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Country: France • REMOVE
Provence - Van Gogh by Alan Bartlett 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We found the map directions confusing at times--i.e. Cross bridge and 3 streets and turn right. Sounds easy enough, but actually it meant 2 major streets and a round about. We usually solved this by using Google maps. But it added stressful tens of minutes to resolve. It pretty much meant that we slightly dreaded arriving at even a little village, due to the almost guaranteed confusion. Having the route available as a google map path would have been much much much better.It's the service we pay for, not the specific route. It also made it feel like the route had not been retested for a while. Getting a bit lost wasn't all that bad, and we found some nice paths near Arles. The bikes were state of the art and high quality. None of our group liked the automatic transmission on the Bosch drive. It would frequently incorrectly shift in the middle of a climb and caused a bit of needless suffering. All in all it was a fun time. We couldn't have achieved the ride without the e-bikes.
Mainz to Basel (no longer available)by Gregory Akin 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The Rhine from Mainz to Basel, for the most part, is industrial and not as picturesque as other European bike and barge routes we've enjoyed. There were a few cities (Heidelberg, Germany and Strausbourg, France) which were beautiful and offered much to do, but we were expecting the scenic bike routes with quaint towns for cake and coffee, or beer stops along the way and were sorely disappointed. But the most disappointing aspect of this trip was the inability of the on-board guide to give proper instructions nor enlighten us of things to see or visit. We found out about popular sites from all channels except the guides. In Strausbourg, while chatting with tourists, we heard of an amazing evening light show projected onto an enormous cathedral - huge crowds gathered to enjoy this historic presentation, yet nothing was mentioned of it by our guide. We have needed so little guidance to enjoy our bike and barge trips, but this one missed the mark. Based on previous trips that we've done, we'd convinced 2 other couples to join us and they were underwhelmed and disappointed as well. The barge and accommodations were adequate, though rooms were random sizes no matter which deck you choose. One couple paid extra for the upper deck, but their room was much smaller than another couple's on the lower level. The staff and meals on this barge were top notch and we can't say enough about the gourmet chef and tireless staff.
Boat: MS Andante
Countries: Germany, Switzerland, France
Provence - Wilderness of Camargue by Francis Duckworth 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Not my favorite part of France. 6th bike tour there and the least scenic and inviting.
Mainz to Basel (no longer available)by Paula Birch 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I really enjoyed the bike/boat tour on the Rhine. Accommodations on the boat were very good and the meals were excellent. On our arrival we found that our boat was not at the dock as listed but had changed locations and was on the other side of the river. This created a longer taxi drive thus a much bigger fare (54 euros instead of 21 euros) for the 3 of us in each taxi. We had a briefing each morning by our tour guide and on almost every day, the directions were not detailed enough. One of the people we biked with had a GPS and with that and along with discussions among all of us, we managed to find our way back. I really feel this was a big gap and should be rectified before another tour. However it was a wonderful experience and we met many lovely and interesting people. I would love to do a different bike/boat tour at some time in the future.
Famous Villages of Provence by Edward Nyland 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
First of all, let me be clear that we were very satisfied with the Tour. All in all, we would rate it a 9 out of 10. These are the reasons we couldn’t give it a perfect 10.1. Here is the quote from the tour operator after we asked for the directions in advance: “Tell to clients that they don’t worry, the welcome meeting will be on Saturday p.m. and they will have all the time to study the route before they leave, the day after in the morning.” We did have the welcome meeting but it was a bit rushed and we really didn’t have time to ask questions. We were warned not to be late and arrived on time. They indicated that there was not enough time that evening.2. We did not get our bikes at the welcome meeting. One Ebike had not yet returned on Saturday afternoon. We were told to return in the morning but not before 9:30 AM. When we arrived, we felt rushed and really didn’t have time to test the bikes. Mine (Ed) was a bit wobbly but I was told that there was nothing wrong. I did get used to it as we went along but my complaint was valid, further verified when I returned home to my own steady bike.3. All of the bikes had problems with how they shifted and how they meshed with the electric function. Maybe it was our lack of familiarity with the Ebike but we really didn’t have time Sunday morning to ask questions.4. We never got an explanation on how to engage all of the 27 gears, only could use nine. We were told that they shifted automatically and “don’t worry about it”. The automatic shift stopped working on two bikes after the second day.5. The directions were very confusing and hard to follow. Last year we had the “E’s” to follow but this year nothing but the somewhat confusing directions.
