This 8-day bike & barge tour starts in Paris, where the barge Fleur is docked in the center of the city, not far from Notre Dame Cathedral. Unlike other river cruise ships, you’ll follow the Seine upstream, southward. This region has a rich royal history and the castle of Fontainebleau is a magnificent example of this past. The castle was much in favor among the French kings because of the extensive opportunities to hunt in the surrounding forests. Just as impressive are the royal gardens, which the French kings had their royal architects lay out for them.
You’ll cycle through wonderful forests to the painter’s village of Barbizon where, starting in the first half of the 19th century, many painters of the Barbizon School lived and worked. The next stop is Moret-sur-Loing, a charming medieval fortified town, strategically situated on the banks of the Loing river, where painter Sisley found inspiration for his beautiful Impressionist paintings.
From there you’ll follow the Canal du Centre to the beautiful medieval towns of Ferrières with its splendid monastery and Château-Landon, home to the Abbey of St. Severin. Your final destination is Montargis, a picturesque town with beautiful little canals. The canals are decorated with many flowers and give the town a lot of charm. The bicycle tours mostly follow quiet country roads, off the beaten track.
The ship – Your sailing hotel
In between cycling excursions, you’ll cruise along with the ship, traveling to a new destination every day. The ship is fully stocked with rental bikes and includes comfortable private cabins where you’ll sleep every night. Every evening you’ll dine on the ship and every morning you’ll eat breakfast and receive a packed lunch. As for the cycling routes, you can usually choose between a longer or shorter distance. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like.
Accompanied by a competent, professional and multilingual tour leader, you and the group will visit interesting sights and places on the daily cycling tours. During the bike tour, they’ll explain the local history and culture behind the things you encounter along the way. You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map (available on board) and a GPS route guide app.
Bike barge tour France — bon vivant by bike and boat
Fine French cuisine, excellent wine, charming chateaus, and a lust for life par excellence — it’s not hard to be tempted by a bike barge tour in France. And who are we to stop you? In fact, we too are lovers of cycle cruises exploring France’s classic landscapes, tumultuous history, indomitable culture and dangerously-good boulangeries, so we offer a wide range of cycle and cruise tours throughout this diverse and very bike-friendly country.
Let’s start with the south: opt for our Provence – Camargue tour from Avignon to Aigues Mortes, passing through wild nature, the Rhone Valley and Van Gogh’s Provence — and even spotting the Pont du Gard.
All roads lead to Paris on a bike barge tour France
Paris. Little needs to be said about the City of Lights and its famous Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, grand bridges over the Seine River or its cozy bistros … But it must be said that Paris is a wonderful starting (or ending) point for bike barge tours in France.
Take, for example, the voyage of exploration along the Seine River from Paris to Montargis, taking in the forests and history of Fontainebleau, and the Impressionist hotbeds of Barbizon and Moret-sur-Loing. Or instead, depart in search of the homeland of Champagne, Epernay, biking, cruising, and tasting your way through this region of Brie and sparkling wine.
Take French cycle cruise routes to Belgium and Germany
Paris is also a fantastic departure point for bike barge tours out of France, with our Paris – Bruges tour passing through the many delights of northern France’s rolling rural countryside. You’ll then enter the French-speaking part of Belgium, also known as Wallonia, visiting Somme Valley battlefields and the gorgeous medieval city of Ghent on your way to romantic Bruges.
Or take a cross-European bike barge tour through France, Luxembourg and Germany as you follow the Moselle River Valley; stopping off to sample its wonderful Rieslings, and relaxing in towns full of half-timbered houses, before pedalling on under the watch of hilltop fortresses.
Lead photo credit : Tour guide Tamara and The Fleur © Boat Bike Tours
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