Your tour starts not far from Notre Dame, in the famous capital of France - Paris. You will follow the Seine River downstream passing the Louvre and the Eiffel tower into Conflans. From there, you'll cruise on through the Val d’Oise to Compiegne. A visit to the Palace of the French Kings is included in your tour. You’ll then follow a wonderful old canal to the historical city of St. Quentin. Make sure you visit the Gothic basilica (church) and the town while you are there. Next, you'll sail through the tunnel of Riqueval and head for Belgium. You’ll visit Doornik, once an important halting-place for travelling pilgrims and Oudenaarde – a well-known centre for tapestry production. Many tapestries are housed in Oudenaarde’s flamboyant, Gothic style town hall. Another important highlight on the tour is a visit to Ghent with its imposing Belfort and the St. Baafs Cathedral.Your final destination is Bruges, probably the most beautiful of all historical Flemish cities made famous for its hand-made lace. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of days gone by!
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Paris - Bougival
2 p.m. Arrive at the boat, in Paris. 2.30 p.m - Welcome speech at and crew introduction. 3 p.m -Boat leaves the harbour and sails right across the centre of Paris, along famous points of interest like the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel tower. 5 p.m -Safety lecture 6.15 p.m - Welcoming drink 6.30 p.m - Sailing dinner to Bougival
Paris (Bougival) – Auvers-sur-Oise Bike tour: about 45 km
8 a.m - Breakfast The biking starts after breakfast to St.Germain-en-Laye. There you’ll climb to a palace and from the palace-garden enjoy a breathtaking view of Paris. Later you’ll pass Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where the Oise and Seine rivers merge. From the 19th century Conflans has been an important centre 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. 6.30 p.m - Dinner 8.00 p.m Evening walk to the van Gogh cemetery
Auvers-sur-Oise – Creil Bike tour: about 55 km
8.00 a.m- Breakfast 9.00 a.m Day begins at Auvers where you’ll follow the Oise upstream. You’ll cycle past The Abbey of Royaumont and soon thereafter Chantilly, with its famous castle. The castle is also well-known for a horse-racing circuit and royal stables. Final destination is Creil, a country town, which in the 19th century was famous for it’s fine pottery. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
Creil – Compiegne Bike tour: about 45 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m During breakfast your boat will sail to Pont-st-Maxence. This particular town owes its name to the fact that in 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 and soon after you’ll pass The Abbey of Moncel, which in 1309 was founded by King Philips de Schone. You’ll cycle through a forest south of the city of Compiègne, your final destination where you will spend the night. 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 not to be missed. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
Compiegne – Chauny Bike tour: about 45 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m - Today you’ll leave the river Oise to continue your trip by way of the canal system connecting France to Belgium. The cycling goes through the forest of Compiegne where you’ll visit the “Clairière de l’Armistice” where French and German generals signed a treaty to end of WWI. You can visit a small but interesting museum whilst you are there. Later you’ll cross the river Aisne and cycle through the forest of Ourscamp and you will meet your boat again in Chauny. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
Chauny – St Quentin Bike tour: about 50 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m Your boat will continue cruising on the old canal of St.-Quentin - a beautiful old canal with many locks. The canal still breathes peace and quiet after a rich shipping history. Napoleon decided to dig the canal in 1801 so coal from the mines could be transported to the south. The cycling tour goes through the Somme-region – a quiet countryside with many small villages. Your destination today is St. Quentin. St. Quentin was established in the 2nd century on a junction of roman roads. This lively provincial capital of the Aisne flourished as a destination for pilgrims around the grave of St.-Quentin. St.-Quentin’s 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. 6.30 p.m- Dinner
8.00 a.m- Breakfast 9.00 a.m - Today your boat stays in St.-Quentin. If there is sufficient interest you can participate in a day excursion to the battlefields of World War I in the Somme valley. Otherwise use the day for exploring the city of St. Quentin further and for shopping. Today there is no dinner on board so you can try out one of the many French restaurants of St. Quentin.
