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Rhone River Barge Cruise, Toulouse and the Dordogne Region of France.
September 8th - 22nd, 2026

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Our first week will be spent on a Barge Cruise from Avignon to Aigues-Mortes on the Rhone river discovering wine, food and history.

To help you truly discover France, its culture and its people, our crew of 5 will be of French nationality with a concept developed by owners family, and run by their fixed team, who speak many languages, but will know how to communicate their passion for the region. The chef was trained in Paris and in some of the region's starred restaurants, so he offers a gourmet and inventive cuisine that never repeat itself. He will even invite you to cook if you wish so, and will share with you his knowledge and give you some advice and some of his "secrets de chef". Both lunch and dinner will be paired with local wines. The lounge has wide panoramic windows, a bar where champagne and cocktails will be served to you, the restaurant with its professional cuisine, and a sun deck where you can rest, contemplate the landscapes, and observe river life during navigation. 

Provence is one of the world’s leading destinations. The wealth of its heritage as a witness to 26 Centuries of history is combined with the diversity of its exceptional natural sites. The region crossed by the powerful Rhone river and the Rhone canal in Sète is delivered with charm and authenticity. You will be seduced by the diversity and contrast of the landscapes encountered. It is an area steeped in history, customs, traditions, gastronomy. Vineyards that extends from the Rhone coast to the wine of sands, whose great wines have largely crossed their borders. Olive groves symbol of peace and wisdom; the olive tree has shaped here the landscape but also the identity of the region. Diversity of landscapes that Van Gogh and Cézanne have immortalized. Cities of art and history that invite you on a journey back in time: Arles, Les Baux de Provence, Avignon, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO/ Camargue, troubling by its landscapes, kingdom of birds, bulls and wild horses. One of the largest nature reserve in France, land of charm and mystery. Regional Natural Park of Camargue is located on the edge of the Mediterranean, inside the delta of the Rhone, mainly between the two arms of the river. It covers 3 communes: part of the municipality of Arles and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone and all the commune of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Markets with intoxicating perfumes, local products of exception, Provençal gastronomy that inspires the greatest starred chefs.

We then spend 2 days in Toulouse located on the Garonne plain in the heart of southwest France, half way between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, is more important now than it has been for many centuries.  Since 2016, the fourth-largest city in France has become the capital of the second largest region of France, the new region of "Occitanie", which stretches  from the Rhone in the east to within 60 miles of the Atlantic coast in the west. Modern Occitania is similar in extent to the great County of Toulouse which,  from the 9th century until the end of the 13th, was an independent territory of southwest France.

We then spend 4 days in Dordogne where we embark on a picturesque voyage where the quaint elegance of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”(most beautiful villages of France) competes with the exciting life of the Dordogne Valley’s cities. Each village will delight your senses and evoke memories if their glorious past. It is rather like a warmer and sunnier version of the old Cotswolds, where the houses are built of honey-coloured stone, the meadows are green and rich,  the locals all friendly and obliging country folk. Much like Tuscany, the Dordogne has become a much loved place for us.

This tour will be the most expensive tour we have every operated due to taking over an entire 9 bedroom fully inclusive  barge for a whole week. The tour is designed for 10-12 people and we must have the full number of people in order to operate the tour.

$11,995US per person. Only 1 double available or 2 singles available.

$1695 single supplement.

$1000 deposit to book your spot.

Day 1 - September 8th. We will meet at our Marseilles Airport accommodation and then make our way to Avignon and to our barge which is moored with a direct view of the famous "Pont d'Avignon". After our crew has taken care of our luggage and helped us settle into our cabins, we will be walked around, and will discover the history of our ship! The owner will be waiting for us on the sun deck to introduce us to the crew! A welcome drink will be served and it will be the perfect moment to discuss the program of the week, get to know the safety rules, relax and learn about how the barge works. During sunset, dinner will be served and it will be our first floating experience of wine pairings. After dinner, we recommend a walk through the magnificent city of Avignon (center is 5 minutes by walk). You can also decide to enjoy the sun deck. (B,L,D)

