Day 1 - Saturday - Guests are met at approximately 4:00 pm in Carcassonne and escorted a short distance to the barge moored in the village of Trebes. After arrival a Captain’s "champagne welcome reception” will be served along with introducing the crew and outlining your cruise. Afternoon cruise to the first night’s mooring where you will enjoy your dinner. Mooring: near Trebes.
Day 2 - Sunday - Do you like cheese This morning after breakfast we’ll travel in the minibus to visit the fortified medieval town of Carcassonne or, if guests have already experienced ‘La Cité’, a visit to Lagrasse. We’ll return to the barge for a delicious lunch then navigate several locks and reaches to arrive in the Port of Carcassonne. You may choose to have an after dinner stroll to the old bridge over the Aude River to see the impressive walled town of Carcassonne lit up at night.
Day 3 - Monday - This morning we’ll drive to the picturesque town of Mirepoix where the weekly street market will be in full swing with the merchants selling fresh food or dry goods under arcades dating from the Middle Ages. We’ll return to the barge for lunch followed by navigation into the country-side of the Lauragais region. Mooring: Villesèque Lock.
Day 4 - Tuesday - This morning we’ll drive up to the picturesque village of Montolieu known for its special bookshops. If books are not your cup of tea then we could continue up the road past the castle town of Saissac to see the ‘Prise d’Alzeau’ which is the source of water for the Canal du Midi. At this altitude cows and sheep graze in green pastures with pine forests as a back drop. During World War Two many Resistance fighters hid in these forests. Lunch will be onboard, and after that, an afternoon of navigation through beautiful sections of canal seemingly lost in the gently rolling countryside. Mooring: Villepinte Lock.
Day 5 - Wednesday - Roling fields of Sunflowers. Wednesday morning is street market day in the nearby middle age “snail” village of Bram, whose population was massacred during the Cathar crusade of the 13th century. Perhaps a wine tasting at a private domain could be of interest before heading back to the barge for lunch. This afternoon we navigate through several locks including a flight of four locks to arrive in the large basin overlooking the streetscape of Castelnaudary. Castelnaudary is home of the famous Cassoulet dish of beans, duck and sausage. Mooring: Castelnaudary.
Day 6 - Thursday - After breakfast we’ll take a short drive into the hills to see the massive dam built in the 1670’s by Paul Riquet to act as the principle reservoir supplying the canal with water. We’ll also see Riquet’s geyser that shoots the water up 70 feet in the air using the water pressure. We can make a coffee stop in downtown Revel whose town centre has a beautiful wooden market hall. Return to the barge where we’ll continue to navigate to another lovely lunch mooring. After lunch we climb the remaining locks to arrive at the Col de Narouze which is the summit level, or highest point above the sea level on the Canal du Midi (600 feet). Before dinner you can stroll through the park grounds to visit the octagonal basin and obelisk dedicated to Paul Riquet, the builder of this magnificent 17th Century canal. From here the water divides to flow down to the Mediterranean Sea to the East and to the Atlantic Ocean to the West. Mooring: Col de Narouze. Beside the Lock called Ocean; the first lock leading down to the Atlantic.
Day 7 - Friday - After breakfast you will be transferred to either Toulouse or Carcassonne.
Suggestions for alternate visits:
– Hike to the Cathar castles at Lastours or Montsegur,
– Da Vinci Code Mystery visit to the strange village of Rennes le Chateau
– The picturesque village of Lagrasse.
– More Wine tasting,
– Prehistoric cave paintings at the Grotte de Niaux (11,000 years B.P.).
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