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Secrets of Provence by Barge

4.3 stars(6 reviews)

Sun-drenched towns and cities rich with history

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
7 days From £2,495 per person
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New Lower Price on selected 2022 departures. View Dates & Prices for more details.

2022 Tour code: CSR22

About the tour

Sublime, sun-drenched towns and cities rich with history and glittering waterways await on this fabulous cruise holiday. This fabulous barge cruise brings you the very best of France's elegant Provence region.


What’s included


Day 1 - To Sete

Early this morning we meet at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International and depart on the Eurostar direct to Avignon. On arrival we transfer to Sete, in the afternoon we board our home for the next seven days, the delightful Anne-Marie, a stylish hotel barge. We are presented to the crew and enjoy a welcome drink on board before we enjoy dinner together this evening.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Étang De Thau & Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

This morning takes us to Étang De Thau, world-famous for its shellfish. We visit the Étang De Thau Museum, where we learn about the history of the shell-fishing trade and discover how the farmers and fishermen made their living. We sample some of the freshly caught shellfish while savouring the beautiful scenery from a terrace along this unique seascape. This afternoon we enjoy an excursion by coach to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, a beautiful French village tucked away in the folds of a verdant valley and boasting a wealth of medieval treasures. Here we embark on an informative guided tour that helps soak up the atmosphere of this destination that feels frozen in time. Some of the town's most impressive sights include its Romanesque abbey and the Devil's Bridge which spans a turquoise stretch of the Hérault River, and dates back to the 11th century when Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert was frequently visited by pilgrims following the St James' Way

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Palavas-Les-Flots

Today we visit an authentic 'manade' farm and discover the life of its herders, taking part in a bull sorting routine. We enjoy snacks made fresh on the farm and sample local produce before returning to the ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Aigues Mortes

Today we take a tour of Aigues-Mortes, perhaps one of the most beautiful sites in Provence. Encased by square medieval walls, this ancient fortified city is symmetrically perfect, white-washed terracotta topped houses contrast charmingly with the surrounding green countryside, in fact Aigues-Mortes is also famous for its nearby salt marshes which we discover by tourist train. Roman Legionnaires stationed nearby were paid a portion of their wage in salt from these very marshes - an intriguing facet of local history. What makes this sight spectacular is the marshes glow a pink colour, due to the microscopic algae in its waters.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - The Camargue

Today we visit the Camargue, home to 140,000 hectares of natural wetlands, showcasing an array of different wildlife. This is a paradise for nature lovers as we see wild white horses and even the odd flamingo. Additionally this region is also home to some unusual paddy fields which produce red rice - a fascinating sight. We continue on to Sainte-Marie-la-Mer.

You have free time to explore here; perhaps visit the fortified church which was built in the 9th century as an imposing bastion to deter pirate raiders along the coast, located in a strategic position near the mouth of the Petit-Rhone. The church holds a towering presence over the village and can be seen as far as 10km inland.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Arles

Today we enjoy a guided tour of historic Arles, the home of some of Europe's best Roman ruins. With a long history dating back to Celtic times, Arles' heritage of conquest over the years has left it with a rich variety of architecture, which we explore during our visit. We take in the stunning Roman Amphitheatre and enjoy the myriad of Romanesque architecture and sun-baked houses.

Arles was the inspiration for some of Van Gogh's artistry and its heritage harks back to the glory days of Julius Caesar. Once a major Roman port, Arles rose to prominence after Caesar plundered Marseille for backing his political opponent, and evidence of that prosperity is preserved wonderfully for us to see. Following our tour we travel inland to learn about olive oil production in Provence and we sample some of the local produce. Tonight we enjoy a farewell Gala dinner back on board the Anne-Marie, as a perfect way to round off our wonderful French adventure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - To London

This morning we enjoy a buffet breakfast on board before making our way to Nimes by coach. Here we will take the the train to Paris, then change for our Eurostar service back home to London.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Shore Excursions


Our fabulous guided tour of historic Arles takes in the Roman Amphitheatre and a grand collection of other Romanesque architecture. We also have a chance to sample some of the local produce in Arles.


We enjoy time in the walled city of Aigues- Mortes. This city's walls are contrasted against the pink glowing salt marshes nearby and make for a marvellous sight.


Our time here is spent visiting a fascinating 'manade' farm, where we discover the lives of its herders and have chance to sample some of the produce made on site.

Étang De Thau

The shellfish capital of Étang De Thau comprises the largest stretch of lagoons along the French coast and is a prime spot for the local shell-fishing trade. We have a chance to sample the locally caught shellfish.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.




MS Anne Marie

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4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 6 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr P Savory

5 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2018


Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs J Gooderson

4 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2018

we were disappointed with two of the shore excursions. The visit to the farm and it herders was boring and many of our group had the same opinion. The Etang de Thau was good but the shellfish tasting itself was pretty poor as the oysters were certainly not fresh.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr J Dewar

2 stars

Submitted 02 Jun 2018

Barge crew not prepared for our arrival, told to go into Sete or stay in room with no refreshments after long train and coach journey. Meal menus single choice and kept secret until seated, served on a take it or leave it basis. Menus heavily meat based and on “prestigious gala night” served bloody rare, sent back to kitchen and beef was cut up and seared on outside but still rare. Cheese course omitted from lunch used to make forth course for gala dinner. One round of drinks after dinner and then all crew went for dinner together. All inclusive when crew allowed. Sanding of external wood continued on our return from an excursion, making the foredeck unusable because of the dust on one of the only dry days. Excursion to Frances prettiest village was fake news as it did not take place and I was dismissed by the purser the previous day when I said it was in the itinerary. Our cabin at the rear of the barge was next to the engine which ran continuously except 1 night making it difficult to sleep. Continental breakfast a bun fight with undercooked boiled eggs and a chef who let it be known he did not want to make other egg choices. The Etang De Thau shellfish tasting was a raw oyster and mussel, take it or leave it again. The Manade farm was not ready for our visit and the snack was pate on crisp bread with no other “local produce”.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs C Griffiths

5 stars

Submitted 07 Oct 2017

Overall the holiday was very good. Nice climate, a lovely boat with staff that could not do enough for you. The food was exquisite. The cabins were small, but this was no problem as we were on the boat for only 5 days. Some enjoyable excursions too with a very pleasant guide

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr R Rush

5 stars

Submitted 15 Jul 2017

A really enjoyable, relaxing holiday that we would most definitely recommend to others.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs A Harber

5 stars

Submitted 19 Jun 2017

It was a wonderful holiday and everything was perfect.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Secrets of Provence by Barge

Sun-drenched towns and cities rich with history


Helen Laverack
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