Day 2 - September 9th - After breakfast, we will make our to the historical and marvelous Pope’s Palace for a cultural guided tour of 2 hours that will transport you back in time when the city was a political and religious hub. You will then have some free time to visit the city, discover local shops and boutiques, and stroll through the old streets of the historical center. Then it is back on board for an amazing lunch while we navigate to Villeneuve-Les-Avignon! There, we stop at the Philippe Le Bel Tower which is the last piece of a fortress built at the end of the 13th century which task was to control the entrance of the "Pont d’Avignon" leaning both banks of the Rhone River. We then drive to the Domaine de Beaurenard wine, known as the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation. Owned by the Coulon family for 7 generations, a visit and tasting will be organized so you discover local wines, full of character and elegance. You will have the opportunity to buy wine directly at the property, and these wines will complement one of your week's dinner. Back on board, our bartender will be delighted to welcome you for a drink on the sun deck. Dinner and overnight in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, always with the freedom of a nocturnal walk, and evening activities of your choice. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - September 10th - This morning, you will be taken to one of the most popular cultural sites in France; The Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an impressive bridge-aqueduct built by the Romans in the 1st century of our era. It is the highest Roman aqueduct bridge in the world (49 meters!). We will be taken to the top by our guide and will enjoy an incredible and unique view of the valley. We then visit the museum, which will enchant you with its very visual explanations, being the largest interpretation center in France on the Romans. You will learn its history through models, virtual reconstructions, soundscapes and more. The boat will be waiting for us for the next lunch-cruise towards the village of Aramon, our stop for the evening. This village spreads around the castle built on a rocky outcrop, with its port reaching its peak in the 17th century. From there, oil, wine, salt, cereals went to the whole of France. Historically known for its wickerwork workshops, it has retained until today its agricultural activities: fruit growing, the culture of the vineyard and olive trees. You will see many homes from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Dinner onboard. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - September 11th - Our morning departure will be to the village of Les Baux de Provence for a guided tour! Rich in history, it is in the top 10 most beautiful villages in France. It is unique because quite magical and eminent in this extraordinary setting. The very essence that makes the appeal and the ambiance so special of Provencal villages will be found there; small squares, shaded terraces, narrow streets, and their shops. Then it is lunch navigation, with the passage of the impressive Beaucaire lock which measures 180 meters long and 12 meters wide, and has an impressive 15 meters waterfall. In the late afternoon, we stop in the city of Arles, our stop for the evening. We will be moored at the Lamartine dock, 5 minutes walk from the Roman Arena and the town center. You can walk into town, visit the handicraft shops, pedestrian streets or take a refreshing drink at the famous Van Gogh café. Dinner onboard. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - September 12th - This morning our guide will pick us up to discover the historical side of Arles. He will evoke various periods of the history of Arles, from the Roman time till the Renaissance, through Catholicism with St. Trophime Cathedral and talk about Vincent Van Gogh's impact. We will then sail up the Rhone River and take the little Rhone River through the lock of Saint Gilles and navigate the world-famous Canal de Provence. We will stop for the night at the port of Gallician, a little village located at the heart of the Camargue region. For those stopping over at the village, you can enjoy an exceptional location on the Canal du Rhône à Sète , in the heart of the Petite Camargue and the Grand Site de France de la Camargue gardoise , at the foot of the Costières and their vineyards. After dinner you may want to go for a bike ride or walk along the former canal towing paths. Dinner onboard. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - September 13th - This morning we will be immersed into the heart of the bull breeders local traditions. We will visit one of the most beautiful and titled "Manade" (ranch) of Camargue; Les Marquises, a property of the Laurent family since the late 1940s. They will help us discover and understand the breeding of bulls for Camargue bull races, Camargue horses and all the know-how that exist around this traditional sport. It will be a true immersion in the authenticity of this region of France which is also a protected natural park. It is in the midst of bulls and guardians that you will be explained the breeding of bulls and the rules of the races. After a local appetizer, we will return on board for lunch while cruising to the town of Aigues-Mortes, a medieval fortified city of the 14th century emerging from the sands. The city is touristy during peak season, but stunningly beautiful! As it is almost entirely pedestrian, the best thing to do is to wander around. It will also be time for our weekend gala dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - September 14th - Today will be our last day onboard and you will have the day fully to yourself with a break for lunch and for dinner. Le Phénicien combines the best of Provence blending the spaciousness of a larger river cruiser with the intimacy of a well-designed canal barge. The barge floats lazily along the waterways of the Camargue, meandering its way through the Languedoc wine region. The teak sun-deck features director chairs and leather benches for relaxing in the sunshine; the saloon and the bar, decorated in a modern Provençal style with paintings by local artists, offer comfortable places to relax, read and chat to other guests. With large, panoramic windows, it  ensures that you fully enjoy the wonderful views as the ship glides past vineyards, pretty villages and city quays. After our break for lunch we will enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting. Dinner Onboard. (B,L,D)

 

