Special Places Travel Barges In France:
Mirage







Mirage: Luxury Canal Cruises in France on the Canal du Midi Cruise in France on the Canal du Midi Aboard the Deluxe Hotel-Barge MIRAGE Along With An Optional Biplane Flight


BARGE CRUISES: SEVEN DAYS/SIX NIGHTS
Special Places Travel Logo.  EMAIL: info@specialplacestravel.com or PHONE: 1-877-642-2743 (001.443.321.3614 outside US/Canada).The 6-passenger MIRAGE is owned by Pascal and Mimi Chauvin, your hosts for a unique cruise experience on an authenic 1950's era French barge. They have renovated the Mirage into a beautiful floating boutique hotel in the style of a 1940's aviator lounge. Pascal was a jet fighter pilot and offers passengers an optional flight in his classic Comet biplane over Carcassonne, the Cathar castles and the Canal du Midi. Pascal and Mimi are on board the Mirage as pilot and hostess along with two other crew members and their little dog Lola (who stays in the crew quarters or on deck). We visited the barge in September 2015 and again in May 2016 and were very impressed with both the charming French owners and the exceptional decor throughout the barge.

The Mirage has a large open salon and dining area filled with light and air from the large opening portholes that line both sides of the barge. In the salon there is a comfortable sofa and chairs along with a flat screen satellite TV, bar area and open galley, where you can watch your meals being prepared. There are two cabins with a king bed or two twins at 139 and 124 sq ft and one cabin with a queen bed at 120 sq ft, all including an ensuite bathroom with shower (the queen cabin has a Japanese tub). On the teak deck there is a dining table, lounge chairs, and a sun canopy.

Pascal and Mimi have selected local restaurants in typical French villages for lunch each day. Breakfast and dinner will be served aboard Mirage on the deck to enjoy the peaceful and scenic surroundings, or should weather not cooperate, the interior dining area provides a convivial atmosphere for dining. Mimi will prepare local specialties using the freshest locally sourced meats, seafood, fish, and produce, using traditional methods and recipes unique to the region. Quality wines (selected by Pascal), from local vintners in the Languedoc-Rousillon region, are served with dinner, and are available from the Mirage's fully-stocked bar at any time.

The Mirage offers a 6-night cruise on the Canal du Midi between Carcassonne and Castelnaudary or a 3-night cruise between Carcassonne and Bram; 4 or 5 night cruises also offered in 2017. For the 6-night cruise passengers have the option of four days of cruising and excursions and one day devoted to a biplane flight (at an additional cost) or five days of cruising and excursions. A portion of each day will be devoted to cruising along the canal, navigating the locks, and watching the beautiful countryside roll by. In addition to cruising, you'll join your English-speaking tour guide for a daily excursion in their air-conditioned van. The area offers many many interesting attractions to explore, including the famous walled city of Carcassonne as well as charming villages, wineries, covered markets, and other historic sites.


Features




Mirage's Deck Plan
Mirage's Deck Plan



Dining Aboard The Mirage:
SAMPLE MENU



A taste of the gourmet cuisine served aboard the Mirage. Mediterranean Menu
Southwest Menu
SAMPLE WINE LIST
Quality wines (selected by owner Pascal), from local vintners in the Languedoc-Rousillon region, are served with meals, and are available from Mirage's fully-stocked bar on demand.

Passenger Comments:


It will undeniably be one of my favorite trips! The weather was perfect, the canal and locks experience relaxing as well as fascinating, the visits into wineries, marketplace, medieval city, cathedrals with guided tours were informational and great fun! Our hosts, Pascal, Mimi and Manon were absolutely wonderful--most accommodating, helpful, generous, kind, and lovely individuals. The barge itself was beautiful, the food was magnificent and Captain Pascal handled the barge expertly. On a scale from 1 - 10, this trip was a 10!!!!!
L.M,. CO, USA, September 2016

The high points were cruising the Canal du Midi and the dinners and wine on board. Two of us took a ride with Pascal in his bi-plane. That was a striking way to end the trip. We also thoroughly enjoyed talking with Pascal about the barge, the canal and France. K&K D., CO, USA, September 2016



MIRAGE'S ITINERARIES
SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Canal du Midi
Carcassonne to Castelnaudary 2017
Gourmet Languedoc Food and Wine Cruise

Experience Pierre-Paul Riquet's engineering marvel, the Canal du Midi, cruising on Mirage. Completed in 1681 to link the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean, the Canal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

On alternate weeks the cruise will run from Castelnaudary to Carcassonne. Every week will include a visit to an open air market, wine tasting, and all lunches on shore at a quality restaurant to enjoy the regional cuisine in a typical French village. Each day includes three to four hours cruising on the canal, as well as an onshore excursion in our air-conditioned van, with your English-speaking tour guide. All dinners aboard Mirage.