St. Quentin – tunnel of Riqueval - Honnecourt Bike tour: about 45 km
8.00 a.m- Breakfast 9.00 a.m - The Canal de St.-Quentin was dug under the government of Napoleon. Due to differences in height it was necessary to dig some tunnels. The longest one is the tunnel of Riqueval, which is 5670 metres long. Today you’ll go through this tunnel on the boat. Just as it was 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 the rivers Escaut (Schelde) and Somme. You’ll spend the night in a village called Honnecourt. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
Honnecourt - Cambrai – Pont Malin Bike tour: about 50 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast. Today you’ll continue your trip over the old canal de St. Quentin. 9.00 a.m Your bike ride begins to the ancient abbey of Vaucelles and later you’ll continue to the city of Cambrai. Cambrai was once a roman provincial capital and an important destination for pilgrims. It became a French destination in 1677. The impressive restored buildings of the city fortress, built under Charles V, the old city gate that dates back to 1300 and the so called Spanish house and the cathedral next to it are all well worth a look. In the afternoon you’ll leave the old Canal de St. Quentin and continue on the Canal du Grand Gabarit to Pont Malin, where you’ll spend the night. 6.30 p.m Dinner
Pont Malin – Doornik Bike tour: about 50 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast Today the boat follows the canal du Grand Gabarit for a few hours passing through a former industrial area of France. Old mines and steel producing sites border the canal. 9.00 a.m - Your bike ride starts and follows the old pilger route to Santiago de Compostela. Your boat crosses a French frontier in Mortagne and a little later, in Bleharies, you’ll cross a Belgium frontier. We sail through the so-called ‘white land’. A charming little fortress town called Antoing lies at the heart of this region. Limestone has been mined here since the Roman days. Today’s destination is Doornik (French: Tournai) which is one of the oldest cities of Belgium. You are now in the Wallonia region where all towns and villages have both a French and a Flemish name. Up until the beginning of the 17th century, Doornik was ruled by the French. Here, tapestry weaving gained in importance and excellent examples of it can be seen in Doornik’s various museums. In 1940 the entire city centre was actually destroyed after a German air-raid but has been impressively renovated. While you are there visit the cathedral, the Notre Dame from the 12th and 13th century and the Belfort, which was built - circa 1200. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
Doornik (Tournai) – Oudenaarde Bike tour: about 45 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m - You’ll sail downstream on the river Scheldt and crossing the language barrier, enter the Flemish region. From here onwards Flemish is the spoken language. Your end target is Oudenaarde. In it’s 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 posted on the look-out. A statue of the most famous watchman, Hanske de Krijger, is on the beautiful city hall. In the first half of the 16th century the city hall was built of sandstone in Brabantine in 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. We might also have to stop and quench our thirst at one of Belgium’s most famous beer breweries called Liefmans. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
Oudenaarde – Ghent Bike tour: about 35 km
8.00 a.m- Breakfast 9.00 a.m - Your boat will continue sailing on the Scheldt in the direction of Ghent, but before it arrives in Ghent you can visit an interesting archaeological site of an old Abbey called Ename which is located at the east-side of the river Scheldt. Ghent is a lively university town with a rich history. The town grew from the spot, where in Roman days, the rivers Leie and Schelde merged. This favourable location brought much wealth to Ghent and this was at it’s peak in the late 13th and early 14th century. In the Lakenhalle (1425) the cloth traders gathered and the cloth industry was also a source of great income and wealth. There are many patrician residences that have been preserved in the city. 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 paintings are to be found. “The worship of the Lamb of God” by Jan van Eyck is the most famous of all. If there’s time, take a city tour by boat or visit the old castle Gravensteen. 6.30 p.m- Dinner
Ghent – Bruges Bike tour: 25 / 50 km
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m - Today your bike tour takes you through the pleasant countryside of Western Flanders to Bruges. Bruges, also called the Venice of the North, is perhaps the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. It’s old centre, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is almost completely intact. Bruges was a metropolis and a major trade and art centre that is still enjoyed today. 6.30 p.m- Dinner
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m Today your boat stays in Bruges. 6.30 p.m - Dinner
8.00 a.m - Breakfast 9.00 a.m - Farewell captain and crew - Departure.
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