Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges
Two beautiful countries…
This incredible two week route takes you from Bruges to Paris (or v.v.) along rural country roads, towpaths, and paved forest trails. Occasionally, you will ride a short distance on a cobblestone road.
You will travel through Belgium and France and curiously to say, through Holland too, as Belgium and the French part above the Somme River, once belonged to Holland. This can be seen in the flags of the Belgian and French provinces that still carry the Dutch national symbol (the lion).
Picardie, as the northern province of France is called, was once the cradle of the Gothic period which can be seen in the various places you will visit. Picardie and especially the area around the Somme River carry the scars of the great war. In almost every little town you pass, there are memorials erected that commemorate the soldiers and civilians that died in the war. If you love history, you will have the oppurtunity to visit the war museum in Peronne where you will spend a whole day. You can also take a tour around the area and pass the big memorials erected in honor of the soldiers of France, Great Britian, Australia, America and South Africa.
Approaching Paris, you will enter through the 'banlieues' as the suburban cities are called. This part of the suburban area around Paris is very green and inhabited mostly by Parisians that can afford to flee the city and live on the slopes outside Paris. Cycling in Paris has been made easier throughout the years thanks to the efforts of cycling enthusiasts and the development of the many bike paths. You will meet the Elodie in the center of Paris, where you also have an entire day to spend.
- Bruges to Paris
- On the Standard Plus boat, the Feniks:
June 8, July 6,and August 31, 2013
- On the Comfort Plus boats:
April 20and September 21, 2013
June 2, 2013
- Paris to Bruges
- On the Standard Plus boat, the Feniks: June 22,
July 20, and October 4, 2013
- On the Comfort Plus boats:
- Fleur: October 19, 2013
June 16and September 8, 2013
- 2014 Dates
- Bruges to Paris
- On the Comfort Plus boat, the Fleur: April 12, 2014
- Paris to Bruges
- On the Comfort Plus boat, the Fleur: October 11, 2014
Easy to moderate, guided bike and boat tour. The tour is 15 days long with 12 days of cycling. The average day of cycling is 26 miles with the whole day to complete the mileage. The route is mostly flat with some rolling hills - some days being slightly hillier than others. You may always choose to stay on board ship for a day if you do not want to bike.
Where You’ll Stay
On the comfort plus class boats, the Elodie or the Fleur or the and Standard Plus boat, the Feniks.
- 14 nights’ accommodations on board
- Breakfast buffets, packed lunches, and 3 course dinners (10 dinners on the Feniks, 12 dinners on the Elodie, and 13 dinners on the Fleur)
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide (2 guides on the Fleur)
- 21 speed hybrid bicycle
- Route information
- Ferry fares en route
- Bicycle protection ( Fleur and Feniks only)
- Air-conditioned cabins (Elodie and Fleur only)
- Daily cleaning service (Elodie only)
What’s Not Included
- Beverages (incl. alcohol), available on board
- Train ride to/from Paris to Bruges, if needed
- Museum entrance fees
- Bicycle protection (Mandatory on the Elodie)
|Tour||Bike + Boat|
Below is the itinerary for Paris to Bruges:
- Paris, 10 miles (16 km)
- Paris - Versailles - Conflans, 24 miles (39 km)
- Conflans - Creil, 26 miles (42 km)
- Creil - Compiègne , 23 miles (37 km)
- Compiègne - Pont L’Évêque (Noyon), 25 miles (40 km)
- Pont l'Évêque - Péronne, 32 miles
- Péronne - Marquion, 25 miles (40 km)
- Marquion - Valenciennes, 26 miles (42 km)
- Valenciennes - Tournai, 21 miles (34 km)
- Tournai - Oudenaarde, 29 miles (47 km)
- Oudenaarde - Ghent, 21 miles (34 km)
- Ghent - Bruges, 27 miles (43 km)
*The itinerary listed above (and in detailed description below) is only for the Elodie. The Feniks follows a similar route as well. The itinerary for the Fleur varies slightly by incorporating overnight stops in these towns instead: Bruges, Ghent, Oudenaarde, Doornik (Tournai), Pont Malin (Bouchain), Honnecourt, St. Quentin, Noyon, Compiegne, Creil, Auvers s.Oise, and Paris.
All distances are approximate. The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.
