best golf courses in France

France isn’t known as one of the world’s top golfing nations but as host to the Ryder Cup 2018, the country has found itself at the centre of the global golfing stage. Helped by the fact that Europe clinched yet another Ryder Cup victory, golf courses in France are now enjoying their share of the spotlight. Golf cruises are increasingly enquired about and absolutely an option, but where to start…

Choosing the best golf courses in France

France easily ranks as the world’s favourite holiday destination and runs to a long list of tourist attractions. But curiously, and despite having over 730 courses, golf doesn’t usually feature on the beaten tourist trail. There are, however, lots of great opportunities to play some challenging golf and enjoy some of the country’s most glorious scenery at the same time. Inspired by the Ryder Cup, we’ve put together a list of the 9 best golf courses in France, all are easy to access when you’re cruising the rivers and canals.

Golf National L’Albatros

Our first stop is at the Ryder Cup host itself. Part of the Golf National courses, L’Albatros is one of the most challenging on the French circuit. Finished in 1990, the course has a unique design that was created using man made hills and slopes. As well as a Ryder Cup venue, L’Albatros has hosted the French Open since 1991 when the competition began.

Location: L’Albatros lies 32km (20mi) to the west of Paris and enjoys the splendid surroundings of Versailles.

Nearest river cruise: Get in a round at this golf course in France when you cruise the Seine

Fontainebleau Golf

Still near the Seine and the capital, Fontainebleau Golf is one of the oldest golf courses in France. Established in 1909, it regularly ranks among the top courses in the country and has a unique location deep in a forest. Rocks, heather and ancient trees accompany you along the 18 holes. And the 19th hole is a clubhouse built in typical Normandy style with charming frescoes by Paul Tavernier from the Barbizon school of art.

Location: Fontainebleau sits just a short distance from Champagne sur Seine and is about an hour’s drive from Paris.  

Nearest river cruise: Try out your golfing skills at Fontainebleau as a day’s excursion from one of our Northern Burgundy hotel barge cruises

Les Bordes

Our tour of great golf courses in France moves south to another majestic river and one of the country’s most scenic spots: the Loire Valley. Les Bordes golf course lies on a hunting estate in the Sologne Forest and has to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. Lake after lake greet you along the 18 holes and stay tuned for this one because Les Bordes is in the process of adding a second course.

Location: Les Bordes lies equidistant between two of the most famous landmarks on the Loire River: Blois and Orléans.  

Nearest river cruise: Test your tee shot at Les Bordes when you join one of our Loire Valley cruises

Golf Château de Chailly

If you fancy combining your round with a 16th century chateau, this golf course is for you. Views of the stunning palace come at their best from the 11th hole but the other 17 holes meander around natural streams and historic trees so great vistas are a given here.

Location: The Château de Chailly is just a short drive west of Dijon in the village of Chailly-sur-Armaçon.   

Nearest river cruise: Château de Chailly is the perfect spot for a round of golf when you’re cruising the waterways of Southern Burgundy

Grand Saint-Emilionnais

This Bordeaux golf course provides possibly the best combination of all. In the heart of Bordeaux country not only are you playing at one of the best golf courses in France, place your shots against a backdrop of vineyards. And you can celebrate (or lament) your final score with a spot of Bordeaux wine tasting. 

Location: Grand Saint-Emilionnais enjoys a privileged location just outside the famous village of Saint Emilion with its legendary status in the world of Bordeaux wine.  

Nearest river cruise: Make that perfect golf and vin combo yours on a Bordeaux cruise aboard St Louis or hotel barge Rosa.

Villenueve sur Lot

Not far from the vicinity of Bordeaux, take in a round at Villeneuve sur Lot golf course while you enjoy the bucolic scenery around the river Garonne, Aquitaine. This relatively new course – it was designed in 1987 by Robert Berthet – comes surrounded by apple and plum orchards. And if you time your game for the autumn, you can help yourself to fresh fruit while you’re waiting to tee off!

Location: Villenueve sur Lot lies on the River Lot, just a short distance from the Garonne itself.  