Sunday - Carcassonne - Welcome Aboard
Your captain/owner Pascal and your hostess will pick you up at your rendez-vous point, and transfer you to Mirage's mooring in the charming port of Carcassonne, where Captain Pascal and crew welcome you aboard with a grand cru Champagne toast. While you settle in, enjoy a leisurely hour cruising to the botanical gardens at Epanchoir de Foucaud. Enjoy the peaceful and scenic surroundings as you are served a delicious dinner prepared by hosts Pascal and Mimi. On our first night we will moor Mirage at La Douce lock.

Monday - Villesequelande Lock - Visit to Mirepoix
Wake up to a classic French breakfast of croissant, pastries, fresh fruits, coffee, tea, and juices served on the sun deck. To begin your day, our tour guide will escort you to the medieval town of Mirepoix, where half-timbered houses line the market square. You will have time to explore the shops and street market stalls before taking lunch at one of the local auberges, offering regional cuisine and wines for a relaxed meal. Following lunch you'll return to the barge for a cruise toward your next mooring at the port of Carcassonne, with views of the historic fortified city above the canal. As the barges passes through several locks, you'll have an opportunity to walk or bike along the canal tow path, or simply relax in one of the comfortable deck chairs as the countryside glides by. As evening nears, sit in the salon with a glass of wine and watch as Mimi prepares your dinner with fresh ingredients gathered from the local market.

Tuesday - Beteille Lock - Abbey de Fontfroide
This morning we visit the L'Abbaye de Fontfroid, a Cistercian monastery was founded in 1093 on land gifted to Benedictine monks by the Vicomte de Narbonne. Now privately owned, the abbey has been lovingly restored with a well-kept garden and peaceful cloister. The Fontfroide has one of the largest rose gardens in southern France with almost 2,500 roses. You will have time to enjoy a walk along the rose and terrace gardens. Enjoy lunch in the Abbaye's restaurant before returning to Mirage for an afternoon cruise past quiet fields, trees and through an elegant series of locks. Your day wraps up with another delicious dinner on board, served with Pascal's choice of wines.

Wednesday - Villepinte Lock - Visit a sparkling wine factory and garden in Limoux
This morning we visit the town of Limoux in the Pyrenees foothills. A thorough instruction in wine making at the cellars of Ginot winery (with sound and light spectacle) will reveal all there is to know about putting bubbles in white wine; Cremants, Blanquettes and the most famous of all, Champagne. Limoux lays claim to inventing this titillating beverage. An afternoon cruise allows time to relax and enjoy views of the Pyrenees as you make your way to the quaint port of Bram, just below the picturesque village of the same name. Bram was a Roman outpost and the largest circulade Cathar town of Europe. Take in the scenery as you are served another fabulous dinner on deck.

Thursday - St Sernin Lock - Visit to Carcassonne
This morning we visit the town of Limoux in the Pyrenees foothills. A thorough instruction in wine making at the cellars of Ginot winery (with sound and light spectacle) will reveal all there is to know about putting bubbles in white wine; Cremants, Blanquettes and the most famous of all, Champagne. Limoux lays claim to inventing this titillating beverage. Lunch is served in a typical restaurant before an afternoon cruise with many pretty locks, and more opportunities for exercise for those who don't want to just laze on deck. Dinner will be served aboard Mirage on the sun deck.

Friday - Castelnaudary - Wine tasting in the famous Chateau de Pennautier or optional Biplane Flight
This morning we take a beautiful drive up to the lake of St. Ferreol in the Black Mountains. We'll visit an impressive museum with exhibits explaining the complicated engineering needed to keep the water flowing from this storage lake to both sides of the Canal du Midi, one to the Atlantic and one to the Mediterranean.  We'll make a stop in Revel to browse the open-air farmer's market and take time out for a coffee or aperitif in the town square.  Following a leisurely lunch in Revel, the antique dealers' village, an afternoon of cruising brings us to our final mooring at Castelnaudary basin. A romantic view of the town serves as the backdrop for your farewell dinner on board. Night in Castelnaudary

Saturday - Departure
In the morning, after breakfast on the deck, you depart in the van to either the train station or airport for the continuation of your journey.

