Paris to Bruges Bike and Barge

Paris to Bruges Bike and Barge

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15 Days From

$4137

$4006

Paris to Bruges Bike and Barge

15 Days Starting in Paris or Bruges and ending in Bruges or Paris

Visiting: France, Belgium

Tour operator:

UTracks

Tour code:

BUX

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

18 - 24

Physical rating:

moderate

From: $4137 $4006 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

NB: Prices correct on 15-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Paris and Bruges are must-visit destinations for any European travellers. On this superb bike and barge tour you'll experience both, along with the diverse scenery and history of northern France and the region of Flanders. Along the way, you'll explore small art-deco towns such as Ham and Ronse, and marvel at the stunning scenery which inspired many painters including Van Gogh, Permeke, Van Eyck and Corot. You'll pass many reminders of the First World War including the Armistic and Peronne museums. Impressive cathedrals, abbeys, chateaus and palaces can be seen and visited during the trip. Cycling along the rivers Seine, Oise and Somme, in the company of your expert guide, through farmland and past small villages, ensures you gain a unique insight into this special region. Returning each evening to your comfortable floating hotel you'll make new friends, relax and enjoy delicious meals onboard.

Highlights

  • Enjoying the hospitality on board your comfortable barge

  • Discovering the charming cities of Paris and Bruges

  • Cycling through scenery that has inspired many famous painters

  • Exploring the diverse regions of northern France and Flanders in Belgium

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1 : Embarkation In Paris Mid Afternoon, Cruise To Bougival

Embarkation and check-in at 2pm in the centre of Paris. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader the barge will cruise right through the city. The mooring place for the night is a suburb of Paris. After a sailing dinner there is time for a short walk.
We recommend coming to Paris one or more days earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to discover this interesting city.

Day 2 : Cycle Bougival To Auvers-Sur-Oise (42 Or 46Km/26 Or 28 Mi)

After breakfast we will cycle along quiet towpaths along the river Seine to the higher
situated St Germain, where the gardens of Le Nôtre provide a magnificent view across Paris. Next we will ride through a forest area to Conflans for a picnic on the pier amongst the terraces. After a short stop at the Pontoise Bridge, we continue cycling across the picturesque Chemin des Monts to the church of Auvers, famous for Van Gogh’s paintings. You can visit Van Gogh’s grave in the local cemetery during a short evening walk.

Day 3 : Cycle Beaumont-Sur-Oise And Afternoon Visit To Chantilly Chateau (43Km/26Mi)

During breakfast the barge will sail to Beaumont. The day's cycle begins by following the Oise River upstream. Along the way we will pass the Royaumont abbey, which is one of the best preserved abbeys from the 13th century. During the afternoon we will visit the splendid Chantilly Chateau, a luxurious castle with a horse dressage and an impressive art collection, the Musee Conde, that houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France. After dinner you may wish to take a stroll through the lively provincial town of Creil.

Day 4 : Cruise To Pont Saint Maxence, By Bike To Compiegne (44 Or 54Km/28 Or 34Mi)

During breakfast the barge will take us to Pont Saint Maxence. This town owes its name to the fact that in the Middle Ages this had one of the very few bridges over the Oise River, for this reason it became the place to stay the night for kings and merchants, who were on their way to Flanders. From there we will cycle past the abbey of Moncel, founded in 1309 by King Philip le Bel, and through little, charming towns. Continue cycling through the forest "Foret de Compiegne", where French kings once loved to hunt, and onto to our destination Compiegne. The longer cycle option today takes in more of the forest as well as the small town of Pierrefond, where you can admire the exterior of its impressive Castle Pierrefonds. Compiegne owes its architectural wealth to its proximity of Paris. In the evening you may wish to explore the historical centre .
** Note: in 2025 dinner is not included tonight, you can choose to eat at one of the local restaurants.

Day 5 : Cycle From Compiègne To Pont L’Évêque (42 Km/26 Mi Or 51 Km/31 Mi)

Today we will leave the river Oise to continue our cycle via the canal system connecting France and Belgium. In the morning we cycle into the most northern part of the forest of Compiegne, where we visit the “Clairière de l’Armistice"/Glade of the Armistice, the forest clearing and the carriage where the First World War armistice was signed. You may also visit its small but interesting museum. Then we will cross the river Aisne and cycle through the forest of Ourscamp. In the afternoon we will spend some time in Noyon, where you can visit its imposing cathedral, one of the oldest in the country. We will then cycle back to the canal at Pont l'Eveque, where we will board the barge.

Day 6 : Cruise To Haudival, Cycle Through Ham To Peronne (47 Or 56Km/29 Or 34Mi)

The day begins with a cruise on and along the Canal du Nord. The construction of this canal was already planned in 1903, but it took until 1966 to complete the works. It was built to replace the older and smaller Canal de St. Quentin, constructed by Napoleon in 1801, to transport coal from the mines to the north. During breakfast the barge will bring us to Haudival. From here the cycling begins through gently rolling, open countryside, to the art deco town of Ham, continuing along the river Somme and through the picturesque surrounding villages to Peronne. We will find the barge moored just outside of this charming town with its compact square and church as well as a castle and the fascinating Grande Guerre museum.

