TWO COUNTRY CRUISE: France to Belgium
July 26 - August 6, 2020
Sunday, Day 1 - Paris
Guests are met in Paris and transferred to the hotel barge La Nouvelle Etoile moored in the heart of Paris for a champagne welcome. We have the afternoon to relax while we cruise past Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Tonight, you will enjoy your first gourmet dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Paris to Conflans
This morning we cruise to Bougival and visit Malmaison, the home of Napoleon. Here you’ll see its many lavishly decorated rooms furnished by Josephine. We continue cruising to our mooring for the night at the medieval town of Conflans, which is the junction of the Oise and Seine Rivers. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Conflans to Auvers-sur-Oise
After a short morning cruise and an early lunch we drive to Giverny to visit the home and gardens of Claude Monet, probably the most famous of all the impressionist painters. We rejoin La Nouvelle Etoile at her mooring in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise. This charming village is a van Gogh scene. Here is where he lived and painted most of his last and most important paintings, when he stayed in a small room above a local café. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Auvers-sur-Oise to Compiègne
After breakfast, we walk around the town and visit the cemetery where Vincent and his brother are buried. After lunch we continue cruising down the Oise River valley to moor in the riverside town of Compiègne, famous for its opulent Imperial Palace. Compiègne also played a pivotal role in the First and Second World Wars and has a compelling war memorial where the Armistice signing took place. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 - Thursday, Day 5 - Compiègne to The Canal du Nord
After breakfast, we cruise down to the Oise River valley to moor at The Canal du Nord. The Canal du Nord is a 95-kilometer long canal in northern France connecting the Canal Latéral à l'Oise at Pont-l'Évêque to the Sensée Canal at Arleux.
Friday, Day 6 - The Canal du Nord to Péronne
This morning we continue to cruise along the Canal du Nord. There will be plenty of opportunities to walk or bike while the barge travels from lock to lock. Our mooring this afternoon will be in Péronne, a small town on the banks of the Somme River, in the heart of the Somme Valley. Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 - Péronne to Arleux
After breakfast we visit Péronne's War Museum in the Somme Valley. After lunch, we begin our descent of the Vermandois Hills of Picardie through the many locks and several tunnels of the Canal du Nord. The scenery is spectacular, rural France at its best. We moor in the little French village of Arleux tonight. Arleux is the producer for one of the well-known types of garlic - l'ail fumé d'Arleux with its sweet smoky scent and each year on the last weekend in August, Arleux hosts a garlic festival. Dinner on board.
Sunday, Day 8 - Arleux to Tournai
This morning we visit the museum of fine arts in Valenciennes. After lunch we cruise along the River Scheldt to the ancient town of Tournai with its famous "Pont des Trous" (Bridge with Holes) used to collect tolls on the rivers in the old times. In the afternoon you can stroll around Tournai. There is a lot to see in this Belgium city including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame with its 5 towers and rose window and the Grand Place, a triangular square lined with bars and restaurants and dominated by the 12th-century Belfry of Tournai. Dinner on board.
Monday, Day 9 - Tournai to Oudenaarde
After breakfast we cruise leisurely up the River Scheldt to the town of Oudenaarde where we will moor for the night. Oudenaarde is located on the left bank of the river Scheldt and is a true city of art. Is was a world-known centre of tapestry production and the City Hall houses a unique collection of Oudenaarde tapestries. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 10 - Oudenaarde to Ghent
After breakfast, we cruise along the River Scheldt to our mooring in Ghent, one of Belgium's oldest cities. It is also Belgium's fourth-largest and most beautiful city, with a pedestrian friendly city center. After lunch we visit the cathedral with the fabulous painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” painted by the van Eyck brothers. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 11 - Ghent to Bruges
This morning we will cruise to the beautiful little town of Bruges, known as the "Venice of the North". In the afternoon we join a guided walking tour of Bruges with a local guide. You will also have time to explore the many museums and maybe buy some of the handmade lace or take a boat trip on the small canals which meander through this picturesque town. Tonight is the Farewell Captain's Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 12 - Bruges
After breakfast, disembark La Nouvelle Etoile and transfer to your drop-off point in Bruges or Brussels.
Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.