Nearest river cruise: Enjoy this scenic course while you’re on a hotel barge cruising the Garonne

Cannes-Mougins

Our search for the best golf courses in France moves south to Provence and one of the country’s most historic golf clubs. Cannes-Mougins dates back to 1923 when European aristocrats Prince Pierre of Monaco and Baron Edward Rothschild teamed up with the Aga Khan (Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III) to design the course. It has since been renovated twice (most recently in 2015) and sits in a forest crossed by the Bouillide River.

Location: Cannes-Mougins golf course lies just north of Cannes in the heart of Provence.  

Nearest river cruise: Make the most of this golf course when you cruise Provence

Terre Blanche

Still in Provence, this golf course includes the acclaimed Le Château course, voted the best golf course in France in 2017. Something of a challenge, Le Château offers plenty of water hazards. If you feel your golfing skills aren’t quite up to them, you can watch some of the world’s best players try their luck at the annual French Riviera Masters held at Terre Blanche every September.

Location: Terre Blanche is an easy trip from Aix-en-Provence, which lies to the west of the course.

Nearest river cruise: Put your handicap to the test while enjoying a Camargue cruise

Golf Club de Palmola

The last of our best golf courses in France lies near Toulouse. Designed by Michael Fenn in 1974, this course lies deep in the Buzet Forest. Golf Club de Palmola ranks as one of the most challenging courses in the country and promises to stretch your game like never before. Treat yourself to a glass of local Bordeaux at the end!

Location: Palmola is just a short drive from Toulouse.  

Nearest river cruise: Get in a round at Palmola when you take the helm on a self drive cruise along the Canal de Garonne. 

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9 best golf courses in France

 

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

Having cruised during the morning from Liborne on the river Dordogne onto the river Garonne, CroisiEurope’s MS Cyrano de Bergerac arrives at the Quay de Chartron in Bordeaux. After lunch we get ready for the classic guided tour around this glamorous city.

But it wan’t always so beautiful, says our guide as we board the coach. Twenty years ago, the bright limestone façades of the city were black with polluting soot and the city’s crescent promenade, enjoyed by young and old today, was covered with abandoned warehouses, completely separating the river from everyday life. Former prime minister, Alain Juppé, a native of Bordeaux, was responsible for the big clean-up and the opening up of the river vista. The result earned the city its well-deserved UNESCO listing and it’s now France’s second favourite city.

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

The coach weaves in and out of the streets, criss-crossing the city’s non-wire tram lines and pausing for us to peep along the rue Sainte-Catherine, currently the longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe; it stops for a moment at the Place des Quinconces and its Spirit of Freedom statue and fountain, where we learn about the Girondins and their part in the French revolution.

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

We cross the bridges over the brown Garonne river. First the lifting bridge of Jacques Chaban-Delmas, which rises over 70m to allow tall ships and cruise ships to pass beneath. Then back across the landmark Pont Pierre, already closed to cars and lorries to conserve its ancient structure; it may be closed to traffic completely in the future.

Back in the city, we park in the lawyers square and take to the pavement. We walk past Norman Foster’s love-it-or-hate-it Palais de Justice (I love it). The building encloses 7 pod-like courtrooms within a glass frame, to indicate transparency, openness and the accessibility of the French judicial system.

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

A few steps away we pass the Palais Rohan and the Musée des Beaux-Arts and then reach the Cathedral of Saint-André and step inside to admire the amazing restorations within. Once adorned with brightly coloured statues and pillars, the Cathedral fell into ruin, losing its treasures and housing cattle fodder during the Revolution of the 1790’s. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII, the future king of France, were married here in 1137; she was just 13 years old.

We have a little free time before the coach leaves so we dive across the street and into the glorious Café Napoleon, a step away from the Grand Theatre, for a spot of street-life, a chocolat chaud and a chance to write some postcards.

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

Later, on our own, we visit the new Cité du Vin, perched on the riverside near the old submarine pens. It celebrates the grape and vinification, the wines of the Medoc and St Emilion chateaux that continue to bring Bordeaux fame and prosperity. There’s plenty to do inside, with seminars and wine tastings in English and French. It’s also packed with diners, queuing to get up to the panoramic restaurant on the top floor. .

