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Country: France • REMOVE
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Tony Davies 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We did the bike barge trip from Bruges to Paris on the Zwantjie. We would absolutely recommend the trip. Our comments are:1. While the cabins are small, they are still adequate and good layout in the bathroom ( each cabin has it's own) . They are kept very clean. They all have AC as the porthole does not open.2. The rides was rated easy to moderate. It was MUCH harder than Bolzano to Venice so be prepared. I would say it should be rated moderate. The second week is easier than the first - perhaps due to improved fitness but also l think there are less hills.3. Meals were good and wholesome.4. Staff were incredibly obliging. Nothing was too much trouble. Thank you Martyn ( the Captain ), Michael ( mechanic ), Chris ( chef/cook ), Gosha ( amazingly efficient at serving meals/alcohol and cleaning the cabins ) and our great guides, Christain and Elia.5. Size of about 24 riders is excellent. For us, better than say 30-40 as on the Ava Maria. You get to know all the riders are we had a great group of people, Australians, Americans and Poms.6. When we stayed in Perrone we went to Villers Bretonneux. This is particularly relevant to Australians - whose troops saved the town from the Germans in WW1. A stunning memorial site -very moving. We also rode through a number of memorials to WW1 victims. Also quite moving.
Countries: Belgium, France
Loire Valley Bike and Boat by Jehiel 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Hi Jennifer!Thank you for sharing feedback for this tour. I'm sorry you found the cabins too small for your liking but we mention on the boat page that the "...ship is especially suited to motor the narrow French" and provide pictures of the cabins and dimensions. I am glad you had a great trip and enjoyed Stephan, Florence, and Jan. We hope to help you orgainize your next trip!
Boat: Anna Maria IV
Loire Valley Bike and Boat by Jennifer M. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We knew the barge was old, but weren't prepared for the very tiny, cramped cabin space which was definitely not the one advertised!Most of the bicycles were in fairly good condition, but my husband got one on which the chain kept coming off and had a fall because of that.The barge operators, Stephan and Florence, were lovely and worked very hard to provide a good experience, cooking traditional French meals each evening complete with dessert. The tour guide, Jan, did an excellent job keeping the cycling group on track and adjusting our days to accommodate the extreme temperatures during the hottest week of the summer!
Lorraine Tour by Susan W. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The boat was well maintained. Beds were comfy for bunks. Our cabin [#9] had huge bathroom. With the hot Aug temps, a fan would have been appreciated. Bring a small personal 4" or 6" USB fan if you can find the space in your luggage. A small soaking pool on the deck was a welcome relief from the heat.
Meals were basic, but tasty and filling. Els did a nice job of accommodating my dietary restrictions. Ample cooler filtered water was available on the boat - remember your water bottle. Lunches were packed in zip lock baggies. Bring your own insulated lunch bag / Tupperware to keep your lunch fresher.
GIANT bike were like new and well maintained. I was disappointed we could not use the bikes during the city stops that were part of the day trips or after dinner when we returned to the barge. Even though the bikes have locks, Sander and Els don't allow this to minimize theft risk. Besides my husband and I, all participants were in there mid-60s to mid-70s and didn't seem to mind.
Our guide, Weiger, did an outstanding job of leading our daily tour as well as guiding us through the cities we were docked in at night. He managed the multiple languages within our group with ease. The participants on our trip were German , Spanish , Austrailian  and American [2-us]. By the end of the week, our group had bonded even though our shared vocabulary was easily less than 50 words!
The countryside between Thionville and Wasserbillig was very beautiful and what I had envisioned - river and hills covered with vinyards. The other days were nice paved bike trail with the river on one side and trees on the other. I could have taken a picture and convinced friends that I was still in the US Midwest. I guess that is why there are so many French and Germans in Wisconsin and Iowa! I think I would have preferred more time off of the trail and in the countryside, but perhaps if we did do that, the car traffic would cause me to have a different opinion. Certainly the cities we stopped in were old and had a quaint European feel.
Boat: La Belle Fleur
Countries: France, Germany, Luxembourg
Auxerre to Paris and Paris to Auxerre by Jim E. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Another great bike and barge trip on the Elodie!
