Trip Overview

Join AdventureWomen in 2021 for an adventure on a private barge in the south of France! Cruising the Rhone River canals aboard your luxurious, privately chartered hotel-barge is an ultimately dreamy way to discover a less-visited corner of southwestern Provence. Walk the ancient stone streets of sun-splashed villages, photograph the atmospheric beauty of the Petit Camargue, and feast on local specialties. Through highly personal encounters with fascinating local women – from a spirited horse and bull breeder to sister winemakers and a lady oyster farmer – witness the passionate dedication to preserving a unique way of life in this special corner of France.

Fly into Avignon and transfer to Arles to board your barge, the M.S. Anne Marie, privately chartered for your group. Settle into your cabin then raise a glass with your AdventureWomen traveling companions at the welcome dinner. By day, disembark for onshore adventures, returning for leisurely evenings onboard. The barge remains docked overnight. Enjoy the attentive services of the crew, gourmet dining and local vintages (with wine included at lunch and dinner!), and the lovely passing views. You will explore with expert French guides during the day, who will show you the best that southwestern Provence has to offer. You are also accompanied by an AdventureWomen Ambassador, committed to helping make your experience a fun and personally rewarding adventure, and cheering you on as you reach beyond your comfort zone to take on new challenges in your own unique way!

The historic riverside city of Arles sits at the edge of the marshes that border the Camargue. Join the daughter of internationally renowned French photographer Lucien Clergue for a unique, photo-focused tour that highlights Arles’ famous landmarks and its rich artistic heritage. Visit the superbly preserved and UNESCO protected Roman amphitheater that still hosts world-renowned performers. Pay homage to former resident Vincent Van Gogh as you step, almost literally, into his canvasses of Arles’ narrow streets and colorful cafes bathed in magical Provencal light. A special invitation to visit Lucien Clergue’s private photography studio offers a highly personal lens-eye view into his world.

Travel down the lovely Rhone a Sète Canal and dock in Gallician for the night. Rise refreshed and ready for an authentic cowboy (or cowgirl, in this case!) adventure in the Camargue, aptly nicknamed “the Wild West of France.” A hearty welcome by the owner, Manadière (a female rancher), of a traditional breeding ranch draws you into her colorful world of wild Camargue horses and bulls, and the arduous herding work of the local cowboys, the gardians. Witness the rituals of sorting the cattle; the ferrade, branding the bulls; and a whoop-and-holler (with a French accent!) cattle race. Those fabulous felt cowboy hats? There are stores for that!

Experience two local winemaking traditions at two distinctive area estates, with tastings at both. Meet sisters Brigitte and Nathalie, the owners of Petit Chaumont winery near Aigues-Mortes, whose 296 vineyard acres lie deeply rooted in the sands of the Camargue. Learn how their decision to convert to organic grapes in 2008 led to the production of highly awarded “sand” wines. In Palavas-les-flots, visit the historic Chateau de l’Engarran, run by three generations of women winemakers. Tour the estate’s elegant interior with the proprietress and learn the secrets of its excellent contemporary vintages.

Arrive in Sète, the first official port of the French Mediterranean, and your final port of the trip. A full day of food – as local as it gets – awaits, beginning with an introduction to enthusiastic Chef Magali. Follow her through the colorful Les Halles market to choose the freshest local produce and fish, then help prepare a lunch of authentic regional dishes. Bon Appetit!

Continue to the Étang de Thau (Thau Lagoon), where 20 percent of the country’s oysters are produced. Meet Annie Castaldo, a third-generation oyster and mussel farmer, and learn about the fragile environmental balance here and the lagoon’s natural flavor enhancers that give its bivalves a distinctively tasty essence. After witnessing the complex process of production, indulge your taste buds in typical local manner: oysters, bread, butter, and lemon, washed down with a glass of white wine. C’est si bon!

Return to the Anne-Marie and join the captain and crew for your final celebratory evening. Toast to one another, to the bounty of the land and sea, and to the hard-working women, the passionate keepers of local tradition, who introduced you to their very own enchanting corner of France.