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

We stroll towards the Place de la Bourse and arrive just in time to see the Mirroir d’Eau collapse into an atmospheric mist. Its a work of art and also a part of Bordelais life, where people gather to paddle and cool off in the heat of the summer, and meet up to enjoy an evening’s promenade at any time of year. All part of the romance of the Port de la Lune.

Bordeaux river cruise excursion Aquitaine

The guided tour can only offer a glimpse of Bordeaux’s treasures – a quick introduction to the most historic, architectural and cultural attractions. For more than an enticing taster be sure to tack a few days onto the start or end of your cruise so that you get time to dwell and dawdle; to marvel at its ancient and modern buildings and just soak up Bordeaux city life.

Join a cruise in Bordeaux

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

A lovely lie-in this morning ahead of our day in St Emilion. We watched the sun rise over the autumnal trees as we cruised up the Dordogne to Libourne. The Dordogne is both a river and a region. Libourne itself is an historic bastide town, founded in 1270 by Roger de Leyborne (from Kent, UK).

Pomerol vineyards

From here, our local guide, Agnes took us by coach almost immediately into the vineyards of Pomerol, of which Petrus is the outstanding example of a red wine made entirely from the Merlot grape.  All the St Emilion region wines are red, from 860 estates, 64 of which are Grand Cru classified, all of which are cured in oak barrels before bottling.

Chateau Petrus Pomerol

Petrus was the mayor of Bordeaux in the early 1200s who refused to hand the city’s key to the King of Castile. As the city’s first ever mayor, he more than earned his title in protecting the city and arguably the heritage of the wine and vineyards we experienced today. Petrus is possibly the most highly regarded Claret – a grandeur well earned by its grape and production, and well served by its name.

St Emilion wine tasting

Then we reached our St Emilion wine tasting experience at Chateau Haut-Veyrac where the delightful hostess, Camille, explained everything about their one wine of the same name, a St Emilion Grand Cru. The vineyard is owned by the Claverie family. Their whole production is managed by six people: this includes picking, either by machine or by hand, transferring the harvest to the vats (steel and concrete), transferring to barrels and bottling; whilst the wine is maturing, the vines are pruned (pared back to two shoots) and old plants replaced. Then in spring new shoots from the root ball are removed, and other shoots trimmed out to ensure aeration (to prevent mildew and other diseases). In June any leaves are removed that may be sheltering the grapes from the sun. All this for 28,000 individual plants by 6 people = constant hard work!

We tasted two vintages – 2011 and 2014 – which can be kept for drinking for another 10 years and 5 years respectively. First we check for the colour of the wine in the glass – purple, ruby and red are OK. Orange is not – ask for another bottle! Then put your nose right into the glass (you will know straight-away if the wine is bad) to savour the particular notes of blackcurrant or red berries. Swirl the wine in your glass to aerate it and then take a mouthful and swill it around you whole mouth before swallowing (or spitting if you are going on to taste more wines). Then take another taste for the full flavour of the wine to become apparent. We preferred the 2014 – it was lighter in colour and more red berry in flavour – but both were delicious.

The Bordelaise (75cl) bottle of 2011 costs 19.50 EUR and the 2014 19.00 EUR. Once you appreciate the work that’s gone into making it, the price is very reasonable indeed.

Visit St Emilion

Back on board the coach with Agnes we headed for St Emilion town itself, a gorgeous town, naturally full of wine outlets but also with much history outside of the wine industry.  For example, close by is the village of Pressac, where in 1453, following the Battle of Castillon, which ended the Hundred Years War, the official treaties were signed at Chateau de Pressac, which only became a wine producer in the 1700s. Much of the land was de-forested in this region to plant vines and most of the limestones used for building was quarried in St Emilion itself.

One of the hidden wonders in the town is the monolithic Catholic church, hewn out of the rock-face next to the market square. With a religious history from pagan times, including defense during times of war, it offers a fascinating half-hour tour. Agnes also had plenty of special insights to add as an actual inhabitant of the town. She showed us the local macaron delicacy (not the coloured sandwich variety found in patisserie all over France) as well as giving us directions to other sites during our free time to explore before heading back to Liborne and Cyrano.

