- Northern Burgundy
- Southern Burgundy
(8 Guests, Deluxe)
(12 Guests, Ultra Deluxe)
(8 Guests, Ultra Deluxe)
- Apres Tout
(6 Guests, Deluxe)
(4 Guests, Charming Class)
(21 Guests, First Class)
- Fleur de Lys
(6 Guests, Ultra Deluxe)
(8 Guests, Deluxe)
(12 Guests, Deluxe)
(4-6 Guests, Deluxe)
- Papillon Bike & Barge
(4-6 Guests, Deluxe)
(8 Guests, Ultra Deluxe)
- Savoir Vivre
(8 Guests, Charming Class)
- Who Knows
(4-6 Guests, Charming Class)
- Canal Du Midi
- Provence - Camargue
- Paris to Burgundy
- Loire Valley
- Upper Loire
- Gourmet Land Tours
- *Special Offers*
SEARCH Barge Lady Cruises
- Photo Favorites
- Photo Gallery
- Guest Book
- Floor Plan
Cruises in Gascony
|Passengers: 6||Your Hosts: Alasdair and Barbara Wyllie|
|Size: 96 feet long||English Speaking Crew of: 4|
|Last Visited: 2007||Bicycles: 6|
|Rating: Deluxe||Air Conditioned: Yes|
Cruise Rate Includes: 6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, 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)
2013 Rates Whole Boat Charter of 4: $21,300
Whole Boat Charter of 5: $22,650
Whole Boat Charter of 6: $24,000
Individuals: $4,250 per person double occupancy
Single Occupancy Cabin: $5,525
|April 20 - 26||June 8 - 14||July 20 - 26||August 31 - Sept 6|
|April 27 - May 3||June 15 - 21||July 27 - Aug 2||September 7 - 13|
|May 4 - 10||June 22 - 28||August 3 - 9||September 14 - 20|
|May 11 - 17||June 29 - July 5||August 10 - 16||September 21 - 27|
|May 18 - 24||July 6 - 12||August 17 - 23||September 28 - Oct 4|
|May 25 - 31||July 13 - 19||August 24 - 30||October 5 - 11|
|June 1 - 7|
Saint Louis cruises deep in the heart of untouched France, on a route in the ancient area of Gascony. This is a land of fortified bastide villages, rolling hills, and beautiful landscapes. The local markets and festivals draw on the tradition of classic French lifestyle. As well, cuisine is classic and rich, emphasizing such local ingredients as foie gras, duck, Armagnac liqueur and walnuts. Many personalities are associated with the area, including the fictional Comte d’Artagan, immortalized by Alexandre Dumas as one of the Three Musketeers. Into this lovely area, Saint Louis has carved out a special route and style and has become a fabulous choice for guests who have done the more well-known regions and are looking for an experience deep in the French countryside.
Saint Louis is owned and operated by Captain Alasdair and Chef Barbara Wyllie, a personable couple from Scotland with extensive background in the hospitality industry. They purchased the barge in 2006 and at that time entirely redecorated, opting for a more modern look. The salon – boasting large picture windows – is extremely comfortable, while the cabins and beautifully tiled baths are serene and uncluttered.
The Wyllies have lived on the route for many years and know it as insiders. As owners, they are strategic and flexible with the ability to arrange entirely personalized cruises. Alasdair says: “Besides sightseeing, we can introduce guests to cultural events ranging from country markets to classical concerts to summer festivals. For art enthusiasts, there is a collection of Goya masterpieces in Agen; for wine lovers, a wide variety of vineyards to visit; and much to engage golfers, walkers and tennis players” Cuisine will emphasize fresh and local ingredients and the open bar stocked with excellent regional wines and superb malt whiskies – reflecting the Scottish background of the Wyllies!
We can't wait to cruise on SAINT LOUIS in Gascony and feel that, with the Wyllies at the helm, SAINT LOUIS is already a top choice in Deluxe barging.
