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Barges In France: Colibri
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Cruise in the Southwest of France on the Canal Lateral a la Garonne in 2015 and on the Canal du Midi in 2016 Aboard the Deluxe Hotel-Barge COLIBRI

SOLD OUT FOR 2015 - NOW ACCEPTING BOOKINGS FOR 2016

SEVEN DAYS / SIX NIGHTS (SIX DAYS / FIVE NIGHTS IN 2016)

The 4-passenger luxury hotel barge Colibri is one of the prettiest and most comfortable barges currently cruising the canals of France. Consider her your own private hotel with ever changing views. Come aboard and allow the crew to take care of every need and make you feel truly pampered. For 2015 the Colibri is offering private charters with full board (all meals included, two of which are at restaurants ashore) or half board (includes daily breakfast and lunch plus the welcome dinner) charters from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning. For 2016 it is offering full board charters with all meals on board from Sunday noon to Friday morning.

For 2015 (NOW SOLD OUT) the Colibri is cruising in the Aquitaine region of France on the Canal lateral de la Garonne. The canal crosses the region of Aquitaine, between Toulouse and Bordeaux. The Colibri is offering its previous cruise route from Castets-en-Dorthe to Agen, and adding an alternate route from the small port of Montech to Agen. The canal is beautiful and calm with very little traffic; much of the way is tree-lined with small villages along the canal. Excursions include the village of St Emilion, a UNESCO world heritage site and home of the world famous wines, the Chateau de Duras, Moissac with its magnificent Abbey, and the UNESCO world heritage site of the Collegiale of La Romieu.

In 2016 the Colibri is returning to the Canal du Midi and is offering two different itineraries. Its preferred itinerary is from Carcassonne to the Summit of the Canal du Midi, passing through the country town of Castelnaudary. This section of the Canal is beautiful and mostly tree-lined with fabulous views across the countryside. It passes through locks every day of this cruise (21 locks, many of which are multiple basins) as it climbs and makes its way to the highest point of the canal, the Seuil de Naurouze. This lesser known stretch of canal is the real treasure of the Canal du Midi. The Colibri also offers an alternative cruise itinerary from Le Somail (near Narbonne) to Carcassonne. This is a lovely itinerary, a little less shaded and best cruised in the quieter months, early or late in the season.

Colibri is a classic Dutch Luxemotor canal barge built in Friesland, Holland in 1931 and lovingly converted into a hotel barge from her cargo carrying days. Colibri was completely refitted in 2004 with added touches of luxury and elegance. Despite her generous size, Colibri takes only four guests, thus affording space and maximum comfort for everyone. Sleeping accommodations include two staterooms with generous en-suite bathrooms with hairdryers and bathrobes. The beds are European king-size, or you may choose two twin beds to afford flexibility to guest’s arrangements. The cabins are furnished with French oak furniture with ample hanging space and drawers to unpack your belongings and to feel at home. The interior is air conditioned to ensure your well-being. The dining area and salon are light and spacious, the perfect place to relax and feel at home, read a book, or chat over dinner and a glass of wine. There is a music system and collection of music, a small library of books, games and DVD's available to you. Guidebooks for the area are available for you to browse and help us to customise the cruise to your wishes.

On deck, there is the canopied wheelhouse where you will be shaded while chatting with the Captain. The large deck space also allows for shaded al fresco dining, and the chance to relax and find yourselves in awe of the scenery as you pass ancient villages and vineyards.There are lounge chairs for those who wish to take some sun while cooled by the gentle breeze. Four bicycles are at your disposal for riding the towpaths or exploring the villages and surrounding areas. The chauffeured and air-conditioned minibus will take you on excursions so that you can enjoy the sights in the area surrounding the canal.

ABOUT YOUR HOSTS: Owners Earl and Fiona worked for many years in the luxury yachting industry, cruising the Mediterranean, Caribbean, from Australia to Alaska and have now chosen to make the canals of France their cruising ground. They married in France and fell in love with the country, life style, food and wines. They cannot think of a better place to cruise.With a background in catering and luxury service including chief stewardess / head of household on yachts up to 75 metres, Fiona delights guests with her gastronomic tour of the region and the Mediterranean. Earl is Australian, and has cruised widely with many ocean passages as an officer on vessels up to 75 meters, but is delighted to be in command of his own vessel. With the knowledge and experience gained from his super yacht chartering days and his love of people, Earl is fulfilling his dreams in welcoming and entertaining guests aboard his own boat. His enthusiasm for life will be evident as soon as you meet him. Earl and Fiona offer their service to make your holiday a magnificent experience that you will remember for a lifetime. They believe that after spending a great deal of their lives working on luxury super yachts, everyone deserves to be pampered in the same way!

