall experience of the barge: Excellent..Memorable...I would highly recommend this barge and its crew. I have come to realize that while traveling I have certain standards of expectation. My expectations were exceeded on this barge.

The crew made each person feel like 'Kings and Queens'. So attentive, kind, and thoughtful, each and every one. Give them an A+++! As far as cuisine goes, I'm a complete and certified 'foodie', and the cuisine, wine list, and cheese selection surpassed what I had even imagined. This rating goes off chart. Sightseeing excursions were enjoyable. The Tour Guide, Mathew, was entertaining and educational with a fantastic list of things to see and do. I would give him a triple A rating as well.

I must confess, I was a little apprehensive going on the barge as I am a boat person, and know how some boats don't leave much in the way of comfort, especially when it comes to storage space and bathroom facilities. However, the barge was so well designed that even the most selective of travelers could be very comfortable and 'at home'. A good design is everything and this barge had a great design. For example, cabins were way better than expected. Shower was wonderful, great water temperature and good pressure. Loved having my own air conditioning unit which was nice and cold. The bed was very comfortable, and my 6'4'' husband had plenty of head room.

I understand each guest has certain requirements, but for those who want a wonderful experience on the Canal du Midi, fabulous foods, wines and cheeses, great crew, well designed and comfortable rooms, personal attention on all tours and connections to and from the barge -- then this barge is the one I would personally recommend. With ten total passengers on board having five crew members who did everything they could to make the experience a positive and enjoyable one, from the Captain, to the Tour Guide, to the two Hostesses, to the Chef -- I felt like a Queen!

Can you tell I LOVED THIS BARGE EXPERIENCE!!! It will always be a treasured memory in my path of life's special experiences. I might never pass that way again...but when I did...It was a wonderful and memorable moment in time."

- Janet Pyle, cruised May, 2015

 

+ - More!

Athos Blog Posts,Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

 

Put Some Mussel into Your Bastille Day Celebration
Atho's Favorite Mussels in White Wine - Chef Carlene's original (and doable!) recipe from her wonderful mussel pot. Enjoy a taste of the Canal du Midi – right in your home!

 

 

Romantic Route: Seeing France up close from a luxury canal barge
By Cheryl Blackerby, Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

 

 

 


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