Maastricht to Paris
Netherlands, Belgium, France Bike + Barge Tours
Bike and boat through Holland, Belgium, and France
This bike and boat tour in Holland, Belgium, and France is epic in every sense of the word. You will discover the gorgeous old landscapes and the most beautiful rivers and canals of all three countries. Along the route are delightful cycling opportunities. From Maastricht, to Liege, to Namur, through the coal basins of Charleroi and on to Strepy, where the ship will be lifted by a special lift 80 meters into the air and then across to the other side, the duration of this tour allows each highlight to be truly relished. Slow down and savor!
- Historical cities such as Maastricht, Liege, Huy, Namur, etc
- Flanders Fields
- Chateau the Chantilly
- WW I museum at Peronne
- Chateau Versailles
- Belgian beer!
Be sure to check out our full list of Bike and Barge tours in France.
Electric bicycle: $ 538 £ 270 $ 466 € 300 $ 557 kr 3343 $ 334 Basic laundry service, payable on board: $ 18 £ 9 $ 16 € 10 $ 19 kr 111 $ 11 Mandatory bike protection: $ 27 £ 14 $ 23 € 15 $ 28 kr 167 $ 17 Special dietary restrictions and requests (no vegan), payable on board, per day: $ 9 £ 5 $ 8 € 5 $ 9 kr 56 $ 6
Within reasonable limits the chef can prepare special meals except for vegan diets. Please make a note on the reservation form if you require a diet meal. We can not take any responsibility for diets that could cause serious health problems.
Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
A non-refundable admin fee of 20 Euros per person is included in the deposit amount.
† Currency exchange rate set 90 days before travel.
Fly to Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle
From the airport in Amsterdam, you can take a train to Maastricht. Travel time is under 3 hours and you will have one or two transfers depending on time of departure. The train station is located on the lower level of the airport.
Please check local conditions before arrival. This tour leads from north to south through three countries and you know what they say about springtime in Paris. The streets come alive and the sun seekers dot the river bank. We advise that you be prepared for seasons since this epic tour is 18 days from mid may into June! Plan on layers and don’t forget your rain gear. In Maastricht in May, the average high temperature in degrees Fahrenheit is 62° and average low is 47° contrasted with average/high low temperatures in Paris in June, 73°/59°.
Only two electric bikes per departure are available.
Overall, the tour is rated easy to moderate. The route is varied, from flat to rolling hills. Cycling experience and good physical condition is required with cycling experience on roads with traffic and with the distances mentioned in the tour. Average speed will be 8 - 9 miles p/h. It is at times possible to shorten your program when part of the distance can be covered on board. As well, it is possible to add miles. You will cycle (small) country roads, towpaths, paved forest trails, and occasionally a cobblestone road. In Belgium, you will cycle through the Ardennes, a beautiful green and slightly hilly countryside in the Eastern part of Belgium. Towards Paris the terrain will get more hilly and there can be more traffic.
Where You’ll Stay
On board the Premium class boat, the Elodie
- 17 nights accommodation on board
- Breakfast, packed lunches, and 16 dinners
- Coffee and tea
- Daily room cleaning
- Hybrid touring bike with panniers and lock
- Ferry fares en route
- Harbor dues and tourist tax
- Tour guide
What’s Not Included
Day 1: Maastricht, 9 mi. (14 km)
Day 2: Maastricht - Liege, 20 mi. (32 km)
Day 3: Liege -Huy - Namur, 22 mi. (35 km)
Day 4: Namur - Charleroi, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 5: Charleroi - Strepy, 32 mi. (51 km)
Day 6: Strepy - Mons, 18 mi. (29 km)
Day 7: Mons - Tournai, 34 mi. (54 km)
Day 8: Tournai - Arleux, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 9: Arleux - Peronne, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 10: Peronne
Day 11: Peronne - Pont l'eveque, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 12: Pont l'eveque - Compiegne, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 13: Compiegne - Creil, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 14: Creil - Auvers su l'oise, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 15: Auvers sur l'oise - Bougival, 26 mi. (42 km)
Day 16: Bougival - Versailles - Paris, 24 mi. (38 km)
Day 17: Paris
Day 18: 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: Maastricht, 9 miles
Arrival on board the Elodie in Maastricht where the crew will welcome you. After the introduction to the crew and all the necessary information has been provided you will take a short bike ride to get comfortable with your bike and make the necessary adjustments.
