Anybody who doesn’t believe in love at first sight should definitely visit France. That is just what happened to me when I visited it for the first time. After that, I came back many times, because I just cannot seem to stay away from this gorgeous country. Also, I have a lot of family there, so accommodation was never a problem. Five years ago, my sister and I wanted to get a little bit of a different perspective on France and we took a cruise. That is definitely an experience that everybody should have. This is the itinerary of the highlights and our sincere recommendation when cruising France.
Cruising France – A Unique Experience
Starting at the Amazing Béziers
You can spend an entire day enjoying the Medieval charm of Béziers old town. This is where your cruise starts. Resting on the slopes of a hill, Béziers is a small place and you can walk anywhere. Waiting for your crew, we wandered from the famous Saint Nazaire Cathedral to the city centre. I was told that there is a vibrant market of Les Halles there, as well, but I didn’t have the time to visit it. Once we started the cruise took us to the charming village Colombières for dinner.
The Beautiful and Strong Abbaye de Fontfroide
I was very excited to visit Abbaye de Fontfroide, which happened the next day. We enjoyed the morning cruise and reached the Abbaye for lunch. This Cistercian monastery is perfectly restored and kept. It is even open for events like weddings and other receptions. I took a tour of the rose gardens of the monastery. I even opted for the historical path with a guide and got to admire over 2,500 roses and the story of their origin. Others went to see the vineyards, but I was happy with tasting the wine from it for lunch at the Abbey restaurant.
Photo by Paul Wilkinson | CC 2.0
The Ancient Oppidum d’Ensérune
The rest of the day was spent admiring the beautiful Canal and I was basking in the sun on the sundeck. Our next stop took us even further through the history to the Oppidum d’Ensérune. Oppidium means a town on the top of a hill. This one, precisely, dates even before the Roman period. The best part of this site, besides the awesome wine tasting, was the view that spreads before you from the hilltop and over the Montady pond.
Exceptional Wine at Peyriac-Minervois
When in France, you can never have enough wine tasting. Our boat, the gorgeous and comfortable Belmond Alouette was well stocked with wine, but I saved myself for the local tastes at our stops. I learned that was a wise decision once we reached Peyriac-Minervois. Over 12,000 acres of vineyards, bordered by the Canal du Midi promise some extraordinary tastes. This area is known for its famous Muscat. I absolutely loved the taste and the chance to wander around the vineyards.
The Charming Carcassonne
Another UNESCO protected site is the stunning Carcassonne Citadel. The walled city is just like a place from a fairytale. The streets are cobbled and absolutely charming. Observe the towers, drawbridges, and cute, little chops. The sleepy atmosphere of the town is perfect for a lazy day at the square, sipping coffee and tasting local food.
The entire cruise goes along the Canal du Midi. It was very interesting to learn that the Canal was created by Paul Riquet in the 17th century. He was the Baron of Bonrepos and a very passionate engineer. Building the Canal was very challenging, although its use was immense. It supposed to connect the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Today, Canal du Midi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR
Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing following her on twitter, pinterest and facebook!
*UPDATED on 14/01/2017
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