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

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

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.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Aug 21-31, 2021
USD$6095
USD$1450 Will Share option not available.
 

* 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.

Tour Style: Bike and Boat Book This Trip Now Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 11 Days
  • Total Distance / 380 km (236 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 42 km (26 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.0 Bike and Boat
  • Countries / France
  • Begin/End / Paris/Amboise
  • Price / From USD$6095
More Photos
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
    10 nights lodging, meals as noted in itinerary, Fontainebleau guided visit, chocolate tasting, Chambord guided castle visit, canoe trip along the Cher river, guided visit to Clos Lucé, entry ticket to visit Chenonceau castle; and the usual (see below)

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Bike and Boat tour at the Bike and Boat Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.0 difficulty level 1.0
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    44km / 216m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    3
    44km / 283m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    4
    48km / 369m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    5
    36km / 273m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    6
    57km / 400m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    7
    48km / 302m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    8
    48km / 108m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 0.5
    9
    43km / 280m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    10
    43km / 347m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    11
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download 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. We’ll taste another specialty of town, the Brie de Melun.

  • Distance: 44km (28mi)
  • Gain: 216m (708ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • 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. Enjoy a self-directed visit of the castle using a provided visual/audio guide, 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: 44km (28mi)
  • Gain: 283m (928ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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.

  • Distance: 48km (30mi)
  • Gain: 369m (1210ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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. 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.

  • Distance: 36km (23mi)
  • Gain: 273m (895ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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.

  • Distance: 57km (36mi)
  • Gain: 400m (1312ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • 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.

  • Distance: 48km (30mi)
  • Gain: 302m (991ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Chambord and Blois

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.

DAY 9: Cycle to Amboise

Highlights: Cycling along the Loire River, Chaumont Castle, Da Vinci Museum, 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.

  • Distance: 43km (27mi)
  • Gain: 280m (918ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: 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.

  • Distance: 43km (27mi)
  • Gain: 347m (1138ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 11: Guided tour of Clos Lucé, tour end

Highlights: 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
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Paris, the city of lights

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the boat dock Port d'Arsenal, close to the Place de la Bastille (click for location). You may drop off your luggage as soon as 11 a.m., but boarding will not be possible before 2 p.m.

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.

From Gare du Nord to the Docking Place:

  1. Metro Line 5 (direction Place d'Italie), exit at Quai de la Rapée
  2. Walk 5-min to the docking place.

Your boat's name is "Fleur". If you are arriving by taxi, your taxi can take you to the "Capitanerie de Port" (Port Authority), which is where the boat usually docks. Your driver can ask the Port Authority where your boat is and take you there.

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 11: Departure Information

Guided tour of Clos Lucé, tour end

Your trip ends on the final day at around 11:30 a.m. after the guided tour of Clos Lucé.

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 Amboise to Paris or CDG Airport:

  1. Taxi from the ending point of the tour to the Tours St-Pierre-des-Corps TGV train station (30 min/EUR 45)
  2. Train from Tours St-Pierre-des_Corps TGV to "Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport" (2 hours/fares vary) or Paris (direct, 1 hour/fares 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.  

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 Today!

3–6 Months Prior to 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. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/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 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

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

What to Expect on Tour

Bike and Boat Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Bike and Boat tour at the Bike and Boat page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • It was a great opportunity for biking in a beautiful area of France. We were able to see and experience the beautiful countryside, learn some of the history and culture of the area, and see cultural and historic sites.

    Bill M., Lancaster, SC - August 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
  • It was a great opportunity for biking in a beautiful area of France. We were able to see and experience the beautiful countryside, learn some of the history and culture of the area, and see cultural and historic sites.

    Bill M., Lancaster, SC - August 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
  • 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
  • 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
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