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Bruges to Paris 15 Day Bike and Barge Tour (Level 2)
One of the most famous bike and barge tours in Europe! From the Middle Ages of Bruges to the City of Light in two weeks. Most of our guests from Australia, Canada and New Zealand experience this tour as a journey through their own history because of the memories of the Great War.
This tour starts in famous medieval Bruges and leads you into the heart of Paris. It offers you a two-week bike and boat trip in two countries. History is abundant on this tour. You will visit several historic towns, museums and castles. The first week you will experience riding along rivers and canals and in forests. The landscape is almost flat!
In Péronne, where ANZAC day is commemorated each year, your barge halts for a day to offer you the possibility to make a guided tour along the War Memorials of the First World War, like Villers-Bretonneux, the Victoria School and the 4th Division Memorial of the Australian Army Corps in Bellenglise. From there you will continue along Compiègne, the castle of Chantilly, to Auvers sur Oise (where Vincent van Gogh lived and painted the last months of his life).
After Noyon, in the second week, you will encounter hills but with moderate slopes and in more wooded areas. The ship follows the river Oise downstream to Conflans. Sailing the Seine river with big loops it finds its way to Paris. Only near the capital you will have to climb some serious hills, but that’s after two weeks of daily exercise. The last day you will sail along La Défense, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Notre Dame while ending your tour in the midst of Paris.
Not too steep and not too long cycling. Average 40-60km per day.
Imagine a floating hotel sailing to the next stage, while you are calmly pedalling along. No lugging of luggage: that is exactly what Bike & Barge is all about! In the pleasant atmosphere on board you can have a chat, go through the day with the others, and enjoy the meals prepared specially for cyclists. In the evenings you can enjoy a drink in the salon or admire the setting sun on deck. Do not expect a cruise ship with its passive luxury. The Bike & Barge Holidays are for people who really enjoy the physical activity of cycling and who value sociability more than wholesale luxury.
Free WiFi is (limited) available in lounge and on deck.
If you would like to rent a Touring Bike (220 EUR) or E-Bike (440 EUR), please contact us when booking
Slow Tours offers a range of Bike and Barge Tours Europe
Arrival Bruges 18 km
After arrival and welcome at the ship on the mooring place. Try out a bike ride into the countryside near Bruges. (Guided) walk in town in the evening.
Bruges to Ghent 40 km
A varied ride in the typical Flanders countryside with small villages, patches of forest, rich fields and pastures into thriving Gent, one of the biggest towns (more than 250.000 inh.) in Belgium and with a rich history, still visible in layout and buildings in the centre where you will have time to visit some of the highlights (St. Baafs-cathedral with the famous triptych ‘Mystic Lamb’, the castle, museum of fine arts etc. Well lit Gent in the evening is another experience. Option: cover first leg by ship and join later
Ghent to Oudenaarde 45 km
Another nice ride in the countryside of Flanders, partly along the river Schelde. Our goal today is Oudenaarde, famous for its town hall, church, beer breweries and the Tour of Flanders centre (cycling). Walk in town.
Oudenaarde to Tournai 48 km
We can visit the centre this morning while museums are open now. We continue our tour in the Schelde river valley. After crossing the language boundary (Flemish/French) the river is called Escaut. To the left hills appear on the horizon. Ancient cobblestone roads on some of these are (in)famous because they are part of Tour of Flanders speed cycling race. Die-hearts can try one or two of them! In a small village we can have our lunch. Goal in the afternoon is Tournai. Watch how big ships sail through the gate of the old watergate. The town centre is on the UNESCO world heritage list. A visit to the immense cathedral (5 towers) is not to be missed! Walk in town after dinner.
Tournai to Bouchain / Arleux 50 km
Today we can start our tour with an early sailing. The ship has to cover quite a distance today because the river makes a big loop. Nice riding in forest and visit to St. Amand-les-Eaux with its abbey-tower. Between the English Channel and the German Ruhr-area in a relatively narrow belt there was a major coal mining industry in the 19th and the first three quarters of the 20th century. This is still visible in the landscape. Red brick buildings are abundant here. The mooring place will be either Bouchain or Arleux.
