3 to 6-night all-inclusive sparkling and culinary river cruise through the Provence and Camargue regions! Discover history, gastronomy and cuture
Cruise from Avignon in Provence to Aigues-Mortes in Camargue onboard our beautifully restored barge
River trip highlights
- Visit the wide and authentic Camargue natural reserve
- Discover the stunning cities of Arles and Avignon
- Enjoy local ingredients valorized by our top chef
- Visit villages and historic sites with our guided tours
- Sleep with the comfort and the charm of a hotel barge
- Enjoy a French and friendly crew speaking English
River trip summary
WHERE WE WILL CRUISE TOGETHER ;
- The experience we propose here is a discovery of two ancient and patrimony-rich regions, the Provence and the Camargue. Both have seen throughout the centuries a variety of civilizations and cultures occupy and develop their territories, turning them into a bustling center for trade, politics, art, and culture.
- Along our route on the Rhone River, we will show you around both of them, visit the cities of Avignon and Arles, discover the local roman ancient history and gastronomy, with its hundreds of locally sourced products.
- Onboard, there will be a crew of three that will do their best to make sure your experience is truly unforgettable! The crew will be composed of a captain, a chef, a deckhand/stewardess, and a professional private guide, depending on the day planning.
- You will have at your disposition a minivan fitted for 6 passengers, with excursions put together in order not to drive more than 30 minutes each time.
WHAT FOOD WILL BE SERVED TO YOU:
- During your stay onboard, our crew will help you discover the incredible variety of french dishes and of local and fresh products. Our chef knows local markets and will get the best he can find there at your table every day! Our cooking reflects Mediterranean flavors, with our chef using olive oil, fresh spices, and local herbs as its signature.
- Our cruise offer includes 6 traditional french breakfasts served every morning onboard with; "Chocolat Chaud, thé and café", croissant and other local pastries, local honey and marmelades, cheese, ham, eggs, fresh orange juice and more!
- We will also organize 4 lunches ashore in selected restaurants that have been chosen for the quality of their "cuisine", and the originality of the culinary choice they have made! It will be three courses meals, accompanied by 3 glasses of wine and a final "café".
- We will serve at your table onboard six gastronomic dinners during your stay, composed of appetizers that are called "mise en bouche" here in France. They will be followed by a four-course meal, including the local digestives.
- All meals served on board and in selected restaurants will be accompanied by a selection of fine wines from the Languedoc, Provence and Valley du Rhône. This selection will be adapted according to your own taste, and of course, to the day's menu.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE RATE:
- Barge privatization: The full privatization of the barge is guaranteed during your stay on board, the use of the three double cabins (each with its own bathroom) and other equipment.
- Pick-up & drop off: 1 pick up at the beginning of your stay, and drop off, depending on the itinerary and dates of your cruise: on the day of arrival (day 1), pick up at Avignon TGV Station, and drive to Avignon harbor. On the departure day, from Montpellier train station or airport, and to Aigues-Mortes. Reverse way the weeks the boat departs from Aigues-Mortes.
- Meals and drinks: All meals served on board, from dinner the night of your arrival, to your last breakfast spent onboard on the morning of departure (including meals ashore). Also included are the drinks and fine wines.
- Open bar: The bar is available all cruise long, and stocked with local digestives, non-alcoholic drinks and local wines.
- Daily guided excursions: entrance fees to the different sites, and the private minibus that will drive you around, from one side to the other. Extra professional guides as mentioned in the following program.
- Onboard bicycles: available for excursions along the tow-paths and countryside. For further sport equipment, feel free to ask for details to ou Bookarivertrip.com agent!
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE RATE:
- Travel expenses: The guest has to provide for airfare to and from France. Information about local airports, travel routes and best periods for flying can be asked to your agent.
- Extra journeys: Pick-up and drop-off that is not included in the daily schedule or that would not have been agreed upon before booking confirmation. Additional transportation time can also be discussed as an extra.
- Travel insurance: we recommend our guests to take a private travel and cancellation insurance, as such trips are planned long in advance, and the deposits are refundable only according to certain conditions.
- Personal expenses: drinks and extra expenses made during excursions, transfers, and along your trip.
- Crew gratuity: it is a common practice in the industry to include a crew gratuity ranging from 5 to 10% of the total reservation cost.
River trip description
Please note that this cruise will run go and back depending on the week of the year you want to make the booking. Your Bookarivertrip.com agent will give you all the relevant information.
Day 1-Saturday: Welcome onboard at Avignon and discover your barge!
- Once arrived at the agreed pickup location, your minibus will be waiting to transfer your group on the barge, moored on the Rhône River in Avignon's city center. Take time to visit the boat, discover your cabins and rest on the terrace!
- It will then be time to do welcome champagne and drinks, and the occasion to meet the crew and learn more about your itinerary. We will have prepared a succulent meal, that our chef will serve you after the special "mise en bouche"!
- The evening is all your afterward, to relax on board, or go to discover Avignon center, the river banks, or the good bars of this famous city. You will for sure enjoy its "southern" ambiance and style!
