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Bike and Barge Tour France: Paris – Bruges | Zwaantje and Fleur

During this trip through northern France and Flanders, from Paris to Bruges, you will cycle through attractive landscapes, over gently forested undulations and across open farm land, along the rivers Seine, Oise and Somme, Scarpe and Scheldt, where the watershed appears to be the actual border. You will walk through interesting cities; for example a visit to Paris and its exceptional parks is on the program, but also to small art-deco towns such as Ham and Ronse. You will pass through Oudenaarde and Ghent with their historically renowned production of tapestries and sheets, past the impressive cathedrals and ancient bishoprics such as Noyon, Cambrai and Tournai.

We’ll visit the lively Creil, the imperial city of Compiegne and the tourist town of Péronne; and inspiration for painters such as Van Eyck in Bruges, Corot in Arleux, Van Gogh in Auvers and Permeke in St. Martens-Lathem. You will get to see imposing remains of the abbeys at Royaumont and Our-champs, of Marchiennes and St. Amand, view the palaces of Chantilly, Compiegne and Blérancourt and admire the castles in Pierrefonds and Péronne. There are many reminders of the First World War such as in the Armistice and Péronne museums and the farmer’s craft traditions in Hertsberge.

Itinerary Zwaantje : Paris – Auvers – Compiegne– Noyon – Péronne – Oudenaarde  – Ghent – Bruges

Itinerary Fleur: Paris – Auvers – Compiegne– St. Quentin – Cambrai – Oudenaarde  – Ghent – Bruges.

Program 2018: From 18 guests there will be two guides and you can decide each day if you want to join the longer or the shorter  ride.

NEW: Impression (short clip) of the ship: https://boatbiketours.com/videos/


Champagne-Brochure

 

 

  • Dates/Prices

  • Ship information

    Zwaantje                       Premium

    The  “Zwaantje” (“Little Swan”) is a fully converted passenger barge under Dutch flag and management with a length of 40 meters (131 ft.) that can accommodate 24 passengers. On lower deck the barge has 12 sleeping cabins: 10 twin cabins with two single beds each and 2 cabins with a double (French) bed. All cabins have a small en-suite bathroom with toilet, shower and wash basin, a fixed window (both double cabins have larger windows that also open) and individual air conditioning. On the main deck you will find the nice and cozy salon with air conditioning and large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar. Depending on the quality of the network connection (mobile internet, limited data amount) the salon offers free Wi-Fi. The barge has a very spacious sun deck (90 square meters / 860 square ft.) with chairs and tables and a beautiful view, where you can relax or join the skipper in the wheel house. Bicycles will be stored in a separate area on the sun deck.

    The  owners and operators of the Zwaantje are : Martijn van Tatenhove and Marjorie Kersten, who are experienced as operators of a passenger barge for more than thirteen years. Martijn is your experienced captain on board; he grew up in a family in the hotel and restaurant business and is also a licensed chef. Marjorie graduated in Tourism at the Breda High School and has been working in public relations. The sympathetic and very motivated couple have slightly restyled the interior of the Zwaantje in winter 2014-2015 and have created a warm and cozy atmosphere.

    NEW: Impression (short clip) of the ship: www.youtube.com/boatbiketours

    Zwaantje (DE) Zwaantje plattegrond

    Fleur (20 passengers/ 10 cabins)                 Premium

    The Fleur started cruising with passengers in 2002. This tasteful barge, with its sleek lines, was built to fit the smaller locks and canals in France. She has been cruising the French waters ever since. For many years Reint Dragt has been the owner and his years of experience and commitment are reflected in every detail. It also guarantees a pleasant vacation. The Fleur can accommodate a maximum of 20 guests on her trips on the French waterways.

    On the top deck the Fleur has a lounge with large windows, a comfy sitting area, a cozy bar and a half-covered sun deck; perfect for a sun downer or good morning cup of coffee. In the lounge of the Fleur you’ll find free Wi-Fi. Please note that due to the mobile network connection, the quality is not always stable. The salon has central heating and air-conditioning.

    On the lower deck the Fleur has 10 comfortable cabins (8 m², single beds), each with a private shower, toilet and basin, a small safe and hair dryer. Furthermore the cabins have central heating and air-conditioning.

     

    fleur-on-board

    fleur-sailing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Program Paris-Bruges Zwaantje

    Tour Details France & Belgium: From Paris to Bruges – MS Zwaantje

    Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Paris
    Embarking takes place from 16.00 on board the barge MS Zwaantje in Paris from Quai de Bercy. In the evening you can walk to Ile Saint Louis, a distance of around 3 kilometers.

    Day 2 (Sun): Paris: City Center
    During breakfast a cruise on the river Seine through the center of Paris. At around 10.30 you will be able to go ashore to visit the city at your leisure or you can go on a city walk of around 5 kilometers through the beautiful green areas of Parc de la Vilette, Buttes Chaumont and Belleville. The ship sails on and mores close to the outer area of the city. You can reach the berth using public transport (day tickets not included, around €3) and will be able to board at around 17.30 for dinner.