Day 2: Maastricht - Liege, 20 miles
Today you will pass the Belgium/Dutch border on your way to your first stop at Fort Eben-Emael. This fort was built around 1932 as a part of 17 underground connected bunkers for the defense of Liege. About 200 feet from the fort there is a sculpture garden with modern art for those of you who are interested. After Eben Emael you will visit the locks of Lanayen. An impressive complex that overcomes 36 feet and forms the start of the Albert Canal and the continuation of the river Maas through Belgium. Leaving Lanayen, you continue your way to Liege where the Elodie lies moored. After dinner, you will explore this historical city and visit the famous Café Chantant Les Jardin des Ollivette.
Day 3: Liege -Huy - Namur, 22 miles
You will start the day early in the morning with a river cruise that will bring you to the locks of Ampsin. This is the starting point of the bike route to Namur Along this tour you can enjoy the numerous beautiful views of country side and various little towns along the river. One of these towns is Huy where there will be time to visit the Cathedral and Citadel. The tour will end in the city of Namur, an enchanting city center with an impressive Citadel overlooking the city. After dinner you can visit the Citadel to enjoy a wonderful view over the city where the Rivers Maas and Sambre meet and discover the small streets with many terraces of Namur.
Day 4: Namur - Charleroi, 31 miles
The route leads away from the river banks of the Maas and follows the river Sambre. Today's bike tour highlights Pont de Loup and Charleroi. Your first stop will be the Famous Abby and Brewery Floreffe, a beautiful Abby that produces a beautiful beer and interesting artisanal products. In the landscape that you pass today you'll see the vestiges of the once-booming mining and steel industry for which the region was famous for centuries.
Day 5: Charleroi - Strepy, 32 miles
Today you will visit four of UNESCOs protected ship elevators that were built in 1888, impressive structures of craftmanship and engineering that are still in working order. After this visit you will meet the modern equivalent of the old elevators where the Elodie will be waiting for you. A gigantic elevator that overcomes the 200 feet altitude difference in one single descent that use to take four elevators. You can enjoy the panoramic view from this interesting place and visit the tremendous engine room of the elevator and museum.
Day 6: Strepy - Mons, 18 miles
From the ships elevator to Mons it is a short distance. The only challenge is to avoid the traffic because there are is no “easy way” to get into Mons without biking some extra miles. Of course you can join the Elodie for a short boat ride. to avoid contact with traffic. Mons has an old historical town center with a beautiful town hall, belfry, and Cathedral. You will have plenty of time to spend here. There are lovely shops and nice terraces to enjoy a coffee.
Day 7: Mons - Tournai, 34 miles
Following canals and passing through old villages, the route leads to Antoing. Antoing is an old skippers village on the banks of the Upper Schelde river. With its characteristic castle that can be seen from far, it is the center of the old Chalk industry. Right along the river as you cycle to Tournai you can see the old ovens that look like fortresses and were used to make chalk and cement. A visit is on the agenda. Tournai is the oldest city in Belgium with a lot of history. After dinner, enjoy an evening walk through the center of Tournai.
Day 8: Tournai - Arleux, 26 miles
Straight through the national park, you bike towards Denaing. The park was created in an old coal mine area. Cycling through this park it is hard to realize that after WWI this was a black and desolated country with not one tree left. You pass the famous cycle race tracks of Paris, Roubaix and the notorious Wallers – Arenberg trench. This tour is called “the hell of the north” because of the extremely bad conditions of the road the race was held on. You cycle just a bit on the route of this famous race, but you will not follow the paths that gave the name to this tour. A little bit further down the river at Arleux, the Elodie will be waiting.
Day 9: Arleux - Peronne, 25 miles
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 a special experience. Today the boat will pass 12 locks and a 3.5 mile tunnel to get to Peronne. Each lock will take the Elodie about 11 meters higher. At one of the locks, you will cycle away from the river and head for Peronne the town where you will spend an entire day.
