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Bike and Barge to Paris

Bike and Barge to Paris

Trip Highlights

  • Sailing to Paris, day to explore at leisure
  • Exploring the small towns and villages en route
  • Soaking up the hospitality onboard the comfortable barge
  • Cycling through Auvers sur Oise, where Van Gogh lived

Trip Summary

There are many ways to visit Paris but rarely as uniquely as from your own floating hotel. This journey by bike takes you along quiet roads following the rivers Seine and Oise, through royal forests and beautiful villages that so inspired the painters Van Gogh and Sisley. Arriving into Paris through the canals and aboard your comfortable barge is one of the many highlights of the week. A full day is set aside to explore the many sights of Paris such as the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower. A visit to the very impressive castle of Fontainebleau, where Napoleon famously abdicated the first time, offers a unique insight into the royal history of France.

Suitability

INTRODUCTORY to MODERATE – GRADE 2

The cycling is introductory to moderate (2) grade with daily cycling distances from 7 to 50km on well graded roads and bike paths. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. It is not suitable for children (minimum bike size for height 150cm).

Itinerary

Following a bus transfer from Paris Gare du Nord (1.5-2hrs) departing at approximately 2:00pm, you arrive in Moret-sur-Loing where the barge is moored. Moret is a picturesque medieval village renowned for its barley sugar – the royal court indulgently travelled here just to taste it – and later as the home of Impressionist painter, Sisley. In the evening, cycle to Saint Mammés, a traditional barge village at the confluence of the Seine and Loing rivers.

Meals:  D

Today you cycle past the impressive royal and imperial Château de Fontainebleau and its beautiful gardens. Following the Seine, cycle past Héricy and Samois sur Seine finishing in Melun, the capital of the Department. In the evening, enjoy a walk through this small provincial town to see its bridges, attractive historical buildings and churches.

Meals:  B,L,D

Cycle along the Seine through the national forest of Senart, a former royal hunting ground, to Vigneux sur Seine where you board the barge and sail to Paris. The barge moors for the night in downtown Paris at the historic Bassin de l'Arsenal near Place de la Bastille.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning, cruise along the Canal St Martin (approx. 2.5 hours) through a tunnel and historic locks to Bassin la Villette, where we moor for the night. From approx 10.30am you will be free to explore Paris and its many highlights - the Eiffel tower, museums (Louvre, Centre Pompidou) and galleries, window-shop, etc.

Meals:  B,L

An easy cycle today, mainly on cycle lanes from central Paris along the river Seine, partly across the Bois de Boulogne and on to the village of Bougival, our peaceful mooring place for the night. Bougival is famous for being a painting site favoured by many artists including Monet, Sisley and Renoir.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the cycling tour passes the château St. Germain-en-Laye, and leads through Conflans Ste Honorine, the French Barging capital, continuing to the village of Auvers-sue-Oise, where Van Gogh lived and worked. In the late afternoon you board the barge and cruise to l’Isle Adam, one of the most charming villages of Ile de France and famous for its restaurants and cafés, to St Leu d'Esserent on the banks of the river Oise.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning we will cruise to the town of Creil, where we start our scenic cycling trip alongside the river Oise leading to the imperial city of Compiègne, once a seat of royal government (the others being Versailles & Fontainebleau). Here you can visit the park, the Napoleon III chateau and apartments, Museum of the 2nd Empire, the car museum or the gothic St. Jacques church (13th century). In the evening, your tour leader may take you for a walk in the town centre.

Meals:  B,L,D

Your tour ends after breakfast. The train station for your return journey to Paris is very close to where the barge is moored. Note: Itinerary operates in reverse every alternate departure i.e. Compiègne to Moret-sur-Loing (see below). Itinerary is provided as a guide and small amendments may occur.

Meals:  B

Compiegne to Moret-sur-Loing

Make your own way by train from Paris Gare du Nord and arrive in the afternoon in Compiègne. You will find your barge moored close to the train station and can begin boarding from approximately 3:00pm (time to be confirmed). You will embark and meet your crew and tour leader. In the evening there will be a warm up ride in the vicinity of the town and you will pass the beautiful park, the Napoleon III chateau and the 13th century St Jacques Church.

