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Highlights of this tour

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

Guidance
  • Fully-guided: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Semi-guided: Daily briefing by the tour leader, independent cycling but tour leader available ICE.
  • Independent: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Fully-guided
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 2 Difficulty level 2
Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 15 days

Bike and Barge Belgium & France: Antwerp – Paris Premium | Fleur

During this 15 day bike & barge trip through Flanders (Belgium) and northern France, from Antwerp to Paris, you will cycle through attractive areas, not yet discovered by mass tourism. This tour is characterized by a wide variation in landscapes and has all the ingredients a good bike & barge tour needs to explore these interesting regions. The first stage in Belgium features highlights like vibrant Antwerp as unbeatable start of a beautiful discovery tour, history in medieval Ghent, tapestry in Oudenaarde, Vincent van Gogh’s heritage, a nice Belgium beer at end of your daily cycling tour. Highlights in France are World War I battle fields and memorials in the Somme valley, the Chateau de Chantilly and its art gallery the Musée Condé that houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France, and – last but not least – beautiful Paris, the “City of Lights”.

The cycling tours go over gently forested undulations and across open farm land, along the rivers Scheldt, Somme, Oise and Seine; the Belgian-French border also appears to be more or less the watershed between the river basins of Scheldt and Seine.

As well as being able to discover many picturesque villages each day – both on your bicycle and on foot – you will be able to:

  • Explore Ghent where several masterpieces of medieval painting are to be found, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by Jan van Eyck, being the most famous of all;
  • Pass through Oudenaarde, the town of the tapestry weavers;
  • Visit the town of Péronne with her fascinating “Grande Guerre” museum;
  • Admire the splendid chateau of Chantilly; a luxurious castle with an impressive art collection and horse dressage;
  • Walk to the grave of Vincent van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise;
  • Visit many highlights of Paris.

Day to day program Antwerp - Paris

Day 1 (Sat): Antwerp – Temse | Temse – St Amands (13 km/ 8 mi.)

Embarkation and check-in is at 1 p.m. in the center of Antwerp at mooring location ‘het Steen’. Please make sure you arrive in time, because at 2 p.m. after a welcome meeting the ship will sail to Temse. From Temse your tour leader will take you on a short bike ride to St. Amands, a nice little village on the banks of the river Scheldt.

Day 2 (Sun): St. Amands – Dendermonde | Dendermonde– Ghent (52 km/32 mi.)

The bicycle tour follows again the river Scheldt in the direction of Ghent.  There is only one way to describe the landscape around the Schelde and that is: “magnificent”. It is without doubt one of the natural highlights of the tour. There is a beautiful bicycle path along the river.

Ghent is a lively university city that boasts a rich history. Since Roman times Ghent’s position at the junction of Leie and Schelde Rivers has ensured that it has been a successful trading port.  In total the city features an Opera House, 18 museums, more than 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. Major attractions are St. Bavo Cathedral where a number of masterpieces of medieval art including the world famous ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck are kept and the 91-metre-tall belfry of Ghent, one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center.

Day 3 (Mon): Ghent ­– Oudenaarde (42 km/26 mi or 51 km/31 mi)

This morning you will cycle back into downtown Ghent, where you will have some more time to enjoy the buzz and beauty of this historical city center. In the late morning you will hop on your bicycles again, onwards to Oudenaarde. Oudenaarde is a small town, which was situated on the border of the French German Empire, so the town was the involuntary witness (and victim) of many wars. Because it was often in the firing line, there was always someone on the lookout. The statue of most famous watchman, “Hanske de Krijger”, still stands on the magnificent town hall, that was built in the first half of the 16th century and is one of the most beautiful in Flanders. Style is Brabant late gothic, material is sandstone from Balegem. Oudenaarde is also known as the town of tapestry weavers. The tapestries became famous all over the world. Before reaching Oudenaarde you will visit an interesting archaeological site (of an old Abbey) Ename which is located at the eastside of the river Scheldt.

Day 4 (Tue): Oudenaarde­ – Doornik (Tournai) (42 km/26 mi.)

Before leaving Oudenaarde, there is a guided visit to the beautiful town hall. After that you will follow the river Scheldt upstream and cross the linguistic frontier, thus arriving in the Wallonia region. From now on people speak French and villages, towns, and cities have French names. Today’s destination is Doornik or (in French:) Tournai, one of the oldest towns of Belgium. Doornik was under French government until the early 17th century. Just like in Oudenaarde, after the decline of textile industry, tapestry became important here. In 1940, the entire town center was destroyed in a German air raid, but renovation of the center of town has been very successful. Especially the Notre Dame Cathedral (12th and 13th century) is worth seeing. Also the Belfort, built around 1200, is definitely worth a visit.

