Enjoy a relaxing, peaceful slice of French life on this comfortable journey down the Canal du Midi in the Aude Valley, wedged between the Pyrenees, the Black Mountains and the Mediterranean. Take your time, choose your pace and stops, and linger or move forward as you like through scenic France. From Castelnaudary trace the ancient route of wine merchants south-east, past idyllic medieval villages, the picture-perfect castle town of Carcassonne and the famous vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon wine country. Begin days with a croissant from a local bakery and finish them dining al fresco on the deck of the boat. Drift by castles and churches, hundred-year-old plane trees that cascade over the canal and watch locals challenge each other at petanque. Enjoy the freedom to hop off and explore at anytime – perhaps to cycle around ancient ruins and medieval cities – but with a leader always on hand to help with the boat and guide you in local sightseeing and optional activities. Moor along the canal or in little marinas and gorge yourself on the incredible range of gastronomic delights – not least all the wine and cheese from local markets and vineyards. This laidback trip is the perfect way to explore the south of France.

Highlights

Travel down the 300-year-old Canal du Midi aboard a comfortable, fully-equipped boat, stopping off to explore quaint villages, antique churches and rustic farm houses. This unique cruise allows you to set your own pace and itinerary, selecting from a number of delectable destinations. The hard part is choosing...

Enjoy a guided tour through the Cite de Carcassonne, the largest fortified medieval city in Europe. Visit a family-run vineyard in Minervois, where you'll learn about centuries-old farming practices and taste the local tipple

Cycle, hike and stroll through scenic countryside, mingle with friendly locals and dine on provincial French cuisine in charming country restaurants. C'est la belle vie

Where better to experience life in the slow lane than in the countryside of southern France? Cruise down the canal at walking speed (quite literally the speed at which the canal boats are allowed to travel)

Be the captain of your own boat. You'll have plenty of opportunity to steer the vessel, with your skipper always at your side