Secrets of Southern France

Resort: Secrets of Southern France
Operator: Saga
Destination: Europe
Price From: £1799.00

Discover the diverse cities and seaports of this lovely region of France

Cruise the Canal du Rhone–Sete through Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon aboard the intimate 12-cabin barge, MS Anne-Marie. She is petite enough to navigate narrow waterways and canals and provides the friendly, relaxed ambience that makes guests feel they are among friends. Start your cruise in Arles, where Vincent Van Gogh created some of his best work spot the sights he captured on your tour! Visit the Camargue to see the unique wildlife that calls this marshy Rhne estuary home. Explore the extraordinary walled city of Aigues-Mortes, and the seaside resort of Palavas-Les-Flots, on a skinny strip of land between two lakes. End your cruise in the bustling fishing port of Sete, almost an island being set between a vast seafood-producing lagoon and the sea. In just six nights, with six included tours, this cruise reveals some of the most interesting and diverse cities and resorts that Provence has to offer

Including…

  • 17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • UK travel service
  • Return flights and transfers
  • Free bar open 12 hours a day
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Gala dinner
  • Entertainment and activities on the ship

Excursions

  • Tour of Arles
  • Visit to the Camargue
  • Tour of Aigues-Mortes
  • Provenal ranch visit
  • Tour of tang De Thau
  • Tour of Sete

The free bar excludes Champagne, branded spirits and drinks from the wine list. Bar opening times may vary, subject to the daily programme on board.

Itinerary

Day 1
UK to Arles

Fly to Montpellier and transfer by coach to Arles where you board the MS Anne-Marie. Look forward to meeting your fellow guests and crew over a welcome cocktail then enjoy dinner on board. Your barge remains moored in Arles overnight.

Day 2
Arles to Gallician

This morning, look forward to an included tour of Arles, founded by Roman legionnaires on the banks of the Rhne. See the buildings they left, including Les Arnes amphitheatre built at the end of the 1st century AD, and one of the first stone-built theatres outside of Rome the Place du Forum and Roman Baths of Constantine. You may recognise the arena, and other scenes in Arles, from the works of Vincent van Gogh who lived here a for a year, producing what many believe are his best works. In the historic centre you’ll see the former cathedral, the Church of St Trophime, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards, travel inland to a Provencal olive oil estate to discover the method of production and enjoy a tasting. Return to the barge and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising to Gallician on the Rhne River and the Rhne Ste Canal. Moor in Gallician overnight.

Day 3
Gallician to Aigues-Mortes

After breakfast, join an included excursion to the Camargue, the marshy area of the Rhne estuary famous for its wild white horses, black cattle, around 400 different species of birds including flamingos, and paddy fields of red rice. Enjoy some free time in the small town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a place of pilgrimage for gypsies who honour their patron saint, Sarah, at the fortified church. Spend the afternoon cruising towards Aigues-Mortes where you arrive early this evening and moor overnight.

Day 4
Aigues-Mortes to Palavas-les-Flots

Join an included tour of Aigues-Mortes, a lively old town with a rich heritage, set inside a rectangle of symmetrical medieval walls. It’s located in the middle of the marshes, overlooking the salt lagoon, which the high-concentration of salt turns red. Afterwards, take a tourist train tour of the salt marshes where you’ll notice great piles of the salt which has been produced here for centuries. Famed for its superior flavour it’s sold as ‘La Fleur du sel’. Spend the afternoon cruising to Palavas-les-Flots. This seaside resort is set on a strip of land between two lakes and alongside the ‘canalised’ River Lez which runs into the sea here. Originally a fishing village supplying the markets of Montpellier, it now has a large leisure marina and seven kilometres of sandy beach enjoy some free time exploring. Remain moored here overnight.

Day 5
Palavas-les-Flots to Ste

This morning, an included tour visits a Provencal ranch, or ‘manade’ to discover how the ‘gardians’ Camargue cowboys help preserve the traditional wild bull herds. Watch them at work then enjoy a snack made with produce from the ranch. Return to the barge for an afternoon of cruising towards Ste, arriving in the early evening and mooring overnight.

Day 6
Ste

This lively seaport on the French Mediterranean coast is virtually an island, thanks to the vast saltwater tang De Thau or Thau lagoon behind it. As if that wasn’t enough water, a canal network threads through the town centre, used by both fishing boats and locals out in their boats for shopping or visiting! Look forward to an included tour of the tang De Thau, dotted with mussel and oyster farms and justly famous for its shellfish. Find out more about the industry at the Museum, and taste some of the shellfish at a local restaurant. This afternoon, join an included tour of Ste, which has a lower town around the harbour and a higher town known as Mount St Clair. Here, in addition to far-reaching views, you’ll discover the unusual frescoed walls of the Notre-Dame-De-La-Salette chapel and the artists’ quarter, ‘Quartier Haute’. Back on board Anne-Marie, enjoy a gala evening on the last night of your cruise.

Day 7
Ste to UK

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Montpellier airport for your return journey to the UK.

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