Day 7 : Rest Day In The Charming Town Of Peronne

The barge will be moored just outside the charming town of Peronne with its intimate square and church as well as a castle and the fascinating Grande Guerre museum. You are free to spend the day resting or exploring the area.
2024: Dinner is not included tonight so you are free to sample the local food.
2025: dinner is included tonight.

Day 8 : Cycle Along The Somme River To Ruyaulcourt, Cruise To Moeuvres (40 Or 52M/24 Or 33Mi)

We will continue cycling along the river Somme and then through the sparsely populated open and rolling landscape to Ruyaulcourt. At the end of World War I this area was the frontline of the battle around the Somme. We will then join the barge for a cruise through the Canal du Nord, which has two tunnels. The longest one is the tunnel of Ruyaulcourt, which is 4,350 metres (2,700 miles) long. Above the tunnel is the watershed between the rivers Somme and Escaut (Scheldt). From here the barge goes downhill in the direction of Arleux, to our mooring in Moeuvres, an outskirt of this town.

Day 9 : Visit Cambrai, Pass The Marshlands Of Chantraine And To Arleux (35 Or 50Km/21 Or 31Mi)

Today we will visit Cambrai, once a Roman provincial capital, now a lively town with a beautiful park to picnic in and many historical monuments such as the impressive restored buildings of the city fortress built under King Charles V. We will continue cycling past the marshlands of Chantraine and on to the rural town of Arleux. The boat then cruises to the lock of Pont Malin.

Day 10 : Cruise To Denain, Cycle Across The Border Into Belgium To Doornik (Tournai) (47 Or 51Km/29 Or 31Mi)

While the barge will sail the Canal du Grand Gabarit, passing through a former industrial area of northern France and old coal mines and steel bites bordering the canal, we will start our day's cycle in Arleux. Today is a long day of cycling through open farmland and former mining towns towards Lewarde, where you have the opportunity to visit a mining museum. Once we have corssed into Belgium we will cycle through the so-called "white land". The charming little fortress town Antoing lies at the heart of this region and since the Roman days, white limestone has been mined here. Today's destination is Doornik (Tournai in French), one of the oldest cities of Belgium, and part of Wallonia, a French-speaking area of Belgium where all towns and villages have both a French and Flemish name. Up until the beginning of the 17th century Doornik was ruled by the French. Tapestry weaving gained in importance here while the cloth industry became less important. You can see excellent examples of this in the various museums of the town. In 1940 the entire city was destroyed after a German air-raid, however the town has since been wonderfully renovated. The cathedral of Notre Dame, from the 12th and 13th century, and the Belfort, built around 1200, are well worth visiting.
2025: dinner is not included tonight, you can choose to eat in one of the local restaurants.

Day 11 : By Bike To Oudenaarde In The Flemish Region (41 Or 43Km/26 Or 27Mi)

While the barge sails downstream on the river Scheldt, we set off by bike crossing the language barrier to enter the Flanders region where Flemish is the spoken language. Our destination for today is Oudenaarde. In former days this small town was situated on the border of the French and German empires and as a result it was frequently involved in wars. Since Oudenaarde was in the firing line, there was always a watchman. You can find a statue of the most famous watchman, Hanske de Krijger, in the splendid town hall which also displays a magnificent collection from the 16th and 17th Century as well as the Tour of Flanders Centre. The town hall was built in the first half of the 16th century with sandstone in Brabantine late Gothic style and is one of the most beautiful town halls of Flanders. Oudenaarde is also known as the town of the tapestry weavers, with their tapestry famous around the world. After dinner you can enjoy a Belgian beer at the atmospheric Market place.

Day 12 : Cycle Along The Scheldt River Through Idyllic Scenery To Ghent (45Km/27Mi)

We commence cycling from Oudenaarde and shortly after will briefly stop at the ruins of the old abbey of Ename, located on the river Scheldt. We continue following the river through the idyllic Ooidonk landscape towards Ghent, today's destination. Ghent is a lively university town with a rich history, that arose in Roman days on the confluence of the rivers Scheldt and Leie. This favourable location brought on wealth as it became a trade and textile city with a peak in the late 13th and early 14th Century. The cloth industry was a source of great richness in the Middle Ages, and the cloth traders gathered in the "Lakenhal" (Cloth Hall) in 1425. In the city many patrician residences have been preserved. The most important church is St Baafs cathedral, constructed in different centuries and in different styles. Here you can find several masterpiece paintings from the Middle Ages, the most famous of which is "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by Jan van Eyck. In the evenings the city center is a very atmospheric place to be. There is the option of joining a canal tour to the centre (included) and visiting the castle Gravensteen.