Day 8 - September 15th - This morning after breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye as our driver will meet us in Nimes to take us on the rest of our adventure. On our way to Toulouse we will stop at the Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne. Since the pre-Roman period, a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with its massive defences encircling the castle and the surrounding buildings, its streets and its fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the lengthy restoration campaign undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation. We will have a tour where we enter through the main entrance, known as Porte Narbonnaise, to the medieval city and learn about the fortifications built by the Romans. We will visit the museum inside the castle to learn about the Trencavel family that defended the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade. We will walk along the top of the wall, crossing both medieval and Roman towers as we head towards the Gothic church and see the beautiful stained glass windows, built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Then we walk through the streets of the ancient religious quarter and learn about the inquisition in Carcassonne and Toulouse. You can find some lunch here before we continue on to our accommodation. Dinner and Overnight Toulouse. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - September 16th - We will spend today in the city of Toulouse, located on the Garonne plain in the heart of southwest France, half way between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, is more important now than it has been for many centuries.  Since 2016, the fourth-largest city in France has become the capital of the second largest region of France, the new region of "Occitanie", which stretches  from the Rhone in the east to within 60 miles of the Atlantic coast in the west. Modern Occitania is similar in extent to the great County of Toulouse which,  from the 9th century until the end of the 13th, was an independent territory of southwest France. We will have a walking tour of Toulouse which encompasses the history and stories about the most famous of Toulouse’s landmarks. During the walk we will pause, wonder and enjoy the immense Place Capitôle and Toulouse’s stunning town hall; Basilique St-Sernin, a key stop on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. We will stroll along the scenic Garonne to see the private town houses built during Toulouse’s “Golden Age” all interspersed with good local stories and inside knowledge without which any walk would not be complete! After our tour we will stop for afternoon tea before you have the afternoon and evening free to explore more of the 'Pink City', thus named due to the colour of the predominant bricks that give Toulouse a marked southern European feel and charm! Overnight Toulouse. (B,L)

Day 10 - September 17th - On our way north this morning we visit Penne d'Agenais, a small village on the River Lot and a very pretty place to visit and was once a stopping point on one of the pilgrim paths to Santiago de Compostella. The village consists of two parts, the historic village, entered through one of the medieval gateways that pass through the ramparts that still surround Penne d'Agenais, and a grassy area on the hill above the village where you can see the basilica and the remains of an ancient castle. We then make our way to another of the most beautiful villages of France, Pujols. We will enter the walled village through an archway called the Saint Nicholas. This stone arch brings you straight into the main square in Pujols, with the church to one side, a 19th century market hall, a bar and a couple of small galleries. We will enter the village through an archway called the Saint Nicholas. This stone arch brings you straight into the main square in Pujols, with the church to one side, a 19th century market hall, a bar and a couple of small galleries. You can follow the main street in either direction to enjoy looking at the ancient houses, often with hanging baskets of flowers, the small gardens and the views. Here on Rue Citadelle you can see several impressive houses from the 16th century. We make our way to the pretty village of Limeuil, officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France at the confluence of the two most important rivers in the region, the Dordogne and the Vézère. We will stroll along the river front, cross the road and pass through the old stone gateway into the historical old town. The village is still partly surrounded by its original fortified walls, and is a very lovely Dordogne village, with cobbled streets winding up the hill between honey-coloured houses with pretty little gardens. Dinner and Overnight Dordogne. (B,L,D)

Day 11 - September 18th - This morning we visit Chateau de Beynac, sitting high above the Dordogne river, in the village of Beynac. One of the most impressive castles in the Dordogne region, a simple glance at the clifftop position is sufficient to understand the naturally defensive position occupied by the castle. Although the position was occupied even earlier, the castle we see today dates from the 12th century and is a very good example of medieval military architecture. Naturally defended by the cliffs to the south, the other sides of the castle are defended by double ramparts and a deep moat. In the 12th century, ownership of the castle passed briefly to Richard the Lionheart when the owner died without a natural heir, but the transition was shortlived since Richard the Lionheart also died soon after, as did Mercadier, his companion who was entrusted with the castle and the castle returned to the Beynacs. After a tour of the castle we visit the very attractive village Of Beynac which is spread along the northern bank of the river, and then continues up the hill to the chateau perched above. Beynac is listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'. We next stop for lunch before another castle visit, Chateau de Castelnaud, a splendid castle at the confluence of the Dordogne river and the Céou river, between Domme and Beynac.The castle has magnificent views across the surrounding countryside, and to Castle Beynac standing across the Dordogne River. Castelnaud castle was built in the 12th century, and has the high drama history that you would expect. It's original owner supported the cathars and got chased away by the Albigensian crusade of Simon de Montfort. Later taking the side of the English during the Hundred Years War, the chateau was a useful base for harassing the neighbourhood and generally making life miserable in the region. At the end of the Hundred Years War the Caumont family repaired and added to the castle, adding large new living quarters but always keeping its defences a key priority. The Caumonts became Protestants and protected the castle during the wars of Religion in the 16th century. Captain Geoffroy, who was born at the castle, fought so ferociously that no one dared to attack Castelnaud. The owners though, ended up moving to the much more comfortable Chateau des Milandes just along the valley.Dinner and Overnight Dordogne. (B,L,D)

