During our cruises we visit the famed fortress city of Carcassonne, dating back to the Gallo-Roman era this is the most complete medieval fortified city in existence today.
Carcassonne is a medieval fortified city set atop a hill overlooking the Aude River. Rising against the backdrop of the Pyrénée Mountains, the city is striking not only during the day but also at night, when it is floodlit. Composed of a circle of towers and battlements, turrets and ramparts, with the longest city wall in Europe, Carcassonne is a perfectly restored medieval town. The oldest sections of its encircling wall were built by the Romans in the first century AD. Its name dates to the 9th century, when the city was under siege by Charlemagne. Dame Carcas, in full view of Charlemagne, fed the last of the city's wheat to pigs.
Charlemagne, thinking the act signified an endless food supply for the city's inhabitants, gave up and decamped. Credited with saving the city, Dame Carcas's act led to the city being known as "the virgin of Languedoc" and impregnable.
What is Hotel Barging?
Despite the growing popularity of cruising, especially on large river vessels, hotel barging is still a little known niche concept. Most hotel barges started life as cargo vessels but have since been painstakingly converted to offer luxury boutique accommodation for small groups of up to 20 passengers.
This is cruising, but in a very different style to ships plying the big rivers or oceans. The pace is slow, with a 6 day cruise covering maybe just 50 miles along a rural canal. Passengers can walk or bike the towpaths as their floating hotel glides gently along. Guests enjoy an intimate atmosphere, high levels of personal service and immersion into the culture, history and gastronomy of regions of Europe such as Burgundy, the Midi, or the Italian Veneto.
Every day there is an excursion, perhaps to a chateau, a vineyard for a wine tasting, or some other ‘off the beaten track’ location. About half of European Waterways’ bookings are for whole boat charters, ideal for families. Otherwise, clients book a cabin to join other like-minded people. A ‘slow boat’ European Waterways barge cruise offers the ultimate in experiential travel. A truly unique experience!
European Waterways offer luxury hotel barge cruises on the beautiful canals and rivers of Europe, such as through Burgundy, the Midi, Alsace, the Po Valley, Holland and the Scottish Highlands.
The exclusive collection of hotel barges accommodate up to 20 passengers who may charter a whole barge with family or friends, or join a small group of like-minded travellers on an individual cabin basis.
Each barge is fully crewed with a Captain, chef, hostesses, deck-hand and tour guide. The 6-night cruises include gourmet meals, fine wines, open bar, excursions and the use of facilities such as bicycles and spa pools.