8 Day Luxury Small Grouple Canal du Rhone a Sete Barge Tour
Wide deltas and rural scenery where cowboys on white horses roam. Meandering canals dotted with historic villages. Rivers that open out on enchanting Mediterranean vistas. Uncover some of the southern France's best-kept secrets on this cruise into the heart of Provence.
Our adventure map
Day by day
First Day welcome to Nice
Arrive into Nice and enjoy a private transfer to your pre-tour accommodation where the rest of your day is at leisure.
Second Day we leave Nice and travel to Arles to board your barge
Leaving the sun-soaked beaches of Nice behind, we venture into the Provence countryside. Rocky hills and gnarled olive groves welcome us to this legendary region, famed for its medieval towns and fields carpeted in flowers. We pause at a family-owned farm, where we taste delicious homemade jams and olive oils, before continuing to Arles. We’ll have time to uncover this town’s hidden gems tomorrow, but for now it’s time to board the MS Anne-Marie, our floating boutique hotel for the week. After saying hello to the crew, we settle in with the first of many delicious meals on board. (D)
Third Day we tour Arles then cruise to Gallician
This morning takes us briefly back on land, where we stroll through Arles, the golden-hued gateway to the Camargue region. A walking tour brings alive the stories behind the Roman ruins and their cultural importance to the history of Provence, before we cast off and cruise to Gallician. Our road becomes the Rhône River, which merges into the majestic Rhône à Sète Canal. With its marshy landscape, this region is a birdwatcher’s dream – you may even spot flamingos. (B, L, D)
Fourth Day we see The Camargue then go onto Aigues-Mortes
The marshes and lagoons of the Camargue call us this morning. We dive into this unique area as we pay a visit to its capital, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, whose roots stretch back to the Roman era. Our afternoon is spent relaxing and simply enjoying the view as we cruise to Aigues-Mortes, where we make port in the early evening. The fortified old town is enclosed by incredibly well preserved city walls that were first built almost 800 years ago. There’s time to wander both the walls and the old town, which are surrounded by some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Provence.After walking up an appetite, we seek out a restaurant in the heart of the old town, where we enjoy an authentic Provencal dinner. (B, L, D)
Fifth Day its Aigues-Mortes then Palavas-Les-Flots
This morning we get a first-hand look at a time-honoured way of life in the Camargue. The region’s distinctive black cattle are raised in manades: small, wide-ranging herds watched over by gardians, or cowboys, who ride Camargue white horses. We take part in their traditional way of bull sorting, before returning to our barge for a well-earned lunch and rest. In the afternoon we cruise towards Palavas-Les-Flots. Once a quiet fishermen’s village, it’s now a friendly beach resort that’s a favourite with the locals. We take our place among the boats dotted along the canal, having our dinner served in style in our own on-board dining room, or out on deck. (B, L, D)
Sixth Day explore Palavas-Les-Flots then sail to Sete
Our path today takes us over a narrow causeway to an isolated peninsula. And when we get there, we find the tranquil Maguelone Cathedral, surrounded by green fields. Built in the 11th century, this Romanesque landmark has preserved walls and a simple yet impressive interior that exudes a sense of peace. Afternoon finds us back on the water, where we enjoy lunch as we cruise west to Sète. Dinner is laid out on board, but you may also wish to step ashore to stroll beside the pretty canals of this Mediterranean port, locally known as the Venice of Languedoc. (B, L, D)
Seventh Day we drive to Bouzigues then Pezenas and back to Sete
Today we set off by road, skirting the edge of the Thau Lagoon as we drive to Bouzigues. This fishing village is famous for its thriving waters, which have attracted fishermen and shellfish farmers for thousands of years. We learn all about this rich heritage at l’Etang de Thau Museum, which traces the story of Bouzigues from the ancient Greeks to the present day. After our visit we walk to the village where we enjoy a lunch of local, fresh-of-the-boat mussels, oysters and more at one of the restaurants overlooking the Lagoon. After all, these are what the village is famous for. Pézenas, whose historic centre is a maze of narrow lanes, grand 17th century townhouses and jumble of antique shops, is our next stop. Then we return to our boat, where we celebrate our final night with a fabulous gala dinner. (B, L, D)
Eighth Day back on land to Aix-En-provence then finally Nice
After a delicious buffet breakfast we bid au revoir to the MS Anne-Marie as we begin our final day. There’s one last treasure to uncover en-route: Aix-en-Provence. Mixing the baroque grandeur of Paris with pretty Provençal touches such as tree-lined avenues, this city is a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss. Saunter along the famous Cours Mirabeau, pausing at historic cafes that have attracted the likes of Cézanne and Hemingway. Visit the elaborately carved Cathedral, and take time to reflect in its cloisters. Then it’s time to travel on again, as our adventure will come full circle back in Nice. (B)
- Private transfers to and from the airport
- 7 nights on board MS Anne-Marie, a boutique barge
- Experienced Tour leader
- Local captain and crew
- Local guide in Arles
- Luxury mini-coach transportation
- European breakfast daily (B)
- Five lunches (L),
- Six evening meals (D)
- All drinks during the cruise
- Olive oil and jams tasting
- All local taxes
- Entrance fee included to: Manade in Aigues-Mortes, Maguelone Cathedral, Museum l’Etang de Thau.
Cruise along the historic canals of the rural Camargue region, Provence
Gain an insight into traditional herding and bull-sorting
Visit a family owned farm in Arles for a taste of freshly homemade jams and olive oils
Guarantees, Bonds and Awards
- This tour is run by our outstanding travel partners who are award winners British Travel Awards Best Small Group.
- All Tours are Guaranteed Departures.
- Tours are fully bonded, protected and guaranteed and you pay the operator directly when booking.
- ABTA protected
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