SAINT LOUIS - BORDEAUX, a 6-passenger deluxe barge, cruises near Bordeaux on the Canal de Garonne, Southwest France
SAINT LOUIS - BORDEAUX Cruise Stops
SAINT LOUIS, a pristine deluxe barge, cruises the little known, yet beautiful, Canal de Garonne in southwest France. Just east of Bordeaux, it traverses through the historic lands of Aquitaine and Gascony. With owner-operators Chef Peter and Hostess Wendy Carrington on board, the friendly crew ensures that your barge cruise vacation is happily customized around your interests. Daily guided excursions to local sites immerse guests in regional history and culture. Peace and tranquility exude as Saint Louis passes through lush green countryside, pretty villages and memorable port towns on this quiet canal. Local French cuisine is lovingly prepared with fresh local produce accompanied by local wines and aperitifs. The Bordeaux wine region and the Dordogne valley are ideal pre or post cruise visits to round out a unique and beautiful vacation in southwest France.
- Spend a fabulous day in St Emilion, exploring, shopping, lunch and a private winetasting
- Visit the renowned Agen Museum
- Explore the picturesque village of Serignac
- Walk through the oldest and most prestigious water plant nursery in the world, Le Temple-sur-Lot
- Visit a barrel maker and later, enjoy a tasting of the fine Armagnac spirit tasting at a local distillery
- Excursion around Montauban, “city of art and culture”
- See the extraordinary Montech Water Slope
- Have leisure time to walk or bike along the towpath
Owner Operated: Yes - Peter and Wendy Carrington
Number of Passengers: 6
Cabin Bookings: On select weeks or by special request
Charter Bookings: Yes
Cruising Region: Bordeaux and Gascony in Southwest France
Length of Cruise: 6 nights - Saturday to Friday
Cruising Season: May - October
Theme Cruises: Wine, Golf, Custom
Meeting Location: Bordeaux, Toulouse or Agen
|Saturday to Friday (6 nights)
All Season Departures
Itinerary #1 - Bordeaux
Itinerary #2 - Gascony
|Cabin Rates - Available on select weeks or by special request
Included in Cruise Price
- Transportation between meeting point in Toulouse, Bordeaux or Agen (depending on cruise route) and the barge
- Six nights accommodation in private stateroom with ensuite bath
- All meals, wine and drinks on board
- Open bar
- Daily escorted excursions by air-conditioned van
- All barge amenities including bicycles, music system, library, Wi-Fi (10G per week)
Not Included in Cruise Price
- Air or other transportation to the meeting location
- Trip cancellation or medical insurance (available when booking)
- Personal expenses
- A discretionary gratuity for the crew suggested at 5% or more of the cruise price
SAINT LOUIS Features
Wine, Golf, Custom
Cruising on Saint Louis
Canal de Garonne, Southwest France
Boé Port to Meilhan-sur-Garonne (or reverse)
Saturday - Transfer to Barge
Transfer to the barge at Boé Port to arrive around 5.00pm. Champagne reception upon arrival, then time to settle in, get to know your crew, a short safety briefing and a general talk through the itinerary for the week. Then enjoy your first of many gourmet dinners aboard.
Sunday – Boé Port to Sérignac-sur-Garonne
The Lily Gardens at Temple sur Lot that were founded in 1875 and inspired Monet. We depart Boé Port at 9.00am and enjoy our first cruise through Agen and across the magnificent aquaduct. Leaving the barge we drive to the gardens in time for lunch overlooking the lake. After lunch, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the ponds and gardens before returning to the barge which will have moved on to our evening mooring at Serignac.
Monday – Sérignac to Buzet-sur-Baïse
This morning’s tour is to an Armagnac producer situated in a 12th Century Monastry where we learn about the history of Armagnac, the production process and enjoy a tasting. On our way back to the barge we stop in Nearac, an 11th Century town with its castle, Chateau Henry IV, the Royal Residence of the Lords of Albret. Alain d’Albret was the Great Grandfather of Henry IV. If time permits we can explore this beautiful town and enjoy a coffee together. Return to the barge for lunch and beautiful cruise through to Buzet-sur-Baïse, our evening mooring. Dinner aboard.
