Garonne Canal ~ Montauban Canal ~ Bordeaux

Aquitaine, in the far southwest corner of France, belonged to the English Crown during the middle ages and British wine lovers today may mourn the fact that it passed back to the French. The regional capital is Bordeaux, which is a stately presence on the estuary of the Garonne river and a name that is ineffably associated with fine wines, and claret in particular. The Maison du Vin in the city centre offers a broad-based introduction to many sought after vintages, but a visit to some of the prestigious vineyards themselves is hard to beat. St Emilion it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this beautiful town and its environs has been known for its vineyards since Roman times.

Helping to link Bordeaux to Toulouse, the Canal de Garonne has sometimes been overshadowed by its older sibling the Canal du Midi, which has had the benefit of leaving it largely unspoiled. It shadows a popular pilgrimage route to Compostella and one of its outstanding attractions is the town of Moissac, with its world famous Romanesque abbey cloister. There are a number of exquisite country villages to discover, including Serignac, whose church has a distinctive twisted spire, and Duras which is famed not just for its chateau, but as the birthplace of the French writer Marguerite Duras.

As you travel inland from the Atlantic and the vineyards peter out, they are replaced by orchards growing apples, pears and particularly Ente plums. The town of Agen has become synonymous with prunes and the Pruneau d’Agen is so fine that it has earned itself a Protected Geographical Indication, which governs the location and means of its production.

► Hotel Barges cruising through Aquitaine

Wonderful Aquitaine Places

– [below] In the region: Bordeaux, Duras, Moissac, St Emilion, Bordeaux Wine, Canal de Garonne, Serignac, Agen –bordeaux2-500x300  duras-500x300  moissac-500x300
st-emilion-500x300  winetasting-500x300  bordeaux-vineyard2-500x300
canal-garonne-500x300  serignac-500x300  agen-500x300

Duras © Michel Michelot | Bordeaux vineyard ©Chateau Raba | Tasting ©Nicolle Croft | Others ©FW, wikimedia, n/a

Getting There
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Bordeaux or Toulouse hotel. French international airports are at Toulouse, Bordeaux – and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also European-flight airports at Bergerac and Carcassonne. TGV express train stations are located at Bordeaux, Montauban and Toulouse; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.

Style: 4* Excellence - average price per person from 4,750 USD

Saint LouisOwner Operated

Hotel barge Saint Louis provides a luxury cruise along the beautiful, calm waterways in the historic lands of Aquitaine and Gascony in south-west... Read more

Style: 3* Premier - average price per person from 4,050 USD

RosaE W Fleet

Rosa is a delightfully re-fitted Dutch Clipper barge with light and airy interiors and four staterooms for eight guests. Outside there is a... Read more

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