There are some wonderful places to go on barge trips in France, with each region having something a little different to make it unique. Holidays on the water can be a great way to explore the serene countryside as well as cities, with their easily accessible culture, cuisine and customs. The fantastic city of Montauban is often the starting point of many a wonderful river cruise, and is a great place to explore as part of a wider holiday itinerary. |
The city started as a fortified town back in the 1100s and has enjoyed a lot of prosperity over the centuries. The fortunes that were made in the city are evident in its distinctive architecture and culture and it really is a fantastic place to start barge trips in France. No matter how long you have in the city on your trip, it’s worth checking some of these highlights out.
Tour the Town
The old town of Montauban is worth a trip in itself. The town’s eclectic streets with their wonderful red bricked buildings make a great place to wander on a guided or self-guided tour. There are a number of top sights you can see in the old town such as mansions and a grand arch. Look out for Bourdelle’s sculptures as you wander.
The central square of Montauban is not quite typical of French fortified towns. This is partly due to the fire that brought ruin to many of the wooden buildings back in the 1600s. From that point on buildings were made more solid, and the result is a city of real architectural interest. The cosy atmosphere of this closed-in square is made all that more enjoyable by the fantastic restaurants it houses.
Musée de la Résistance et du Combattant
The museum of Montauban that is most worth visiting on barge trips in France is this excellent exhibition of World War Two memorabilia. There are lots of great displays and artefacts and it is a sombre and reflective way to spend an afternoon.
The sublime cathedral of the city is not like any other building here. Unlike the classic red brick look the rest of the town uses, the cathedral is dramatically white. It is also enormous, with the central portal higher even than the famous cathedral of Vatican City! This is a must- see.
Sample the Wine
As well as the more traditional sights, no trip would be complete without a visit to the local vineyards. Montauban does not lack in terms of wine production and you can sample a number of fantastic local productions.
See the Sights
Cities like Montauban are not on everybody’s itinerary, but they really should be. Barge trips in France make seeing places like this that are on the water that much easier, and you really get a unique and interesting perspective of the country. It’s a great way to see and learn about a country, all while relaxing in luxurious surroundings.
The best way to get the most out of barge trips in France is to book through a reputable tour operator, who can provide the knowhow and take the hassle out of your trip.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge trips in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience
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