Tuesday – Buzet to Villeton
Today’s visit is to a 3rd generation barrel makers to see at first hand how the barrels, such an important part of the wine making process, are made. You will learn about the complexities and manufacturing methods of this traditional craft and how the barrel affects the development of the wine. Afterwards, we visit the bastide town of Vianne and learn about the history of bastides and their part in the early social development of the area. Return to barge for lunch on board prior to a delightful cruise along the unspoiled, tree lined canal to our mooring at La Falotte, a privately owned museum of semi-precious gems, fossils and minerals from around the world. The owner will take you through and discuss his lifetime’s work gathering his collection from around the world. A fascinating visit with a world authority as your guide.
Wednesday – Villeton to Fourques-sur-Garonne
Following breakfast, we drive to Sauternes for a visit to this world renowned region famous for its sweet wines. We visit the Premier Grand Crus Chateau d’Arche where we will be guided through a short history of the development of Sauternes, its micro-climate and terroir. We see at first hand the production methods and enjoy a private tasting before departing back for lunch at Le Chope et le Pichet, a beautiful lock-side restaurant owned by our good friend Thierry.
The barge will move up into the lock as you finish lunch and you board the barge in the lock and we cruise onwards to Le Mas d’Agenais. After lunch, we explore the village and its famous 12th Century church, with an original Rembrandt painting, before continuing our cruise to our evening mooring at Forques.
Thursday – Fourques to Meilhan-sur-Garonne
After breakfast, it’s off to the beautiful town of St. Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You may choose to visit the underground church or meander through the ancient cobbled streets, soaking up the history and atmosphere before enjoying a leisurely lunch together in one of the local restaurants. Afterwards, we go for a private wine tasting with our wine merchant, one of the most respected distributors of fine wines in St Emilion. We learn about the history of the region, how to taste wine, about terroir and how it effects wine and about the great St. Emilion vineyards. Then we return to the barge for our final cruise along the tree lined canal into Meilhan Port. Evening drinks and dinner on board.
Friday – Transfer to Departure Point
After a leisurely breakfast, guests will be taken to their agreed point of departure.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Canal de Garonne, Southwest France
Lacourt St Pierre (near Montauban) to Boé Port(or reverse)
Saturday - Transfer to Barge
Guests will be collected by a member of the Saint Louis crew from Toulouse or Agen train station and brought to the barge by 5:00pm for a champagne welcome, meet the crew, a short safety briefing and a general talk through the itinerary for the week. Plenty of time to settle in before the first dinner on board.
Sunday – Toulouse to Castelsarrasin
After breakfast we enjoy our first cruise through to a flight of 5 locks where we disembark and drive to the 12th Century town of Lauzerte. A hill top castle-nau with a bloody past but now a way point for pilgrims on the Saint Jaques trail to Santiago de Compostella. We enjoy lunch together before returning to the barge at St Porquier and our cruise continues through to our mooring at Castelsarassin for the evening.
Monday – Castelsarrasin to Moissac
After breakfast there is time to explore the local village before we cruise along the tree lined canal to our wild mooring for lunch. Afterwards, we cross the aquaduct and enter Moissac port and then descend onto the mighty river Tarn for an afternoon river cruise followed by a visit to the Monastery and Cloisters at Moissac Abbey, a renowned world heritage site. We then return to the barge for dinner.
Tuesday – Moissac to Pommevic
After breakfast it’s off to Valence d’Agen and its bustling weekly market. We enjoy a coffee in the local square and meander through the maze of stalls offering a staggering array of fresh local produce, fish, meats and cheeses amongst so much else! We return to the barge for lunch and our afternoon cruise through to our quiet evening mooring point at Pommevic.
Wednesday – Pommevic to La Magistere
This morning we explore visit the beautiful town of Auvillar, in the past a major trading town with a fascinating history. We see the grain exchange and learn about the mighty trading route along the river before the canal network opened up and overtook it. Afterwards we return to pick up the barge and cruise through to our wild mooring at La Magistere for the night.
Thursday – Lamagistere to Boé Port
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then a beautiful drive through rich countryside to visit the Lily Gardens at Temple sur Lot that were founded in 1875 and inspired Monet. We arrive in time to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the ponds and gardens before lunch overlooking the lake. Afterwards we return to pick up the barge for the final cruise to Boé Port.
