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FRANCE: 5 Day Luxury food & wine tour along the Canal du Midi, South of France

Angus Longstaff

April - October - 6 persons - €3500,= per person

A fantastic Wine & Food tour with a difference!, travel along the beautiful Canal du Midi in a luxury hotel barge, meandering through the countryside from the Vineyards around Beziers through the Minervois finishing in Carcassonne.

Built in 1967 as a cargo vessel carrying wine between the Mediterranean and Bordeaux she was converted into a private luxury barge. Renovated with loving care and no expense spared, the Esperance one of the most luxurious and spacious barges that you can find cruising the canals of France. Perfect for groups of 4 to 6 guests. The Living area is on one level with a large salon & dinning area with an open plan kitchen, so you can chat to chef while sipping a glass of wine. The Esperance is unique, having large window's throughout so you can enjoy the sunlight of the south. Fully air conditioned below deck for your added comfort.The outside area was designed for safety and comfort, the deck surrounded by a safety railing, relax around the dinning table or in one of the lounge chairs or use the hot tub at your leisure. Your stay on board the Esperance will stay with you for a life time.

Like all Fine Wine tours its for people who love good Wine & Food but would like to travel in style through the countryside with its surrounding Vineyards and charming villages. Doing so at comfortable & relaxing pace on-board a luxury barge along the most beautiful canal in France, the Canal du Midi.

You will be picked up by Angus or Sarah from Fine Wine Tours and transfered to the Luxury Barge to meet the crew who will be taking care of your every need whilst on-board. Sit back and enjoy a glass of bubbly as Angus explains the weeks itinerary. Then relax, settle in to your new home and get ready for your first culinary experience of the tour, dinner on-board.
After the gourmet dinner and a little fine wine relax and take some time out in preperation for the day ahead.

After your continental breakfast on-board you will meet our local Master of Wine, Matthew Stubbs from Vinecole, The Center For Wine Education in the Languedoc-Roussillon.Matthew will introduce you to the wines of the region and point you in the right direction of what to look for as you are visiting the different appellations here in the Languedoc.Matthew will hold a tasting session which will help the expert, or novice, in thier wine tasting skills. After a morning focusing on wines we will take a trip out to lunch in the Faugeres, at the Abbaye Sylva Plana, a gastronimic delight!.After lunch we visit the estate, a little wine tasting then we visit the 'Domain De Trinitesdo' for a second tasting where you will meet and learn from Simon the Wine maker and owner of the Domain. After all that wine tasting we head back to the barge for a relaxing evening cruise, dinner and a little 'me' time to reflect on the days events.

Today we spend the day on-board the barge, but we have something a little special for you.This morning we meet Michelin star Chef Jean Marc Boyer, born and bred in the region. Like all Michelin trained chefs he has spent 20 years away from the region. First in a 2 star establishment in Narbonne then Paris where he worked for 12 yrs with a three stared Michelin Chef. Finally working at the Ritz before coming home and opening 'Le Puits De Tresor' in Lastours. For the Master Class Jean Marc will prepare several of his signature dish's with you in the barges open plan kitchen. We can then sit down and sample his work for lunch. After lunch take a well earned rest, after all you are on holiday! so grab a lounge chair lie back and enjoy every thing the Canal du Midi has to offer as you cruise for the rest of the day.

Food, glorious food... is todays activity, we will be visiting the old Roman town of Narbonne and it's fantastic covered market. Here you will get to see and taste the food of the region. Olive's from further down the coast, Seafood caught just that morning from Le port Nouvelle, local Charcuterie, and of course the local cheeses!. After the Market we can try the local Muscat at one of the many bars in the market who also serve lunch for the market traders and the public alike. You can even buy a steak from one of the many Butchers in the market and they will cook it for you at the bar, what a way to lunch!After lunch we suggest a stroll around Narbonne which has many fine shops. One of our favourites is La Ferme Narbonnaise which is one of the beautiful epicurean shops in the region. It has one the best wine selections from the area, time to grab a sample for this afternoon when we will return to the barge for an afternoon cruise and relax.

For the final day after you have finished breakfast and said goodbye to your new friends, the crew on-board, we will take you to the enchanting 'Le Cite' in the town of Carcassonne where we conduct a private tour through the small lanes and passages that make up this incredible world heritage site. Learn how Carcassonne has always been used over the centuries as a place of defence from the time of the Gaul Romans and Visigoths. The Saracens occupied its famous walls right up and through the time of the Cathar Crusades.At the end of the tour, and for our final lunch together, we visit the highly acclaimed 'Le Parc' a Michelin 1 star restaurant run by Franc Putelat to experience the chefs classic menu. After lunch we will transfer you to your departure point of your next destination or your onward hotel.

All the wines tasted on your trip are available for export to your home country, from 6 bottles to many boxes! please arrange this during your tour

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