Saint LouisCruise 1
Gascony Barge Cruise Itinerary
Montauban to Agen
Saturday: Board in Montauban
Warm welcome in our Home Port
We meet around 3 pm, often in Toulouse, and we travel by car to the Saint Louis. We pass through Granade and Grisolles on the way, and admire the central market square in both villages. On arrival at Saint Louis' home port, you are greeted with a champagne reception on board. After unpacking, the options include a visit to the local Artisan Distillerie (making renowned aqua vita and liqueurs from local fruits), or a stroll around the charming town of Montech, or maybe a game of pétanque (boules) beside the boat.
Sunday: Montauban to Castelcarrasin
Extraordinary Water Slope!
After breakfast, we take the car for an excursion around Montauban, city of art and culture. We see statues by local artist Bourdelle, we explore cobbled streets leading to the gorgeous central square, and we admire the 13th century Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) with its superb garrison building. We return to the boat, and have lunch under way as we head to Montech, passing through one lock before joining the main Canal de Garonne. At Montech, we pass down the extraordinary Montech Water Slope, an engineering marvel that is unique in the world. After cruising for the afternoon, we moor in the beautiful port of Castelsarrasin.
Monday: Castelsarrasin to Moissac
Elegant Abbeye Cloisters
We head off down the canal after breakfast, and after descending four locks we cross over the River Tarn by means of an amazing brick-built aqueduct, 30 metres over the river. A few more locks and we arrive in the port of Moissac. After lunch, you are taken to one of the highlights of the trip – Moissac Abbey, pictured at right, with its Cloisters that are said to be the finest in the world, and the 13th century church which contains a 10th century organ.
Tuesday: Moissac to Pommevic
Beautiful cruise through calm countryside
We have breakfast on deck, while passing through the swing-bridge of Moissac emerging into lovely countryside, with rolling hills to the right and the River Garonne to the left. In time for lunch we moor at the peaceful port of Pommevic – normally we expect to be the only boat in the port! During the morning we could pass numerous pilgrims making their way on Christendom’s third most important pilgrimage route, to the burial site of Saint James at Santiago di Compostella, which is still 1200 km away at this point. In the afternoon, we go in the car to nearby Auvillar, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. This village has a history in which the manufacture and export of china and quills (for writing) were of major importance – as so often we see the influence that the River Garonne had as a trade artery in the world of commerce of yesteryear.
Wednesday: Pommevic to Lamagistere
Ancient Bastide Village
We head off in the morning, having breakfast on the deck under the plane trees. We pass through Valence, and moor for lunch at Lamagistere, surrounded by nothing but views and peace. In the afternoon, we go to nearby Donzac, where there is an amazing museum dedicated to the ancient trades of this corner of France – this is a world class display, put together with professionalism and humour. Later, we visit the ancient Bastide village of Dunes, with lovely half-timbered houses and historical wall-plaques.
Thursday: Lamagistere to Agen
Art Treasures in Agen
In the morning, we go in the car to nearby Clermont-Soubiran, where we have views over the whole Valley of the Garonne, and where a walk around the outside of the chateau never fails to impress. We then return to the boat, and cruise down into the provincial city of Agen, where we moor beside well-tended lawns under the houses of some of the city’s big merchants. If time permits, we visit the Museum of Fine Arts, pictured at left, in the middle of old Agen, which has an amazing collection that includes a number of Goyas, and a fine Egyptian and Levant collection.
Friday: Return to Toulouse
A Sad Farewell
After a leisurely breakfast, we'll chauffeur you back to Toulouse, in time for a late morning train back to Paris. Or you may pick up a rental car or stay a few more days in Toulouse. We hope to see you back again on Saint Louis.
Agen to Castets-en-Dorthe
Saturday: Agen to Serignac-sur-Garonne
Amazing Aqueduct Cruise!
We'll meet you at 3:00 pm in Toulouse (train station, local hotel or airport) and go directly to the Saint Louis which is moored in the pretty canal basin in Agen. After a short briefing, we head off downstream. We have champagne on deck while passing over the remarkable Agen Aqueduct, pictured at right, which is France's longest masonry aqueduct and which takes us over the mighty River Garonne. We pass down four landscaped locks, while the table on deck is being laid for our first al fresco dinner on board. After the last lock, we enter a part of the canal the Captain calls "the Amazon" - overgrown with trees and bushes on both sides - we eat dinner surrounded by nature and birdsong. We moor for the night at the charming little port of Serignac sur Garonne.