Day 10: Peronne
Today is the perfect day to make you own plan as the Elodie will stay moored at the town of Peronne. Peronne has a lovely town center, a big park, and a very interesting museum. Situated in a 21th century castle you will find the museum of the Great War right in the middle of town. Together with cities like Albert en Bapaume , Peronne formed the triangle in which the battle of the Somme took place. Peronne and its museum have therefore 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 board so there is no need to go back to the Elodie. So plan on staying a little bit longer in town and enjoy a French meal in one of the local restaurants.
Day 11: Peronne - Pont l'eveque, 31 miles
Today you will enjoy the route along the canal du Nord and the countryside towards Noyon, the French capital of the red fruit. You will follow the valley and the towpaths as the country around you gets more hilly. Noyon is also been the birthplace of Calvijn, a clergyman that has been of great influence particularly in Holland. Picardie was the cradle for Gothic art and architecture. In Noyon you can find a beautiful example of this period in the form of a Gothic Cathedral that can be admired and visited.
Day 12: Pont l'eveque - Compiegne, 25 miles
Through the forest of Dom Dourscam and dom de Laigue, you will continue through a more hilly terrain. First stop is the railway carriage where the first world war was ended and Nazi Germany forced France into an armistice treaty during the second world war. The Armistice site was demolished by the Germans on Hitler's orders and the carriage was taken to Berlin and destroyed by SS troops. A replica of the carriage can be seen together with the restored site. From here it is not very far to the second and final goal for this day, the interesting town of Compiegne. This town is famous for its horse races and its castle, a preferred summer residence for French monarchs, built for Louis XV, and restored by Napoleon.
Day 13: Compiegne - Creil, 26 miles
Through the park regions Pays de France, you continue onto Creil. 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. This way you will not be clearly entering a park in the traditional way but more so a green inhabited region that is particularly beautiful and pleasant to pass through. Thus forests, hills small towns and rivers will accompany your trip this day.
Day 14: Creil - Auvers su l'oise, 26 miles
“A hilly day” lies ahead of you but the reward will be great. Chateau de Chantilly is one of the most beautiful castles that you will visit. The castle as well as its surrounding terrains are very scenic and sometimes even breath taking. You will spend some time here so you will be able to admire the Castle from the inside and possibly visit the museum de Conde. You will spend the night in Auvers-sur-l’Oise. Throughout the 19th century a number of painters lived and worked in Auvers-sur-Oise, including Paul Cézanne, Charles-François Daubigny, Camille Pissarro, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and of course, Vincent van Gogh. Vincent made a number of his famous paintings here and spent the last days of his life in this town. After his death he was buried in the local graveyard that can be visited.
Day 15: Auvers sur l'oise - Bougival, 26 miles
Today you will ride through the banlieux of Paris. Unexpectedly close to Paris you will find a “green” path that will lead to the next stop in Bougival. Along the way, you will pass St Germain en Laye, the birthplace of the famous composer, Debussy. A glimpse of the great city that lies ahead of you can be seen from a terrace near the chateaux de St Germain en Laye (the national museum of archeology) A nice panoramic view over Paris with its remarkable Eiffel tower before you get back to the river and the little town of Bougival.
Day 16: Bougival - Versailles - Paris
On your last cycling day, before you reach the center of Paris, you will stop at Versailles. You will cycle uphill to one of the biggest palaces in the world. This unbelievable Palace, once inhabited by French kings, is now a museum. Although it can be very busy, you may be able to spend enough time here to visit the palace. If you do not want to go inside you can visit the magnificent garden and admire the palace from there. After Versailles, the route descends to the river Seine to embark on the Elodie for a boat tour through the center of Paris an absolute highlight of the tour.
Day 17: Paris
Today is a free day in Paris!
Day 18: Paris
End of tour. Departure
Maastricht to Paris Boats + Barges
Elodie Netherlands, Belgium, France Premium Class Boat The Elodie was built in 1931 and has been completely refurbished 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.