HOTEL BARGES / ROSA
ITINERARY GASCONY : AGEN TO MONTAUBAN (Spring/Summer)
Sunday - Agen
Guests are met at the **designated meeting point and escorted in the air-conditioned minibus to Rosa, moored in the charming town of Agen . Following a champagne welcome, there is time for a stroll around the port, before your first dinner on board.
Monday - Agen to Valence d'Agen
This morning we visit Domaine Lapeyrade for private tastings of their esteemed Armagnac and Floc du Gascogne wines in delightful surroundings, before touring the nearby medieval town of Nérac and its castle, once home to Henry IV of France. After lunch on board we enjoy a leisurely cruise through the bucolic countryside to Valence d’Agen , an 18th century " Bastide " town with its Palladian canal side public wash-house and arcaded market place. Dinner on board.
Tuesday - Valence d'Agen
After breakfast, we visit the 11th century Château de Gourdourville before a drive to Auvillar , a beautiful medieval red-stone village perched high on the side of a gorge above the River Garonne and renowned for its circular 17th century covered market. Return to the hotel barge for lunch, then an afternoon cruise on the River Tarn takes us to the nautical base of St. Livrade , perhaps for some swimming or canoeing, before rising up from the river and turning west on the brick-lined canal to Moissac . This evening, perhaps after an amusing game of boules , we stroll ashore to savour regional specialties at the excellent restaurant ‘Le Florentin’ , in front of the spectacular entrance portal of the Abbaye St-Pierre de Moissac .
Wednesday - Moissac
This morning, we visit Moissac's ancient Abbey, one of the architectural highlights of the region, founded in the 7th century with its wonderfully preserved cloisters and chapel and explore the charming town with its abundance of arts and crafts workshops. After lunch, we continue our cruise towards Castelsarrasin crossing the River Tarn via the 1,000 foot long, red-bricked Aqueduct du Cacor. Dinner on board.
Thursday - Castelsarrasin to Montech
After breakfast, we visit Castelsarrasin's morning market, just 50 metres from our mooring, a short drive takes us to the Ferme des Jauberts at Angeville where we can tour the estate and taste the foie gras of Eric Couderc . After lunch on board, a leisurely cruise to Montech allows us to enjoy the hotel barge’s sundeck, or walk and cycle along the towpath. We also tour the remarkable inclined Water Plane, an amazing feat of engineering that by-passes five locks and will raise vessels 43 feet all in one go, when back in service in 2014/15. Dinner on board.
Friday - Montech
This morning Rosa meanders down the flight of ten locks on the beautiful and recently restored branch canal skirting the Forest of Agre and moors in the port of the historical town of Montauban . In the afternoon we head into the Côtes du Frontonnais wine region in the minibus, for a wine tasting at the renowned Château Bellevue la Fôret . Our introduction to the outstanding cuvée ‘Optimum’ is in the skilled hands of Diane Germain , the Boston-educated daughter of the house. Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday - Montauban
After breakfast, guests disembark the barge and transfer to the **designated drop off point.
On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
**The designated meeting and drop off point is Toulouse. Other options are available for charter groups.
ITINERARY BORDEAUX: CASTET EN DORTHE TO BOE (Summer/Autumn)
Sunday - Castet-en-Dorthe
Guests are met in Bordeaux, then given a Champagne Welcome by the crew aboard Rosa, moored in Castet-en-Dorthe , befor the first gourmet dinner on board.
Monday - Castet en Dorthe - Meilhan
Morning cruise to Meilhan-sur-Garonne . In the afternoon, we visit the medieval town of Saint Emilion , a UNESCO World Heritage site and centre of the most famous of the Bordeaux appellations. Later, we stop at Château Beau-Sejour-Becot , producer of premier and grand crus wines, where we discover the secrets of the vine and, of course, enjoy a tasting. Dinner on board.
Tuesday - Meilhan - Le Mas d'Agenais
After breakfast, we cruise to the charming little village of Le Mas d'Agenais . During the cruise you can cycle or walk the tow path and enjoy the stunning countryside. In the afternoon, we visit the 14th century Château de Duras , an architectural wonder, which has been both a fortress and a stately home over its 900-year history. We wander through its 35 rooms and museum before returning to the hotel barge. Dinner on board.
Wednesday - Le Mas d'Agenais - Buzet sur Baïse
This morning we depart early and enjoy the colourful market of Marmande and the Church of Our Lady with its French gardens and Renaissance cloisters. We then cruise to Damazan , a pretty fortified village with pastel-coloured houses. After lunch we visit the pretty village of Le Mas d’Agenais . Its 11th century church has a beautiful Romanesque doorway and an original masterpiece by Rembrandt. We then visit a cheese workshop, where you can see the different stages of manufacture and enjoy a tasting of goats' cheeses, including some flavoured with ash and chilli . Dinner ashore at a local auberge .
Thursday - Buzet sur Baïse - Serignac sur Garonne
In the morning, we visit the traditional cooperage of St. Martin, where we discover the secrets of making the barrels that enhance the great wines of Bordeaux. We then head to the 13th century bastide village of Vianne and on to Barbaste with its fortified mill protected by four square towers, and the nearby 12th century bridge with its 12 curved arches. The afternoon is devoted to relaxation and cruising further along the canal to our mooring at Serignac-sur-Garonne . Dinner on board.
Friday - Serignac sur Garonne - Boé