Bouchain/Arleux – Hermies 50 km
Arleux is a village at the confluence of the Canal du Nord and the river Schelde. Following this canal takes a long time because of the shipping traffic and many locks. The captain might have to moor halfway ‘in the middle of nowhere’ in case of heavy traffic. But a night in the quiet countryside has charm of its own. We are planning to moor near the village of Hermies. We are entering agricultural Northern France with its large fields. You might encounter some minor slopes today. The town of Cambrai (part of the Netherlands in the 16th century) is nearby. Depending on the starting point today we might visit it
Hermies – Péronne 45 km
A short ride to the town of Peronne, following the canal, with at least one serious slope. In the afternoon there is an option of another ride with a nice stay halfway.
The Musee Historial, the war museum in the castle is worth while visiting. There is another small local museum in the centre. Participants who are even more interested in the history of the Great War ‘14-’18 could use their day off for a visit to one or more places connected with the 1st World War. To the west, direction Amiens, was the Australian sector. We have a connection with an excellent guide organises excursions around Peronne and who knows almost everything related to the role of Australian, Canadian and US troops in WW1. This excursion is not included in the tour.
Péronne – Pont l'Eveque 55 km
An early sailing or one in the afternoon will be part of the itinerary. Between Peronne and Compiegne there are some hills to be conquered. It’s the typical landscape of Northern France with undulating fields and small villages. Noyon has a very old interesting cathedral. The ship will be moored near Pont l’Eveque, some 3 km. from Noyon.
Pont l’Eveque – Compiègne 40 km
Nice ride in the forest, one serious slope, passing through the lovely valley of St. Crépinaux-Bois. Visit to the Clairiere de l’Armistice (armistice place 1918/1940 in the forest) and continuing along the river Aisne and Oise, into Compiegne. After arrival in Compiegne you have time to spend in town (Palace-museum). You can join a guided walk in this historic town (Joan of Arc).
Compiègne – Creil 40 km
A nice ride in the immense forest to the east of town, including a visit to the castle of Pierrefonds, restored and rebuild in the 19th century by the famous architect Violet le Duc. Nice bike ride in the forest. Visit to the village in the forest St. Jean-aux-Bois and Roman ruins just south of it or a short ride on a new bike path along the river bring us to Béthisy-St. Pierre. From here we cycle to the river to meet our ship for the last stretch to Creil,mooring on the Oise river
Creil – Pontoise 50 km
Today is a ride in a wooded area with nice bike paths. There are a few options for visits: town of Senlis, Chantilly-castle and Royaumont abbey. Part of the distance will be covered by sailing because of the distance between the moorings today. On our way to Pontoise we will make a stop near the little town of Auvers, where the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh spent his last months here, producing a large number of paintings. Guided walk. From Auvers the ship brings us to the town of Pontoise.
Pontoise – Bougival 25 km
Sailing downstream the river Oise and upstream Seine is one of the highlights of the tour but cycling near it too! Many interesting things to visit in a short distance. We can start our bike ride in Pontoise or Conflans, old river port of the confluence of the rivers Seine and Oise. Between Conflans and Bougival the distance is less than 30 km. Centre of horseriding is Maisons Lafitte. The next town, St. Germain-en-Laye has a museum with an impressive collection of human artefacts from early manhood until the early Middle Ages. Not far away from Bougival (4 km. mainly on bike paths), is the chateau-museum of Malmaison with its beautiful park, the dwelling of Napoleon and Joséphine, his first wife. It’s a very good alternative for the grand but busy chateau at Versailles.
Bougival – Paris 45 km
Today we are already in the suburbs op Paris, but with quite some green parts. Some serious hills are part of the day-trip. First goal is the terrain of the Palace of Versailles. We can visit the park. A visit to the chateau itself will take several hours. A private reservation for this or the next day is an option. Also rides in some nice parks are part of the itinerary today. We will see highlights of Paris. Of course the traffic will be more intense as you experienced in the two weeks before! An option is to stay on board and see Paris from the river.
After breakfast your tour comes to an end.
Tours marked with are special prices.
|Start||End||Max. No. Guests||Accommodation||Price p.p.|
|May 09 2024||May 23 2024||17||Single rooms||3,095€|
|May 11 2024||May 25 2024||17||Single rooms||2,990€|
|Jun 08 2024||Jun 22 2024||17||Single rooms||2,990€|
|Aug 17 2024||Aug 31 2024||17||Single rooms||2,990€|
|Sep 14 2024||Sep 28 2024||17||Single rooms||2,990€|
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