TWO COUNTRY CRUISE: Belgium to France
May 23 - June 3, 2021
Sunday, Day 1 - Bruges
Guests are met in Bruges or Brussels and transferred to the hotel barge moored in the beautiful little town of Bruges, known as the "Venice of the North". After a champagne welcome, we visit Bruges for a city tour on one of the little canal boats which meander this picturesque town. Upon return to La Nouvelle Etoile, you’ll have time to relax and get ready for your first of many gourmet meals on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Bruges to Ghent
This morning we join a guided walking tour of Bruges with a local guide. Return to the hotel barge for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll have some free time in Bruges. Later in the day we cruise to Ghent. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Ghent to Oudenaarde
After breakfast, we visit Ghent. Visit the cathedral with fabulous painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" painted by the van Eyck brothers. Return to the hotel barge for a cruise up the River Schelde to the town of Oudenaarde where we will moor for the night. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Oudenaarde to Tournay
A morning cruise further up the River Schelde will take us to the ancient town of Tournay with its famous "Pont des Trous" (Bridge with Holes) used to collect tolls on the rivers in the old times. This afternoon you can stroll around Tournay before dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 - Tournay to Arleux
We continue along the Schelde through the town of Valenciennes to the junction of the Canal du Nord at the little French village of Arleux. Along the way, we visit the museum of fine arts in Valenciennes. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 - Arleux to Peronne
We begin our climb over 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. There is a great towpath for the barge along the canal for a leisurely walk if you wish. After lunch, there will be a trip to Amiens to visit what must be one of the greatest of all Gothic cathedrals with its powerful towering spires and columns. Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 - Peronne to the Canal du Nord
After breakfast we visit the war museum in Peronne. Upon return, we will continue on the Canal du Nord. There will be plenty of opportunities to walk or bike while the barge travels from lock to lock. The cruise now continues along the Canal du Nord as it drops down into the valley of the Somme River. Dinner on board.
Sunday, Day 8 - The Canal du Nord to Compiegne
After breakfast, we cruise down to the Oise River valley to moor in the riverside town of Compiegne. There are many places to visit, including the train where the World War I armistice was signed, as well as the Royal Palace. Dinner on board.
Monday, Day 9 - Compiegne to Auvers sur Oise
This morning we are now cruising down the Oise River valley where we stop at 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. In the afternoon we walk around the town and visit the cemetery where Vincent and his brother are buried. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 10 - Auvers sur Oise to Conflans
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. The gardens will be at their most beautiful at this time of year where we will see the famous lily pond and the Japanese bridge that inspired so many of his paintings. This evening, we moor for the night in Conflans, which is the junction of the Oise and Seine Rivers. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 11 - Conflans to Paris
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 will rejoin La Nouvelle Etoile for an afternoon cruise up the River Seine past the Eiffel Tower to our Paris mooring for the Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 12 - Paris
After breakfast, disembark La Nouvelle Etoile and transfer to your drop-off point in Paris.
Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.