The owners have two dogs, Harry and Toby, on board. They are calm and friendly, less than knee high, and are normally found lying in the shade, out of the way.


Features

  • Size of barge: 87 ft by 17 ft
  • Number of Passengers: 4
  • Number of Cabins (all with private bath): 2
  • Crew: 3
  • Air Conditioning and Central Heating: Yes
  • Salon: Light and airy salon with three windows, glass doors, two arm chairs and a sofa, plus a game table.
  • Bar: Open bar
  • Deck: Canopied wheelhouse with guest seating. Partially shaded deck with dining table for al fresco dining and lounge chairs. Teak deck furniture.
  • Spa Tub: No
  • Cabin Features: Aft cabin 156 sq ft, Forward cabin 132 sq ft, both with twin beds or king and large ensuite bathroom with shower.
  • Vehicle for Transfers/Excursions: Air-conditioned minibus seating for 4 passengers
  • Accessibility: Steps to salon and cabins.
  • Bicycles: Four 21-speed mountain bikes.
  • Meal Plan: Full board (2 meals on shore included) or half board (five dinners not included) for 2015; all meals on board included for 2016.
  • Wi-Fi: No - no internet access


Colibri's Deck Plan


Colibri's Deck Plan


Dining Aboard The Colibri:
SAMPLE MENU


Lunches are an assortment of salads and platters served ‘family style’ so you may help yourselves
and enjoy the relaxed informal setting. Dinners are four course feasts, using the best ingredients to
produce fine dining. Desserts are a favorite course of Fiona’s, they are all delicious and ‘mostly fruit’!

  • Caramelized pear and blue cheese salad
  • Poussins (chicken) with crunchy country ham & sage butter
  • Rosemary potatoes
  • Mediterranean vegetables
  • Lemon ricotta flan with berries
  • Selection of local cheese and figs


Passenger Comments:


The high points were the wine and the food. Earl and Fiona were most accomodating and a very delightful couple. the excursions were well planned and private with good information from the leader. There was nothing that could have been improved. I want to do a repeat in another part of the Canal.
D.H., KS, USA, October 2012

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Gascony/Southwest: Canal Lateral a la Garonne
Castets en Dorthe to Agen (Serignac sur Garonne) 2015

Sunday - Castets en Dorthe
Guest will be met by Captain Earl from the pre-arranged pick up point and transferred to Colibri. Warm welcome aboard with aperitifs and settle in. Short cruise to a quiet scenic mooring for dinner aboard.

Monday - Castets en Dorthe to Melihan sur Garonne
Today we visit the Chateau de Duras, located in rolling hills with a view over the valley of the Dropt, on the edge of a bastide town. Returning to Colibri for afternoon cruise to Melihan Sur Garonne.

Tuesday - Melihan sur Garonne to Mas d'Argenais
This morning we visit the market town of Marmande, the tomato capital of France. The church of Notre Dame with its French formal gardens and Renaissance cloisters are wonderful to walk around as well as the fabulous market. This afternoon we cruise to Mas d'Agenais, a pretty village famous for the Rembrandt on show in the church.

Wednesday - Mas d'Argenais to Damazan
This mornings visit is to the world heritage site, the beautiful golden village of Saint Emilion. Visiting one of the local chateaux and tasting some of the fine wines of the region. Cruise this afternoon to the village of Damazan, another delightful village to stroll through, before gourmet dinner aboard.

Thursday - Damazan to Buzet
Our visit today takes us to the barrel makers in Buzet sur Baise. This is a family run operation and a very interesting visit. Our cruise this afternoon takes us to the town of Buzet. Where the Baise river meets the canal. Mooring in a secluded spot for dinner.

Friday - Buzet to Serignac sur Garonne
This morning, we visit the small town of Nerac, attractively located on the banks of the river Baise, with halftimbered houses and decorated with flowers. This village was home for Henri IV, and his castle is open to visits. We return to Buzet, for lunch on board. Afternoon cruise to Serignac sur Garonne, the setting for dinner aboard.

Saturday
After a leisurely breakfast, guests are transferred between 10 and 11am to the arranged drop off point.

Note: The designated pick up points are Agen or Bordeaux depending on the cruise direction.  This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. There are many sites, wineries and markets we can visit and we would be delighted to modify our itinerary to enhance your cruise.