Day 5 (Wed): Doornik (Tournai) – Bleharies | Bleharies – Pont Malin | Pont Malin – Arleux (41 km/26 mi or 53 km/32 mi)

During breakfast the barge cruises into the direction of the Belgian-French border, through the so called “white land”, where (white) limestone has been quarried since Roman times. Around the village of Bleharies at the border, you will start today’s bicycle ride. The tour goes through open farm land, through little mining towns towards Lewarde, where a mining museum can be visited. You will spend the night in Arleux.

Day 6 (Thu): Arleux – Ruyalcourt (36 km/23 mi. or 54 km/34 mi.)

The barge leaves the large canal and will from now on follow the Canal du Nord. The construction of this canal was already planned in 1903, but it took until 1966 to finish the works. It was constructed to replace the older and smaller Canal de St. Quentin, constructed by Napoleon in 1801, to transport coal from the mines to the north. Your cycling tours leads to the city of Cambrai, once a Roman provincial capital and an important destination for pilgrims. Worth seeing are the impressive restored buildings of the city fortress, built under King Charles V. Later you will cycle through the marshlands of Chantraine to rural Ruyaulcourt.

Day 7 (Fri): Ruyalcourt – Péronne (39 km/24 mi or 52 km/33 mi)

The Canal du Nord has 2 tunnels, where the barge has to sail through. The longest one is the tunnel of Ruyalcourt, which is 4,350 meters (2.7 miles) long. Today the barge will sail through this tunnel. Above the tunnel is the watershed between rivers Escaut (Scheldt) and Somme. From here the barge therefore goes downhill again into the direction of Péronne.

After passing the tunnel you will continue cycling through the valley of the river Somme through sparsely populated open and rolling landscape. At the end of World War 1, this area was the frontline of the battle around the Somme. You will continue cycling to Péronne.

Day 8 (Sat): Péronne

Today the barge will stay in Péronne. The barge will be moored just outside this charming town with its intimate square and church as well as a castle and the fascinating Grande Guerre museum. Today there is no dinner planned on board. You can select one of the many restaurants of Péronne.

Day 9 (Sun): Péronne – Épénancourt | Épénancourt  – Noyon – Pont l’Évêque (39 km/24 mi. or 48 km/29 mi.)

During breakfast the barge will bring you to the little village of Épénancourt. There you have to get on the bicycles in time for a long ride through gently rolling, open countryside to the art-deco town of Ham and along the river Somme and other picturesque villages. Destination is Noyon with its imposing cathedral.

Day 10 (Mon): Pont l’Évêque – Compiègne (36 km/23 mi or 48 km/29 mi)

From Pont l’Évêque you will set course for Compiègne. You will ride through the forest of Ourscamp and cross the river Aisne where the forest of Compiègne begins. Here, at “Clairière de l’Armistice”, French and German generals signed a Treaty to end World War I. You can visit the small but interesting museum that tells the story. Soon you will arrive at Compiègne. The town owes its magnificent buildings to the proximity of Paris and the great woods, where the French kings loved to stay and hunt. The gardens of the Chateau de Compiègne are definitely worth a visit.

Day 11 (Tue): Compiègne – Pont-St-Maxence. (45 km/27 mi or 55 km/34 mi)

Today you cycle first through the forest south of Compiègne, after which you will follow the valley of the Oise further downstream into the direction of Creil. The long tour will add a loop in order to include the little town of Pierrefonds, where you can admire the exterior of the “Disney-like” castle with the same name. Right before reaching Pont Ste. Maxence you will pass by the abbey of Moncel, founded in 1309 by King Philip the Fair. Pont Ste. Maxence owes its name to the fact that in the Middle Ages here was one of the very few bridges over the Oise river. It became a place to spend the night for merchants and kings, who were on their way between Flanders and Paris.

Day 12 (Wed): Pont-St-Maxence – Creil |Creil – Beaumont |Beaumont – Auvers-sur-Oise (42 km/27 mi. or 57 km/35 mi.)

After a sailing breakfast you start cycling out of Creil towards the precious and famous Castle of Chantilly, also very known for the horse racing circuit and royal stables and for its art gallery – the Musée Condé – that houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France. After the visit you continue through a nice forest and pass the abbey of Royaumont. If you take the short option, you will be picked up by the barge at Beaumont. The long option will cross the river Oise and follow the river to Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent the last days of his life and where he and his brother Theo are buried on the cemetery. You will have the possibility to visit Van Gogh’s grave on the local cemetery during a short evening walk. This region was very popular among impressionist painters.

