Tours in France
Free coffee and tea 24/7
Individually controlled air conditioning
This interesting 15 day roundtrip starts and ends in Paris, the famous capital of France, not far from the Notre Dame. We follow the Seine downstream passing the Louvre and the Eiffel tower to Conflans. From here we cruise through the valley of the Oise to Compiegne. From the Middle Ages on, this part of France used to be the center of the French kingdom. Later we follow the river Aisne to Soissons (battleground during WW1) and Reims with her magnificent gothic cathedral. A canal with a lot of locks […]
Gorgeous cycling through Champagne vineyards
World War I battlefields in the Aisne Valley
Enjoy Paris, the City of Lights
Barge with max. 20 passengers
This interesting 15 day roundtrip starts and ends in Paris, the famous capital of France, not far from the Notre Dame. We follow the Seine downstream passing the Louvre and the Eiffel tower to Conflans. From here we cruise through the valley of the Oise to Compiegne. From the Middle Ages on, this part of France used to be the center of the French kingdom.
Later we follow the river Aisne to Soissons (battleground during WW1) and Reims with her magnificent gothic cathedral. A canal with a lot of locks brings us to the river Marne, which we will follow downstreams back to Paris. Now we arrive in the real champagne region and you bike straight across the vineyards on the rolling banks of the Marne. On our way we visit the immense champagne cellars in Epernay, the capital of the champagne region, as well as small champagne growers, who will be proud to let you taste their best champagne. We spend a night in Chateau-Thierry, scene of the American battles in World War I. Final destination is Paris, where you will find the Fleur in the Port d’ Arsenal, not far from the Notre Dame.
The ship – Your sailing hotel
In between cycling excursions, you cruise along with the ship, which travels to a new destination every day. You dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board. You’ll receive a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like.
Accompanied by a competent, professional and multilingual tour leader, you and the group will visit interesting sights and places on the daily cycling tours. During the bike tour, they will explain the local history and culture behind the things you encounter along the way. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of route notes (available on board).
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
Day 1: Paris – Paris (Bougival)
Embarkation and check-in at 2 PM in the center of Paris. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader the barge will sail right through the city. Mooring place for the night is in a suburb of Paris. After a sailing dinner there is time for a short walk.
We advise you to come to Paris one or more days earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to discover this interesting city.
Day 2: Paris (Bougival) – Auvers-sur-Oise (42 km/26 mi or 46 km/28 mi)
From the starting point Bougival you cycle alongside the Seine to St. Germain-en-Laye, where you will climb the plateau on top of which you will find a palace and gardens. Here you have a splendid view over Paris. Later you pass Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where the Oise and the Seine merge. From the 19th century Conflans has been an important center of navigation in Northern France. Your final destination is Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent the last days of his life and where he and his brother are buried in the local cemetery. This region was loved by many impressionist painters. After dinner an evening walk to the van Gogh cemetery.
Day 3: Auvers-sur-Oise – Beaumont | Beaumont – Creil (43 km/26 mi.) | Creil – Pont-Ste- Maxence
Sailing breakfast to Beaumont. Starting in Beaumont, you follow the Oise upstream. On your bicycles you pass the abbey of Royaumont and soon thereafter you arrive in Chantilly, with its famous castle. The castle is also well known for the horse-racing circuit and royal stables. The bike tour end in Creil, from where the ship will take you to the destination of today, Pont-Ste-Maxence.
Day 4: Pont-Ste-Maxence – Compiègne (44 km/28 mi. or 54 km/34 mi)
The bike trip starts in Pont-st-Maxence. This town owes its name to the fact that in very olden times there already was a bridge over the Oise and so Pont-St-Maxence became the place to stay the night for kings and merchants who were on their way to Flanders. From here your biking tour starts. Not far from here you pass the abbey of Moncel, which in 1309 was founded by King Philips le Bel. Before you reach your final destination Compiègne you cycle through the forest named after this town “ Forêt de Compiègne”. French kings loved to hunt here. The longer route ads some more miles of forest and also the little town of Pierrefonds where you can admire the outside look of the impressive castle. Compiègne owes its architectural wealth to the proximity of Paris. The gardens of the Chateau de Compiègne are most worthy of your visit.
Day 5: Compiègne – Soissons (43 km/ 26 mi.)
Today you leave the river Oise to continue your trip along the river Aisne in eastern direction. In the morning you cycle into the most northern part of the forest of Compiègne. Here you visit the “Clairière de l’Armistice”, the place where the french and german generals signed for the end of WWI. You could have a look into the small but interesting museum. Immediately after you meet the river Aisne and follow its valley to the town of Soissons, were once Clovis beat the Romans. Soissons was destroyed for 80% in World War I. Yet it’s pride is the beautiful inside of the renovated cathedral whom we can compare with it’s gothic sisters of Reims and Paris. Also worth visiting is the Abbey of St Jean des Vignes.
Day 6: Soissons – Berry au Bac (37 km/22 mi. or 40 km/24 mi.)
We continue cycling upstream through the Aisne-valley. For the Fleur the locks will get smaller and numerous. Today the route is scenic along villages with the typical farm houses and churches of the most western Ardennes spurs, but once this area has been the scenery of the most desperate years of World War I. One can tell from the memorials in the villages, commemorating the local victims. An option is to cycle (a part of) the heroic ‘Chemin des Dames’ known for one of the major battles, led by the French general Nivelle.