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Canal du Midi
Carcassonne to Castelnaudary (Seuil de Narouze) 2016

Sunday
Guests are met by Earl, the Captain and owner, at 1200 at an arranged meeting point and transferred to Colibri moored by Carcassonne. Warm welcome on board with a glass of bubbles and then a brief safety talk and outline of your week ahead. Relax and enjoying lunch, the first meal of your cruise. After lunch we will leave our mooring and cruise to a perfect location for our first overnight stop and dinner.

Monday

Guided tour of the Cite of Carcassonne, to take in the fascinating medieval city, a wonderful journey into history. In the afternoon we cruise through a tight and twisty section of the canal to a tranquil mooring for the evening near Bram and dinner aboard.

Tuesday
In the morning, we visit the town of Limoux, and a local winery, providing an insight into the wines and not forgetting tastings including the Crémants and Blanquettes of Limoux the oldest sparkling wines in the world made since 1531. We cruise a very pretty stretch of the canal today, stopping for the evening beneath the trees near Saint-Martin-Lalande.

Wednesday

We visit the medieval market town of Mirepoix with half-timbered houses and a beautiful square. On the way back to Colibri we visit an ancient church made in the rocks, an amazing site. We cruise in the afternoon through a series of locks, into the Grand Basin of Castelnaudary, the home town of Cassoulet, a local dish.

Thursday
Morning visit to Ravel, renowned for its covered market, furniture making and the Lac de Saint-Ferréol, taking in the new Museum du Canal du Midi and gardens. The museum beautifully shows the vision and working used to create and operate the Canal du Midi, with delightful gardens. We cruise the final leg of our journey to the Seuil de Naurouze located on the highest stretch of the Canal, a 194 metres (650ft) above sea level. This is the watershed between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. One can take a stroll and visit the obélisque to Pierre Paul Riquet, the builder of the canal set in a beautiful park. Farewell dinner aboard.

Friday

Leisurely breakfast, and transfer around to nominated drop of point.

Note: Our itineraries are a guideline and excursions can be adjusted to your interests. There are many sites, abbeys, Cathar castles, wineries and markets we can visit. We would be delighted to tailor our proposed excursions to enhance your cruise.

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Canal du Midi
Narbonne (Le Somail) to Carcassonne, Alternate Itinerary 2016

Sunday
Guests are met by Earl, the Captain and owner, at 1200 at an arranged meeting point and transferred to Colibri, moored in the village Le Somail. Warm welcome on board with a glass of bubbles and then a brief safety talk and outline of your week ahead. Relax and enjoying lunch, the first meal of your cruise. After lunch we cruise along the "Grand Bief" to a perfect location for our first overnight stop and dinner. The Grand Bief is a remarkable engineering feat, a stretch of canal 54.2 km long without a lock, from Beziers to Argens-Minervois, passing by villages and vineyards as it winds through the country side. We will moor in a tranquil spot for dinner tonight.

Monday
Today we visit the Abbey de Fontfroide. It is located in a beautiful tranquil setting and with its garden of 3000 rosebushes and Italian garden it is a wonderful place to visit. On the way back we can pop in and see the Oulibo olive oil press, where locals can take their olives for pressing. After lunch Colibri will make her way along the final section of the Grande Bief and entering the locks and starting the climb towards Carcassonne. We will head towards Homps and enjoy dinner aboard.

Tuesday
We visit Narbonne, with its beautiful cathedral, bustling colourful market and historic Roman sites, not to mention some lovely shops. This afternoon's cruise sees Fiona and Earl get busy, as there have five sets of locks making ten basins to climb to our evening mooring in the village of Marseillette.

Wednesday
Our excursion today is to the Cathar fort and hilltop village of Minerve, a stunning location with a museum that tells of its history. Everyone loves this beautiful village. It's a picture perfect postcard village from the south of France, without the crowds. On your return to Colibri you will enjoy a splendid lunch before we continue upstream, through the village of Trebes towards Villedubert, our secluded mooring for dinner and the night.

Thursday
This morning our excursion will be to the Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne, to take in the fascinating medieval city, a wonderful journey into history. We cruise this afternoon up through a series of locks and through Carcassonne for our final evening's dinner aboard.

Friday
After a leisurely breakfast and time to pack, Earl will transfer you to the nominated drop off point.

Note: Our itineraries are a guideline and excursions can be adjusted to your interests. There are many sites, abbeys, Cathar castles, wineries and markets we can visit. We would be delighted to tailor our proposed excursions to enhance your cruise.