SPECIAL EXCURSION OPTION (200Euros per flight per person)
Experience the Midi from the Air Flying with Pascal in a Vintage WWI Biplane

A cruise on Mirage offers an excursion totally unique to barge vacations on the Canal du Midi. Pascal puts his skill as a pilot to use flying a classic WWI biplane, the Comet, taking passengers for a 35 minute flight to experience the Languedoc countryside from the air. You will take off from the private airfield at Fanjeaux, and soar above ancient ruined castles, Cathar villages, and the Medieval city of Carcassonne. You will see the Canal du Midi winding through the Lauragais fields and Minervois vineyards from Comet's open cockpit. As a souvenir of your flight, you will receive a GoPro 180° HD film of the flight.

For this itinerary, there are 4 days spent navigating on the canal. The final day of your trip will be devoted to your flying adventure, as the barge remains moored. Should some members of your group not care to take a flight, a special ground excursion with our tour guide will be arranged. For safety regulations, and according to the French aeronautical law, the maximum authorized passenger weight in the front seat of the biplane is 100 Kg or approximately 220 pounds.

Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.  On alternate weeks the barge cruises in the opposite direction.

SAMPLE ITINERARY*
Canal du Midi
Carcassonne to Bram 2017
3-Night Cruise

Sunday - Carcassonne - Welcome aboard
Our tour guide will pick you up at your rendez-vous point, and transfer you to Mirage, where owners Captain Pascal and chef Mimi and crew await to welcome you with a grand cru Champagne toast. Once you are settled in, Mirage will leave her mooring in the port of Carcassonne for a relaxing one-hour cruise to the botanical gardens of Epanchoir de Foucault. Enjoy the peaceful and scenic surroundings as you are served a delicious dinner prepared by Mimi.

Monday -  Villesequelande Lock - Visit to Mirepoix

Wake up to a classic French breakfast of croissant, pastries, fresh fruits, coffee, tea, and juices served on the sun deck. To begin your day, our tour guide will escort you to the medieval town of Mirepoix, where half-timbered houses line the market square. You will have time to explore the shops and street market stalls before taking lunch at one of the local auberges, offering regional cuisine and wines for a relaxed meal. Following lunch you'll return to the barge for a cruise toward your next mooring at the port of Carcassonne, with views of the historic fortified city above the canal. As the barges passes through several locks, you'll have an opportunity to walk or bike along the canal tow path, or simply relax in one of the comfortable deck chairs as the countryside glides by. As evening nears, sit in the salon with a glass of wine and watch as Mimi prepares your dinner with fresh ingredients gathered from the local market.

Tuesday - Beteille Lock -  Visit to Carcassonne

A cruise on Canal du Midi wouldn't be complete without a visit to the historic Cite de Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will step back in time as you explore the restored medieval fortified town. Carcassonne also affords the chance to shop in boutiques lining the cobblestone streets. Step after step, your appetite will be worked up for a succulent cassoulet, the region's most famous dish of beans and duck confit prepared at the Auberge des Lices.  An afternoon cruise allows time to relax and enjoy views of the Pyrenees as you make your way to the quaint port of Bram, just below the picturesque village of the same name. Bram was a Roman outpost and the largest circulade Cathar town of Europe. Take in the scenery as you are served a farewell dinner on deck.

Wednesday - Villepinte Lock - Departure
In the morning, after breakfast on the deck, you depart in the van to either the train station or airport for the continuation of your journey.

Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.  On alternate weeks the barge cruises in the opposite direction.



Mirage
2017 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Apr 2 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Apr 9 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Apr 16 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Apr 23 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Apr 30 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
May 7 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
May 14 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
May 21 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
May 28 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jun 4 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jun 11 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jun 18 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jun 25 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jul 2 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jul 9 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
       
Cruise Schedule* ... continued

Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Jul 16 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jul 23 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jul 30 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Aug 6 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Aug 13 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Aug 20 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Aug 27 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Sep 3 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Sep 10 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Sep 17 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Sep 24 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Oct 1 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Oct 8 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Oct 15 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular

2017 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Apr 2 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Apr 9 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Apr 16 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Apr 23 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Apr 30 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
May 7 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
May 14 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
May 21 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
May 28 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jun 4 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jun 11 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jun 18 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jun 25 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jul 2 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jul 9 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Week Route (Or Reverse) Season
Jul 16 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Jul 23 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Jul 30 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Aug 6 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Aug 13 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Aug 20 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Aug 27 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Sep 3 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Sep 10 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Sep 17 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Sep 24 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Oct 1 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular
Oct 8 Castelnaudary-Carcassonne Regular
Oct 15 Carcassonne-Castelnaudary Regular

*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.