Day 1: Paris, 10 miles (16 km)
Upon arrival on board the Elodie in Paris, the crew will welcome you with a nice cup of coffee or tea. After an introduction to the crew, there will be a short program explaining the rules on board and information on the program. After the introduction, there will be a short tour trough a cycle friendly part of Paris. This is a perfect time to get comfortable with the bike and make necessary adjustments.
Day 2: Paris - Versailles - Conflans, 24 miles (39 km)
The day will start with a boat tour that sails right through the very heart of Paris passing the Notre Dame Cathedral, musee D'Orsay, the Eifel tower, and many other remarkable structures. These sights, as seen from the river Seine, are a remarkable and different experience. The cycle tour leads to the Palace Versailles, one of the biggest in the world. This unbelievable Palace, once inhabited by French kings like Louis the 14th, has a "must see" free admissible garden. After Versailles, the tour continues to St. Germain en Laye where you can say goodbye to Paris from the stunning lookout point that offers a magnificent view over the city. Afterwards, there will be a short decent to the river Seine where the Elodie is waiting.
Day 3: Conflans - Creil, 26 miles (42 km)
Very early in the morning, the Elodie will start sailing to the next place of interest namely Auvers-sur-Oise. This small town has been the residence of many great artists; among them the great Vincent van Gogh. He spent the last few months of his life here in this town painting many of his great works. The Elodie will wait further up stream to take you the start of your first bike ride to Abbaye Royaumont. After a visit to the Abbey, the tour will continue to Chateaux the Chantilly; a beautiful castle with its world famous stables nearby.
Day 4: Creil - Compiègne, 23 miles (37 km)
Through the park regions Pays de France, the cycle tour continues to Compiègne. This park belongs to a “community” of 45 parks all over France. The parks are a mixture of natural and cultural sites combined with local community life. So, along today’s tour, forests, hills, small towns, and rivers will accompany you. The town of Compiègne is a town that has a beautiful shopping center with an Imperial palace with a free admissible garden.
Day 5: Compiegne - Pont l'Évêque (Noyon), 25 miles (40 km)
After a nice, relaxing ride through the forest, you will arrive in Pierrefonds. With its ferry tale atmosphere, this town is a highlight of the trip. It lies on the foot of a very impressive castle. You will get to explore the area before continuing on. Through the forests d'Ourscamps and de Laigue, the tour will continue to the second goal of the day, the railway carriage where the first world war was ended and Nazi Germany forced France into an armistice treaty. The First World War will be a common theme throughout the next few days to come. Noyon, which is about 1 mile from Pont L'Évêque where the Elodie is moored, can be visited. It is the birthplace of Calvijn and famous for its enormous Cathedral with free admission open to visitors. Noyon bares the scars of WWI and WWII as you can see if you look at the walls of the Cathedral damaged by many bullet holes.
Day 6: Pont l'Évêque - Péronne, 32 miles
Early in the morning the Elodie will pass its first two locks before you will start your bike ride. Through the slightly hilly countryside and little villages the tour will find its way to the town of Péronne. Along the way you will notice quite frequently the graveyards of WWI. You can hardly imaging that these surroundings have once been the stage of a devastating war. Being aware of this tragedy, in great contrast, you cannot imagine a more peaceful countryside. A very enjoyable ride before a well deserved day of rest in Péronne.
Day 7: Péronne
Today is the perfect day to make your own plan as the Elodie will stay in the charming and interesting town of Péronne. Péronne has a lovely town center, a big park, and a very interesting museum. Situated in a 21st century castle, you will find the museum of the Great War right in the middle of town. Together, with the cities Albert and Bapaume, Péronne formed the triangle in which the battle of the Somme took place. Therefore Péronne, and its museum, have been appointed by the French government as a historical monument in the military history of France.
On this day, there will be no dinner on the boat so there is no need to go back to the Elodie. If you want to stay a little bit longer in another town and enjoy a French meal in one of the local restaurants, you will not miss one of the chef’s meals.
Day 8: Péronne - Marquion, 26 miles (42 km)
Early in the morning, the Elodie will start heading for the locks and as you are enjoying your breakfast the first locks will be passed. The small and narrow locks at the "canal du nord" are an interesting experience if you pass them by boat.
