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Bruges-Paris 12 day Luxury Barge Tour (LNE)
Belgium is perhaps one of the most under-rated countries in Europe, but a cruise on one of our hotel barges along its waterways, with tours of charming cities will convince you that it is a diverse and culturally rich land. Often called the ‘Essence of Europe’, Belgium is both multicultural and multilingual. Flanders in the north, a land crisscrossed by waterways, is particularly proud of its medieval cities Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent.
Suspended in time centuries ago, Bruges, the ‘Venice of the North’, is one of Western Europe’s prettiest medieval cities, with its picturesque market squares and network of canals.
Antwerp on the other hand boasts the country’s most impressive cathedral and tucked away in cobbled lanes and backstreets are antiques shops, art galleries, exclusive chocolate outlets and, of course, diamond shops.
There is also the attractive medieval canal-side city of Ghent with its imposing architecture of churches and the former houses of rich traders. The city has an extensive network of canals and endless streets to explore and boasts the largest number of listed buildings in Belgium.
The luxury barge has been designed to offer a very high level of comfort and convenience. The spacious saloon, with its dining area and attractive cocktail bar, features a warm teak interior and elegant furnishings. Each of the four generous suites is lavishly equipped, and the en suite bathrooms have double hand basins and oversized showers. There is also a lift, an exercise room and a spa pool on deck.
Slow Tours offers a number of other Luxury Barge Tours in Europe
Guests are met In Bruges or Brussels and transferred to the hotel barge moored in the beautiful little town of Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North”. After a champagne welcome, we visit Bruges for a city tour on one of the little canal boats which meander this picturesque town. Upon return to the barge, you’ll have time to relax and get ready for your first of many gourmet meals on board.
Bruges to Ghent
This morning we join a guided walking tour of Bruges with a local guide. Return to the hotel barge for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll have some free time in Bruges. Later in the day we cruise to Ghent. Dinner on board.
Ghent to Oudenaarde
After breakfast, we visit Ghent. Visit the cathedral with fabulous painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” painted by the van Eyck brothers. Return to the hotel barge for a cruise up the River Schelde to the town of Oudenaarde where we will moor for the night. Dinner on board.
Oudenaarde to Tournay
A morning cruise further up the River Schelde will take us to the ancient town of Tournay with its famous "Pont des Trous" (Bridge with Holes) used to collect tolls on the rivers in the old times. This afternoon you can stroll around Tournay before dinner on board.
Tournay to Arleux
We continue along the Schelde through the town of Valenciennes to the junction of the Canal du Nord at the little French village of Arleux. Along the way, we visit the museum of fine arts in Valenciennes. Dinner on board.
Arleux to Peronne
We begin our climb over the Vermandois Hills of Picardie through the many locks and several tunnels of the Canal du Nord. The scenery is spectacular, rural France at its best. There is a great towpath for the barge along the canal for a leisurely walk if you wish. After lunch, there will be a trip to Amiens to visit what must be one of the greatest of all Gothic cathedrals with its powerful towering spires and columns. Dinner on board.
Peronne to The Canal du Nord
After breakfast we visit the war museum in Peronne. Upon return, we will continue on the Canal du Nord. There will be plenty of opportunities to walk or bike while the barge travels from lock to lock. The cruise now continues along the Canal du Nord as it drops down into the valley of the Somme River.Dinner on board.
The Canal du Nord to Compiegne
After breakfast, we cruise down to the Oise River valley to moor in the riverside town of Compiegne. There are many places to visit, including the train where the World War I armistice was signed, as well as the Royal Palace. Dinner on board.
Compiegne to Auvers sur Oise
This morning we are now cruising down the Oise River valley where we stop at the village of Auvers sur Oise. This charming village is a van Gogh scene. Here is where he lived and painted most of his last and most important paintings, when he stayed in a small room above a local café. In the afternoon we walk around the town and visit the cemetery where Vincent and his brother are buried. Dinner on board.
Avers sur Oise to Conflans
After a short morning cruise and an early lunch we drive to Giverny to visit the home and gardens of Claude Monet, probably the most famous of all the impressionist painters. The gardens will be at their most beautiful at this time of year where we will see the famous lily pond and the Japanese bridge that inspired so many of his paintings. This evening, we moor for the night in Conflans, which is the junction of the Oise and Seine Rivers. Dinner on board.
Conflans to Paris
This morning we cruise to Bougival and visit Malmaison, the home of Napoleon. Here you’ll see its many lavishly decorated rooms furnished by Josephine. We will rejoin the barge for an afternoon cruise up the River Seine past the Eiffel Tower to our Paris mooring for the Captains Farewell Dinner on board.
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to your drop-off point in Paris
If you would like to drive yourself before or after your tour, ask us for a quote on any brand new Renault, Peugeot or Citroen vehicle for driving in Europe.
Pick up your vehicle from most capital cities in Europe and return it to your drop off destination. Top insurance cover. Email [email protected] for a competitive quote