Meals:  D

This morning we will cycle through the imperial city of Compiègne, once a seat of royal government (the others being Versailles & Fontainebleau). We will continue along the river Oise to Creil. Here we will board the barge and then cruise to I'Ile Adam, one of the most charming villages in the area and where we will overnight.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning the barge will bring us to Auvers sur Oise, where Vincent Van Gogh lived and worked, and we start cycling today. Before we take to our bikes you will have some time to look around this lovely village. The cycling today will lead us past the Chateau St Germain-en-Laye and through the barging capital of France - Conflans St. Honorine, and then on to the village of Bougival, our peaceful mooring place for the night. Bougival is famous for being a painting site favoured by many artists including Monet, Sisley and Renoir.

Meals:  B,L,D

An easy cycle today, mainly on cycle lanes along the river Seine, partly across the St. Germain forest and the Bois de Boulogne to Bassin la Villette in downtown Paris, where we moor for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the early morning, cruise to the historic Bassin de l'Arsenal near Place de la Bastille, along the Canal St Martin (approx 2.5 hours) through a tunnel, historic locks and past romantic bridges. Free day to explore Paris and its many highlights - the Eiffel tower, museums (Louvre, Centre Pompidou) and galleries, window-shop, etc.

Meals:  B,L

After breakfast, cycle along the river Seine and through the national forest of Senart, a former royal hunting ground, to Melun, the capital of the Seine-et-Marne department. In the evening your guide may take you for a walk though this small provincial town to see its bridges, attractive historical buildings and churches.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you cycle to the impressive royal and imperial Château de Fontainebleau and its beautiful gardens for a visit. Continue past Saint Mammés, a traditional barge village at the confluence of the Seine and Loing rivers, to Moret-sur-Loing where you spend your last evening. Moret is a picturesque medieval village renowned for its barley sugar – the royal court indulgently travelled here just to taste it – and later as the home of Impressionist painter, Sisley.

Meals:  B,L,D

Your tour ends after breakfast and you will say goodbye to your guide & crew. You will be transferred by bus to Paris Gare du Nord (1.5-2hrs) departing approximately 9:30am, arriving approximately 11:30am where the trip concludes.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners (does not include drinks). Continental breakfasts are served and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. At breakfast you will prepare your packed lunch for the day which will be sandwiches, fruit & juice. Dinner will consist of three courses inclusive of either a pasta, vegetarian or meat dish.
  • 7 nights accommodation aboard a Category C barge in a cabin with ensuite facilities on a twin share basis. The compact cabins are configured with split level beds (not bunks) or a lower double bed. If you are travelling by yourself you will be matched with another passenger of the same gender - the compact nature of the cabin may not be suited to sharing with a stranger. There is a limited availability of single cabins, and they are always on a request basis (supplement applies).
  • 24 speed ladies or men's bike rental with lock and pannier (electric bike available on request, 2 per departure - supplement applies, includes bicycle insurance). Men's bike frames are for body heights of 170-190cm or 185-200cm and can be requested for ladies, please advise your consultant.
  • Visit to the castle Fontainebleau
  • Information pack including route notes and maps per cabin
  • Transfer from or to Paris Gare du Nord train station to the barge at Moret-sur-Loing
  • Several city walks
  • Multilingual (English, German and Dutch) tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from the start of the trip at Paris Gare du Nord train station or Compiègne and transfers not specified in the itinerary. Travel to or from the barge at Compiègne is not included.
  • Optional Bicycle insurance (approx EUR26 per person payable locally) - please note that normal travel insurance often does not cover loss or damage to rental bikes. The replacement value of the bikes is between €350-400 approximately. If you do not take out bike insurance you will need to pay for the cost of the bike in the event it is stolen or repair of any damages.
  • Helmets - mandatory on all bike tours, you are encouraged to bring your own well-fitted helmet
  • Drinks including water (the tap water on the barge is not suitable for drinking)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specified
  • Tips - while tipping is not obligatory, it is customary to offer a tip if the guide and crew have done a good job. As a guide we would recommend EUR35-70 per person (to be distributed between the guide/s, captain and crew).
  • Travel insurance - mandatory

Upcoming Travel Dates

Reviews

Had a fantastic week cycling through France - great way to see the countryside. Being a solo traveller it was great to meet other people on the trip. The food on the barge was amazing and was always exactly what we felt like after a days ride.

J. Wollaston., Northcote, VIC. Australia

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:France
Starting Point:Paris or Compiegne
Activities:GUIDED CYCLING
BARGE
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:BBP
Prices From:GBP£890 Per Person
Single Supplement (only on request & where available):GBP£200  Click for more information