    Day 3 (Mon): Saint Germain and Laye, Conflens and Auvers sur Oise (ca. 40 km/ 24 miles)
    After breakfast you will cycle along quiet towpaths along the river Seine to the higher situated St. Germain, the gardens of Le Nôtre provide a magnificent view across Paris. Next you will go through the woods to Conflans for a picnic on the pier amongst the terraces. After a short stop at the Pontoise Bridge, you cycle further across the picturesque Chemin des Monts to the church of Auvers, famous for Van Gogh’s paintings. We will visit his grave during the evening walk.

    Day 4 (Tue): Beaumont sur Oise, Royaumont, Chantilly, Creil (ca. 50 km/ 31 miles)
    After a short stop in Beaumont we will have a picnic at the Royaumont abbey; one of the best preserved abbeys from the 13th century. During the afternoon we will visit the splendid Chantilly; a luxurious castle with an impressive art collection and horse dressage. After dinner there will be a stroll through the lively provincial town of Creil.

    Day 5 (Wed): Pont St.Maxence, Pierrefonds, Compiegne (ca. 55 km/ 34 miles)
    During breakfast the MS Zwaantje will take us to Pont Saint Maxence. From there you will cycle through little towns and have a short stop in Verberie and then through the forest to Castle Pierrefonds; the leading restoration project by Viollet le Duc. In the evening we will be exploring the historical center with its medieval market and many alleyways.

    Day 6 (Thu): La Clairière, Tracy, Ourschamps or Blérancourt, Noyon (ca. 40 – 55 km) 24 / 34 miles)
    First we’ll go to l’Armistice de la Clairière to the forest clearing and the carriage where the First World War armistice was signed. Then through Tracy and the Our-champs abbey with its charming ruin then on through rolling woodlands to Noyon and its imposing cathedral. You can extend the route by cycling to Blérancourt, where there is a lovely town hall from the 17th Century and a charming palace with flower gardens to be admired.

    Day 7 (Fri): Through Ham to Péronne (ca. 65 km / 40 miles)
    Today we will embarking on a long bike ride leaving at 8.30 for a ride through gently rolling, open countryside, the art deco town of Ham and along the river Somme and the picturesque villages.

    Day 8 (Sat): Day in Péronne
    The MS Zwaantje 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. Dinner in town in a restaurant of your choice (not included, recommendations available on board).

    Day 9 (Sun): Bapaume, Ruyaulcourt (ca. 45 km / 27 miles)
    We will continue cycling along the river Somme and then through the sparsely populated open and rolling landscape to Bapaume which was re-built after the First World War. We will then go on to Canal du Nord in Ruyaulcourt, here the MS Zwaantje will pass through the divide between the rivers Somme and the Scheldt through a tunnel; the original border between Flanders and France. Mooring is in an outer area.

    Day 10 (Mon): Cambrai and Arleux (ca. 45 km/ 27 miles)
    Today we will visit Cambrai, a lively provincial town with historic monuments and a beautiful park to picnic in and then past the marshlands of Chantraine on to rural Arleux.

    Day 11 (Tue): Lewarde, Montigny, Marchiennes, Saint Amand les Eaux, Tournai (ca. 65 km / 40 miles)
    A long day of cycling through former mining towns with beautifully preserved heritage from around 1900, and past the Scarpe-river through Marchiennes and St.Amand where there are monumental remains of baroque abbeys. Just across the border with Belgium lies Tournai, where we will take an evening walk through its historic center.

    Day 12 (Wed): Kluisbergen, Ronse, Oudenaarde (ca. 50 km/ 31 miles)
    North of Tournai we will cycle across flat farmland with a few hills to the wooded Kluisberg, known for its cycling tours. The church in Ronse has a beautiful crypt from the 13th Century and Art Deco-villa’s and a crypt from the 11th Century. In Oudenaarde you will find the splendid town hall with a magnificent collection from the 16th and 17th Century as well as the Tour of Flanders Centre. After dinner you can enjoy a Belgian beer at the atmospheric Market place.

    Day 13 (Thu): Through Nazareth, Ooidonk, Sint-Martens-Lathem, Afsnee (ca. 50 km/31 miles) or directly to Ghent (ca. 35 km / 21 miles)
    First we will cycle along the river Scheldt then on through the idyllic Ooidonk landscape, the artists’ village of St.Martens-Lathem, the small ferry of Afsnee and the bustling Gent-South. There is the option of cycling directly along the river Scheldt to Ghent to spend an afternoon in this lively university town. Of Romanian origin and situated at the merging point of the rivers Scheldt and Leie, Ghent was, between the 14th and 16th Century, a wealthy trade and textile city, evidence of which lies in the cloth hall, cathedral and town hall. In the evenings the town center is a very atmospheric place to be. There is the option of joining a canal tour to the center and returning to the ship by taxi (not included).

    Day 14 (Fri): Bellem, Hertsberge, Moerbrugge, Bruges (ca. 50 km/ 25 miles)
    During breakfast the MS Zwaantje will take us to Aalter where will get on our bikes and cycle through wooded areas and fields, past quiet villages and castles to the Hertsberge estate where there is an interesting agricultural museum to visit. Timely arrival in Bruges, the most picturesque city in Flanders and from the 14th to the 16th Century renowned as one of Europe’s most important centers of banking and art, and during the romantic period rediscovered for time travel in the Middle Ages.