Colibri
2015 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route Season
Mar 29 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Apr 5 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Apr 12 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Apr 19 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Apr 26 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
May 3 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
May 10 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
May 17 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
May 24 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
May 31 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Jun 7 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jun 14 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Jun 21 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jun 28 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Jul 5 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jul 12 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Cruise Schedule* ... continued
Week Route Season
Jul 19 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Jul 26 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Aug 2 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Aug 9 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Aug 16 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Aug 23 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Aug 30 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Sep 6 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Sep 13 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Sep 20 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Sep 27 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Oct 4 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Oct 11 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main
Oct 18 Serignac-sur-Garonne-Castets Main
Oct 25 Castets-Serignac-sur-Garonne Main

Colibri
2016 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route Season
Apr 3 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Apr 10 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Apr 17 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Apr 24 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
May 1 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
May 8 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
May 15 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
May 22 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
May 29 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Jun 5 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Jun 12 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Jun 19 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Jun 26 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Jul 3 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Jul 10 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Jul 17 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Cruise Schedule* ... continued
Week Route Season
Jul 24 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Jul 31 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Aug 7 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Aug 14 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Aug 21 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Aug 28 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Sep 4 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Sep 11 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Sep 18 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Sep 25 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Oct 2 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Oct 9 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Oct 16 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main
Oct 23 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Main
Oct 30 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Main

The Colibri's route through Gascony and the Southwest of France, from  Castets to Agen and Agen to Montech. For a more detailed look at the cruise route, view our map of the Garonne River
The Colibri's route through Gascony and the Southwest of France, from Castets to Agen and Agen to Montech. For a more detailed look at the cruise route, view our map of the Garonne River.

*Note: Cruise directions and sample itineraries may be in reverse and are subject to change and may depend on bookings and local navigation conditions. Alternate excursions of equal appeal are substituted when needed. For charter cruises special itineraries can be arranged.



COLIBRI
2015 & 2016 SEASON PRICES in US DOLLARS
ACCOMMODATION MAIN
Mar 29 thru Oct 31
Charter for up to 4
$22,000
Half Board Charter for up to 4
$21,000


What's Included for 2015
Full board:
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge in 2 cabins with private baths
- Transfers from local rail station, hotel or other point in the cruise area to the barge and return, as agreed with the barge owner
- All meals beginning with dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Saturday, including 2 meals in restaurants on shore
- All wines with lunches and dinners
- Open bar
- All escorted side-excursions (golf, etc at extra cost)
- Use of bicycles

Half board:
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge in 2 cabins with private baths
- Transfers from local rail station, hotel or other point in the cruise area to the barge and return, as agreed with the barge owner
- Welcome dinner on Sunday and breakfast and lunch daily through breakfast on Saturday.
- Selected wines with lunches
- Open bar
- All escorted side-excursions (golf, etc at extra cost)
- Use of bicycles

Full board 2016:
- 6 days and 5 nights on the barge in 2 cabins with private baths
- Transfers from local rail station, hotel or other point in the cruise area to the barge and return, as agreed with the barge owner
- All meals on board beginning with lunch on Sunday through breakfast on Friday
- All wines with lunches and dinners
- Open bar
- All escorted side-excursions (golf, etc at extra cost)
- Use of bicycles

What's Not Included for 2015
Full board:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transfers from Paris to the barge pickup point and return
- Suggested minimum 5% gratuity for the crew, to be given to the captain in equivalent Euros

Half Board:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transfers from Paris to the barge pickup point and return
- Five dinners, to be taken on shore at passenger's expense
- Suggested minimum 5% gratuity for the crew, to be given to the captain in equivalent Euros

Full Board 2016:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transfers from Paris to the barge pickup point and return
- Suggested minimum 5% gratuity for the crew, to be given to the captain in equivalent Euros

Please visit our Special Offers page to see potential discounts for this barge or many others.
Special Places Travel, LLC
"Barges in France (and the rest of Europe) ... for the experience of a lifetime!" ™

For booking information,
Phone (toll-free): 1-877-64-BARGE (1-877-642-2743)
Outside of the U.S.: 001.443.321.3614
or E-mail: info@specialplacestravel.com



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Last Update: November 28, 2014

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Accredited, Better Business Bureau. Member, ASTA-American Society of Travel Agents, 
CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association, OSSN-Outside Sales Support Network. 
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Cards Welcome