What a wonderful and enlightening day. Discover Bordeaux for yourself.

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

MS Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux river cruiseMS Cyrano de Bergerac

3 decks, 87 outside cabins, elevators, 174 guests, 25 crew

Double cabin 8m² or 13m² with king size bed
Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux GirondeTV, telephone (internal use), bathroom with basin, shower and toilet, towels, safe, independent air-con, 220V sockets, Wi-Fi

Food

Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux Aquitaine

Set menu, no choices (but special diets and allergies catered for)

Buffet Breakfast, 4 course lunch, 3 course dinner

Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux Gironde cruise

Guests are seated at same table every day

Bordeaux Cyrano de Bergerac dining buffet

Napkins – different foldings every day Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux Gironde cruise

Wines

Cyrano de bergerac Bordeaux Gironde

Château Simon, Rouge – soft and fruity
90% Merlot
5% Cabernet Sauvignon
5% Cabernet Franc

Château Simon, Blanc – light, very pleasant citrus flavour
50% Sauvignon
50% Sémillon

Rosé and other wines available.

Cyrano de Bergerac Bar Bordeaux Gironde

Sun deck

Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux Aquitaine Gironde Cruise

Cruises in Bordeaux

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

1. Location, location, location

Bordeaux Aquitaine river cruise Cyrano CroisiEurope

This thrilling cruising region is composed of the rivers Garonne and Dordogne flowing into the Atlantic ocean, which together make up the Gironde estuary. A Bordeaux cruise will take you to delightful moorings on both rivers and indeed the CroisiEurope line uniquely includes a trip as far as Rohan on the northern tip – well worth doing. On a week’s cruise you’ll see many sights just from your deck chair – small villages and steepled churches, limestone cliffs and hillsides, troglodyte dwellings, stilted carrelet fishing huts, and a myriad of bridges, including the famous Pont Pierre and the lifting bridge of Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux Itself. On this busy waterway there’s never a dull moment and if you like being on smooth, wave-less water, seeing the tides turn and watching the colour and texture of the waters change with the sky and wind, then you’ll delight in this region.

2. History

Inhabited for thousands of years, including being in English hands for 300 of them, it was the Romans that introduced the vine for which Bordeaux is famed. Naturally, there is history everywhere, from the many denominations of monk that settled to tend the vineyards, to the defensive bastide towns of the 100 years war, to the merchants from all over Europe that came to make their fortunes from the wine industry. But none of it would have been possible without the waterways and the city’s ability to trade by sea.

3. Vineyards

Bordeaux Gironde vineyards France

With over 8,500 châteaux in the region, the landscape is covered in green corduroy vineyards as far as the eye can see. However, the variety of wines produced is endless. On every Bordeaux cruise there are excursions to the famous Grand Cru châteaux and at least two tastings in the Medoc and St Emilion vineyards. Wines served on board your riverboat will also include reds, rosés and whites from the local appellations. Never a thirsty moment.

4. Bordeaux

Bordeaux Gironde

One of the most important and beautiful cities in France, Bordeaux was the region’s first trading port and now claims the largest town square and the longest pedestrianised street in Europe. In addition to literally hundreds of worthy tourist attractions, such as the old Grand Theatre and the new Cité de Vin, it offers the innovative and spectacular Mirror d’Eau in front of the Place de la Bourse – every 20 minutes the reflection breaks into a dreamy mist. Bordeaux’s setting on the bend of the river Garonne, the Port de la Lune, with its beautiful stand of 18th century merchants’ houses and prominent maritime buildings, provides one of the most romantic promenades in the world.

5. Bordeaux cruise excursions

River cruise in France Bordeaux Aquitaine

On the list of Bordeaux cruise excursions to choose from are walking, cycling and coach tours, with English speaking guides, local specialists and hosts for tastings and tours of historic sites.

