Wow, what a week. Adrien (the Capitan), Eve (the Host), Valerie (the Chef), and Marie Helen (the Tour Guide), collectively the crew of the Savannah, were incredible.
We were celebrating our 30th anniversary this year and wanted to do something very special. A small river or canal cruise seemed like a great way to celebrate this special occasion. We looked at a lot of different options, but a cruise on the Savannah seemed like a great way to go. We were not disappointed. We had very high expectations for this trip and the crew of the Savannah exceeded them.
The barge is astonishing. It is a floating 5 star resort. Everything is clean and very well done. The rooms are elegant and functional all at the same time. The deck is the most favored place to hang out, either while cruising, or tied up to the side of the canal. The indoor dining area (used only for breakfast as the weather was fantastic to eat outside the rest of the time) is very nice and the indoor common area well outfitted (even though we rarely used it because it was so nice outside). Adrien is an accomplished Captain and the entire staff helps to move through the locks and to tie up at night. They work together very well.
The food is indescribable. Really, you have to experience the cuisine to even remotely understand it. We will try our best, but we’re sure we will fall short. Every meal is well thought out and impeccably prepared and presented. Every evening we were treated to a starter, a main course, a cheese tray, and then dessert. Every day the cuisine changed based upon the local region we were visiting. The ingredients were selected from the local markets and as you would expect in France, there was fresh bread every day. The Canal du Midi traverses some of the largest areas of vineyards in France and the variety of wines that you get to taste is impressive. The wines that were served (Eve does a great job describing each of the vintages as she presents them) were generally from the regions surrounding the canal. The wines are paired beautifully with every course. The staff does a great job looking at every detail of mealtime. There are a couple of meals off the boat. They are well done as well.
The tours are amazing. The week we were on the barge we had a chance to visit Minerve, Narbonne, Rennes le Chateau, Carcassonne, Chateau de Pennautier, and do some wine tastings. Apparently there are variations in tours. We are confident that no matter where they take you it will be a great experience. It was just the right amount of time off the barge into the country side. You get a great perspective on the country as you move from East to West along the canal.
In summary, we would very highly recommend this trip. It was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. The crew of the Savannah are, wonderful, professional, skilled, and a lot of fun to spend time with.