ATHOS, a 10-passenger first class barge, cruises on the Canal du Midi in the South of France
ATHOS Cruise Stops
ATHOS barge cruise is operated by her owner and Captain of 25 years, Julian Farrant, and his wife, Dannielle, who manages the office. A tour guide and driver, a full-time onboard Chef, and 2 hostesses make up the friendly crew. The ATHOS Crew has a well-earned reputation for hosting their guests with charm and competence. Combined with the scenic and historical Canal du Midi, ATHOS is a perfect choice for vacationers who enjoy cozy and comfortable accommodations, the sunny Mediterranean climate, and gourmet French cuisine and wine with good company.
Athos is a friendly barge for all ages and offers a family itinerary for children and adults alike.
- The canal itself is a Unesco World Heritage Site lined with towering plane trees
- The medieval fortified town of Carcassonne
- Olive tasting at the local press, L'Oulibo
- Vibrant market town of Narbonne built on Roman foundations
- Old town Agde with Greek origins
- Cruise the open waters of the Etang de Thau with its famous oyster beds
- Visit and tasting of the distillery of Noilly Prat Vermouth
- Pretty villages along the canal to explore with plenty of opportunity for walking and biking
- A friendly, attentive crew
Owner Operated: Yes - Julian and Dannielle Farrant
Number of Passengers: 10
Category: First Class
Cabin Bookings: Yes
Charter Bookings: Yes
Cruising Region: Canal du Midi, South of France
Length of Cruise: 6 nights - Sunday to Saturday
Cruising Season: April - October
Theme Cruises: Custom for charter only
Meeting Location: Designated meeting point in Beziers
Cruise Rates 2023
|Sunday to Saturday (6 nights)
2023 Value Season Departures
|Staterooms per person, double occupancy
2023 Regular Season Departures
|Staterooms per person, double occupancy
Included in Cruise Price
- Transportation to and from local meeting point
- Six nights accommodation in private cabin with ensuite bath
- All meals, wine and drinks on board
- Open bar
- Daily escorted excursions by air-conditioned van
- All barge amenities including bicycles
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 5-10% of the cruise price)
Wine, family, golf, tennis
Cruising on ATHOS
Canal du Midi
Argeliers to Marseillan (or reverse)
The ATHOS Captain and Tour Guide will meet you at a designated location in Beziers at about 4:00 pm. In the comfort of ATHOS' private air-conditioned Chrysler minivans, you will be chauffeured to ATHOS at her mooring. Upon arrival, you will be treated to a Champagne reception and gourmet canapés. Once settled into your cabin, you will be invited to a 4-course dinner prepared by our highly acclaimed on-board Chef.
Monday - Argeliers to Capestang
Enjoy your first coffee of the day in a comfortable chair on the upper deck of ATHOS. While coffee is available at any time from the bar, a continental-style breakfast is served daily, at your leisure, beginning at 8:30am. The proposed morning visit is a drive to the famous Medieval double-walled city of Carcassonne. Your knowledgeable on-board guide will offer a guided, historical visit. Shoppers should never fear, your Guide will be sure to give you time to have a good look! While the Captain gets ATHOS underway for an afternoon's cruise to Argeliers, on the historic Canal du Midi, Chef will serve up another local, gourmet 3-course meal (perhaps including the famous duck confit stew, Cassoulet?). By early evening, you have arrived in Capestang, and ATHOS will moor with a view of the flood-lit and picturesque Collegiale St. Etienne. There ought to be enough time for a stroll into the village before Chef starts serving up the next delight!
Tuesday - Capestang to Regismont Le Haut
This morning’s suggested visit is a tasting at the Oulibo, the local olive oil pressoir. After tasting a variety of delicious, organic olives, accompanied by a small glass of rose, it is just a short drive up the Gorge de la Cesse and into the hilltop village of Minerve. Your guide will delight you with the harrowing tale of the Cathar siege launched at Minerve during the 13th C. In the afternoon, you may choose to either relax after a long lunch and an afternoon of cruising, or perhaps your Guide’s invite to a sociable wine-tasting at the local Chateau will appeal to you? After the wine-tasting outing, Chef has once again prepared a stunning 4-course dinner as a finale to your day.