  • Medoc – Chateaux de Margaux, St Julien, Haute-Medoc, Lafitte Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild and Latour
  • Dordogne – the Corniche route, Blaye and Vauban’s Citadel, Bourg
  • St Emilion – vineyards, tastings, the medieval town and monolithic church
  • Bordeaux – panoramic coach and walking tour
  • Cadillac – town tour, and the stunning Château de Roquetaillade

6. Connections

Bordeaux Gironde

Fly to Bordeaux’s international airport (at Merignac, code BOD) or take the TGV fast train service from Gare Montparnasse in central Paris to reach Bordeaux in a little over 2 hours. It couldn’t get much easier. Large freight ships continue to supply Bordeaux and the surrounding area, including parts to build the Airbus 380 at HQ in Toulouse, and ocean going cruise ships also stop in Bordeaux as part of their tour around the major global cities.

Cruises in Bordeaux

See Cyrano de Bergerac

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

Autumn in the Bordeaux region offers three seasons in one day – a wintry morning when you may need a warm jacket, a sunny and warm afternoon when you’ll need layers you can strip off, and an autumnal evening with a shawl or cardy against the cooler draughts.

Sunrise through the mist in Aquitaine, Cyrano de Bergerac, Bordeaux

After a misty start we’re ready for an action packed second day on the Gironde. Having cruised across from Pauillac to moor in Blaye (pronounced Bligh) we took the coach along the corniche towards Bourg. Alexandra, our truly excellent Tourist Board guide, was full of knowledgeable explanations as we drove through the Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux vineyards and the wealthy villages of Plassac, Roque de Thau and the German ammunition stores deep in the limestone hillsides.

We pass many attractive ‘carrelets’ – huts on stilts (for it is very tidal here) – so called because they each have a square (carré) net for fishing. Owned by the town council they can be booked by locals who care to try their luck for mullet, lamprey, shrimp and salmon.

Did you know: the Bordeaux region employs 55,000 people in the wine making industry each year.

Visit Bourg

Bordeaux Gironde Dordogne Bourg

Bourg is a quiet but once very important 18th-century strategic town on the site of a Roman fortress. It used to stand at the confluence of the two rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne, but over the decades nature’s deposits of silt and stone have moved the confluence further downstream, leaving Bourg to stand on just the Dordogne. The  locals tell us that the town comes to life in the summer months, with a lively and important market every Sunday and many visitors attracted by its peaceful setting and fascinating history.

Cyrano de Bergerac Bourg Dordogne Bordeaux

The rocky outcrop creating its ancient vantage point of Bourg also provided stone used far and wide to build defensive chateaux, dry moats and warning bell towers. The upper town walls are impressive with a 200 foot drop down to the lower town, where once there was an important port there is still a little marina.

On our way, we find the well-preserved laverie,or ‘house of commons’ as it was known when the women gathered for the weekly wash, which is fed by an ice-cold steam and is still used occasionally by one or two of the elderly residents today.

Figues de Bourg

This actually tiny sweet treat is a Figues de Bourg. Unique to Bourg this divine morsel is made of a purée of figs with a little brandy then covered with raspberry marzipan. 

Before we board the Cyrano de Bergerac for the evening, we are treated to a tour of the Citadel at Blaye. It was designed by the great French military strategist and 17th-century designer, Marshall Vauban. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, it remains a stunning example of the genius of Vauban.

Visit Bourg Miraculously, he stayed only two weeks in Blaye to design the fortress, which was built over the following four years and finished in 1689. In 1915 it housed 6,000 German prisoners, but was attacked only once in its active lifetime, by Anglo-Portuguese troops whose siege lasted two weeks resulting in 10 dead and 50 wounded. Compare this to the earlier fortress at Blaye that was attacked 16 times before Vauban built the citadel.

Did you know: grape seed oil, a by-product of wine making, has no flavour of its own. It is therefore used as the base for rosemary oil and other savoury flavoured oils.

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

MS Cyrano de Bergerac moored at Pauillace, Bordeaux

Monday’s vineyard excursion from CroisiEurope’s MS Cyrano de Bergerac riverboat into the Medoc region is very good and well worth the 68 EUR. The price includes the coach ride, guided tour and wine tastings. All excursions are extra and most days there’s a choice between ‘leisurely’ and ‘more active’ options.