We end our trip in Berry au Bac, until recent a centre of many shipping routes to northern and eastern Europe.
Day 7: Berry au Bac – Reims (26 km/16 mi. or 29 km/18 mi.)
Today the Fleur is going through the canal connecting the valleys of the Aisne and the Marne. It will be a calm passage where, if your ‘re interested, you even might want to walk from lock to lock. For the cyclers it is the choice between an easy cycling day along the picturesque valley of the river Suippe or a challenge in the scenic hills of Saint Thierry. The last section to Reims you bike along the canal to the docking place near the centre.
The Notre-Dame cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals of the world, because of its unity in style, the magnificent sculpture and its prominent part in more than 1000 years of French and European history. The light due to glasses – from the 13th to the 20th century (Marc Chagall) -. is spectacular. Together with Epernay, Reims is also the center of champagne production and the city has numerous cellars, which you can visit. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants in town.
Day 8: Reims – Sept-Saulx (30 km/18 mi.)
In the morning we will stay in Reims. This old city on the banks of the river Vesle is especially known for its wonderful cathedral, where the French kings were crowned. The Notre-Dame cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals of the world, because of its unity in style, the magnificent sculpture and its prominent part in more than 1000 years of French and European history. But the Basilique St.-Remi is also very much worth a visit. Together with Epernay, Reims is also the center of champagne production and the city has numerous cellars, which we can visit.
Ship leaves in the direction of Sept-Saulx. You can choose to join the ship or join the guide for an afternoon bike tour along the slopes of the montagnes de Reims.
Day 9: Sept-Saulx – Dizy (38 km/23 mi. or 43 km/ 26 mi.)
In the morning we follow the Fleur along the canal to Tours sur Marne and Mareuil-sur-Ay with its beautiful castle, of which in 1830 the Duke of Montebello became the owner. He established a champagne house there. From here we will follow the Marne river to Epernay. Together with Reims, this city is the major wine center of the Champagne, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne the Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many town houses dating in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët et Chandon are situated.
Day 10: Dizy – Dormans – Château-Thierry (33 km/20 mi. or 50 km/31 mi.)
Today you cycle along the canal and Marne river. We will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot, who gave her name (“Veuve Cliquot”) to a famous Champagne wine. A ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne rewards the cyclist with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. Today we will leave the official Champagne area. Cycle along the Marne river to Dormans, a quiet village on the Marne with a castle and chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne. During World War I this area was the scene of close battles. The short cycling tour ends in Dormans, where you can join the ship. The longer option ends at the lock of Mont St. Pierre.
Today’s destination is Château-Thierry, that owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. The town was the site of the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and of 1918 in World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine.
Day 11: Château-Thierry – La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre (40 km/24 mi. or 44 km/27 mi.)
Enjoy a somewhat challenging cycling tour from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre . The first part of the cycling tour leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will take a small side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. En route you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. Follow the small river Clignon and continue riding uphill until you finally reach the plateau above the northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered with forest, on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Start your descent to reach La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre in the Marne valley, where you will meet the barge and spend the night.
Day 12: La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux (30 km/18 mi. or 52 km/32 mi.)
After breakfast you will start your cycling tour that will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley through forests and small villages on the southern and northern banks of the river. After just a few miles (uphill !) you will enjoy a very nice presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Then you will hop on the bicycles again and you can opt for a longer or shorter ride to Meaux. The short option will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the southern bank of the river through forests and small villages. The long tour follows a few large curves of the river to Lizy-sur-Ourcq and Trilport. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Visit the historical city center of Meaux. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants in town.
Day 13: Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne (24 km/14 mi. or 45 km/27 mi.)
Visit the beautiful city center of Meaux. Then you can take your bicycle for a last ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. The longer option leads along the Canal de l’Ourq, that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and drinking water to Paris. In the afternoon you will meet the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne, an outskirt of Paris, where you will stay for the night.
Day 14: Lagny-sur-Marne – Paris (38 km/23 mi. or 51 km/ 32 mi.)
Today we will bike further along the river Marne. After about 10 km you will pass the castle of Champs-sur Marne. The Château de Champs-sur-Marne is characteristic of the residences of leisure built in the countryside in the 18th century, giving rise to a new style of living. It is one of the most magnificently furnished châteaux in the Ile-de-France. You will bike all the way along the rivers Marne and Seine to the mooring in the heart of Paris.
Day 15: Paris
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
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Get a 400€ discount per person on this trip.
Tours in France
Free coffee and tea 24/7
Individually controlled air conditioning
Gorgeous cycling in Belgium and N. France
World War I battlefields in Somme Valley
Enjoy Paris, the City of Lights
Barges with 20 to max. 24 passengers
E-Bike tour the Champagne area’s rolling hills
Famous champagne cellars in Epernay
Paris, a must-see for Europe visitors
Barge with max. 24 passengers
Bike in the Forest of Fontainebleau
Royal history of Fontainebleau Castle
Impressionist Barbizon & Moret-sur-Loing
Barge with max. 20 passengers