Sunday, Day 1 Marseillan
You will be met at the designated meeting point and transferred to where the Athos awaits you at her moorings in Marseillan. A full-crew welcome-aboard follows, with Champagne and Mediterranean canapés. Once you are settled into your cabin, you will be invited to a 4-course dinner, prepared by our on board Chef and meet your wine guide for the week, Juliet Bruce Jones, a Master of Wine who has lived in the Languedoc for 10 years and is an expert on its wines. Enjoy a glass of excellent sparkling wine from Limoux while Juliet introduces this week of wine discovery. A fun, informative itinerary of visits to top wineries and vineyards, tastings winemakers, as well as tastings on board the Athos and fabulous local wines with food prepared by your on board chef.
Monday, Day 2 Marseillan to Portiragnes
Enjoy your first café au lait on the spacious deck of Athos, overlooking the open waters of the Etang de Thau. While coffee is available at any time from the bar, continental-style breakfast is served, at your leisure, beginning at 8:00am. Your Tour Guide proposes a morning visit and tasting at the NoillyPrat Vermouth Distillery. On your return to Athos, Julian gets Athos underway and a “floating” seafood lunch is proposed. The Etang de Thau hosts Europe’s largest Mussel and Oyster Park. According to the popular local wine pairing, there is plenty of crisp, citrusy Picpoul de Pinet to go with the al fresco seafood lunch. When you arrive at the evening’s mooring, Master of Wines Juliet Bruce Jones comes on board to present a number of wines in a guided introduction to wines of the Languedoc.
Tuesday, Day 3 Portiragnes to Fonserannes
After breakfast, this morning’s suggested visit is a selection of guided wine tastings lead by Master of Wine, Juliet Bruce Jones. She suggests a short drive into Beziers, where enthusiastic wine tasters can enjoy a guided visit and tasting at Domaine de la Colombette. Vignerons Mr. Pugibet and his son are nationally and internationally acclaimed for their successful use of new wine technology, along with their superb Sauvignon Blanc and Lledoner Pelut.
On returning to Athos, Chef and the hostess begin serving up today’s luxury meal, accompanied by locally vinified rose. Captain Julian and his deck hand are busy getting Athos underway. This 17th c. feat of engineering, the “Neuf Ecluses” (or staircase locks), is sure to impress. Athos’ crew expertly tie her up in each lock, and wait for the gates to close safely behind her before the water levels fill up and allow her to pass one lock into the next. But it’s not over yet: coming up next is the 18th c. Canal Bridge, which will carry the Athos over the Orb River. This evening’s mooring is the breath-taking view point over Saint Nazaire Cathedral at the Fonserannes.
Wednesday, Day 4 Fonserannes to Les Enserunes
Why not take a side-trip to the weekly morning market in Narbonne? Even for non-shoppers, Narbonne offers much entertainment on a Thursday morning. Explore an excavated portion of the original Roman road, the Via Domitia, or, browse through the well-compiled Roman Museum, or, discover the beauty of St. Juste Cathedral, or, simply take a moment to blend into the scene: sit and relax with a paper in one of the many cafés.
For Wine Enthusiasts who might like to purchase and ship certain bottles, Athos recommends our long-time Caviste at the Cave du Palais in Narbonne, and offers to take those interested to look at this large collection. Although shipping is costly, it can be arranged from here for those who are interested. Your guide suggests a typical French market-lunch today: join the locals for at Chez Bebelle for grilled meats, local wine, and local atmosphere! Return to the boat for a leisurely afternoon of cruising, and possibly a late afternoon walk canal-side.
Thursday, Day 5 Les Enserunes to Capestang
This morning’s suggested visit is a tasting at the Oulibo – the local olive oil pressoir. After tasting those organic and wholesome olives (accompanied, biensûr by a small glass of rosé!!), a short drive up the Gorge de la Cesse and into the hilltop village of Minerve is in order. Your guide will regale you with the harrowing tale of the Cathar siege launched at Minerve during the 13th C.
En route back to the Athos, your guide points out some of the many respectable Minervois wineries in the area and you meet up with Juliet who has planned a tasting at a nearby winery. Once back on board, Chef regales your group with another satisfying and Athos moors with a clear view of the flood lit St. Etienne cathedral. The village is a 5-minute walk, and dinner will be waiting on your return.
Friday, Day 6 Capestang to Argelliers
The proposed morning visit is a drive to the famous Medieval double-walled city of Carcassonne. Your knowledgeable on-board guide will offer the historical & guided visit — making sure that you have time to browse those shops! Finishing up the visit, your guide suggests a quick wine tasting at one of the Caves in the Medieval Cité. While the Captain gets Athos underway for an afternoon’s cruise to Argeliers, Chef will serve up a local 3-course gourmet meal (perhaps including the famous duck confit stew, Cassoulet). Chef’s efforts are sure to make this evening worth remembering! Captain Julian will join your party for your final dinner on board this evening, and Juliet will have chosen particularly special wines for your final meal on board. During the evening, he will invite the crew to make a farewell toast with you.
Saturday, Day 7 Argelliers
After breakfast, you wave goodbye to the Crew, who have looked after your every need throughout the week. The minivans will now depart to the appointed destination.
Athos’ Captain, the Crew and Master of Wines look forward to accommodating your wishes over the course of the week. Please keep in mind that this is a suggested itinerary, and that driving distances, navigational hours or unforeseen circumstances could alter some of the below.