Day 2-Sunday: Morning visit of Avignon and cruise to Vallabregues
- After breakfast on board, your guide will show you around the city, tell you all its little secrets, and conduct you to the famous Palais des Papes, a wonder of Gothic art from the Middle Age times. You will see a lot of religious sites, as the city was the capital of the western Christian world during the 14th century.
- We will lead you through beautiful squares, an incredibly diversified set of monuments, to remarkable mansions and sites, and local boutiques standing in its meandering streets!
- After lunch in a selected restaurant, you will have all the time to discover Avignon, this Provence Jewell! Then we will start our cruise adventure, leaving to the small and hidden village of Vallabrègues, our mooring for the night.
- Dinner will then be served to you, with the best selection of French wines. Just wait for the cheese platter!
Day 3-Monday: Medieval city visit and cruise to the Roman town of Arles
- We will visit Les Baux-de-Provence fortified medieval city and its stunning castle. You will meander around its small streets, enjoy its shady terraces and discover the views from the top cliff. Our guide will recommend walk you around nice cafes, small shops, and the history tour!
- The region around it is called the Alpilles, composed of steep hills and a concentrate of Provence culture and art.
- After that, we are off to the main wonder of the Provence; olive oil. We will visit the Moulin de Castellas olive oil farm, and get to know about its making process, the fruit particularities and taste it at different stages of the production process.
- We will reach a restaurant located in a typical village square. The town has many shops and boutiques where you can buy some local handicrafts, and art galleries to discover the region's talents.
- The afternoon cruise to Arles, the city of Romans, we will pass through beautiful countryside landscapes, in front of stone villages and cross an impressive lock with a 14m height difference! This cruise will be a good occasion to learn about river life and navigation.
- The evening is all yours, maybe time for some cocktails made by our stewardess, in order to prepare for the gastronomic lunch that will be later served to you.
Day 4-Tuesday: Discover Arles and an afternoon cruise to Saint-Gilles
- Today, its time to visit a very typical city, home of the bull breeding tradition, the city of Arles! Impressive architectural vestiges of the Roman era, arty views that Van Gogh enjoyed so much for its light, and hidden vestiges will be shown to you by our guide.
- We will take lunch at a selected restaurant, in the heart of the city, before returning onboard for our afternoon cruising adventure! We will transfer to the Petit Rhône, one of the arms of the delta du Rhône that encloses the region of Camargue.
- Tonight, we will moor at Saint Gilles, after 4 hours of navigation on this beautiful waterway. Dinner will be prepared with local ingredients. You will start feeling the Mediterranean influence in the choice of dishes!
Day 5-Wednesday: Enter the Camargue region and cruise to Gallician
- Today, it is time to penetrate at the heart of the Camargue territory! We will visit together a typical bull and horses breeding farm, still perpetuating today this ancient tradition. The farm team will show you around, tell you about regional culture and ways, and you will have the occasion to approach the animals, and even feed them! Quite impressive as you will see.
- After going on board to enjoy one of the chef's succulent lunches on the terrace, you will see the beginning of very wild and stunning landscapes, part of the Camargue region, that has no administrative role as it is an ancient biological reserve with thousands of species, such as pink flamingos! You will visit the Camargue capital, Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. You will be stunned by its fortified church, that is famous for its gypsy pilgrimage. If the weather and the season allows it, it will be time for a swim in the Mediterranean and its beautiful colors.
- Then we will be off for our afternoon and sunset cruise to Gallician! Softly cruise on the river waters while comfortably siting on the terrace and enjoying a cocktail with your group. Perfect time to discover a stunning view of the Camargue, its white horses and bulls freely living in the river banks, before enjoying the regional dishes and wines for dinner.
Day 6-Thursday: Cruise through wildlife and reach the salines of Aigues-Mortes
- Today, we continue our cruise on the famous Canal du Rhône à Sète, built to connect the Rhone River and the Atlantic Ocean through the Canal du Midi. Another waterway infrastructure miracle! Here start the wildest and best-preserved part of the Camargue region, which is also one of Europe's largest wetlands reserve.
- We will then arrive at the fortified town of Aigues-Mortes, situated in the middle of pinky salins. Founded by King Saint-Louis, the town was built as a central harbor on the Mediterranean sea, which aim was to be a commercial hub to drain regional production, export them, and protect the whole region against invaders.
- After lunch in one top restaurant, located in the medieval and shady streets of Aigues-Mortes, we will be off for a three hours ride in the magic environment of the Salins. Driving in a 4by4 with a local guide to explain to us all its stories, you will discover inaccessible places, flora, fauna and discover this 1000's years old industry.
- Tonight, we will have prepared you a few surprises to make your last night on board unforgettable. Cocktails, appetizers, gastronomic dishes and products and the best local desert!
Day 7-Friday: Day of departure
- Today, it is your last morning onboard. Take some time to say bye to the barge, enjoy some time on deck, and enjoy the breakfast.