Main Attractions

  • Cruise aboard a privately chartered hotel-barge, enjoying gourmet cuisine and the impeccable service of its crew
  • Travel the Rhone a Sète Canal through pastoral landscapes and the stunning salt marsh waterways of the Camargue
  • Sample local oysters, produce, and fish at their source, and taste regional wines on location, surrounded by beautiful vineyards
  • Explore the Roman architecture and Van Gogh’s artistic legacy in Arles, and tour the walled medieval citadel of Aigues-Mortes
  • Join a female horse and bull breeder for an authentic ranch experience, and meet a woman who produces oysters in the time-honored Camargue tradition

What You'll See and Do

  • Architecture
  • Cooking Class
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Local Delicacies
  • River Cruising
  • Sightseeing
  • UNESCO Site
  • Wine Tasting
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Arles
Cruising the Rhone River canals aboard your luxurious, privately chartered hotel-barge is an ultimately dreamy way to discover a less-visited corner of southwestern Provence. Walk the ancient stone streets of sun-splashed villages, photograph the atmospheric beauty of the Petit Camargue, and feast on local specialties.

During your trip you’ll get to know your boat crew, cruise director, and local guides, who will help you explore this less-visited corner of southwestern Provence. You are also accompanied by an AdventureWomen Ambassador, committed to helping make your experience a fun and personally rewarding adventure, and cheering you on as you reach beyond your comfort zone to take on new challenges in your own unique way!

You will be picked up at the Marseilles Airport at 3:00pm and transferred to Arles. Walk around Arles this afternoon and board the barge at 6:00pm.

Enjoy a lively welcome dinner as you get to know your fellow travelers this evening. Share stories and learn about why each woman in your trip is excited to explore France!
Dinner

Overnight: MS Anne Marie

Day 2

Arles to Gallician
Explore Arles through the eyes of the daughter of Lucien Clergue. Visiting the Lucien Clergue workshop is a privilege as it is not open to the public. Lucien Clergue was at the origin of the Photographic Collection of the Réattu Museum and the National School of Photography. He maintained a long friendship with Picasso and collaborated with him for twenty year.

Enjoy lunch on the barge and cruise the Rhône River and the Rhône à Sète Canal to Gallician.

Relax on your comfortable barge, private for AdventureWomen. Have a glass of wine and take in the scenery or take a dip in the on-board hot tub.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: MS Anne Marie

Day 3

Gallician to Aigues-Mortes
Head to a traditional Camargue Manade, a French ranch, managed by a Manadière, or a female rancher. The Manadier and Manadières breed Camargue bulls and horses. To become a Manadière you must be deeply attached to the Camargue, its territory, and its traditions. In addition to that, you must have at least 70 animals, including 30 breeding cows, and at least 12 acres of pasture. Then, you must belong to one of the associations of handlers. Basically, becoming a female rancher is hard! The Manadière will welcome you and show you around the ranch. Watch the cattle sorting and a cow race!

Relax on the deck as you cruise to Aigues-Mortes, arriving in the early evening.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: MS Anne Marie

Day 4

Aigues-Mortes to Palavas-les-Flots
Your guide will take you to the medieval city of Aigues-Mortes, which means “dead water”. The medieval city was built into wild swamp land under the reign of Louis XI (Saint Louis) in the 13th century. During your tour you will learn the historical background of this decision. The defense tower Tour de Constance was commissioned by Saint Louis before one of the crusades. Learn its dark stories before heading to the ramparts. Visit the Tour des Bourguignons and stroll the town.

The fields of Petit Chaumont, a family-run winery, stretch over nearly 300 acres. The family’s knowledge and the local vineyard culture enables the two sisters who run the vineyard to create wines known for their complex flavors. Since 2008 the vineyard has been organic. Enjoy tasting the organic sand wines of Camargue.