    Day 15 (Fri): Disembarkation: Bruges
    After breakfast you will leave the ship. Disembarkation till 10.00.

    Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

    All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
    When you do not want to cycle one day, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
    Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
    On the arrival day is it possible to put your luggage already on board as from 09:30 AM.
    Guided bike tours: it is also possible to ride some shorter bike tours self-guided, on an individual basis: descriptions and maps are available on board.
    During the day the tour leader is guiding the daily bike tour and – for those who want to cycle individually – can be reached on his/her mobile phone in cases of emergency or technical breakdown of the bicycle.

  • Program Bruges-Paris Zwaantje

    Tour Details France & Belgium: From Bruges to Paris – MS Zwaantje

    Day 1 (Sat): Bruges
    Embarking takes place from 16.00 h on board the barge MS Zwaantje in Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, maybe is the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At the time Bruges was a metropolis, center of trade and art, which we can still fully enjoy.

    Day 2 (Su): Bruges – Ghent (Bike tour: about 40 km / 24 miles)
    During breakfast the MS Zwaantje will take us to In Beernem where we start biking across the pleasant country side of Western Flanders to Ghent where we arrive around noon. Ghent is a lively university city, again one with a rich past. The city has its origins in Roman Times, at the place where the rivers Leie and Scheldt converge. This favorable situation brought a great deal of prosperity over the years, which had its peak late 13th, early 14th century. Textile industry brought great wealth. In the city center many old patrician houses have been preserved. In the Cloth makers’ Hall (1425) textile merchants used to meet. Major church is St. Baafs’ Cathedral, raised in various ages and in various styles. In the cathedral you can admire a number of masterpieces of mediaeval painting, of which the ‘Adoration of the Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck is the most famous.

    Day 3 (Mo): Gent – Oudenaarde (Bike tour: about 25 / 45 km / 15/ 27 miles)
    We bike from Ghent along the river Bovenschelde to Oudenaarde this morning. Oudenaarde is a small town, which was situated on the border of the French-German Empire, so the town was the seat of many wars. Because it was often in the firing line, there was always someone on the look-out. The most famous watchman still stands on the magnificent town hall: Hanske de Krijger. The town hall 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. After dinner you can enjoy a Belgian beer at the atmospheric Market place.

    Day 4 (Tue): Oudenaarde – Doornik (Tournai) (Bike tour: about 35 / 42 km / 21 / 25 miles)
    Before we leave Oudenaarde, we have a guided visit to the beautiful own hall. After that we follow the river Scheldt upstream and cross the linguistic frontier, thus arriving in the Walloon region. From now on people speak French and villages, towns and cities have a French name. Final destination of today is Doornik or Tournai, one of the oldest towns of Belgium. Doornik fell under French government until early in the 17th century. Just as 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 town has been very successful. Especially the Notre Dame cathedral (12th and 13th century) is worth seeing. But also the Belfort, built around 1200, is definitely worth a visit.

    Day 5 (Wed): Tournai – Arleux (Bike tour: about 45 / 60 km / 27/36 miles)
    During breakfast we cruise into the direction of the French-Belgium border, through the so-called ‘white land’, where lime stone had been quarried since roman times.
    Around the friendly fortified town of Antoing we start our todays-bike-ride which follows the old pilger route to Santiago de Compostela. We pass border villages and will end up in Arleux
    The barge is no longer cruising the river Scheldt but a large canal, which leads to Dunkirk in the end. The region is characterized by former mining towns with beautifully preserved heritage from around 1900.

    Day 6 (Thu): Arleux – Ruyaulcourt (Bike tour: about 50 km / 30 miles)
    Today we visit 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 Charles V. Later we bike through the marshlands of Chantraine on to rural Ruyaulcourt.

    Day 7 (Fri): Ruyalcourt – Peronne (Bike tour: about 45 km / 27 miles)
    We will continue cycling through the valley of the river Somme through the sparsely populated open and rolling landscape to Bapaume which was re-built after the First World War. We will then go on to Peronne. The road between Bapaume and Péronne was at the end of WW1 the front line of the battle around the Somme.

    Day 8 (Sat): Peronne
    Today the barge will stay in Péronne.
    The MS Zwaantje 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. Dinner in town in a restaurant of your choice (not included, recommendations available on board).

    Day 9 (Sun): Peronne – Noyon (Bike tour: about 50 km / 30 miles)
    Today we have to get on the bikes in time for a long ride through gently rolling, open countryside, the art deco town of Ham and along the river Somme and the picturesque villages.
    Destination is Noyon with its imposing cathedral.