Around Paris by Lynne 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This Paris Tour exceeded our high expectations. Highlights included a madcap ride through Paris stopping at Notre Dame and the Eiffel tower and visiting Auvers with the Van Gogh sights. Professional multilingual staff, experienced tour guide and wonderful accommodating cook made us welcome. We quickly became friends with the other 14 riders who were all fun adventurous travelers. The bikes were sturdy and well designed for the changing terrain of cobblestones, gravel. dirt pack through forests, city streets and local roads. Bring layers of lightweight clothes for changing weather and bike shorts or liners for riding comfort. The ride could be challenging for inexperienced riders so it is helpful to do training of rides to 15-20 miles in preparation.Cabins are small in this canal boat but adequate especially at this price point. We loved it and look forward to our next bike barge tour.
Boat: Clair de Lune
Around Paris by Dave Reinarz 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I give this tour the highest possible recommendation! I have never been to Europe, and this was the best way to get introduced. Of course, Paris was fabulous! I enjoyed even more the time cycling in the countryside along the rivers and through the small towns. The crew on the boat was outstanding, professionally competent in their duties as well as friendly and intent on taking care of our every need. The cycling was relatively easy for the people who cycle regularly, but not too hard for novices. We rode on a wide variety of surfaces from pavement to gravel to dirt. The terrain was mostly flat. The bikes we rode were sturdy Dutch hybrids which were perfect for the task. Beautiful scenery, exercise, great food, many new friends! All this for a very low cost. Don't miss this tour!
Kevin Purdy: Mosel River Bike Tour Through Time by Audrey 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Ok, you've convinced me to add this trip to my wish list!
Countries: France, Germany
Kevin Purdy: Mosel River Bike Tour Through Time by Keith Bimson 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Great article, Kevin. I can't figure out which would draw me there more: the scenery or the food. Okay, I admit, it's actually the bier.
Provence - Wilderness of Camargue by Andrew Burt 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Food was substandard...cabins stink and are excessively damp and basically the trip plan was an underwhelming experience. WE stayed on the boat for the first night and then as I recall stayed again the second night. We could have stayed at 5 star hotel in town and enjoyed a great meal instead of a barge in need of many repairs.
Photo Friday: Maureen Lin by Debbi 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I just got back from one of the best vacations I have ever had....I biked and sailed the islands of Croatia on board the Odesij. Simply great. We biked about 200 miles over six days...and sailed from island to island. Our host Bernard was great and the other guests on board made the trip fantastic!! WONDERFUL!!!
Countries: Switzerland, France
Photo Friday: Maureen Lin by Barbara 4 years ago • Permalink/Reply
I'm feeling a strong wander bicycle, travelust after seeing these pictures. Thank you
Loire Valley Bike and Boat - 2019 by Lorraine 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We did this trip in Sept. 2014. Great biking, but barge has seen better days.
Boat: Anna Maria IV
Provence - Wilderness of Camargue by Laurie Hurowitz 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We have just returned from this bike and barge, our 2nd trip arranged by Tripsite. We were on the E'Stello (sister ship of the Soleo), and went from Aigue Mort to Avignon. We had a wonderful time! The trip was as described in terms of mileage, terrain, and sights along the way. The barge crew were all excellent, as was our guide. We were a group of 20, including Americans, Canadians, and Brits. I highly recommend this tour.
Famous Villages of Provence by Neil and Reute 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This was our first biking trip so I can't make comprisons. All I can say is "absolutely fantastic". The detail and accuracy of the maps and directions is impressive. The scenery magnificent. The hotels and restaurants well chosen. There were a few hills on the way but the itinerary allows plenty of time to get from place to place. Having a couple of nights in each hotel is a benifit. Definitely recommended.
Discover the Dordogne-old version (no longer available)by Jim and Dianne 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Chateau and countryside were beautiful. All accommodation and meals were very nice. We loved the Bergerac wines and came to like the regional specialty of goose foie gras.