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by Mark G. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Overall a great trip and experience. The Mosel exceeded my expectations. Collaborative and friendly staff; very good chef, very good captain and crew. Host was efficient but not overly friendly. Bike tour guide was ok but not very organized.
Countries: France, Luxembourg, Germany
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Jehiel 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Hello Gloria,Sorry to hear the Elodie was too small in your opinion. France is known for it's narrow canals so as a result the ships have to be smaller in order to navigate the waterways. We provide information including dimensions and note "... storage space is limited in the cabins". You can find more information on the Elodie Boat Page.
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Gloria S. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Accommodations were too small. The rest of the journey made up for lack of space. No room to put our belongings.
Champagne Tour by Jeff K. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The boat staff was great. Food, service and cleanliness was excellent.
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Jim S. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
What stands out is the friendly competent crew - Coba, Marianne and Petra, the gourmet chef - Franco, the experienced knowledgeable guides - Piet and Wouter. Together they made the two week journey both comfortable and memorable.
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges (copy) (no longer available)by Jim S. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Champagne Tour by Paul L. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The Zwaantje barge crew were most excellent - great accommodations, food and customer service!! I would take another bike and barge trip with this group....it was an experience of a lifetime!
Champagne Tour by Fulton A. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Mega-kudos to the Zwaanje crew, headed by Martin. They're an extraordinary group.Our guide, Mintje, was good and well-intentioned, but she sometimes didn't grasp entirely the group's priorities. The route was fantastic -- scenery, length of rides, etc. The tours (champagne, brie, etc., were excellent, especially the family-owned company, Nowak. We learned things and had a lot of fun.We appreciated how Martin and Mintje responded to our requests for flexibility in developing distance options for less- and more-eager riders.Also, availability of electric bikes made it possible for spouses (of both sexes) to accompany on rides they usually wouldn't be able to do. We know electric bikes are controversial in some corners, but they made the trip possible for some of our group.One last thing ... TripSite's PDF summarizing the ride, proposing packing lists, giving directions and tips, was excellent. Congratulations.
Discover the Dordogne-old version (no longer available)by Jeff E. 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Fantastic trip! An amazing area of France to explore by bike. The views were amazing, lots of interesting history, great food and drinks. The tour was well organized and staff were friendly and helpful.Our only comment: it was rated as 'moderate', and ratings are averages and are relative of course, but there were sections of the route that were quite difficult, e.g. steep dirt/stone roads that we had to walk the bikes up (and we are in good condition and have done a lot of bike tripping before). Should probably note this in the description.
Lorraine Tour by C. Whytehead 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
A good combination of biking and seeing the sites along the way. Plenty of time in the cities (Nancy, Metz) to wander around. This trip was not about putting on the miles every day on the bike but a good balance of biking and site seeing. Easy biking along canal paths mostly. Our guide got turned around a couple of times getting out of the cities. Els and Sander were great hosts on the barge. Very friendly. Els cooked me a birthday dessert one day that we enjoyed with our group after a day of biking. It was very hot in July and the air movement in the rooms was limited. A small fan would have been very much appreciated. As it was we slept with our door open (as did the others) just to get more air circulation. The barge is in very good condition. The bikes were brand new this season. They are owned by Els and Sander and not leased through a secondary company so they were in good working order.
Around Paris by Michael 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This was our first bike/barge tour and we loved it. Riding through the French countryside was wonderful and it felt like we were in a Van Gogh painting. The boat was nice and the crew was great, with a welcoming attitude and GREAT meals! The bikes were perfect and I'm a bike snob. We made new friends from around the world. Do it, you won't regret it!
Boat: Clair de Lune
Champagne Tour by D. Power 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The staff on the Zwaantje made the trip!
Famous Villages of Provence by Y. Silverberg-Urian 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
At the start there was mix-up with our believing we were in Option A (written on receipt) but placed in Option B. Small issue but a surprise. Otherwise, maps worked fine once more used to the + or - aspect figured in to almost all mileage. We had a wonderful time!
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by D. Fish 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The trip was enjoyable. Only drawback was that follow along Moselle River, some of the scenery of the vineyards became boring after a while. On previous trips we traveled more inland, seeing sights and then meeting up with barge at next destination.