    Day 10 (Mo): Noyon – Compiègne (Bike tour: about 40 / 60 km / 24 / 36 miles)
    From Noyon we set course for Compiègne. Compiègne owes its magnificent buildings to the proximity of Paris and the great woods, where the French kings loved to stay. Worth a visit are the beautiful gardens of the Château. The cycling goes through the forest of Ourscamp, crosses the river Aisne and in the forest of Compiegne at the other side is the “Clairière de l’Armistice”, the place where the French and German generals signed for the end of WWI. You can visit the small but interesting museum over there. From there you can head for Compiègne or make an extra loop and pass by the castle of Pierrefonds

    Day 11 (Di): Compiègne – Creil (Bike tour: about 45 / 60 km / 27/36 miles)
    Today we cycle first through the forest south of Compiègne after which we follow the valley of the Oise further downstream into the direction of Creil. Right before Pont-ste-Maxence we pass by the abbey of Moncel, founded in 1309 by King Philip the Fair. Pont-Ste-Maxence owes its name to the fact that very early on there was a bridge across the Oise. Pont-Ste-Maxence became a place to spend the night for merchants and kings, who were on their way to Flanders. Our final destination of today, Creil, was in the 19th century known for its fine pottery.

    Day 12 (Wed): Creil – Auvers-sur-l’Oise (Bike tour: about 33 / 54 km / 20/32 miles)
    We start cycling out of busy Creil towards the precious and famous castle of Chantilly also very known for the horse-racing circuit and royal stables. After the visit we continue through nice forest and pass and/or visit the abbey of Royaumont. After that we will cross the river Oise and follow the river to Auver sur Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent the last days of his life and where he and his brother are buried on the cemetery. This region was very popular with many impressionist painters. In the evening we will walk to the van Gogh cemetery.

    Day 13 (Thu): Auvers – Conflans – Bougival (Bike tour: about 36 / 48 km / 21.6/28.8 miles)
    During breakfast we will sail to Conflans -Sainte-Honorine, where the Oise and the Seine converge. Conflans has been an important shipping center in North France since the 19th century.
    9.00 h The bike tour starts in Conflans and brings us first to St.Germain-en-Laye. There you climb to the palace and from the palace-garden you have a splendid view over Paris. After that we continue through the suburbs towards Reuil-sur-Seine where we will spend the night.

    Day 14 (Fri): Bougival – Paris
    Today the barge finally cruises the Seine, upstream to Paris. It is not far in a straight line, but the Seine makes a number of large curves here. Mooring place of the Zwaantje is in the center of the city. You can spend the rest of the day as you like. You can explore the city by subway, or by a bus that takes you along all the sights.

    Day 15 (Sat): Paris
    After breakfast you will leave the ship. Disembarkation till 10.00.

    Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

    All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
    When you do not want to cycle one day, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
    Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
    On the arrival day is it possible to put your luggage already on board as from 09:30 AM.
    Guided bike tours: it is also possible to ride some shorter bike tours self-guided, on an individual basis: descriptions and maps are available on board.
    During the day the tour leader is guiding the daily bike tour and – for those who want to cycle individually – can be reached on his/her mobile phone in cases of emergency or technical breakdown of the bicycle.

  • Program Bruges-Paris Fleur

    Tour Details from Bruges to Paris | Barge Fleur

    Day 1: Arrival in Bruges
    Also called the Venice of the North, maybe is the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At the time Bruges was a metropolis, center of trade and art, which we can still fully enjoy. Embarkation as from 2 pm.

    Day 2: Bruges ­ Ghent , 15 to 27 miles (25 to 40 km)
    Enjoy breakfast during sailing. In Beernem, start biking across the pleasant countryside of Western Flanders to Ghent where we arrive around noon. Ghent is a lively university city, again one with a rich past. The city has its origins in Roman Times, at the place where the rivers Leie and Scheldt converge. This favorable situation brought a great deal of prosperity over the years, which had its peak late 13th, early 14th century. Textile industry brought great wealth. In the city center many old patrician houses have been preserved. In the Clothmakers’ Hall (1425) textile merchants used to meet. Major church is St. Baafs’ Cathedral, raised in various ages and in various styles. In the cathedral you can admire a number of masterpieces of mediaeval painting, of which the ‘Adoration of the Lamb’ by Jan van Eyck is the most famous. 18.30 h Dinner.

    Day 3: Ghent ­ Oudenaarde, 15 to 27 miles (25 to 45 km)
    Cruise from Ghent on the river Bovenschelde to Oudenaarde this morning. Oudenaarde is a small town, which was situated on the border of the French German Empire, so the town was the seat of many wars. Because it was often in the firing line, there was always someone on the lookout. The most famous watchman still stands on the magnificent town hall: Hanske de Krijger. The town hall 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. (museum closed on Monday). Before reaching Oudenaarde we will visit an interesting archaeological site (of an old Abbey) Ename which is located at the eastside of the river Scheldt. From there coming into Oudenaarde we might have to quench our thirst at one of Belgium’s famous beer breweries called Liefmans.

    Day 4: Oudenaarde ­ Doornik (Tournai), 21 to 25 miles (35 to 42 km)
    Before leaving Oudenaarde, visit to the beautiful town hall. After that we follow the river Scheldt upstream and cross the linguistic frontier, thus arriving in the Walloon region. From now on people speak French and villages, towns, and cities have a French name. Final destination of today is Doornik or Tournai, one of the oldest towns of Belgium. Doornik fell under French government until early in the 17th century. Just as 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 town has been very successful. Especially the Notre Dame cathedral (12th and 13th century) is worth seeing. But also the Belfort, built around 1200, is definitely worth a visit.

