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Fandango

Canal du Midi

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***Please note: Fandango changed owner in 2014 and is now cruising as Savannah – Click here for more information***

 

 

The Fandango is one of the best ways to sample local delicacies of Southern France, with fine gourmet cuisine and wine served on board. Cruises float through the Languedoc, one of France’s most fascinating regions. The waterway is the picture perfect 300 year old ‘Canal du Midi.’

This boutique experience on Fandango means, relaxed luxury, plus the chance for ‘personal’ contact with a stimulating regional culture. Each day offers cruising for a few hours, then daily sightseeing. Visit local sites of historic or cultural interest, shop at open air markets, and enjoy wine tastings or olives from the local producers. While the barge cruises at a leisurely pace you can walk alongside, ride a bicycle into the countryside or simply put your feet up on deck while the chef prepares your next delicious meal.

Fandango was built in 1939, specifically to the dimensions of the locks and low stone arch bridges of the Canal du Midi. Abandoned near Bordeaux in the 1970’s when highways took over barge freight, owner Hazel Young convinced the Provencal cosmetics company L’Occitane to restore her as the historical flagship of the Canal and a glamorous floating showroom. Fandango returned to the Midi in 1998 to become a luxurious private charter barge for 4 to 7 passengers.

 

Features

Capacity Up to 7 passengers – charter or individual cabin
Crew 4: Captain, Chef, Tour Guide, Hostess
Cruise Route Canal du Midi
Barge Size L: 30m W: 5m
Cabin 4 unique cabins – 1 king size or twin split beds with private entrance (Pissarro), 2 x equal sized cabins (Degas and Monet) in king size or twin split beds, 1 x double bed for single use (Matisse); all with stunning provincial tiled ensuite bathrooms; individually air-conditioned/heated; L’Occitane amenity products bien sûr!
Interior/Salon Flamboyant, Mediterranean and ornate interior with warm blends of soft furnishings; quaint and well appointed ‘flamenco’ salon with impressive skylight; library and comfortable lounge setting; open air kitchen with French bistro style dining room
Exterior/Deck Stylish and spacious alfresco deck; cushioned benches & sun lounges
Facilities Wifi; library/board games; open bar; coffee machine; 6 bicycles
Transfer From/To: Beziers or closest city to embarkation point – 4pm Sunday/10am Saturday

 

The barge, first class accommodation

 

The lovely décor of Fandango has been featured in French home decorating magazines and on television. The English speaking crew will do their best to make your trip memorable. Your personal chef ensures that you dine in style, selecting for your enjoyment fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, pates, and seasonal fresh fruits, all the finest that the Languedoc region has to offer. Fandango’s tour guide escorts your group on daily excursions in an air-conditioned minivan, taking in local history, wine-tasting, shopping, and sight-seeing.


Cabins

 

After a huge renovation which consisted of ornate steel work, a new entrance and staircase, added sliding skylight and new soft furnishings, Fandango is now one of the hottest barges on the Midi.

The barge has four cabins: Degas, Monet, and Pissarro which can be made up with twin or king beds for two guests, and one smaller cabin, the Matisse, with a double bed for one guest. The ensuite bathrooms of each cabin are decorated with colourful Provençal tiles. Beautiful linen and premium mattresses make your cabin a restful haven. And the new and large porthole windows that have been added in the cabins to add light and picture perfect views of the Canal.

The Pissarro cabin is completely new and is the biggest on board, referred to as the ‘Honeymoon Suite’ with separate entrance, unique rounded walls and brand new bathroom and shower:

Fandango - Pissaro Cabin - EntranceFandango - Pissaro Cabin - King bedFandango - Pissaro - Bathroom


Salon / Open galley / Kitchen

 

The sky-lit salon is a cosy and comfortable space to curl up with a book or discuss the day’s adventures. And the open galley and bistro atmosphere on Fandango are perfect for those who enjoy a glass of wine while watching the chef concoct a succulent feast for their evening meal.

FANDANGO salonChef cooking on FandangoFandango - Open galley

Deck

 

The sundeck is very spacious too and replete with cool pool and lounge chairs. Your group will savour the regional specialties of the Languedoc, all made with fresh local ingredients and accompanied by fine French wines. Most meals are served al fresco on the terra-cotta tiled deck, with views of Cathar castles, quaint villages, vineyards as far as the eye can see and the peaceful Lauragais countryside.