It’s just a shortish coach trip from our new mooring in Pauillac, and a delightful one and a half hours’ cruise downstream from Bordeaux. It still has a delightful marina for yachts and small boats just inside the harbour wall even though the town itself has halved in size in recent years – and indeed the peninsula region of the Medoc now only supports the wine and forestry industries.

Our very knowledgeable and effervescent guide, Carla, pointed out just a few of the 800 châteaux in the Medoc region, including Rothschild, Lafitte and Palmer.

The morning's grape harvest in Bordeaux, October 2018

We discovered, for example, that the blue copper sulphate sprayed onto the grapes at Château Beychevelle to keep the hands of children off also turned out to be a great preservative. With time it became the Bordeaux Mixture beloved by gardeners.

However, many of the vineyards are turning to more natural ways of producing wine – organic and bio-dynamic. In fact, wine growers are revisiting older methods of controlling pests by planting trees and flowers, and encouraging blue birds and bats, sheep and hens into the vineyards.

Chateau Pichon Baron Bordeaux river cruise excursion

We also learned that it’s very difficult to make money out of vineyards; it’s a precarious living being so dependant on the vagaries of climate and the cost of the land far outstripping income from wine production. These days, many of the prestigious vineyards are ultimately owned by investors. Château Pichon Baron, for example, founded in 1850 and one of the great historic vineyards in Bordeaux, is now owned by AXA.

Bordeaux Wine Gironde Cruise

We stopped to discover wine-tasting at Château Prieuré Lichine with an introduction and tour by Marion. The château has a fascinating history starting with Benedictine monks and the earliest production of Bordeaux wines. Throughout the 20th century it had various owners and many a low point in terms of finances and planted vines. Rescued by Alexis Lichine in the 1950s he began the notion of marketing vineyards and welcoming visitors.

Marion leads the wine tasting at Chateau Prieure LichineDid you know: the Château Prieure Lichine vineyard matures its wines in barrels from many different coopers. Each cooper ‘toasts’ the inside of the oak barrels in a different way, resulting in a different flavour; the barrels are also re-used over the years between each of their 3 different wines. Each barrel stores enough wine for around 300 hundred bottles, so to ensure a consistent taste to the year’s wine, the barrels of wine are re-mixed before bottling. All this, added to the differences in terroir and local rainfall, helps to make a wine ‘complex’ and unique.

Chateau Prieure Lichine vineyard matures its wines in barrels from many different coopers.

Tempted? Let’s look at a Bordeaux cruise to suit you.

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

 

MS Cyrano de Bergerace Bordeaux river cruise

So, we’re aboard! Off on MS Cyrano de Bergerac with CroisiEurope to explore the Gironde estuary and the delights of Bordeaux and its vineyards. 

Did you know? ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ is the name of a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. The real man, on whom the story is loosely based, was called Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a nobleman and soldier in the French Army. He is brash, strong-willed, a remarkable duellist, a poet and musician. However, he also has an extremely large nose which prevents him from expressing his love for his distant cousin, the lovely Roxane. It’s a tragic love story – during which Cyrano invents the word ‘Panache’  to describe himself – so let’s hope the ship has plenty of it!

Our first evening aboard

It’s a wet evening with grey clouds clearing from the south as we cross the threshold of the ship, Cyrano, into the reception area. The crew is lined up, smiles all round, and we’re made to feel very welcome. The boat is smart, tidy and attractively presented, one of four white ships moored on the elegant sweeping half-moon quayside in Bordeaux.

We’re swiftly escorted to our cabin by Ursula who shows us the main features of our suite. It’s brightly lit in turquoise and white decor, with TV, air-con, masses of storage in a full length wardrobe and shelving unit, vanity cupboard unit with mirror, and a large sliding window the length of the cabin. Suitcases slide easily under the bed. One bedside lamp, no kettle but two electric sockets (220v) and one in the bathroom too. It’s all spotless and everything looks new.