    Day 5: Doornik (Tournai) ­ Pont Malin (Bouchain), 30 miles (50 km)
    During breakfast cruise into the direction of the French Belgium border, through the so called ‘white land’, where limestone had been quarried since roman times. Around the friendly fortified town of Antoing we start our today's bike ride which follows the old pilger route to Santiago de Compostela. Pass border villages and will end up in Bouchain. Spend the night at the great lock of Pont Malin. The barge is no longer cruising the river Scheldt but a large canal, which leads to Dunkirk in the end. The region which the barge is cruising is characterized by metal industry.

    Day 6: Pont Malin ­ Cambrai ­ Honnecourt, (28 to 60 km)
    Leave the large canal during breakfast and go to the left into the canal of St.Quentin. Here the Fleur feels at home and for the first time this tour the size of the locks are just right for her. The canal breathes peace and quietness and reminds of a rich shipping history. Coals from the mines needed to be transported to the north, so Napoleon decided to dig the canal in 1801. At Thun l’Evèque, start cycling 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 Charles V. After this, cycle on to Marcoing and from there we will follow the valley of the Scheldt (l’Escaut in French). We pass the ancient abbey of Vaucelles (which can be visited) and final destination is Honnecourt.

    Day 7: Honnecourt – tunnel of Riqueval St. Quentin, 16 to 39 miles (26 to 65 km)
    The Canal de St. Quentin was dug under the government of Napoleon. Because the differences in height were sometimes big, it was necessary to dig some tunnels. The longest one is the tunnel of Riqueval, which is 5670 meters long. Today you go through this tunnel with the Fleur. Like in former years, ships are still pulled through the tunnel in two hours by an electrically driven towboat. Above the tunnel there is the watershed between rivers Escaut (Schelde) and Somme. From there the barge therefore goes downhill again into the direction of St.Quentin. 9.00 h Either just before or right after this tunnel the bikers disembark. Final destination of today is St. Quentin where we will spend the Saturday too. St.Quentin arose in the 2nd century on a junction of roman roads. The lively provincial capital of the Aisne flourished as a destination for pilgrims around the grave of St.Quentin. The gothic basilica was built between 1230 and the 15th century and has a unique double transept and windows from the 13th and 14th century. The Town Hall is a jewel from the 16th century, with a splendid façade in flamboyant Gothic style.

    Day 8: St. Quentin
    You can participate in a day excursion by bus to the battlefields of World War I in the Somme valley. But it is also possible to use the day for exploring the city of St.Quentin further and for shopping. 18.30 h Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the French restaurants of St. Quentin.

    Day 9: St. Quentin Chauny, 19 to 29 miles (32 to 48 km)
    During breakfast we sail southwest in the valley of the Somme. The cycling goes through the Somme Region, a quiet countryside with small villages, to Ham. The Fleur continues over the old canal of St. Quentin to Chauny. That is where we will spend the night.

    Day 10: Chauny Compiègne, 22 to 31 miles (35 to 50 km)
    From Chauny we set course for Compiègne. Compiègne owes its magnificent buildings to the proximity of Paris and the great woods, where the French kings loved to stay. Worth a visit are the beautiful gardens of the Château. The cycling goes through the forest of Ourscamp, crosses the river Aisne and in the forest of Compiegne at the other side is the “Clairière de l’Armistice”, the place where the French and German generals signed for the end of WWI. You can visit the small but interesting museum over there. From there you can head for Compiègne or make an extra loop and pass by the castle of Pierrefonds.

    Day 11: Compiègne – Creil , 28 to 37 (45 to 60 km)
    Today cycle first through the forest south of Compiègne after which we follow the valley of the Oise further downstream into the direction of Creil. Right before Pont ste Maxence we pass by the abbey of Moncel, founded in 1309 by King Philip the Fair. Pont ste Maxence owes its name to the fact that very early on there was a bridge across the Oise. It became a place to spend the night for merchants and kings, who were on their way to Flanders. Our final destination of today, Creil, was in the 19th century known for its fine pottery.

    Day 12: Creil – Auvers s.Oise, 20 to 33 miles (33 to 54 km)
    We start cycling out of busy Creil towards the precious and famous castle of Chantilly also very known for the horse racing circuit and royal stables. After the visit we continue through nice forest and pass and/or visit the abbey of Royaumont. After that we will cross the river Oise and follow the river to Auver sur Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent the last days of his life and where he and his brother are buried on the cemetery. This region was very popular with many impressionist painters. Dinner and evening walk to the van Gogh cemetery.

    Day 13: Auvers Conflans – Paris (La Défense), 22 to 30 miles (36 to 48 km)
    During breakfast we will sail to Conflans Sainte Honorine, where the Oise and the Seine converge. Conflans has been an important shipping centre in North France since the 19th century. 9.00 h The palace and from the palacegarden you have a splendid view over Paris. After that we continue through the suburbs towards Rueil sur Seine where we will spend the night.

