Along this route, you can choose programs of 7 or 14 nights. The full 14-nights will take you from Bruges to Paris, or from Paris to Bruges. The program details are listed below. If there is enough interest, excursions to memorials and interesting sites of the Great War may be organized.
Each daily cycling distance is between 25 and 30 miles.
Bruges to Péronne to Paris
May 11, Aug 3, Sep 1, 2019
Day 1: Bruges
At 2:00pm, we welcome our guests on board. After arrival and welcome at the ship on the mooring place, try out your bike with a ride into the countryside near Bruges. Enjoy a guided walk in town in the evening.
Overnight in Bruges.
Day 2: Bruges – Ghent (37 or 25 miles/60 or 40km)
A variated ride in the typical Flanders countryside with smalll villages, patches of forest, rich fields and pastures into thriving Ghent, one of the biggest towns (more than 250,000 inhabitants) in Belgium. Ghent has a rich history, still visible in layout and buildings in the center where you will have time to visit some of the highlights St. Baafscathedral with the famous triptique "Mystic Lamb," the castle, museum of fine arts, and more. You will like Ghent! Well lit Ghent in the evening is another experience. You have an option to cover the first leg by ship and join on bike later.
Overnight in Ghent.
Day 3: Ghent – Oudenaarde
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 center (cycling). Enjoy a walk in town after arrival.
Overnight in Oudenaarde.
Day 4: Oudenaarde – Tournai (28 or 34 miles/45 or 55km)
We can visit the center this morning while museums are open. We continue our tour in the Schelde river valley. After crossing the language border (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. Diehards can try one or two of them! In a small village we can have our lunch. The goal in the afternoon is Tournai. Watch how big ships sail through the gate of the medieval watergate. The town center 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.
Overnight in Tournai.
Day 5: Tournai – Bouchain/Arleux (50km)
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.
Overnight in Bouchain.
Day 6: Bouchainn/Arleux – Hermies (31 miles/50km)
Arleux is at the beginning of the Canal du Nord. Following this canal takes a long time because of the shipping traffic and many locks. The captain might have to moor partway in cases of heavy traffic. But a night in the quiet countryside has a charm of its own. We are planning to moor near the village of Hermies.
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.
Overnight in Hermies.
Day 7: Hermies – Péronne
(12 or 28 miles/20 or 45km)
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.
Overnight in Péronne.
Day 8: Péronne
The Historial, the war museum in the castle is worthwhile visiting. There is another small local museum in the center. Participants who are even more interested in the history of the Great War 1914-1918 could use their day off for a visit to one or more places connected with the 1st World War. To the west, in the direction of Amiens, was the Australian sector. Visit on your own initiative (by taxi for example; it's not included in our tour). Ask your guide for information at the beginning of your journey.
Overnight in Péronne.
If you booked the 7-night package Bruges to Péronne, you will depart on this day following breakfast. If you booked the 7-night package Péronne to Paris, you will meet in Péronne on this day and will begin cycling as described below on Day 9.
Péronne to Paris
May 18*, Aug 10*, Sep 7, 2019 (*indicates fully booked date)
Day 9: Péronne – Pont l'Eveque (31 or 40 miles/50 or 65km)
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.
Overnight in Pont l'Eveque.
Day 10: Pont l'Eveque – Compiegne (25 or 31 miles/40 or 50km)
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).
Overnight in Compiegne.
Day 11: Compiegne – Creil (25 or 31 miles/40 or 50km)
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 cycling in the forest. Visit 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 place on the Oise river.
Overnight in Creil.
Day 12: Creil – Pontoise (31 miles/50km)
Today is a ride in a wooded area with nice bike paths. There are a few options for visits: the town of Senlis, Chantilly-castle and Royaumont abbey. Part of the distance will be covered by sailing because of the distance between the mooring places today. On our way to Pontoise, we will make a stop near the little town of Auvers is connected with the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, who spent his last months here, producing a large number of paintings. Guided walk. From Auver the ship brings us to the town of Pontoise.
Overnight in Pontoise.
Day 13: Pontoise – Bougival (12 or 28 miles/20 or 45km)
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 riverport where Seine and Oise meet. Between Conflans and Bougival the distance is less than 30 km. Centre of horse-riding is Maisons Lafitte. The next town, St. Germain-en-Laye has a museum with an impressive collection of human artifacts 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.
Overnight in Bougival.
Day 14: Bougival – Paris
(25 or 28 miles/40 or 45km)
Today we are already in the suburbs of 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.
Day 15: Paris, departure
Departure from the boat in Paris after breakfast.
Paris to Pronne to Bruges
Jun 22*, Aug 17, Sep 14, 2019 (*indicates fully booked date)
Day 1: Paris
Day 2: Paris – Bougival (25 or 28 miles/40 or 45km)
Day 3: Bougival – Conflans/Auvers sur l’Oise (19 or 22 miles/30 or 35km)
Day 4: Conflans/Auvers sur l’Oise – Creil (22 or 31 miles/35 or 50km)
Day 5: Creil – Compiegne (31 miles/50km)
Day 6: Compiegne- Noyon (28 miles/45km)
Day 7: Noyon- Peronne (37 miles/60km)
Day 8: Péronne – Moislains*
(optional 16 miles/25km)
Péronne to Bruges
Jun 29*, Aug 24, Sep 21, 2019 (*indicates fully booked date)
Day 9: Moislains – Arleux (25 or 34 miles/40 or 55km)
Day 10: Arleux – Valenciennesca (31 miles/50km)
Day 11: Valenciennesca – Tournai (31 or 37 miles/miles/50 or 60km)
Day 12: Tournai – Oudenaarde (28 miles/45km)
Day 13: Oudenaarde – Ghent (28 miles/45km)
Day 14: Ghent – Bruges (28 miles/45km)
Day 15: Ghent, final day
*End of tour for those booking the 7-nights program Paris – Peronne; start of tour for those booking the 7-nights Péronne – Bruges