Day 12 - September 19th - This morning we visit Domme, our favourite place in the Dordogne. The village is on the Dordogne river just a few miles south of Sarlat, and listed as one of several 'most beautiful villages of France' in the Dordogne department. It is a very attractive bastide town, founded in 1283 and situated in an exceptional hilltop location. The town is entered by a large fortified gate at the bottom of the main street: it is unusual for a bastide town to retain its fortifications as Domme has done. The huge towers either side of the entrance called La Porte des Tours once served as prisons and you can still see the religious symbols scratched like graffiti on the walls by the Templar prisoners during the 14th century. The position of Domme at the top of a fairly steep hill is a large part of why the village is so special. There are 180 degree views across the Dordogne river and surrounding countryside from the terraced belvedere area at the top of the village, from where you can also see other picturesque villages including Beynac and La Roque Gageac. Next we visit Marqueyssac Gardens for a tour of the gardens followed by lunch in the tearoom. Listed as a National Historical Monument, the romantic and picturesque Marqueyssac Gardens offer a 19th century stone-tiled castle and over 4 miles of shaded pathways lined with 150,000 hand-pruned boxwood, punctuated with belvederes, rockeries, waterfalls and greenery. After lunch we visit La Roque-Gageac, one of the 'most beautiful villages of France', is also just a few miles south of Sarlat and on the banks of the Dordogne River. La Roque-Gageac is the third most important site of France after Mont Saint-Michele and Rocamadour! Although only a small village, little more than a row of riverside houses squeezed between the Dordogne river to the front and sheltered below the overhanging cliffs behind, it is very picturesque and set in a magnificant location! Almost all the houses in the village are built in the traditional yellow stone of the Dordogne area and with stone roofs. The most imposing building here is the Chateau de la Malartrie, at the western end of La Roque-Gageac. Surprisingly it is also one of the most recent, having been built in the 19th century.Although most houses in La Roque-Gageac are along the river, in other places the medieval houses have found the space to spread up the hill a little, towards the troglodyte caves set in the cliffs above. Dinner and Overnight Dordogne. (B,L,D)

Day 13 - September 20th - This morning we visit the important prehistoric site of Peche-Merle situated in Cabrerets in the peaceful Célé valley. This decorated cave was discovered in 1922 and opened to the public in 1926. It contains remarkable cave paintings in numerous concretions. It is in a magnificent place surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites and draperies so mcuh that you will be amazed by all these natural wonders and incredible series of prehistoric artworks, such as drawings, paintings and silhouette engravings of humans, horses, mammoths, bulls and bears. We will find s lovely place to stop for lunch and then this afternoon we spend at Rocamadour, sacred town and important pilgrimage site. The village of Rocamadour is perched on the side of a limestone cliff and towers majestically over the Alzou canyon, what a wild and unspoiled environment! Famous for its sanctuaries and more especially for its Black Virgin, Rocamadour attracts each year a large number of visitors and pilgrims. Moreover, the village of Rocamadour is the second most visited attraction in France after Mont-Saint-Michel! Having climbed 216 stairs of the main staircase leading to the church square, pilgrims and walkers discover the seven sanctuaries of Rocamadour, among which the Notre-Dame chapel, the Saint-Sauveur basilica and the Saint-Michel chapel. We then make our way to our accommodation to get checked in before dinner.Dinner and Overnight Dordogne. (B,L,D)

Day 14 - September 21st - On our way toward Bordeaux this morning we stop in Eymet, founded 1270 by Alphonse of Poitiers, like many of the French Bastide towns, as part of a defensive strategy against the English. Eymet is a very attractive and unspoiled town with a thriving central square, and a pretty location on the banks of the Dropt River. As a transport link along the Dropt this enabled Eymet to flourish. We next make our way to Château Feely near Saussignac, a village located in the east side of Bordeaux. Our experience includes a one-hour guided tour of the vineyard to understand in detail the organic and biodynamic viticulture and the local terroir. Afterwards, we will be introduced to 4 of their wines with food and wine pairings around a plate of organic and local cheeses, accompanied by a selection of organic and local breads, seasonal fruits and vegetables and organic chocolate, all in the form of a picnic. Our next stop is Saint Emilion, known all around the world for its splendid wine but it is also one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the most famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants makes this the perfect stop. Farewell Dinner and Overnight Bordeaux. (B,L,D)

Day 15 - September 22nd - This morning we take you to the Bordeaux Airport for your journey home.

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