Art / Painting Barge Cruise Itinerary
Whether you are an accomplished painter or a beginner, the beautiful scenery along the Canal du Midi in Southern France is the perfect setting. Painting opportunities are plentiful and include the sparkling water of the Etang, the four bridges of Beziers and the panoramic view over the Collegiale. Art cruises include daily painting tuition by a qualified and experienced watercolour artist.
Sunday, Day 1 - Marseillan
You will be met at the designated meeting point and transferred to Athos moored in Marseillan. Captain and crew welcome you on board with a champagne welcome. Once you are settled into your cabin, we enjoy our first dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Marseillan to Portiragnes
After breakfast, painters may feel inspired by the sparkling waters of the Etang and the lines of yacht masts over the port or the proposed morning visit is Noilly Prat Vermouth distillery. Enjoy a guided visit and tasting in the grand cellars. There will still be time to explore Marseillan's quaint center before Athos casts off for lunch-time cruising on the Etang. Athos makes her way across the Etang and onto the Canal du Midi. When we arrive in Portiragne, you can smell the sea air and observe the sea birds in this conservation marshlands. Enjoy pre-dinner cocktails followed by dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Portiragnes to Fonserannes
Athos makes her way into the Round Lock just as breakfast finishes this morning. We visit the old market town of Pezenas, which was the first seat of the Languedoc court. The architecture is particular to the town because of the "Hotels Particuliers" or mansions belonging to the noble families who followed the court. It is filled with Artisans' Shops, including painters, hatmakers, and costume designers. Your guide offers a quick historical briefing of the center and your art guide sets up the groups to paint in the colorful square. Return to Athos for lunch on board and a cruise into the Villeneuve les Béziers lock.
This afternoon, Athos will make her way towards the famous Neuf Ecluses, or staircase locks at Fonserannes. A paved tow-path runs the length of the canal here for those who opt to walk or cycle beside Athos. We cruise across the aqueduct over the River Orb. The view here spreads across the four bridges of Béziers, and up towards the 14th century hilltop cathedral. You find yourself making a note that this could be a superb spot to paint later this evening! Following the spectacle of Athos climbing the Fonserannes there is time for painting before dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Fonserannes to Capestang
This morning's visit is a suggested drive to Narbonne for the large morning market. There are a number of colorful parks/gardens surrounding both the canal and the cathedral where painting might be interesting. Otherwise, there is much to do: market merchants flaunt their products, the covered food market at Les Halles is a sight to behold with colorful produce, succulent meats, aromatic fish mongers' stalls, etc. The Roman Road (the Via Domitia) runs through the square and some may choose to take in the excellent collection in the Roman Museum. Arriving back at Athos for lunch on board, we cruise through the tree-lined and winding waterway. As Athos arrives in Capestang, the panoramic view over the Collegiale inspires a painting session and the art guide, guides the painters through their paces, while the hostess serves refreshing aperitifs and local olives. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 - Capestang to Pigasse
After breakfast we take a short drive to Minerve a perfect outdoor spot for painting. En route, the guide stops at the Oulibo to pick up some more of those fabulous local olives and have a look around the oil-pressing facility here. Led by the art guide, painters are keen to capture the medieval village and the breath-taking gorge and landscapes around Minerve. The group returns for an alfresco lunch and another relaxing afternoon of winding along, overlooking the scenic flood plain below. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 - Pigasse to Argeliers
Your tour guide has organized a timely departure following breakfast this morning to ensure that there is time for both painting and sightseeing in the medieval city of Carcassonne. There are numerous impressive views worth capturing in addition to enjoying a pleasant drink in the buzzing center at the historical hilltop town. Returning for a late lunch and cruising on board, a last enjoyable afternoon is spent relaxing, sipping rosé and discussing painting. We arrive in Argeliers Port in time for a cycle ride, a stroll into the village, or perhaps more pétanque and cocktails? Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
Sunday, Day 7 - Argeliers
After breakfast, guests transfer to the designated drop off point.
- Art-themed barge cruises are for private charter only.
- This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
- On alternate weeks, cruise will be in reverse.