    Day 14: Paris
    Today the barge finally cruises the Seine, upstream to Paris. It is not far in a straight line, but the Seine makes a number of large curves here. We cruise past the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, the musée d’Orsay, the Ile de la Cité and the Nôtre Dame. Mooring place of the Fleur is in the Port d’Arsenal, close to the Place the la Bastille. You can spend the rest of the day as you like. You can explore the city by subway, or by a bus that takes you along all the sights.

    Day 15: Paris
    After breakfast you will leave the ship. Disembarkation till 9 am.

    Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

    All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
    Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
    Guided bike tours.

  • Program Paris- Bruges Fleur

    Tour Details from Paris to Bruges | Barge Fleur

    Day 1 (Sat): Paris – Bougival
    Embarkation at 14.00 h. You find the Fleur in Port d’Arsenal right in the middle of Paris, next to the Place de la Bastille. 14.30 h Welcome speech and crew introduction.
    15.00 h Departure with the barge. Sail right across the center of Paris, along famous points of interest like the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel tower.
    17.00 h Safety Lecture
    18.15 h Welcoming drink
    18.30 h Sailing dinner to Bougival

    Day 2 (Sun): Paris (Bougival) – Auvers-sur-Oise, Bike tour: ca 36 / 48 km (21.6 / 28.8 miles)
    The biking starts shortly after breakfast to St.Germain-en-Laye. There you climb to the palace and from the palace-garden you have a splendid view over Paris. Later we 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. Our 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 (Mon): Auvers-sur-Oise – Beaumont | Beaumont – Creil, Bike tour: ca 35/55 km (21/33 miles)
    Sailing breakfast to Beaumont. Starting in Beaumont, we follow the Oise upstream. On our bikes we pass the abbey of Royaumont and soon thereafter we arrive in Chantilly, with its famous castle. The castle is also well known for the horse-racing circuit and royal stables. Today’s destination is Creil, a country town, which in the 19th century was famous for its fine pottery.

    Day 4 (Tue): Creil – Pont-st-Maxence | Pont-st-Maxence – Compiegne, Bike tour: ca 35/55 km  (21/33 miles)
    During breakfast we sail to Pont-st-Maxence. Here our bike ride starts. 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 our biking tour starts. Not far from here we pass the abbey of Moncel, which in 1309 was founded by king Philips de Schone. Before we reach Compiegne, where we will spend the night, we cycle through the forest south of the city.
    This beautiful town owes its architectural wealth to the proximity of Paris and the enormous woods in which the French kings loved to wander. The gardens of the Chateau de Compiègne are most worthy of your visit.

    Day 5 (Wed): Compiegne – Chauny, Bike tour: ca 38/60 km (22.8/36 miles)
    Today we leave the river Oise to continue our trip by way of the canal system connecting France and Belgium. The cycling goes through the forest of Compiegne where we visit the “Clairière de l’Armistice”, the place where the french and german generals signed for the end of WWI. We can visit the small but interesting museum overthere. Later we cross the river Aisne and cycle through the forest of Ourscamp. We will meet the Fleur again in Chauny.

    Day 6 (Thu): Chauny – St Quentin, Bike tour: ca 40/55 km (24/33 miles)
    Today we continue the cruise on the old canal of St.-Quentin, a beautiful old canal with many locks. The canal still breathes piece and quiet and reminds of a rich shipping history. Coals from the mines needed to be transported to the south, so Napoleon decided to dig the canal in 1801. Here the Fleur feels at home and for the first time this tour the size of the locks are just right for her. The cycling goes through the Somme-region, quiet country side with small villages. Our destination today is St. Quentin.
    St. Quentin arose in the 2nd century on a junction of roman roads. The lively provincial capital of the Aisne flourished as a destination for pilgrims around the grave of St.-Quentin. The gothic basilica was built between 1230 and the 15th century and has a unique double transept. The Town Hall is a jewel from the 16th century, with a splendid façade in flamboyant Gothic style.

    Day 7 (Fri): St. Quentin
    Today the Fleur stays in St.-Quentin. If there is enough interest you can participate in a day excursion by bus to the battlefields of World War I in the Somme valley. But it is also possible to use the day for exploring the city of St.Quentin further and for shopping. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the French restaurants of St. Quentin.

    Day 8 (Sat): St. Quentin – tunnel of Riqueval – Honnecourt, Bike tour: ca 40/65 km (24/39 miles)
    The Canal de St.-Quentin was dug under the government of Napoleon. Because the differences in height were sometimes big, it was necessary to dig some tunnels. The longest one is the tunnel of Riqueval, which is 5670 meters long. Today we go through this tunnel with the Fleur. Like in former years, ships are still pulled through the tunnel in two hours by an electrically driven towboat. Above the tunnel there is the watershed between rivers Escaut (Schelde) and Somme. At the tunnel is a little museum . We spend the night in a little village called Honnecourt.

    Day 9 (Sun): Honnecourt – Cambrai – Pont Malin, Bike tour: ca 35/60 km (21/36 miles)
    Today we continue our trip over the old canal de St. Quentin. We start cycling to the ancient abbey of Vaucelles and later we continue to the city of Cambrai , once a roman provincial capital and an important destination for pilgrims. First in 1677 Cambrai became French. Worth seeing are the impressive restored buildings of the city fortress, built under Charles V. The old city gate dates from 1300, the so called Spanish house and the cathedral next to it. In the afternoon we leave the old canal de St. Quentin and we continue on the Canal du Grand Gabarit to Pont Malin, where we spend the night.