Breisgau & Alsace Wine Road by Kevin Wolley 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This is a beautiful part of the world to see, and doing it via bike is excellent. We wanted to do it on a tandem, which the tour operator did not offer, so we rented one from a bike shop in Freiburg, and that worked out fine. The hotels were good, and so were the breakfast buffets that they offered. The distances cycled each day were good, which is to say short enough to allow stopping along the way as suited us, and arriving at the hotel in the evening with some time left to look around. We found part of our prescribed route to be flooded by the Rhine, so we had to divert to the roads through nearby German villages. This turned out to be fine, as a few miles on the Rhine levee is enough--after that, it gets a bit monotonous. The flower bedecked villages of Alsace are sensational. We ate wonderful French cuisine, and came home with a trove of beautiful pictures from this trip! On the negative side, the tour maps need to be improved. They are not detailed enough, far too often making it hard to know where the turn points of the route are. North is not always at the top on the maps, and there are no markings to indicate where north lies. The print is miniscule, so street names are almost impossible to read. The written directions accompanying the maps need improvement, too, due to occasional lapses of detail. The tour operator could solve these problems by offering handlebar mounted moving-map GPS rental. I believe people would be willing to pay for this additional aid. Overall, we are satisfied with this tour, and hope Pack and Pedal/Tripsite will work at refining their guidance to make it even better for those who take it later.
Provence - Wilderness of Camargue by J. Geraerdts 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
At first we were hesitant to book another bike and barge trip-- how could it ever compare with the 2012 tour on the Ave Maria, with Hein as guide, which set the bar so high?
The Provence trip did look very interesting and, after fretting about the significant uphills, we did go ahead and book, adding the ebike option.
We were able to board the Soleo as, apparently there was a cancellation. We had asked you to request a transfer from the other boat-- thanks.
The trip was excellent! The crew was very capable and accommodating. Our guide, Martina, especially helped make the trip memorable. She maintained her sense of humor throughout. Any setbacks were met only with a "mama mia" and difficulties, either overcome or anticipated, were "a piece of cake".
The cycling was, as compared to the Venice trip, both more challenging and more interesting. The weather did not always cooperate but there was no complaining . We think we have come to realize that those who book into this type of travel are a little more adventurous and require less pampering than the typical big boat cruise passengers.
We are in our 70's and were probably the oldest couple on the barge but we had no more difficulties than anyone else. Our Tripsite shirts made us look to be very veteran riders. Everything, in the final analysis, was "a piece of cake".
Suggestions: The museum at Pont du Gard is very worthwhile. Giro Libero should consider making a little more time available for this and to stress its value. Likewise, we enjoyed the Lumieres at Les Baux. Many in the group did not have much awareness of this very interesting and innovative show. It would be helpful to promote this attraction.
Lorraine Tour by George F. 5 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We had a wonderful time on the Lorraine tour last year starting from Toul. One of the fellow passengers arrived late and in a state because she had difficulty finding the barge -- taxis and the police did not know where to direct her. A great landmark to cite is the Grands Moulins Aubry. It is a prominent building readily seen from the highway, and the barge moors in the canal just adjacent to the one by the moulin. We ourselves walked around for a day before finding the spot. Your Google map is spot on -- we found it right away after consulting it -- but internet access was not readily available. All of this to say: Your clients would find the spot without difficulty if you were to direct them to "the canal right beside the one at Grands Moulins Aubry" in your travel instructions. I hope you find this note helpful. Looking forward to our next trip with you.
Boat: La Belle Fleur
Countries: France, Germany, Luxembourg
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Raylee Flick 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We had an absolutely fabulous time in September this year on this trip. Cycling was fantastic-Francien an excellent guide, Inma a wonderful gourmet cook. The crew was always helpful and cheerful. The group of fellow cyclists were great fun - lots of laughs. Thank you, we will be back!!
Countries: Belgium, France
Burgundy - Paris to Auxerre by April 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
This was my third bike/barge trip and the best yet. I loved being on the Feniks. It's a very comfortable barge. The captain was very attentive to all our needs and I appreciated his ability to work around some of the problems re two of the canal locks being shut down for repairs. The guide was good also and made sure some of us slower people were not left behind. It was a great group of people and I thoroughly enjoyed the biking and the wonderful French countryside.
Breisgau & Alsace Wine Road by Monica Neish 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
The routes and towns for this trip were perfectly selected. The hotels were charming and the staff was friendly and accommodating. The bikes were high quality and in nearly new condition. We found the written route instructions, written in English, were very thorough and detailed for each day of riding.. Yes, we did manage to get ourselves a little lost on a few occasions but in retrospect the fault was always ours for not following the instructions carefully. Because of the detailed road maps included it was always easy to get ourselves back on track. The suitcase transfer was flawless- we never felt rushed to get our bags ready in the morning and they were always waiting for us at our next hotel. Our group ranged from mid 50's to mid teens and all of us were equally captivated by the scenery and region's history. This was a great trip and we look forward to taking another vacation with Tripsite.
