Bike and Barge: the Seine Plus! Castles of the Loire

Bike and Barge on the Seine!
  • Length 11 days
  • From USD$6895
  • Style/Level Bike and Boat 1.0
  • Countries France
  • Begin/End Paris/Amboise
See related tours

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. Our Plus! tour is land based and gives those who want to keep exploring the chance to spend another few days pedaling between important chateaux including Blois, Chambord, Amboise and Chenonceau.

***If this sounds great but you are looking for a shorter trip check out our Bike and Barge: the Seine which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.***

Highlights

  • Paris

  • Castle of Fontainebleau

  • “artists’ villages” – towns that inspired 19th and 20th century Impressionist painters

  • medieval fortified towns and castles

  • private castle visit.

Includes

  • 10 nights accommodation, meals as noted in itinerary, Vaux-le-Vicomte guided visit, Chambord guided castle visit, canoe trip along the Cher river, guided visit to Clos Lucé, entry ticket to visit Chenonceau castle, brie cheese tasting, wine tasting

  • All Bike and Boat tour inclusions

Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

For more questions about the Barge check out our Bike & Boat FAQ


Date Price Private room fee Note
Aug 24-Sep 3, 2024 USD$6895 USD$1450 Sold out – waitlist available. 
DateAug 24-Sep 3, 2024
PriceUSD$6895
Private room feeUSD$1450
NoteSold out – waitlist available. 

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  • Total distance 380 km (236 miles)
  • Average daily distance 42 km (26 miles)
  • Tour style Bike and Boat
  • Tour level 1.0

Highlights: Paris

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 : Dinner
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Cruise the Seine during breakfast, audio guide visit Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, bicycle along river paths and forest lanes, Melun town

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. Deboard and it’s a pleasant ride to Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, where you’ll enjoy an audio guide visit. Afterwards you’ll 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. We’ll taste another specialty of town, the Brie de Melun.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Artists’ village of Barbizon, Fontainebleau castle (UNESCO site), fortified medieval town.

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. Continue pedaling to return to our boat, moored tonight in a medieval fortified town along a small tributary of the Seine River.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Medieval town of Moret-sur-Loing, Loing River biking, Nemours.

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 : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Medieval castles and towns

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. A quick downhill brings us to our boat, docked on the Loing Canal in a tranquil spot for the night. After dinner, we’ll head back to Chateau-Landon for an engaging guided walk to learn more about the historical importance of this town.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Bourdelle Sculpture Garden, Ferrières Abbey, Montargis

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 : Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Ouanne River ride; 10th Century Castle Ruins, Bee-Keeping Museum

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 : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging : Fleur Barge

Highlights: Guided visit of Chambord Castle, city of Blois

We’ll say farewell to our boat today and shuttle to the Castle of Chambord, one of the most famous chateaux of the Loire Valley. Some say Leonardo da Vinci designed the opulent 400-room Château de Chambord when he lived at the royal court. Opulence is key here: The Château nearly bankrupted the French treasury before its completion in 1685. Enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the castle late morning and enjoy lunch on your own before heading to Blois, a different and lively feel compared to the tranquil villages we’ve visited on our boat tour. Stroll through town to see its castle, the cathedral and gardens that dot the city.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Mercure Blois Centre Hotel

Highlights: Cycling along the Loire River, Chaumont Castle, Amboise

Leave Blois along the Loire River today, cycling on one of Europe’s most popular bike routes. First stop is at the Chaumont Castle, with its spectacular gardens, park, and castle perched over the Loire river valley. Continue pedaling to reach the vibrant town of Amboise which boasts the manor house of Le Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci came to spend the last three years of his life upon invitation from the French King Francis I. Leonardo is buried in the castle’s chapel.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel le Clos d’Amboise

Highlights: Château de Chenonceau; canoe trip down the Cher River

Head off toward the Cher River this morning where we’ll regroup to canoe to the famous castle of Chenonceau. The castle forms a bridge across the river, one of the tributaries to the Loire. After dropping your canoe and a lunch together, we head off by bike to explore the castle, once occupied by Diane de Poitiers, mistress to Henri II. After the king’s death in 1599, Queen Catherine de Medici reclaimed the castle and evicted de Poitiers. You can still explore the two separate gardens created for these two women. We’ll enjoy a wine tasting at hotel before dinner together.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel le Clos d’Amboise

Highlights: Da Vinci Museum, Clos Lucé

Before you head off on your own travels join us this morning for a fascinating guided tour of the Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the final years of his life. Walk through his bedroom, discover where he worked, and stroll through the vast gardens where many of his inventions were constructed for the first time. Our visit of Clos Lucé will end at 11:30 so please plan your travels accordingly if you’d like to participate. We hope you’ve enjoyed this relaxing cultural and historic exploration of the Loire!

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we determine day and tour levels.



Pre-trip planning checklist



  • A beautiful ride along the rivers and canals in the Loire Valley with stops along the way to tour the chateaux. An added feature was living in a barge. We were able to relax with fellow riders at the end of a ride and not have to worry about packing up our suitcases each day.

    Judy C., Pelham Manor, NY – June 2019
  • Favorite Experience: Biking through villages and forests with no tourists around!!! People, places, food and scenery were the highlight. Oh, BTW jumping into the canal and a lake to cool off!

    Chris C., Colorado Springs, CO – June 2019
  • Great combination of cycling and culture. Good intro to a cycling tour for someone that is seeking this as a way to vacation.

    Anne M., Lancaster, SC – August 2019