Wednesday - Regismont Le Haut to Fonserannes
After another relaxing continental breakfast, why not take a side trip to the weekly morning market in Narbonne? Even for non-shoppers, Narbonne offers great entertainment on a Thursday morning! Explore an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia, browse through the well-compiled Roman Museum, discover the beauty of the St. Juste Cathedral, or simply take a moment to blend into the lively, local café scene. When you return to the boat, you will surely smell Chef's dinner creations…tempting yet again! We arrive early evening above the Fonserannes, the seven staircase locks at Beziers. Here you’ll have a glorious evening view of the town of Beziers and the Cathedral St. Nazaire.
Thursday - Fonserannes to Portiragnes
This morning, your Guide suggests driving to the old market town of Pezenas, which was the first seat of the Languedoc court. The architecture is unique to the town because of the “Hotels Particuliers,” or Mansions belonging to the noble families who followed the Court. Pezenas is filled with an eclectic mix of artisan shops, including potters, painters, hat makers, and costume designers. In addition to learning about the history of this exceptional town, your Guide will make sure there is plenty of time for browsing. Back on the boat, Chef and the hostess begin serving up today's luxury meal while Captain Julian and his deck hand are busy getting ATHOS underway. The 17th C. feat of engineering, the "Neuf Ecluses" (or staircase locks), is sure to impress! ATHOS crew expertly tie her up in each lock and wait for the gates to close safely behind her before the water levels empty out and allow her to pass from one lock into the next. Coming up next is the 18th C. Canal Bridge which will carry the ATHOS over the Orb River. The evening's mooring will be just outside the small village of Portiragnes. The paved tow path, and the many locks leading to this mooring, makes it ideal for walking or cycling alongside the ATHOS. After a day of touring and boating, you are surely to have worked up an appetite. Enjoy another delicious gourmet 4-course dinner, perhaps the famous fresh local goats’ cheese from Combebelle will be on the menu tonight?
Friday - Portiragnes to Agde to Marseillan
From the shaded and scenic mooring of Portiragnes, we get underway earlier than usual, cruising through the area known as the “Petit Camargue”. Bird watchers should look out for local species such as the Pink Flamingos, African Rollers and Bee Eaters that frequent the surrounding estuaries. After crossing through the exceptional “round lock” at Agde, you find that a spectacular (and appropriate!) seafood lunch awaits you as you enter the open-waters of the Etang de Thau. The Etang hosts Europe's largest mussel and oyster park. As ATHOS comes to moor in the port at Marseillan, you will notice the enclosure that makes up the Noillly Prat Vermouth distillery. End a perfect day with a fascinating tour of the Distillery and, if you choose, a taste of Noilly Prat vermouth. Chef's efforts are sure to make this evening worth remembering! Captain Julian will join your party for a final dinner on board this evening, where he will invite the crew to join you in a farewell toast.
Saturday - Transfer to Beziers
After a final breakfast aboard the ATHOS, wave goodbye to the Crew who have looked after your every need throughout this memorable week. Minivans will now depart to the appointed destination in Beziers where one of our hosts will wish you a final farewell.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. The itinerary is in reverse direction on alternate weeks.
Barge Cruise Reviews for Athos
"The Athos crew has been together for a few years and worked very well together providing gracious service. In addition to raves about Guide Matt and Chef Andy, the hostesses Marianne and ZsuZsu were delightful and had clearly worked hard to learn and share information about the cuisine, wine, and cheeses we enjoyed. The overall experience greatly exceeded our expectations and we feel this was one of our best vacations ever - and we travel a lot." KC G.
"Hi Beth. We LOVED the cruise!!!! The most luxurious vacation I have ever had in my life!!! The rooms were comfortable and clean. The food was excellent. The staff was beyond terrific! All the tours were fascinating and entertaining."
"The Athos barge cruise substantially exceeded our expectations. Julian's competence as a captain was unbelievable. He is also a very very funny man. He had us in stitches telling canal stories. Also we lucked out, living in close quarters with five sympatico fellow guests. Barge cruising on the Athos has been a one of a kind experience. Thanx for all your help."