At 2 PM we welcome our guests on board.
We prepare you some sandwiches to eat while you meet your companions or to take with you on your first bike ride to Damme.
Of course you can also choose to go sightseeing in the lovely town of Bruges. The centre is at walking distance. In the evening we will be serving you a welcome dinner.
Sunday: Bruges - Ghent
Every morning we serve you a good breakfast and you can make your own lunch package just the way you like it.
After breakfast you can choose to stay on the boat and enjoy the sights while we sail to the next town, join our guide on a cycle-tour to the lovely town of Gent or use our maps and go cycling on your own.
We welcome you back home at the Feniks in the afternoon with a bowl of homemade soup. After dinner our guide takes you for a walk in Gent.
Monday: Ghent - Oudenaarde
After breakfast the cycling-route will lead you along the river into farmland to Oudenaarde.
Oudenaarde is called the pearl of the Flemish Ardennen. It used to be well-known in whole Europe of its wall-carpets and silverware. There are over a hundred protected monuments, two of them are on the UNESCO-list: the Begijnenhof and the town hall in which you will find a museum famous for its Gobelin-carpets.
There are some nice churches and the castle Liedts. Or maybe you would like to visit one of the towns beer breweries. We can take you for a tour in the famous Kriek brewery to taste the typical Belgium kriek beer, made from cherries.
Tuesday: Oudenaarde - Tournai
Today the cycle-route will take you on well-paved towpaths. We will head for Tournai, one of the oldest cities of Belgium.
Tournai belongs to Romance Flanders, from today you can practice your French lessons. It used to be one of the greatest cultural and economic centres of Flanders and some traces of that can still be seen today like the Our lady’s Cathedral and the Saint-Brice church. Other parts of interest are the 13th century Scheldt bridge and the main square as well as several old city gates, historic warehouses and a variety of museums.
Wednesday: Tournai – Bouchain/Arleux
Today we will cycle through the oldest regional park of France: Scarpe-Escaut.
The park has forests, swamps and large fields with miles of cycling and walking paths.
If possible we will also visit the town of Arleux. It is famous for its smoked garlic, which you can smell everywhere on the streets. Our guide can take you for an excursion there and maybe the cook will make you her well-known garlic soup.
Thursday: Bouchain/Arleux – Peronne
After breakfast we will cycle to the town of Lewarde. There we will find one of the biggest mine-museums of the world. You can visit the old mine with a small train which is spectacular and you will be guided by old mine-workers.
After our visit to the museum we will meet the Feniks to join its sail through a 3,5 mile long boat tunnel towards Peronne.
Today the barge will stay in Peronne. You can relax on the boat or explore the surroundings of the town by bike or walking. Our guide can help you by planning a beautiful day out. Peronne is a commune of the Somme department in France.
It is close to where the Battles of the Somme took place during World War 1.
The Museum of the Great War is located in the ancient chateau. This museum is a “must” visit for those with a passion for the horrors of the great war.
The city of Peronne also has a nice town centre, there is a beautiful church and you can visit the Alfred Danicourt museum with one of the finest collections of early Gallic coins and antique gold jewellery.
Saturday: Peronne – Noyon
The Historical, war museum in the castle is worthwhile visiting. There is another small local museum in the centre. Participants who are even more interested in the history of the Great War ‘14-’18 could use their day off for a visit to one or more places connected with the 1st World War. To the west, direction Amiens, was the Australian sector. Visit on your own initiative (by taxi for example, or organised by yourself before; it’s not included in our tour). Ask your guide for information at the beginning of your journey.
Sunday: Peronne – Pont ‘l Eveque
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 barge will be moored near Pont l’Eveque, some 3 km. from Noyon.
Monday: Pont l’Eveque – Compiegne
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).
Tuesday: Compiegne – Creil
A nice bicycle ride 40 or 50 km in the immense forest to the east of town, including a visit to the castle of Pierrefonds, restorated and rebuild in the 19th century by the famous architect Violet le Duc. Nice cycling in the forest. Visit to 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 barge for the last stretch to Creil, mooring place on the Oise river.
Wednesday: Creil – Pontoise
Today is a ride in a wooded area with nice bike paths. There are a few options for visits: 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 barge brings us to the town of Pontoise.
Thursday: Pontoise – Bougival
Sailing downstream the river Oise and upstream Seine is one of the highlights of the tour but cycling near it too! 20 or 45 km. 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.
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 of the barge and see Paris from the river.
After breakfast your bike-and-barge tour from Bruges into the capital of France comes to an end.