    Day 10 (Mon): Pont Malin – Doornik, Bike tour: ca 45 km (27 miles)
    Today we follow the canal du Grand Gabarit for a few hours passing through a former industrial area of France. Old mines and steel sites boarder the canal. We start our todays-bike-ride which follows the old pilger route to Santiago de Compostela.
    The Fleur crosses the French frontier in Mortagne and a little later, in Bleharies, we cross the Belgium frontier. We sail through the so-called ‘white land’. The charming little fortress town Antoing lies at the heart of this region and since the Roman days limestone has been mined here. Our today’s destination is Doornik (in French: Tournai), one of the oldest cities of Belgium. Here we are in Wallonia, where all towns and villages have both a French and a Flemish name. Up till the beginning of the 17th century Doornik was ruled by the French. Here, tapestry weaving gained in importance, while the cloth industry became less important. In the various museums of the town, excellent examples can be seen. In 1940 the entire city center was destroyed after a German air-raid. However, the town has been renovated splendidly. Especially the cathedral the Notre Dame (12th and 13th century) is worth seeing, as well as the Belfort, which was built at about 1200.

    Day 11 (Tue): Doornik (Tournai) – Oudenaarde, Bike tour: ca 45 km (27 miles)
    Now we sail downstream the river Schelde and crossing the language barrier we enter the Flemish region. From here onwards Flemish is the spoken language. Our target is Oudenaarde. In former days this little town was situated on the border of the French and German Empires and as a result it was involved in wars frequently. Since Oudenaarde was right in the firing-line, there was always someone on the look-out. The statue of the most famous watchman, Hanske de Krijger, is on the splendid city hall. In the first half of the 16th century this city hall was built of sandstone in Brabantine late Gothic style and it is one of the most beautiful city halls of Flanders. Oudenaarde is also known as the town of the tapestry weavers. Their tapestry is famous all over the world.

    Day 12 (Wed): Oudenaarde – Ghent, Bike tour: ca 35 km (21 miles)
    We continue sailing on the Schelde in the direction of Ghent, but before we arrive there we may visit an interesting archeological site (of an old Abbey) Ename which is located at the east-side of the river Scheldt.
    Ghent is a lively university town with a rich history. The town arose on the spot where in Roman days the rivers Leie and Schelde merged. This favourable location brought on quite some wealth with a peak in the late 13th and early 14th century. The cloth industry was a source of great riches. In the city many patrician residences have been preserved. In the Lakenhalle (1425) the cloth traders gathered. The most important church is St. Baafs cathedral, which was constructed in different centuries and in different styles. In the cathedral several masterpieces of mediaeval painting are to be found. “The worship of the Lamb of God” by Jan van Eyck is the most famous of all.
    You might want to take a city tour by boat or visit the old castle Gravensteen.

    Day 13 (Thu): Ghent – Bruges, Bike tour: ca 25/50 km (15/30 miles)
    Today our bike tour goes through the pleasant country side of Western Flanders to Bruges. Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, maybe is the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its old center, which dates from the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. At the time Bruges was a metropole, center of trade and art, which we can still fully enjoy. 

    Day 14 (Fri): Bruges
    Today the Fleur stays in Bruges.

    Day 15 (Sat): Bruges
    After breakfast you will leave the ship. Disembarkation till 9 am.

    Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

    All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
    Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
    Guided bike tours

  • Included

    INCLUDED:
    – Tour and accommodation on board in the booked category 15 days/14 nights (Sat.-Sat.);
    – Full board; 14x breakfast, 13x picnic lunch during bike tours, 13x three course dinner (1x dinner in Péronne (Zwaantje) and St. Quentin (Fleur) excluded);  
    – Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels daily possible, change of bed linen 1x); daily cleaning service of the cabin;
    – Welcome drink, presentation of barge and crew and briefing on the first evening;
    – Tour leader (multilingual) for fully guided cycling tours, daily briefings of the bike tours (2018: from 18 guests 2 guides);
    – Printed instructions and detailed maps for individual daily bike tours, 1 set/cabin;
    – Entrance Clairière de l’Armistice (2018)
    – Entrance Chateau Chantilly (2018)
    – Entrance City hall Oudenaarde (2018)

    NOT INCLUDED:
    – Transfer to/from the docking places Paris and Bruges;
    – Reservation fee;
    – Dinner in Péronne or St. Quentin;
    – Bike rental;
    – Parking fee;
    – Ticket public transport in Paris (Zwaantje);
    – Entrance fees and excursions;
    – Drinks on board;
    – Personal insurances;
    – Gratuities (at your discretion);
    – Special diets on request/surcharges may apply.

