Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Level: Easy / Intermediate
Terrain: Rolling / Hilly
This week-long bike and barge cruise takes you along the Seine River Valley, passing by splendid estates including the castle and grounds at Fontainebleau, and through small medieval towns on the way to Montargis. Enjoy this scenic ride on easy canal paths, with frequent stops to sip café au lait in quaint French villages. Our boat for the week floats quietly along the Seine River, slipping through locks and under bridges while sumptuous meals are prepared onboard. This tour is ideal for anyone who loves the French joie de vivre, and those who are new to cycling and want to try bicycle traveling without having to pack and unpack their bags.
Day 1 – Welcome to Paris, the city of lights Meet early afternoon at our docking point in central Paris. We’ll take a test ride with the bikes this afternoon and you’ll have time to explore the surroundings before we gather to meet everybody including the barge crew. We’ll enjoy a welcome drink and dinner on board tonight. And how about a post-dinner stroll in central Paris? Meals included: Dinner
Day 2 – Exiting Paris by boat and bike (28 miles, 400 feet gain) Avoid the city traffic by cruising through Paris on our private barge, enjoying views from the river and relaxing on board. Breakfast and a leisurely morning onboard prepare us for late-morning departure along the Seine river and through the Sénart Forest. Meander along bike paths and through sleepy villages to reach the small town of Melun where our boat will dock for the night on the ancient village island. Melun, born as a Gallic town was then a Roman mutatio. Those wanting more time on the bike can pedal an additional 25 km to visit two castles, the Vaux-le-Vicomte and Blandy medieval castle/village. We’ll taste another specialty of town, the Brie de Melun. There is the option of bicycling an extra 25 km (15 miles). If you’d like to partake in the extra rides on this trip you will need to navigate using the Ride with GPS tracks that we will make available to you 30 days prior to your departure date. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 – Pedaling through Fontainebleau (28 miles, 800 feet gain) Start your delightful ride along the river lined by sumptuous villas. Enjoy the quiet bike path before we leave the river to dive into the expansive Fontainebleau forest, centered around the famous Fontainebleau castle which was home to French monarchs for about eight centuries. Our first stop is the small village of Barbizon, formerly home to mid-19th century painters including Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet. Continue through the forest to reach the magnificent Fontainebleau castle, one of France’s most spectacular royal palaces. We’ll enjoy a guided visit of the castle as well as a picnic on the royal grounds. Continue pedaling to return to our boat, moored tonight in a medieval fortified town along a small tributary of the Seine River. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 – From Moret-sur-Loing to Nemours (28 miles, 1,100 feet gain) Spend some time this morning wandering the streets of quaint Moret-Sur-Loing, the fortified medieval town that inspired Impressionist painters including Monet and British artist Alfred Sisley. Our ride today takes us along the Loing River to another artist village. From here, you can choose to take a longer ride or continue along the river to reach our boat, docked in tiny medieval Nemours. Visit town and its medieval castle or, for a different take on the region’s (pre)history, enjoy a visit to the interesting prehistorical museum, which houses rich archaeological collections from the Paleolithic period through the end of the Iron Age, excavated in the Île-de-France region. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 – Medieval Castles and Towns (22 miles, 500 feet gain) The Loing River was “improved” in the early 18th Century in an effort to increase visits from merchants. We’ll leapfrog the canal today as we pedal through forested areas and rural countryside to reach a private castle open to us for a visit and lunch. After lunch, we’ll keep pedaling to the impressive fortified medieval town of Chateau Landon. An engaging guided walk through town brings to life the importance of this town—. A quick downhill brings us to our boat, docked on the Loing Canal in a tranquil spot for the night. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 – Montargis (26 miles, 800 feet gain) An optional 13 km ride this morning takes you to a unique art spot in a nearby town. This garden museum honors influential and prolific 19th Century sculptor Antoine Bourdelle by hosting 58 of his bronze statues in a lovely garden. Keep pedaling to the small medieval town of Ferrières with its impressive Benedictine Abbey, tiny alleyways and historic wash houses. Take a break and wander through town before continuing south to arrive in Montargis, the second largest town of the region and a fitting ending destination to our barge trip as its medieval center is crisscrossed with canals and rivers. Our home for the next two nights! Enjoy dinner in town tonight. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Day 7 – Loop ride in Montargis (31 miles, 1,000 feet gain) A loop ride today takes us to another small town in the countryside to visit a unique, thriving honey making farm and “living museum” where a short visit highlights the peculiar place of bees in the world. Return to Montargis and make sure to visit some of the sights like the gardens and ruins of the central Chateau, the cathedral and several Renaissance palaces and gardens. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 8 – Tour Ends in Montargis Tour ends this morning after breakfast, return to Paris by easy train connections or continue on your travels in France. Meals included: Breakfast
**Most days have an option to extend your riding distance
PRICING & INCLUSIONS
- Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
- Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
- Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels.
- All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
- Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
- Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too!
- Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
- All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
- Unique routes.
- Daily mileage options.
- Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.
TRIP PRICE EXCLUDES:
- Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
- Helmets – we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
- Meals not listed in the itinerary
- Tour Leader gratuity
PUBLIC DATES AND AVAILABILITY
REQUEST YOUR PRIVATE DATE