Friday – Transfer to Toulouse
After a leisurely breakfast on the Saint Louis, you are taken by car back to your connections onwards.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.The following daily arrangements are indicative only. In keeping with our philosophy of “custom cruising,“ we will always adapt a cruise to the interests and wishes of the guests on board.
Barge Cruise Reviews for Saint Louis
"We love the Saint Louis!!! Yes, we were disappointed that we could not move on the canal (due to trees in the canal because of a huge storm), and yes, we had a fabulous time. We have had five trees fall in our yard in the last three years and two of them fell on our house, so if anyone could be sympathetic to the situation, we could. Peter, Wendy and Minnis could not have done more to make our vacation fun and memorable. The excursions that we took were interesting. The history that our guide(s) for the day gave to us made the trip more fun. They worked hard to tailor the excursions to our interests. We saw things that we are sure that most tourists do not see. The barge is beautifully decorated. Wendy has excellent tastes. They plan to redo the bathrooms. The food was outstanding, the presentation a feast for the eyes, and the wine pairings were well done." Mary and Ed S, September 2015
"We had the delightful chance to experience great weather and the wonderful scenery and hospitality of our hosts, Peter and Wendy Carrington on the Saint Louis in September of 2014. We had resisted booking conventional cruises or even larger river cruises because of the number of passengers and the resulting need for standardization of itineraries. When we learned about the Saint Louis we were attracted to the fact that it takes only six passengers and allows for considerable flexibility of itineraries and meals. All services are included in the fee. Every day included a few hours of gentle canal cruising and a guided tour of the local countryside. An eight passenger Mercedes van was used for the daily excursions as well as for picking passengers up at both ends of the cruise. Each day we were offered some suggestions for the excursions and we could opt to come or not or to modify it.
Beth Hanson, our booking agent, contacted us some time before the cruise began, asking for any food allergies or preferences and conveyed this information to Peter, who accommodated all our requests if at all possible. This included preferences for drinks. The open bar was available at any time and every lunch and dinner was accompanied with two different local wines chosen specifically to compliment the dishes being served.
It is hard to describe adequately the level of service Peter and Wendy provide. Wendy is a true artist in arranging beautiful place settings for every meal, including breakfasts. I think every meal had different linens and color schemes. Peter is a talented chef, who provided a wide range of fine French cuisine using local food items. Every day he made an early morning run to a different local boulangerie for fresh croissants and bread and some time each day he or Wendy shopped for fresh food. One afternoon he climbed a hill where he knew borage flowers grew that he used to decorate the evening dessert! Nothing was left to chance in creating the gourmet meals.
Speaking of special service, my camera battery charger stopped working on the first day and I was afraid that I would not be able to take any more photographs, but Wendy offered to look for a universal charger that might work. She shopped for it while we were enjoying our daily cruising and would not even accept money to reimburse her expenses! That is what I call going above and beyond.
Peter and Wendy had only recently taken over hosting the barge cruise, which they had been planning on doing but they had to move their date ahead due to health problems with Barbara, the wife of the former proprietor. I am sure they were on a steep learning curve that was accelerated when Minnis, their regular pilot and tour guide also suffered a health issue. Tim, an experienced barge pilot, was brought aboard and while there were a few minor glitches with learning the specifics of the Saint Louis, Peter and Wendy calmly managed to maintain the serenity of the cruise. They even had a French TV camera crew filming a documentary for a whole day. I am sure they were like the proverbial ducks, smoothly gliding along while paddling furiously under the surface, none of which was visible to the casual observer.
They really seem to enjoy people and to providing the very best possible experience for their guests. While the price may be more than equivalent time spent on larger vessels, the value is exceptional for anyone who appreciates being treated to a slow paced glimpse of luxury in a beautiful part of France.
Book ahead because this experience is contagious." Jeff and Linda Williams, Canada, September 2014
"We are back from our wonderful trip to France. Our barge trip was the best!!!!! Great people, great boat, beautiful scenery, fabulous food - what more could we have asked. Thanks for advising us well." Ben and Kae, July 2013