Bike and Barge the Seine

Bike and Barge the Seine

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.

***Extend this trip 3 days with our Bike and Barge the Seine Plus! Castles of the Loire ***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jun 22-29, 2019
USD$4295
USD$1150
Guaranteed to Go. Just 3 Cabins Left.
Aug 17-24, 2019
USD$4295
USD$1150
3 More to Guarantee the Departure

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 216 km (134 miles) - 245 km (152 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 36 km (22 miles) - 41 km (25 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 1.0
  • Countries / France
  • Begin/End / Paris/Montargis
  • Price / From USD$4295
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Paris; Castle of Fontainebleau; “artists’ villages” - towns that inspired 19th and 20th century Impressionist painters; medieval fortified towns and castles; private castle visit.

    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
  • Includes
    8-days, 7 nights' lodging on Fleur; all breakfasts, 6 dinners, and 6 (picnic) lunches; guided visit of Fontainebleau castle, chocolate tasting/visit, bee farm visit; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • 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, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • 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

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    45km / 135m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 0.5
    Longer optional ride available
    3
    44km / 255m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    4
    45km / 359m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    Longer optional ride available
    5
    35km / 172m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    6
    42km / 252m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    Longer optional ride available
    7
    50km / 316m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    Longer optional ride available
    8
    Last day

    Tour Level Note: Gentle rides with little to no elevation gain

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Paris, the city of lights

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?

DAY 2: Exiting Paris by boat and bike

Highlights: Cruise the Seine during breakfast, 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. 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.

  • Distance: 45 km (28 mi)
  • Gain: 135 m (443 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 0.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Pedaling through Fontainebleau

Highlights: Artists’ village of Barbizon, guided visit of Fontainebleau castle (UNESCO site), picnic on castle grounds, 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. 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.

  • Distance: 44 km (28 mi)
  • Gain: 255 m (836 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: From Moret-sur-Loing to Nemours

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.

17 km (10 miles) extra ride available.

  • Distance: 45 km (28 mi)
  • Gain: 359 m (1178 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 5: Medieval Castles and Towns

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. 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.

20 km (12 miles) extra ride available.

  • Distance: 35 km (22 mi)
  • Gain: 172 m (564 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Montargis

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.

Extra ride available 14 km (9 miles).

  • Distance: 42 km (26 mi)
  • Gain: 252 m (827 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Loop ride in Montargis

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.

Extra ride 23 km (14 miles).

  • Distance: 50 km (31 mi)
  • Gain: 316 m (1036 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Tour Ends in Montargis

Highlights: Montargis

Tour ends this morning after breakfast, return to Paris by easy train connections or continue on your travels in France.

***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Bike and Barge the Seine Plus! Castles of the Loire tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Paris, the city of lights

Lodging: Fleur Barge

Meeting time early afternoon - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the boat dock (exact details to be announced in time as the docking schedule will be finalized in January 2019).

Note:

Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

If you haven't been to Paris yet, we recommend you spend some time in this amazing city. You can find hotel recommendations in Paris and throughout France here.

Depending on where you choose to stay in Paris prior to your trip, your hotel's website will usually provide arrival information. You might also like Rome2Rio for more route-planning.

We recommend flying into the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

Day 8: Departure Information

Tour Ends in Montargis

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

If you didn't get a chance to spend time in Paris before the trip, you might choose to do so now. Find the link to hotel recommendations in the arrival instructions.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying out of Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).

From Montargis to Paris:

  1. Taxi from the ending point of the tour to the Montargis train station
  2. Train from Montargis to Paris (1hr/fares vary)

From Paris to CDG:

  • If you are planning to continue to the airport directly, you will need to plan on enough time to either continue by public transportation, taxi (40 min/EUR 65) or SuperShuttle (pre-hire, prices and times vary).

Look up French train schedules and book tickets, if necessary, SNCF.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.  

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

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

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and in some cases a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

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