Day 13 (Thu): Auvers-sur-Oise – Paris (Bougival/Rueil)(42 km/26 mi. or 46 km/28 mi.)

Since you arrived in Auvers late yesterday, you can first spend some time in Auvers to search for “the soul of Van Gogh”. Then, full of impressionist impressions, you will cycle in the direction of the Capital of Light. There is time for lunch at Conflans Sainte Honorine, where the Oise and Seine rivers merge. Conflans has been an important shipping center in Northern France since the 19th century. In the afternoon you will cycle up to the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye from where you will have a splendid view over Paris. After that you will continue along the river to Bougival, where you will spend the night.

Day 14 (Fri): Paris (Bougival/Rueil) – Paris

Today the barge finally cruises the Seine, upstream into Paris. It is not far in a straight line, but the Seine makes a number of large meanders here. You will cruise right through the center of Paris. You can spend the rest of the day as you like. You can explore the city by subway, or take a bus roundtrip that takes you along all major sights.

Day 15 (Sat): Paris

End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.

Good to know

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

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.

With 18 guests or more, the daily cycling tours will be accompanied by two knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leaders. On most days, the tour leaders will offer a long and a short (or a quicker and a more relaxed) cycling option. The option for a long tour is also depending on weather conditions and wishes of the group.

When there are less than 18 guests aboard, the tours will be accompanied by one knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader. During days when two bicycle options are possible, the tour leader will make a choice to guide the longer or the shorter option after consultation of the group.

Not all mentioned highlights can be visited during the short cycling option.

In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.

On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 am.


Prices & information

Invite a friend to join you for just half the price. Simply enter the discount code LAST25 when booking.
This offer is valid for all departures in 2020.
The discount is only valid for new bookings and cannot be combined with other discount offers.

Our special offer is valid until July 1st 2020.

Prices & availability

Below you see an overview of the available (blue) dates; the yellow dot means that this date has 2 or less cabins available, orange is ‘on request’ and red means that on this date there aren’t any cabins available. Then click on the preferred date. After this, choose your ship (some tours have only one ship, and therefore there is no choice), the number of cabins in the required (and available) category, any desired additional products, and ‘local costs’ (such as special dietary needs, which you usually pay for onboard). On the right side, you’ll find the ‘Booking Summary.’ After completing your preferences and necessary information click ‘Book now’ to finalize your booking.

  • Available
  • 2 or less available
  • On request
  • Not available
Departure date -

Choose preferred ship

Please select your cabin(s)

Pricing overview - 2020
Cabin type For July 18
Twin cabin 2 pers. € 2439 Twin cabin for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. € 3659
Included in this tour

15 days/14 nights

14 x breakfast

Packed lunches

13 x 3-course dinner

Coffee and tea on board

Welcome drink

Use of bed linen and towels

Daily cleaning of the cabin, 1x change of bed sheets

Climate-controlled cabin

Daily briefings

Fully guided cycling tours (from 18 guest: 2 tour leaders, 2 groups)

Some short walking tours

Maps for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)

GPS tracks

Use of a helmet

Use of a waterproof pannier bag

Water bottle

Fees for ferries

Canal trip through Ghent

Visit museum Glade of the Armistice

Entrance castle of Chantilly

Visit town hall Oudenaarde

Wi-Fi

SGR guarantee scheme applicable

Excluded in this tour

1 x dinner

Drinks

Bicycle rental or E-bike rental

Personal insurances

Gratuities (at your discretion)

Entrance fees and excursions (not mentioned under included)

Transfers to/from the docking place

Parking fees

Additional options & information 2020

2020:

  • Rental bicycle (incl. helmet and water bottle): €170 per period
  • Rental E-Bike (incl. helmet and water bottle): €370 per period (only on request, limited number of e-bikes available, early bookings strongly recommended.
  • You can find a description of the bicycles under ship.
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental bicycle €20/2 week
  • Limitation of liability (damage) rental e-bike €50/2 week
  • Please click on this link for more information

 

Transfer between Paris and Antwerp: There is a good train connection between these two cities. Please visit one of the following websites for timetables, tickets or more information www.omio.co.uk or www.trainline.eu.



Available ships for this tour

Premium Experience the higher levels of comfort, smaller groups and extra’s.
Ship Fleur Belgium, France, Netherlands
max. 20 passengers
10 cabins
5 tours available with this ship

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Bike and Barge Belgium & France: Antwerp – Paris Premium

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