    Reservation fee: €15 per booking/group (obligated)
    Rental bicycle 21 speed (Zwaantje) and 11 speed (Fleur), hand brakes, pannier bag, helmet and water bottle: €140 for two weeks / 2018: € 160 for 2 weeks (optional)
    Rental E-Bike: €330 for two weeks (only on request, limited number available, early bookings strongly recommended)

  • Cabin types and prices 2017

    DEPARTURE DATE 2017:
    Bruges – Paris:
    departure May 6
    Paris – Bruges: departure July 15

    PRICES “PARIS – BRUGES”,
    BARGE ZWAANTJE 2017, per person:

     Cabins: for all departure dates
    Twin cabin    2 pers. €  1,999
    Single use of cabin 1 pers. € 2,499

    Max. 1 single cabin per departure (only on request).

    Reservation fee € 15 per booking/group (obligated)
    Rental bicycle 21 speed
    , hand brakes, pannier bag:  €140 for two weeks
    Rental E-Bike: € 330 for two weeks (only on request, limited number available, early bookings strongly recommended)

  • Cabin types and prices 2018

    DEPARTURE DATES 2018, “PARIS – BRUGES, BARGE ZWAANTJE:
    Bruges – Paris:
    departure May 12
    Paris – Bruges: departure June 9

    PRICES “PARIS – BRUGES”, BARGE ZWAANTJE 2018, per person:

     Cabins: for all departure dates
    Twin cabin    2 pers. €  2,249
    Single use of cabin 1 pers. € 2,999

    Max. 1 single cabin per departure (only on request).

     

    DEPARTURE DATE 2018 PARIS – BRUGES, BARGE FLEUR:
    Bruges – Paris:
    departure May 26
    Paris – Bruges: departure June 9 and September 29

    PRICES “PARIS – BRUGES”, BARGE FLEUR 2018, per person:

     Cabins: for May 26 / June 9 Sept. 29
    Twin cabin    2 pers. €  2,249 €  2,149
    Single use of cabin 1 pers. On request On request

    Reservation fee: €15 per booking/group (obligated)
    Rental bicycle 21 speed (Zwaantje) and 11 speed (Fleur), hand brakes, pannier bag, helmet and water bottle: €140 for two weeks / 2018: € 160 for 2 weeks (optional)
    Rental E-Bike: €330 for two weeks (only on request, limited number available, early bookings strongly recommended)

  • Good to know

    BICYCLES:
    Zwaantje: 
    The bicycles on board are 21-speed touring bicycles with hand brakes. Pannier, water bottle, use of helmet included.
    Fleur: The bicycles used on this trip are 11 speed Gudereit hybrid bicycles. They have a unisex frame that enables easy, comfortable and safe ascending, seating and cycling for both men and women. The bikes are equipped with a pannier bag, bike bag, helmet and a water bottle.

    A limited number of e-bikes (electrically assisted bicycle) are available on request (early booking is strongly recommended). Other bikes (e.g. children’s bikes, tandems, etc.) are not available in this area and cannot be ordered for these tours. Due to limited space on deck guests can’t bring their own bicycles or E-bikes. Only in exceptional cases when you need a special bike or tandem. Please let us know well in advance when you would like to bring your own special bicycle/tandem. This is only possible after reconfirmation by us. Neither crew nor tour operator are liable/ responsible for any damage, loss or theft of own bicycles. In France and Belgium cyclists are not obligated by law to wear a bike helmet. There are bike helmets available on board.

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
    The General Conditions (travel conditions) of Boat Bike Tours apply to cycling cruises, as well as to confirmation and cancellation of such tours. First of all: children are very welcome on board. However, before booking, we advise you strongly to check whether your child is able to manage a cycle trip of ca. 50 km. Of course you may stay on board and skip cycling for one or more days; children under the age of 18 years must be under supervision. For this tour a child discount is NOT available. The interior of the ship is a non-smoking zone: smoking is only allowed on the sun deck. As a safety measure, a statutory smoking ban applies in all cabins; this means that all cabins and rooms on board are non-smoking areas.

    Level of difficulty
    The trip is rated as level 2: Relaxed.
    These holidays are appropriate for anyone with good physical condition and basic cycling skills. Distances up to 50 kilometers per day. You spend about 5 hours on your bicycle. Short slopes with heights up to 100 meters.
    Program 2018: From 18 guests there will be two guides and you can decide each day if you want to join the longer or the shorter  ride.

    Point of departure: Bruges or Paris
    The trip begins in Bruges or in Paris.
    In Bruges the ship is moored at the parking areas for touring buses near the Buiten Katelijnevest, not far from the train station.
    In Paris the ship is moored in the Port d’Arsenal near the Place de la Bastille or at the quai de Bercy, depending on your travel date.
    You are expected aboard at approx. 14.00 hrs (Fleur) or 16.00 hrs (Zwaantje).
    The Fleur will leave Paris Saturday afternoon. The Zwaantje will leave sunday morning.
    From Bruges both schips will leave on Sunday morning.
    If you cannot arrive on time, will you please notify us by telephone or e-mail?

    Legal notice: Tour operator for this tour of the Fleur is Fleur BV . Other conditions may apply to this tour. 

    CONTACT:
    Boat Bike Tours BV
    ’t Prooyen 3-B
    1141 VD Monnickendam
    The Netherlands
    Tel: +31 299 313071
    Fax: +31 299 313065
    info@boatbiketours.com
    www.boatbiketours.com

    Updated: June 27th, 2017

  • Photos