Sunday: Serignac-sur-Garonne to Buzet-sur-Baise
Visit a Glass Blower in an ancient village
Some of our group take an early morning walk through Serignac, a quaint Bastide village with half-timbered houses and a church with a most unusual spire. We then cast off, and head down the canal to Buzet-sur-Baise, where we moor under a canopy of plane trees for lunch. After lunch we head off in the car to visit Viannes, a remarkable bastide village with an outside fortified wall almost intact. Viannes is known for glass blowing, and we visit the last working glass blower and watch the production of world-class glass wares. Finally we visit Bruch, another fortified village dating back to the Middle Ages.
Monday: Buzet-sur-Baise to Damazan
Chateau of King Henri IV
In the morning we take a short cruise from Buzet-sur-Baise to Damazan, once again having breakfast on deck. We then head in the car and drive to Nerac, pictured at left, where we visit the chateau of King Henri IV, and the old mediaeval town beside the River Baïse. Later in the afternoon, we visit a remarkable producer of products of the grape - wine, Armagnac and Floc de Gascogne - all housed in a former Benedictine abbey.
Tuesday: Damazan to Mas d'Argenais
Painting by Rembrandt in an Old Church
After breakfast, we head down the canal, stopping at Villeton where we visit a museum of farming and country trades. We have lunch on deck, and arrive mid-afternoon at Mas d'Agenais. Here we visit the old roman walls of the town, and the Romanesque wash-house, before going up to the centre of the town where we admire the spectacular market square, and where we visit the 11th century church that contains a painting by Rembrandt.
Wednesday: Mas d'Argenais to Meilhan-sur-Garonne
People who have lived on the River Garonne
In the morning we cruise down the canal under the shade of plane trees and between fields of sunflowers. We have had lunch on deck by the time we arrive at the pretty little port of Meilhan. In the afternoon we go to a presentation called Gens de Garonne (the people of Garonne) which in a remarkable way tells the story of the life of the people living on the side of the River Garonne.
Thursday: Meilhan-sur-Garonne to Castets-en-Dorthe
Elegant family-owned Castle
Today, we complete our canal journey, cruising through ever-changing countryside as far as Castets-en-Dorthe, where there is a little port at the end of the canal. On the way, we stop at the matchstick museum at Fontets, and see some remarkable constructions in matchsticks including a model of the Palace of Versailles. On arrival at Castets, we take the car to Roquetaillade, where we visit an inhabited castle that has been in the hands of the same family for 700 years.
Friday: Return to Toulouse or Bordeaux
A Sad Farewell
After a leisurely breakfast, we leave the Saint Louis and travel by car back to Toulouse (or Bordeaux).
Castets to Agen
Board the Saint Louis at Castets en Dorthe late afternoon.Introduction to the boat and champagne reception.We then cruise up the canal to Fontet, where we moor all on our own in a quiet basin with views of the attractive old village.
Cruise to Meillhan.In the afternoon we go to see “Gens de Garonne”, an innovative production detailing the methods developed by the local community to cope with the flooding of the River Garonne.Later we drive to Duras, where we take a guided visit to the Chateau, after which we visit the “Maison des Vins” where there is a most interesting and informative display of the winemaking of the area.
Cruise to Le Mas d’Agenais, past beautiful villages such as Fourques and Caumont.We visit the village, and admire the market building built in 1616, and we visit the church where there is a masterpiece by Rembrandt. In the afternoon we go on an excursion to Nerac, where we visit the mediaeval old town and the remains of the Chateau of Henry IV.Later, we visit a former monastery which has been converted for the production of wine and Armagnac.We return to the boat via the Roman bridge at Barbaste.
Cruise to Damazan, where we moor under trees opposite the small port.We then take an excursion to Vianne, an impressive Bastide village of the middle ages with a fortified wall in very good original condition.We visit also a potter and a glass-blower in the village, before driving to Buzet.In Buzet we visit a barrel-maker’s, before finally doing a wine tasting in the Cave de Buzet.
Cruise to Serignac-sur-Garonne.In the afternoon we take an excursion to Clermont-Dessus, a hill-top village with 2,000 years of history, and with wonderful views over the Garonne valley.We visit the mediaeval village of Bruch, before returning to the boat.