Day 13 : Cruise To Aalterbrug Then Pass Villages And Castles To Bruges (34 Or 44Km/21 Or 28Mi)

During breakfast the barge will take us along the Ghent Canal to Aalterbrug. From here we will get on our bikes and cycle through wooded areas and fields and past quiet villages in the flat countryside of Western Flanders before arriving in Bruges. Known as the "Venice of the North", you will have time to discover the most picturesque city in Flanders. From the 14th to the 16th Century it was renowned as one of Europe’s most important centres of banking and art, with its old centre dating from the Middle Ages almost completely intact.

Day 14 : In Bruges (22 Or 38Km/13 Or 23 Mi)

Today the barge will stay in Bruges. An optional bicycle ride through the pleasant countryside around Bruges will be offered, but you can also choose to spend your time in beautiful Bruges and eg visit a museum or do some shopping.

Day 15 : Trip Concludes In Bruges

The trip concludes this morning in Bruges. You will need to disembark by 9:30am.
Note: the trip operates in the reverse direction, from Bruges to Paris, every alternate departure. See below for details and for details of the second barge used.

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    14 nights twin cabin

  • 14 breakfasts, 13 picnic lunches, 13 dinners (12 dinners in 2025) Continental breakfasts are served and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. At breakfast you will prepare your packed lunch for the day which will be sandwiche

  • 14 nights accommodation aboard a comfortable barge in a cabin with ensuite facilities on a twin share basis. The compact cabins are configured with twin lower beds

  • Welcome drink and briefing on the first evening

  • Tea and coffee onboard

  • One or two experienced multilingual tour guides for fully guided cycling tours (two for group sizes of 18 passengers or more), daily briefings and several city walks

  • Cycling Map (1 per cabin) plus navigational App with GPS tracks

  • 2024: 21 speed trekking bike rental with pannier, helmet and water bottle (electric bike available on request - supplement applies). 2025: This is an e-bike only tour - E-bike rental included plus helmet, pannier, lock

  • Entrance to Clairiere de l'Armistice, Chateau Chantilly and Oudenaarde city hall

  • Daily cleaning of the cabin, 1x change of bed sheets

  • Ghent canal tour

show more

What's Not Included

  • Drinks other than afternoon tea and coffee on board

  • 1 dinner (not in Peronne)

  • Entrance fees and excursions not specified

  • Transfers and public transport not specified

  • Tips - while tipping is not obligatory, it is customary to offer a tip if the guide and crew have done a good job. As a guide we would recommend EUR30-60 per person (to be distributed between the guide/s, captain and crew).

  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry etc.

  • Catering for special diets (except Vegetarian). A supplement is payable for lactose or gluten free diets - EUR50pp (subject to change) - See below for further details regarding catering for dietary requirements.

  • Catering for special diets (except Vegetarian). A supplement is payable for example lactose or gluten free diets - EUR65pp (subject to change) paid locally on board.

Grading

The cycling is moderate (3) grade with daily cycling distances from 18 to 66km/11 to 41mi along undulating usually well graded low traffic roads. There are some short stretches on some busier roads and off-road bike paths. There are some sections with short slopes with heights of up to 100m. You will spend approximately 5 hours cycling each day. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. A good level of fitness and cycling experience is required to fully participate in this trip.

What You Carry

During the cycle day you will carry your daily requirements in the pannier provided with the bike. This may include your lunch, wet weather gear, mobile phone and water. A small daypack which can be kept inside the pannier is useful for sightseeing.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

N. Haworth(Indooroopilly, Australia)  

Paris to Bruges Bike and Barge

23 Aug 2022

Zwaantje is a wonderful small ship with a great crew which made for a really enjoyable bike'n'barge experience.

J. Anderson(Wangaratta, Australia)  

Paris to Bruges Bike and Barge

18 Oct 2023

The barge Fleur was very comfortable and the crew was fantastic, very organised, polite and helpful. The bikes were well maintained and suitable for the riding conditions and the tour guides were professional. We enjoyed Karline's research about the towns and areas we travelled through. The chef Frank and his meals were a highlight, absolutely delicious. We had a great time, passing through rural countryside, small villages and staying in and near larger cities. The 40-60kms rides each day were relaxed and suitable for those with a moderate level of fitness. Serious cyclists would probably be frustrated with the pace.

1 Select your preferred date

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Saturday - Saturday

Jul 20, 2024 - Aug 03, 2024
$4137 $4006

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Friday - Friday

Sep 20, 2024 - Oct 04, 2024
$4137 $4006

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Saturday - Saturday

Sep 21, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
$4137 $4006

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Sold Out

Saturday - Saturday

May 10, 2025 - May 24, 2025
$4785 $4634

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$151

Sunday - Sunday

May 18, 2025 - Jun 01, 2025
$4785 $4634

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$151

Thursday - Thursday

Sep 18, 2025 - Oct 02, 2025
$4785 $4634

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$151

Sold Out

Friday - Friday

Sep 26, 2025 - Oct 10, 2025
$4785 $4634

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$151

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    UTracks allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform utracks, 70 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    UTracks requires a minimum deposit of 150 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of utracks charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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