Provence à la Van Gogh by Lynn & Hans de Jongh 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Just back from a wonderful bike and boat trip through the Provence. We, along with 18 of our friends from B.C., Canada, had booked the boat for ourselves and we can't say enough good things about the time and adventure we had. The staff - Lizzie, Amin(?) and Rose were perfect hosts, captain and chef. Our meals were wonderful and our guidance from Lizzie supreme. Thank you for giving us a trip to remember.
Provence à la Van Gogh by Kevin St. George 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
For the most part we really enjoyed the trip! We felt the boat staff (Lizzie, Rose and Amine) worked very hard in sometimes difficult circumstances to provide us with a great experience. Lizzie in particular was super-friendly and attentive to our needs.
Please feel free to call me 604-340-2580 to discuss the parts of tour that could be improved upon (boat mechanical condition with ongoing power failures; sub-standard bikes; quality and variation of the menu and food overall; and tour expertise.
Bruges to Paris or Paris to Bruges by Jim Elkan 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Our Kansas City biking group just got back from our annual European bike ride..This year it was a Bike and Barge trip: Paris to Bruges..It was a great trip..The Elodie was as pleasant as advertised, the food, prepared by Chef Sander, was excellent..Our guide, Ono was very good and patient with us..Michael, our Captain, couldn't have been better..
The countryside was beautiful..It was a memorable trip and we'll see you again next year..
Jim and Janet Elkan
Castles of the Loire by Tim Stoepker 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Great trip. We loved the country-side, the villages, the vineyards, small country roads with no cars, easy to read maps, the wonderful restaurants and chateau. We had no problem without having a guide and the people in the towns and staff at the hotels were very friendly and always willing to help. This was our second Trip-Site bike trip and it was great. Thanks.
Heart of Alsace (no longer available)by Susan Prest 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We would rank our bicycle trip to Alsace/Lorraine based at the Hotel a la Ferme in Osthouse, France with 4 stars out of 5 stars.
The accommodations and staff rate a 5 star ranking. The rooms were immaculate, spacious, and well-appointed with every modern convenience. Meals are elegantly prepared, rich with sauces, and skillfully served. Dinners were wonderful but one choice, whatever was being served that night. No low calorie alternatives were offered.
Osthouse is a delightful beautifully restored rustic village, complete with working farms, an ancient chateau, and a beautiful 16th century church with a bell tower. The villagers were friendly. There were no stores or other restaurants in the village. We felt safe waking the streets at any hour.
Only local French language TV, sporadic Internet and cell phone connections, no local entertainment. The only place to go in town are the hotel and their very elegant/fine restaurant 2 blocks away. If you are looking for a place to relax, get away from it all, and disconnect, this is the place. You will do it in style.
You will need to bring your own metric bicycle tools, and a slim-valve (Presta) hand tire pump. There were eight 10-speed bicycles available to choose from. Ample saddle bags and adequate lunches were provided. Be patient with the English translation Route Instructions as they can be confusing at times. The actual bicycle routes had us sharing roads with cars as well as beautiful bicycle paths along many of the rivers and canals.
For your own peace of mind, if you are relying on the hotel transportation back to the train station in Erstein, be sure to allow at least 20 minutes beyond the agreed upon pick-up time.
Susan and Allen
Trizay by Allen & Susan Evaniew 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Hennie recommeded this Tour to us in 2011 and we have gone in both 2011 & 2012. Unfortunately, we are unable to go in 2013. We went back the 2nd year because of the Hotel. The Family that owns and runs the Hotel is excellent and the service and dining is outstanding. We will definitely go back.
Al & Sue
Heart of Alsace (no longer available)by chris kopet 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
We absolutely loved Alsace, Osthouse, Hotel la Ferme and the bike rides. The villages, canals, tree-lined tow paths and the people..plus the wonderful stay at Hotel la Ferme. We did not want it to end.
Metz to Cochem or Cochem to Metz by Steve Moorhouse 6 years ago • Permalink/Reply
Absolutely loved the trip on board the Merlijn. Wonderful staff and amenities on board, met a great like minded group of travelling companions. As a coeliac, the crew were very attentive and ensured all my dietary needs were met. Nothing was too much trouble.
As for the cycling and the scenery....what can I say? It was magic cycling along quiet bikeways through the vineyards and small villages, at all times in sight of the wonderful Moselle River.
Last but not least...the wine selection and quality on board the Merlijn was the best (and very well priced).
Already thinking about our next bike and barge tour...with the great help from Tripsite (of course).
Countries: France, Luxembourg, Germany
Email or Call 800-951-4384 +1 570-965-2064