Destination of the month: Argens

The Argens Minervois base on the Canal du Midi is the starting point for over 1,000 boats every year. Sabine, the base manager, will be there at the Port d’Occitanie to give you a warm welcome and some helpful advice for a holiday filled with heritage sites, gourmet meals and exciting discoveries.

There’s a wide range of activities on offer, from historic sites such as châteaux and castles, to discovering the natural surroundings and swimming. Since 1996, the Canal du Midi has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Head for the Argens Minervois base as a family or with friends to explore the Canal du Midi by barge and enjoy the region’s sunshine!

Three questions for Sabine, our ambassador in Argens Minervois

What’s your favourite boating route?

There’s a huge range of routes you can follow on the Canal du Midi, especially if you start from our base at Argens Minervois.

Depending on whether you head towards Narbonne, Béziers / Camargue, where you can easily get to the nearby Mediterranean, or cruise towards Carcassonne / Castelnaudary, with its medieval castles, you’ll discover quite different landscapes, and they’re all equally wonderful! The Canal du Midi is listed as a World Heritage Site because of all these amazing landscapes and the local folklore, quite a lot of which comes from the fact that the canal still has lock-keepers. And then there’s the climate, which is pleasant whatever the season. We’re lucky enough to be in a beautiful part of the country that gets a lot of sunshine and also offers some very nice local wines from the Corbières and Minervois regions.

However, if I had to choose just one of these routes I would set off towards Carcassonne and Castelnaudary. This is the part of the region that I think best sums up the picturesque character of the Canal du Midi. There’s the superb Medieval Citadel of Carcassonne, which all our clients have heard of, and there’s also the equally famous gastronomy of Castelnaudary, known for its cassoulet (bean casserole with duck). At this end of the canal, up to just past Carcassonne, you’ll come across locks with lock-keepers. They’re very friendly and get people from different boats chatting with one other. When you’ve got tourists coming from all over the world, that’s the sort of thing that leaves you with great holiday memories. You can also see plenty of feats of engineering, such as weirs, bridge-aqueducts, canal bridges etc.

What events are generally planned at the Argens Minervois?

Argens Minervois is often a very lively place because it’s such a large base, with around 1,000 boats setting off each season. As well as these 1,000 departures, you have to add all the passing boats that belong other companies, not to mention privately-owned boats. In our tiny village there are shops, restaurants and bars that cater for boat traffic and on weekends throughout the summer they organise dinner-concerts, themed cocktail parties and buffets etc.: the kind of thing that gives the Canal du Midi its charm.

Last question, can you give us one good reason for choosing Argens Minervois for a barge holiday?

Well, it’s everything that I’ve just told you: lovely weather, sunshine, friendliness, a cosmopolitan trip thanks to contact with all the other people visiting the canal, getting to know the locals through meeting the lock-keepers, gourmet dining and fine wines – which must already have given you a yen to come and visit us, don’t you think? Come and see for yourselves and enjoy going with the flow under the sunshine of the South.

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