France: Barge & Bike (or Walk)

Sample Barging-Biking Itinerary

 

Cruising from Fonceranes, situated at the top of the seven-lock staircase (Paul Riquet's most superb, 300 century old contruction, that enables canal traffic to ascend and decend, accessing the port of Béziers) to Le Somail, renowned as the most picturesque village onthe canal.


 

Day 1 (Sunday)

4 pm pick-up at Béziers train station and transfer to barge moored at Fonceranes. Champagne welcome and cruise to first night's mooring. Good leg-stretching walk to visit the ancient archaeological city-site of Ensérune (6th century B.C.). Dinner under the stars on deck.

 

Day 2 (Monday)

Morning cycling tour through village of Nissan lez Ensérune, visit restored windmill and rustic chapel of St. Christol. On to Château La Vernède for a personalised visit, winetasting and picnic. Return to barge by minivan or bike (depending on wine consumption). Evening cruise to the Domaine de Guery for dinner on-board with magnificent view across the vinyards to the illuminated 13th century church of Capestang.

 

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Morning minivan excursion to Carcassonne, with stop at the vibrant open-air market at town of Olonzac on the way. Enjoy home-made Cassoulet lunch after exploring within the old city walls of the fortified Medieval city of Carcassonne. Back to the barge for a late afternoon cruise (or cycling on the tow path). Dinner onboard in beautiful countryside mooring.

 

Day 4 (Wednesday)

Invigorating morning cycle through countryside and picturesque villages to stunning cliff-top village of Minerve. Picnic lunch enjoying the canyon views. Bike downhill back to the barge, stopping on the way for an optional olive oil tasting at the renowned Oulibo Cooperative. Late afternoon cruise and dinner onboard.

 

Day 5 (Thursday)

Morning cruise to beautiful aqueduct serving as canal bridge over the Cesse River. Stop for river swimming and lunch on deck. Cycling tour to Amphoralis museum (Roman pottery site) or sunbathing and siesta on the barge. Cruise to Le Somail, the most picturesque village on the canal, browse the shops, pottery and antique bookshop. Dinner on board. 

 

Day 6 (Friday)

After breakfast, transfer to Béziers for continuation of your voyage.

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