Cruise to Agen – one of the most extraordinary cruises in France – firstly we pass through the “Amazon” – an overgrown section of the canal with great bird life.We then go up a chain of four locks, before crossing over France’s longest masonry aqueduct, which takes us over the mighty River Garonne.We later visit Agen’s famous Prune Museum, followed by the fine arts museum where there is a hall dedicated to works of Goya.
Leave the boat after a leisurely breakfast, transfer to Toulouse, or railway station, etc
Please note: These itineraries are indicative only. We will always tailor a cruise to the interests and wishes of the guests on board. There will always be the opportunity to walk or cycle along the towpath, to stroll round local villages, to fish, to play petanque, or just to lie back and do nothing! Equally, we can always arrange wine tastings at selected local vineyards, or excursions to other places of interest.
Saint Louis Guest Book
"Barge owners Alasdair and Barbara were so welcoming as were other crew members Cheryl and Lauren - they made us feel at home. Barbara's cooking was stellar and Alasdair's choices of wine and his explanations of them were wonderful! We learned so much about the wines and cheeses and I hope we'll be able to find some of them at home. The afternoon excursions brought us to fascinating places full of history and wonderful architecture. We learned so much about the history of the area. This trip was really much more than we could have imagined. We had great conversations with Barbara and Alasdair and feel that we have made some new friends. We loved everything-cruising, food, wine, cheese, sights, and most especially all the crew. It was just what we were looking for. To sum it all up - an awesome vacation!"
- Happy guests, cruised June, 2012
"Saint Louis was one of our the very best vacations ever! The sightseeing excursions were most interesting, both Alasdair and Barbara have obviously spent much time researching the area, the local restaurants, vineyards,etc. The cuisine was most excellent, we were asked our tastes, all the food was locally produced, as was the wine, and I have to say that Alasdair really knows his wines, and Barbara is a Cordon Bleu Chef! The accommodations were most comfortable, I'm 6' 3" tall, and slept very well. I even got to steer the barge, and Alasdair was a wealth of information about the local history 'color'. Thank you for organizing a wonderful experience."
- Keith and Lesley Berry, cruised May, 2012
"We started out in a lucky way by being part of a congenial group of guests. The Saint Louis crew were always there when we needed them; never intrusive, and always delightful. As for the route itself, it was amazingly pleasant to slow down to barge pace. The scenery slowly going by was lovely, and the meals which appeared were absolutely spectacular. Our excursions were interesting and informative, and well handled by Alasdair."
-Don and Frances MacFarlane, 2009
"Our expectations were exceeded. Alasdair, Barbara and crew were wonderful! The cabin was great, better than expected. Alasdair imparted local flavor with every excursion and Barbara took us to an outdoor market. Overall, we were pampered and had a fabulous time on board Saint Louis."
-Robert and Sally Manion, 2009
"Our trip was thoroughly delightful and at times joyous. The barge was pretty and well appointed. The trip was very relaxing as we moved at a majestic pace through beautiful countryside. The other guests were fun, and we all enjoyed each others company. The food was good, and the wines were different and interesting. The staff was most attentive. The trip met our high hopes for the week. We thought that after our first totally successful barge cruise that this trip would not measure up, but it did. The Barge Lady really knows her business."
-Ned and Sue Sack, 2008
Château Bellevue la Forêt, Fronton
Le Mas des Anges
Côtes de Montauban
Château la Caminade, Cahors
Château Saint Louis - Fronton
Buzet Cave, Buzet
Chateau Bellevue la Forêt, Fronton
Fronton Cave, Fronton
Sauternes, 1ier Grand Cru
Marquestus blanc sec
Presteige, Château de Montels
Côtes de Montauban
Saint Louis Floor Plan96 feet long
Three cabins - 127 sq ft
-One Queen or two twin beds
-Tiled baths with large showers
In the Public Areas
-Attractive salon/dining area with picture windows.
-Entirely re-decorated in 2007
Decathlon make, Rockrider model all-terrain with 21 gears and front/back brakes. 3 men’s bicycles, 2 full sized lady’s bicycles, 1 smaller lady’s bicycle. Gel seats, helmets and spare tires always carried. (Plus, one bicycle sized for children aged 4 to 8.)