Fandango sundeckFandango - Millepetite - DeckFandango - Hazel

 

Floorplan

Fandango florrplan

Location Map


Sample Itinerary

Sample Itinerary West to East Route Bram to La Redorte

 

Cruising the Canal du Midi across the Languedoc from the Lauragais valleys to the Minervois wine region. This is a wonderful cruise to discover the more than three hundred year old Canal du Midi. Vineyards as far as the eye can see give way to sunflower filled valleys, with pretty ‘circular’ villages and hilltop chateaux and churches. Mirepoix is delightful; Carcassonne and Minerve historic, Narbonne’s ‘ les halles’ market, rich with seafood and regional produce.

Cruises run in reverse on alternate weeks, either east to west (La Redorte to Bram) or west to east (Bram to La Redort). The pickup and drop off point for all weeks, regardless of cruise direction, is Narbonne.


Sunday – Bram port

 

Your tour guide takes you from our prearranged meeting point to the barge moored on the Canal du Midi. You are welcomed on board with a champagne cruise into the peaceful beauty of the countryside. Time to settle in and become acquainted with the crew before your first delicious dinner on board.

 

Monday – Villeseque lock

 

Fandango - Millepetite - DeckYou’ll start the day with a picturesque drive through the Pyrenees foothills to visit the medieval fortressed market town of Mirepoix, and it is market day! There will be everything from very noisy geese to delicious mountain cheeses and cured ham. The wooden covered walkways surrounding the square date from the 16th century, now offering artisanal shops with interesting gifts and souvenirs. Back to the barge for lunch with some market spoils for the chef. This afternoon’s cruise features a series of pretty locks as the barge descends towards the evening’s mooring. You will learn how to get on and off the barge to bike or walk alongside. Dinner on board.

 

Tuesday – Lalande lock

 

Canal du Midi

You will already be curious about the history of the Canal du Midi and this morning’s visit to the museum in St. Ferreol holds the answers to all your queries. You will learn how Pierre Paul Ricquet finally achieved this long dreamt of and amazing project to connect the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, where the water comes from and the intricate engineering that gets the water to the canal, and how the lock keepers live. A stop at a terrace overlooking Revel’s market square for a coffee or aperitif on the way back to the barge will be much appreciated before lunch on board. An afternoon cruise relaxing on deck and enjoying the vistas of surrounding golden wheat and sunflower fields. Dinner on board.

 

Wednesday – Villedubert lock

 

CarcassonneThe first thing you will enjoy this morning is the view from your mooring, a set of three locks designed by Louis XIV’s Versailles architect. A morning cruise takes the barge right through the port of ‘new’ Carcassonne. After lunch on board, the tour guide will accompany you up to the Cité of Carcassonne, the largest medieval fortress in Europe. From exploring little shops along cobblestoned streets, or just enjoying the ancient castle architecture, all will love this experience. An appetite will be worked up for a succulent cassoulet, the region’s most famous dish made up of beans and duck confit. Back to the now familiar bliss of an afternoon’s cruise at a unique palm tree planted lock. Dinner on board.

 

Thursday – Les Aiguilles

 

Fandango side view
This morning’s cruise will allow you to have a lazy breakfast on board. Cruising through the canalside town of Trebes, down a staircase of locks and then through one of the most spectacular stretches of the canal. The sycamore trees provide a full canopy of leaves and branches overhead to create what we call a ‘green cathedral’. After lunch on board, your tour guide will take you on a historical voyage to the hilltop Cathar village of Minerve. It would be out of the question to drive back through the Minervois vineyards without stopping to enjoy the perfect occasion for a wine tasting. Dinner on board.

 

Friday – La Dinée

 

Photos for Slideshow 2008 - 69

The tour guide will take you on a morning visit to Narbonne, once Roman capital, this is now the prettiest town of the Languedoc. Shaded avenues, great boutiques, a majestic cathedral and a colorful 100 yr. old covered market. A seafood platter can be enjoyed at the market along with a bistrot lunch, or if it’s a fine day, at the shores of the Mediterranean in Gruissan. Afternoon cruising will be taking in staircases of locks and enjoying views of vineyards as far as the eye can see. Your last evening’s mooring is in a romantic and peaceful countryside spot, aptly named ‘the dinner’, we shall certainly celebrate your last evening with a farewell feast.

 

Saturday – Departure between 9am and 10am

 

 

After breakfast, your tour guide will accompany you to your nearby train station, rental car, regional hotel, or organize an airport transfer.

Photo Gallery

Video

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Testimonial

“Just a short note from the Canal du Midi to let you know all is great on the Fandango. The crew are attending to our every need. The food is great (Michelin-star quality) and the wine and cheese have been first class. Couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”

Wayne (August 2014)

 

 

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