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As logistics manager at Boat Bike Tours, Bernadet works primarily behind the scenes. She ensures that everything runs smoothly on our trips. For example, she makes sure that the berths in the ports are reserved, that the right bicycles are on board and that the tour leaders are scheduled. That’s why it was a very special experience for her to take one of our tours.

Bernadet is a real Francophile, so she decided to take the Paris to Montargis tour. This tour takes you along the Seine through the beautiful rural surroundings of the French capital. Bernadet came back from the trip full of impressions she’d like to share with you. Curious what it was like? Read on!

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Bonus day and boat tour in Paris

I love Paris! That’s why I think it’s so great that this tour starts there. I was able to treat myself to a bonus day before the start of the actual trip so I could revel in the Parisian joie de vivre. It was lovely to spend a day immersed in the hustle and bustle of the city, strolling the boulevards and browsing the shops.

So I was really in a vacation mood when I arrived on the ship the next day. The Fleur was waiting for us in the middle of the city, at the Place de la Concorde. I couldn’t have wished for a better start to this tour: our first day, cruising through the center of Paris past the majestic Notre Dame and through the narrow lock, was simply an unforgettable experience.

Enjoy the French way of life

On this trip you’re immediately immersed in the French way of life. On our daily bike routes we passed through lots of typical French villages, where life still has its own leisurely rhythm. These places have so much charm with their medieval streets, historic street lamps and ancient bridges lined with colorful flower boxes! Of course, in France you absolutely must visit at least one of the lovely markets with their local products, because you never know what new culinary delights you might discover here. This time I tried some incredibly delicious cheeses!

We were also treated to French delicacies on the ship. Chef Steffi went all out and cooked for us using lots of regional ingredients. For breakfast there were fresh, fragrant croissants with coffee. Delicieux!

Form a community on board

It was really nice to feel how a sense of community gradually emerged on board. At the beginning we were all individuals doing a tour together. Over time, we developed into a close group of friends. The experiences we had on bike tours together and the good conversations over dinner really brought us together. I also liked that the seating arrangements during dinner were different each night. So I kept spending time with new members of the group, some of them really special people. I also fondly remember the French evening when we played jeu de boules and danced to French music.

But despite all the connectedness and community on the ship, I didn’t feel any peer pressure. If you want, you can do your own thing without any judgement. For example, it was no problem when, one evening, I left the city tour after dinner to call some people at home on the phone.

Discover hidden treasures

Some time ago, I lived and worked in Paris for several years. But back then we always spent our vacations in the south of France. That’s why I didn’t know the region outside Paris and I was surprised at how much I had missed. Everything is much more rural here and you pass through many small villages. It’s like traveling back in time; life here is much more easy-going and authentic.

And you can feel the history everywhere. An example of this is the magnificent Fontainebleau Castle, which was the hunting lodge of the French kings for many centuries. New generations of the royal family would keep adding to the castle, so that today it has 1,500 rooms! Many of them still have the original furniture and works of art, offering incredible insights into the opulent lives of the nobility.

I was also very impressed by the artists’ village of Barbizon, which attracted many painters from Paris in the 19th century. They met there and captured the idyllic surroundings on canvas. You can still admire many of their works in the small museum in town. And Barbizon is still almost as pretty as it was back then. Another special place we discovered on our route is the Jardin Bourdelle sculpture garden, where you can admire impressive works of art in an almost enchanted-looking park.

Be incredibly relaxed on the road

It’s incredibly relaxing to take a trip by boat and bike. I really enjoy being on or near the water. I immediately feel the stress melt away when I’m on a ship. And on the Fleur you can really feel at home. The main lounge is like a living room and the foredeck is the perfect place to put your feet up after a long day on the bike.

The bike rides were great too. All we had to do was hop on and follow the tour leader – it’s worry-free! Because I didn’t have to constantly pay attention to the route, I could see a lot of the surrounding area.

While we were on our bikes, our cabins were cleaned. All of our food was provided – a breakfast buffet, packed lunches and delicious dinners. If this doesn’t make you feel like you’re on vacation, I don’t know what will!

Of course, I’m used to cycling at home in the Netherlands. So I was curious to see how things would go in France. Every now and then I would sweat a bit because we had to climb a hill, but it never got too strenuous. The bike paths were surprisingly well developed. The most important thing was that the other road users showed so much consideration for us as cyclists. That was reassuring.

Conclusion: A journey full of unforgettable moments

My tour from Paris to Montargis was a great journey of discovery – full of enjoyment, community and unexpected treasures. This experience will stay with me for a long time. I got to know my “second home” from a completely new perspective. And I’m truly grateful for the many wonderful encounters and the unforgettable moments that I was able to share with my fellow travelers!

Did Bernadet’s story sound like something you’d like to experience too? Would you also like to travel by bike and boat through France? Discover our France tours here! Then, once you’ve found your dream trip, or if you just want more information, contact us at +1 203 814 1249 or send an email to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!

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