This day the Elodie will pass 12 locks and a 3.5 mile tunnel to get to Peronne. Each lock will take the Elodie about 8 meters higher. At one of the locks you will cycle away from the river and head for Marquion. Along the way, you will see an artesian craft of garlic smoking in the town of Arleux. The only town in all of France that is famous for this product. Depending on the time of year, you will be able to see the craftsmen at work and have a taste of the many tasteful products that can be made of smoked garlic.
Day 9: Marquion - Valenciennes, 26 miles( 42 km)
From Marquion, you will start today's bike ride towards the town of Cambrai. A typical, loveley northern French town where you will stop to have lunch. Following lunch, the cycling route leads to the boat which will be waiting to bring you to the town of Valencienes. In the evening, there will be an opportunity for a guided walk around town if you would like.
Day 10: Valencienneds - Tournai, 21 miles (34 km)
In the morning the Elodie will bring you just a little bit further up the river so you can start your bike ride without the morning traffic. Along an old railroad track you will head for Wallers hill which is very famous in the Paris Roubaix cycle course. If you wish you can bypass this track quite easily. Along the route, you will pass the Belgium - France border and get into Walonie, a french speaking part of Belgium.
Tournai, where we will spend the night, is the oldest city in Belgium and considered to be one of the most important cultural sites in Belgium. The mixed Romanesque- and Gothic-style cathedral of Notre Dame de Tournai and the belfry, the oldest in Belgium, have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Day 11: Tournai - Oudenaarde, 29 miles (46 km)
The cycle path to Oudenaarde follows, for a large part, the towpaths that have been common in this tour. Today, you will enter the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. The difference in culture will be immediately noticeable. The Flemish not only speaks the Dutch language but has also adopted the Dutch culture.
Oudenaarde is the capital of the Flemish Ardennen. Centuries old, it is famous for its beer breweries and wall carpets. In the town of Oudenaarde, you will find a bicycle museum run by the two-time Tour de France winner, Freddy Mertens. In this museum, you can admire the efforts necessary to be a successful runner. If time allows, you will make a to visit Liefmansbrewery, one of the best beer breweries in the country.
Day 12: Oudenaaarde - Gent, 27 miles (43 km)
From Oudenaarde, you will continue downstream on the Schelde/Escaut to the north and with the exception of Gent and Oudenaarde, the river towpaths that you follow lead through farmland with the occasional nature preserve or harbor. The route is essentially flat the whole distance, with the occasional lock (there are six in all) having in most cases a rise of only about a meter. The route is mostly a well paved towpath, with short sections of street riding into Gent.
Gent, also called the pride of Belgium, displays a medley of intimate and grotesque architecture. This is a university town with a great atmosphere! There will be plenty of time to explore this interesting city.
Day 13: Ghent - Bruges
The cycle tour will come to an end in the beautiful city of Bruges. In the evening, there will be no dinner on board the Elodie so you can take your time without having to come back to the boat. There are countless restaurant in town to choose from to celebrate the last day of your cycling vacation.
Day 14: Bruges
The cycle tour has come to an end and you can now enjoy the wonderful city of Bruges. In the evening there will be no dinner on board the Elodie so you can take your time without having to come back to the boat and take a pick from one of the many nice restaurants in town.
Day 15: Departure
On some days, a shorter route is optional. This means that you possibly miss some of that day's highlights. All distances mentioned are approximate and are subject to change due to weather, road, or water situations or other circumstances that might occur during the tour and where not foreseen at the moment of offering this tour
Reverse itinerary for Bruges to Paris available upon request.
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges Boats + Barges
Elodie Netherlands, Belgium, France Comfort Plus Class Boat The Elodie was built in 1931 and has been completely refurnished into a luxury holiday ship. The ship has a saloon and sundeck and all of its cabins come with air-conditioning. The saloon of the Elodie is furnished in ship-style by using various types of wood in the finishing.
Feniks Belgium, Netherlands, France Standard Plus Class Boat
Fleur France Comfort Plus Class Boat The Fleur was first put into service in 2002. The owner, Jossie, had the beautifully-lined barge converted into a comfortable passenger ship, according to her own design. Her female touch is definitely recognizable by the tasteful interior and her sharp eye for detail. The whole barge radiates a homelike atmosphere.