Later we discover that the beds and pillows are as comfortable as they look and although we have a middle deck cabin in the centre of the boat, with bar to one side and salon and dance floor to the other, there is no disturbance at all, and we sleep the sleep of the good.

River cruise dinners

Dinner, at half past seven, after the glittering introduction to the crew, is very good. As vegetarians we often get more imaginative food. Although the starter was a rather unimaginative goat’s cheese salad it had a delicious dressing. The main course was very tasty. Light vegetarian rissoles with green beans and dauphinoise potatoes, and then a chantilly, ice cream and coffee dessert. We chose the house red wine, Chateau de Simon, which is very drinkable – moderately fruity and nicely smooth.

Cyrano de Bergerac Bordeaux Aquitaine

Dinner service seems very efficient, with Henri, the Pursar, distributing trays of dishes via the dumb waiter from the galley below, and Stefane, the assistant Pursar, and four waitresses serving each table. We stay at the same river-view table with the same fellow passengers all week.

Tempted? Discover more about Bordeaux river cruises.

Read more about our cruise aboard MS Cyrano de Bergerac:

 

Savannah is the belle of the Canal du Midi. She is as renowned for her bright and glorious red exterior as for her exceptional hospitality, superb gastronomy and outstanding itineraries.

Her sumptuous cruises around Carcassonne pass the vineyards of Corbieres from the sunflower valley of the Lauragais. Her fascinating itineraries can be flexed to incorporate diverse activities and add-ons while showcasing the very best of the Canal du Midi.

Savannah is one of the hotel barges in France that tailors its itineraries particularly well for those travelling with children. Family friendly cruises on the Canal du Midi are rarely this special.

Your host, Adrien, and his crew will attend to your Canal du Midi dreams and make memories of a lifetime.

Savannah’s family friendly Canal du Midi cruise

Savannah family friendly cruise Canal du MidiIt’s all about the kids on this family adventure cruise like no other. Exclusive to you and tailored to the age and enthusiasm of your brood.

Adrien, has gone above and beyond to ensure every member of the family is exquisitely catered for. These special cruises overflow with activity options aboard and ashore. Following the classic Canal du Midi route (detailed below), your children are encouraged to learn about life on the water and have a go.

Tailor your bespoke itinerary…

  • Return to the land for a Citroen 2CV road trip – an icon of French motoring
  • Explore the tunnels of the Gouffre de Cabrespine for a slice of adventure and history that’s even better than dinosaurs
  • Horse riding at Pommayrac
  • Kayak rafting in the foothills of the Pyrenees
  • Archery & more…

Book a family cruise on the Canal du Midi: email me

Savannah’s Classic Canal du Midi cruise

Savannah luxury hotel barge Canal du MidiWelcome aboard your 6 night cruise with a champagne reception and dinner aboard. Along and beyond the waterway, through Languedoc Roussillon and the Midi Pyrenees, Adrien shares his adoration of this part of France and hopes you’ll fall in love with it too.

Cruise highlights include:

  • Minerve. Discover this pretty hilltop village, its Cathar history and its ancient wine heritage. Meet a top winemaker and savour a delicious tasting on an exclusive visit.
  • Narbonne. Explore the town with Roman roots and bustling modern day life. Joined by chef, select the freshest of local produce for meals aboard.
  • Carcassonne. Immerse yourself in magical medieval Carcassonne for a full day of enjoyment within this fortified city and bastide.
  • Château Pennautier. Luxuriate here. A spectacular example of a French chateau set amidst the Lorgeril family vineyards. A private lunch and tasting awaits.
  • Mirepoix. Enjoy the countryside spectacle as you marvel at this beautiful part of the Midi Pyrenees region and see how it differs from Languedoc Roussillon.

Book your Classic Canal du Midi cruise: email me

Bespoke cruise excursions and activities

Adrien specialises in creating the most unique and memorable of Canal du Midi cruises. In addition to the typical itinerary excursions, he can also arrange additional land-side activities including helicopter flights to view the Languedoc from the sky, and an overnight stay at Chateau Pennautier. This is not the limit of his creativity – please contact me to discuss other options and ideas.

Find out more about Savannah, her cruises and excursions.