- After that, you will be dropped off at an agreed airport or train station, and ready for your next experience. We will be waiting for you next year.
How to get there
By car, Avignon is close to two highways:
- the A7 autoroute (E714) is a north-south axis on which there are two exits.
- the A9 autoroute (E15) which branches from the A7 near Orange along a north-east south-west axis towards Spain.
- The city has nine paid parking buildings with a total of 7,100 parking spaces, parking buildings under surveillance with a capacity for 2,050 cars with a free shuttle to the city center, as well as five other free parking areas with a capacity of 900 cars.
By Train, you can reach it by railways:
- Avignon is served by two railway stations: the historic train station built in 1860, the Gare d'Avignon-Centre, located just outside the city walls, which can accommodate any type of train.
- Since 2001, the Gare d'Avignon TGV in the "Courtine" district south of the city, on the LGV Méditerranée line. Since December 2013 the two stations have been connected by a link line – the Virgule.
- The Montfavet district, which was formerly a separate commune, also has a station.
By plane, the following airports:
- The Avignon - Caumont Airport on the south-eastern commune border has several international routes to England.
- The major airport in the region with domestic and international scheduled passenger service is the Marseille Provence Airport.
About the area
- During your stay on board and your discovery of the region, we will keep only three master words in our vocabulary: Gastronomy, Nature and Culture. A famous cantor of the local culture from the 19th century used to declaim that "When the Good Lord begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence". We made this though ours.
- Thanks to our fully committed crew, and to our experienced and local tour guide (they all speak English), we will help you discover the beauties of both PROVENCE and CAMARGUE regions. Lovely provençal villages, art from locals and in the architecture, and local perfumes and essences will constitute the heart of your experience.
- Through the days and excursions, you will be stunned by the beauty of landscapes, in between the slopes of the Rhone River where the flowers have been cultivated for centuries, causing the emergence of the modern perfume industry.
- Once we get to the Camargue, the garrigue that smells like thyme and lavender, the vineyards that exist along this ancient route, and the amazing wildlife in the surroundings, are the best example of what makes Provence region so unique. Being very close to the sea, the Mediterranean influences have penetrated deep inland, creating an incredible mix.
- The stunning cities of Arles, Avignon, or Aigues-Mortes will surprise you by the richness of their architecture, and the diversity of their influences. Churches, palaces, noble houses, museums, farms, and lots more will be there for you to discover.
- Feel free to ask your Bookarivertrip.com agent or the owners about the region, what there is to do, and ask them your questions. They are the first ambassadors of these gorgeous places!
River trip owner
Christel and Eric have worked in transportation and tourism for many years. They decided to return to the South of France where they have already operated a passenger boat.
They want to share their love of this region by cruising with their barge. Eric, captain for more than 20 years, is also passionate about cooking. This passion comes from his grandmother and mother, true “cordon bleu”. They transmitted him their knowledge of traditional cuisine, tasty and generous.
He returned to school in 2017 for one year to be a professional cook and learn the basics of the French cuisine. Christel has worked for a long time in a travel agency and knows perfectly “le Midi de la France”. She will share her passion for Provence and Camargue with her guests aboard our stunning barge!
4 Reviews - 3 to 6-night all-inclusive sparkling and culinary river cruise through the Provence and Camargue regions! Discover history, gastronomy and cuture
Stanley - England
I have delayed giving my feedback because I find it difficult to write anything that will do justice to the wonderful holiday we experienced. Thank you for recommending this stunning barge for our barge holiday!
Eric and Christel are fantastic hosts. Eric is an excellent cook and we always enjoyed his food. There was always plenty of food and wine and Coca (for me). The barge was comfortable and tastefully decorated. We also enjoyed the company of their dog, Jazz.
The people we met were also great. Joel the pilot was always friendly and welcoming in the wheelhouse. The guides Isabelle and Elodie were knowledgable and very nice. The excursions to the Parc Ornithologique and Salins du Midi by 4x4 were educational and we had very enthusiastic young guides. The three lunches ashore were at well-chosen and good restaurants.
Eric and Christel were meticulous in their planning and it shows because everything ran smoothly from the start. Everyone in our group enjoyed our time onboard the barge and we wish Eric and Christel many successful barging seasons on the canals.
Stanley, Hwee Tee, Yolanda and - Singapore
Thank you for a memorable holiday. We arrived safely in Singapore at 1130h French time on Sunday.
There was a bad storm after we arrived at Lyon airport on Saturday afternoon. We hoped the barge and your family were safe!
We will recommend it to all our friends who want a very special holiday!
Thank you and Best Wishes always!
Bob and Ri, Linda and Debbie - the United States
Eric and Christel (and Jazz)
Thank you for a memorable trip and your warm hospitality. Your boat is lovely and the food… Oh mon Dieu!
Bob is looking forward to trying to make real mayonnaise!
Alexander - the United States
We had such a great time on your beautiful barge and we really wanted to thank you from the bottoms of our heart. I'm so sorry that I was late to respond and to send the photos!