Bordeaux - Châteaux, Rivers & Wine by L.G. Germishuys 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Really impressed by the effort and kindness of the staff on the boat.
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by Jehiel 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Hi C. Morrison,Im sorry that you were disappointed with the last day of riding. I can assure you that your safety is one of our top priorities and we try our best to ensure routes are safe and easy to navigate. In spite of the rain, I hope your overall experience was positive!
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by C. Morrison 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Had a wonderful time. The staff was very accommodating in making modifications due to the previous heavy rains and high water. The last day bike tour of Metz was disappointing in that it is a very difficult city to navigate on bikes with a number of people.
Champagne Tour by D. Miller 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The ship, captain and crew were wonderful. Our guide was totally unacceptable!
My only complaint regarding the boat was due to the small cabins. The French locks are narrow, so the boat is narrow, making the rooms a bit to small for my comfort.
Our main concern was the unprepared tour group leader. She was constantly undecided on how to proceed. I think it was more trying to please the group than not knowing what to do. There should have been a route guide for each person (all we received was a large map with no route shown on it). She needed to be a leader rather than a friend!
Provence - Wilderness of Camargue by N. Foley 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
My travel advisor (Carla) is already aware that, although we registered as two vegans and sent a reminder a week or so before we left for Europe, the information had not been transferred to the chef. So we ate as vegetarians (eggs and dairy) for the trip rather than eschewing all animal products as is our preference.
Our trip leader was not experienced on the route, having only travelled it once before in the opposite direction, and this meant a few wrong turns to be corrected... But Ronnie was as pleasant, friendly, encouraging, and multilingual as you could ask for! The only problem I encountered with the bikes was the lack of suspension -- which meant for a bruised tail bone after the first day when we travelled a very bumpy, broken pavement back road on the return from Chateauneuf de Pape ;-)
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by Richard Oliver 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We sailed on the Iris, from Cochem to Metz, 18-25 June. It was a most delightful and joyful experience. Even with initial high water from unseasonal flooding and occasional detour from the bike paths, it was an incredibly memorable experience -- the crew, the tour guides, the food were all top notch, and the camaraderie among the other bikers was phenomenal. Special thanks to our two bike leaders and guides, Roelie and Wouter, who were fantastic in making the rides safe and mostly easy, and with an in-depth knowledge of historical sites. A special treat was having the ship's owner on board, Lenny was very engaging and most pleasant. Aline, the chef, served delicious meals, especially the final banquet was a true feast! Again, our thanks to Lenny and the entire Iris crew.
Bordeaux - Châteaux, Rivers & Wine by C. Machado 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Try and offer more non-meat entrees for dinner. Too much meat. Also, try and incorporate rail trails( voies ferrees) when possible. They provide relaxed cycling without worrying about constant traffic.Very friendly staff and good display of professionalism. Bikes were easy to ride! And, it was hard to have to drink only what the boat offered. Can we have more choice, especially in wine country like Bordeaux? Thanks for everything.
Lorraine Tour by S. Midha 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Beautiful way to travel from Luxembourg to France. Bike quality was very Good. Our Bike Guide Arie was very knowledgeable. Every evening we had Four course Gourmet Dinner. Sander and Els were the best Host and Owner of the Barge.
Champagne Tour by M. Dumestre 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I highly recommend the Swaantje barge. The captain is both technically experienced and oriented toward customer satisfaction. The staff was very attentive to passenger needs.The bike guide was competent, but needed a bit more familiarity with the routes.
Champagne Tour by C. Robinson 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Rooms really small; Guide was lost a lot; Staffers not very good with knowledge of E bikes;But food was great..staff was kind..trip was pretty.
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Jen Herold 3 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We had a fantastic trip on the Fleur, It was well above our expectations. The crew were fun and helpful in every way. ( food was excellent )Bikes were easy to ride, i would take a gel seat cover for extra comfort. Cabins were bigger than expected and the bathrooms clean with a instant hot water.Our guide was informative, she took us into places that you would not normally enter.We had a fun team of riders, thanks guys from the Smurfs xxx
Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064