If visiting the south of France is in your future, put an Athos Canal du Midi Cruise at the top of your “bucket” list.
Kid, you not. My Canal du Midi cruise on the luxury hotel barge Athos is fast becoming one of my most memorable experiences in France. Where else could you go on private tours of quaint and romantic French towns and villages, eat the most authentic and delicious French cuisine, including wines and cheeses selected just for you, cruise on a historic winding canal, experience wildlife within reach, and be waited on hand and foot?
Canal du Midi Cruise
I was a guest at the Athos du Midi, owned and managed by Dannielle and Julian Farrant, for a week. The Athos is their “Love Boat.” Dannielle — a Canadian, and Julian — a Brit, met and married while working aboard the canal barge over twenty years ago.
While Dannielle and Julian are busy taking care of business onshore these days, they leave the five-person crew of the Athos to wine, dine, and attend to passengers onboard the 100-foot barge (30.48 meters). The Athos is one of the most enormous barges on the canal.
Port of Origin: Marseillan
Marseillan is the port of departure for most of the week-long cruises. By lucky coincidence, we were in Marseillan for the celebration of the reopening of the port. As crowds gathered around the harbor, the town was lively with music when we arrived. By dark, there was a spectacular fireworks just feet away from us. Quite a welcome for our first day on the Athos Canal Midi cruise!
Guests aboard the Athos were Heidi and Tim from New Zealand and Canadians from Victoria: Michelle and Dave. Ten passengers on the Athos are the norm, so right away, we knew our holiday with only five would be very special. We were going to be pampered.
Aboard the Athos Canal du Midi Luxury Barge
Arriving in Beziers by car, Mathieu, our tour guide, drove me to the port. Other passengers stayed overnight in Beziers and met us at the Athos. The crew welcomed guests with what was to become a standard: friendly, gracious service and lots of attention.
Dinner is served!
Yes! There’s more … more canal cruise adventures and food! Stay tuned …