Recently I had the pleasure of spending a wonderful week with my beloved little sister on the barge Athos in the South of France.
We were by far the youngest of the other eight passengers, but we still had a blast. It was nice to relax for a week, take our minds off the problems and the thousand things we have to do, and share moments with those who have lived life for a long time.
As we cruised the Canal du Midi, we had the privilege of being pampered by a dedicated crew of five — a Pilot, Tour Guide, Chef, and two Hostesses — who introduced us to the most beautiful places and historical attractions in the Occitanie.
Tour Guide Matthieu took us through the port of Marseillan, the tasting rooms of local distilleries, the small shops of Pezenas, the Roman ruins and preserved church of Narbonne, right up to the Cathar stronghold of Minerve and the medieval castle of Carcassonne.
SOAKING UP THE SOUTHERN SUN
Back onboard, the barge’s spacious deck served as the social center of the cruise. We began our days topside with early morning yoga sessions, soaking up the sunrise. Luncheon was often served al fresco, followed by acoustic music performed by local musicians. Hostess Marianna made sure our glasses stayed full as we sipped regionally produced spirits while watching the slow southern sunsets.
CULINARY DELIGHTS ABOUND
Chef Emma, a longtime member of the Athos’ crew, crafted delicious meals. The region’s abundant seafood was served often as entrees, with side dishes and desserts made from seasonal produce Emma personally selected from the Narbonne market.
My sister was especially pleased as she enjoyed an appetizer of freshly harvested oysters, at one point declaring she was in heaven!
I must admit, the French countryside has something special, and crossing it at a slow pace aboard a small boat, without cars and without any noise, except that of the birds that accompanied us, made our time on the Athos truly magical. Thank you to all the wonderful Athos crew for delivering a delightful experience!
For more information about the culinary delights and cultural discovery on the Athos, click here. For an Athos-inspired seafood recipe, click here. To book your own cruise on the Charming class, 10-guest Athos, click here.