The Mirage's route through the south of France, from Carcassonne to Castelnaudary on the Canal du Midi.
The Mirage's route through the south of France, from Carcassonne to Castelnaudary on the Canal du Midi. For a more detailed look at the cruise route, view our map of the Canal du Midi.



MIRAGE
2017 SEASON PRICES in US DOLLARS
TYPE REGULAR
Apr 2 thru Oct 21
Stateroom (per person, double occupancy)
$4,080.00
Single Occupancy Supplement
$1,500
Charter for 2
$13,600
Charter for 3
$15,300
Charter for 4
$17,850
Charter for 5
$21,250
Charter for 6
$23,800

*Rates for 3, 4 and 5 night charters for 2 to 6 passengers available on request. Please contact us for additional pricing.


What's Included
Six Night Cruise:
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge, in a cabin with ensuite bathroom
- Transfers from Carcassonne or Narbonne train station or hotel or Toulouse airport to the barge and return
- All meals beginning with dinner on Sunday, through breakfast on Saturday, with all lunches on shore at a quality restaurant of the Captain's choice.
- All wines with dinner on board
- Open bar
- All escorted side excursions, including entrance fees
- Use of bicycles

Three, Four or Five Night Cruise:
- 4 days and 3 nights on the barge [or 5 days/4 nights or 6 days/5 nights], in a cabin with ensuite bathroom
- Transfers from Carcassonne or Narbonne train station or hotel or Toulouse airport to the barge and return
- All meals beginning with dinner on the first day through breakfast on the last day, with all lunches on shore at a quality restaurant of the Captain's choice, as agreed with barge owner
- All wines with dinner on board
- Open bar
- All escorted side excursions, including entrance fees
- Use of bicycles

What's Not Included
Six Night Cruise:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transportation from Paris to the barge pick up point and return.
- Wines and alcoholic beverages at lunches on shore
- Biplane flight over the area (200Euros extra per person per flight, paid directly on board)
- Suggested 5-10% gratuity for the crew to be given to the captain in equivalent euros at the end of the cruise
- Trip cancellation insurance

Three, Four or Five Night Cruise:
- Overseas air transportation to Paris and return
- Transportation from Paris to the barge pick up point and return.
- Wines and alcoholic beverages at lunches on shore
- Biplane flight over the area (200Euros extra per person per flight paid directly on board)
- Suggested 5-10% gratuity for the crew to be given to the captain in equivalent euros at the end of the cruise
- Trip cancellation insurance




Please visit our ... Special Offers Page ... to see potential discounts for this barge or many others.




CONTACT US


Call (US/Canada): 1-877-642-2743
Outside US: +1-443-321-3614
Email: info@BargesInFrance.com
Submit our Contact Reply Form





Return to TOP of PAGE

Text and images Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Special Places Travel, LLC, Edgewater, MD, and by other copyright holders used by permission. Web design by Special Places Travel, LLC. All rights reserved. No further use without express written permission from copyright holders. Contact Special Places Travel LLC, +1-443-321-3614 for further information.

This and all of our web pages are hand-crafted with NO cookies, NO Javascript, NO plug-ins. Compatible with all currently tested mobile, tablet and desktop browsers with equivalent content and information for both mobile and desktop. We value your time, so ALL our barge web pages are designed for one-stop access = no multiple clicks to access barge details such as deckplan, itineraries, cruise routes, and cruise prices. We are by your side as experienced partners -- all the way from initial decision about the best barge cruise for you, through ANY question leading up to your cruise, hotel and rental car recommendations, suggestions for pre- and post-cruise travel, through post-cruise debriefing. We know that you will have the time of your life!



Barges in France, A Division of Special Places Travel, LLC.
Barges in Europe, A Division of Special Places Travel, LLC.

Member: American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Bonded. Founded 1997. American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover accepted.

Member, ASTA, American Society of Travel Agents Affiliate Member, CLIA, Cruise Lines International Association Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover accepted.
Last Update: February 13, 2017