Enjoy another afternoon on your comfortable barge as you cruise to Palavas-Les-Flots.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: MS Anne Marie

Day 5

Palavas-les-Flots to Sète
The 18th century Château de l’Engarran along with its park, fountain, and art, has been a historic monument since 1926. It has belonged to the same family for five generations and the last three generations of family running the estate have been women. Meet the owner who will help you discover her château as well as the secrets of her homemade wines.

Enjoy lunch on the barge and cruise towards Sète this afternoon.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: MS Anne Marie

Day 6

Sète
Walk to Les Halles of Sète to meet with your chef at your cooking class for the morning, a specialist in Mediterranean cuisine. She will teach you about local, authentic cuisine. Start by buying your fresh ingredients and then learn to prepare an authentic meal. Pay attention – you are making your lunch!

This afternoon, meet a woman whose family has been producing oysters and mussels in the Thau Lagoon for three generations. Discover an exceptional marine environment where many animal and plant species to thrive. Your host is among the 500 shellfish farmers in the area, and she defines herself as a peasant of the sea. She is committed to promoting her profession and the importance of respect for the environment. Discover the different techniques of manipulation of oysters: washing, segregation, and fining. From production to the plate, you’ll learn the whole process. Then you wlil get to taste! Enjoy oysters, bread, butter, lemon, and a glass of white wine as they are typically eaten around the Etang.

Have a farewell dinner with your new AdventureWomen friends. Reminisce over all the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an amazing journey through this truly spectacular country.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: MS Anne Marie

Day 7

Depart France
Enjoy one last morning in France. Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you transfer to the airport for your flights home.
Breakfast

Please note: AdventureWomen will attempt to adhere to the itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, and cultural) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. AdventureWomen reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participants. 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to France



Arrival and Departure Information

June 11th Departure:

Arrive in Marseille, France (MRS) on June 11, 2021 before 2:00pm.

Depart Marseille, France (MRS) on June 17, 2021 after 2:00pm

August 6th Departure:

Arrive in Marseille, France (MRS) on August 6, 2021 before 2:00pm.

Depart Marseille, France (MRS) on August 12, 2021 after 2:00pm

 

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Activity Level

We rate this trip as Moderate. Our Moderate adventures exercise your mind more than your body and are designed for women who prefer a leisurely, less rigorous experience. For example, you could walk up to 2 miles per day through cities and villages, stand in museums for a few hours, relax on a boat, or view wildlife from a vehicle. Please note that this is a general description of what you might encounter; for specific details about your trip, please consult the itinerary.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission!) to make the most of your adventure. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more on the FitForTrips website.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to France, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about France.

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Preparation and Packing

Once you register for your adventure, we will send you a comprehensive preparation guide including weather information, gratuity suggestions, and a packing list.

As a reference, AdventureWomen typically suggests $200-250 for gratuities on most trips. Detailed information will be provided to you prior to departure.

Forms and Final Payment

The deposit for this trip is $800, and is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (Photo Page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer). A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes your deposit.

June 11th Departure Final Payment Due Date: March 13, 2021

August 6th Departure Final Payment Due Date: May 8, 2021

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • Accommodations as per itinerary based on double occupancy
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Fully-guided sightseeing and activities as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guides throughout the trip
  • All transportation
  • One group transfer on arrival and departure
  • House wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, water, coffee, and tea on the barge

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from France
  • Optional activities
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Fees for passport, visas, immunizations, or travel insurance
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

MS Anne Marie

The MS Anne Marie Barge, your home for your adventure in the South of France, has everything you need for a barge journey. The comfortable cabins have twin beds and en suite bathrooms with electricity and air conditioning. Spend your days on the sun deck, enjoying a panoramic view of the landscapes as you cruise by them, the terrace at the front of the barge, complete with café tables and umbrellas as well as a jacuzzi, or in the lounge where you can enjoy a glass of wine. Enjoy delicious meals on the barge and you’ll have access to the bar which includes house wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, water, coffee, and tea.

Amenities:
Coming soon

Please note that all amenities were current when written and are subject to change at any time.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686