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Biking Vacation Heart of France Bike & Barge: Paris - Montargis​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 10 – 38 mi  |  Daily Biking: 1 1/2 – 5 hr
Air package plus
11 days from only
$4245
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
8 days from only
$3045
Pre-trip Extension:
Paris · 2 nights $395

Post-trip Extension:
Paris · 2 nights $395
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly to Paris

Depart the U.S. for France. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.  

Day 2 - Arrive in Paris

Upon arrival at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area – VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Please note: Make sure that your VBT luggage tags are attached to your bags. This helps the representative identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative or driver, who will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will welcome you to France and arrange for your transfer via taxi or van (approximately 60 minutes depending upon traffic) to your Paris hotel. If you are delayed in meeting your VBT representative at the CDG Airport, please call 06 72 07 59 24 or 06 15 15 15 25 from within France. Outside of France, call +33 672 07 59 24 or +33 615 15 15 25.

Please note that the hotel check in time is 3:00 pm but hotel staff will do their best to get you to your rooms as soon as possible. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Paris. Use the rest of the day to relax or to begin exploring Paris.

Day 3 - Embark barge / Warm-up walk

VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for meeting our barge, the Fleur, between 1:45 and 2:15 pm. Please note that you cannot arrive earlier as the barge is being prepared for your arrival. If you are late, you must contact the barge as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements. The barge will be moored at Port de l'Arsenal, Boulevard de la Bastille, Paris. Contact telephone number is ++0031 622 738 010. Please refer to the information listed in the tour handbook.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, make sure your luggage is packed and ready to be transported to the barge. At 1:30 pm we shuttle to the barge, arriving at around 1:50 pm. At the docks, meet the barge crew and your VBT Trip Leaders, who will welcome you aboard with refreshments. After visiting your cabins and attending a safety briefing, enjoy a warm-up walk, along the banks of the River Seine. This evening, gather onboard with the group for a welcome dinner.

Day 4 - Cruise to the lock of Evry / Cycle to Melun

Breakfast is served during our cruise along the Seine. Our Trip Leaders teach us useful French phrases during a brief language class before we arrive at the lock of Evry, where our ride begins.

We cycle mainly along the banks of the Seine, passing some lovely residential villas, until we reach Melun. Built on the crossroads of transport routes from Roman times, the town grew up around a bend in the River Seine. Here you will have free time to wander the narrows streets and shop and enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Day 5 - Cycle to Barbizon, Château of Fontainebleau and Moret-Sur-Loing

This morning, we cycle along the banks of the River Seine. Our first destination is the “painter's village” of Barbizon. During the mid-18th century Corot, Rousseau and Diaz de la Pena passed through here and it became the setting for an artistic revolution which was to change the course of modern painting. Even today many artists live in the area, mesmerized by the countryside. We visit the local museum of the Barbizon school and see where famous landscape artists painted their works.

We continue cycling through the wonderful forest of Fontainebleau. Keep your eyes open for the pretty little red squirrels. Stop at the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Château of Fontainebleau. With origins dating to the 12th century, it has welcomed France's most important dignitaries, many of them lured here by the extensive possibilities to hunt in the surrounding forests. Each century witnessed additions and improvements to the château and the grounds, resulting in today's vast complex centered on a series of stately courtyards. There'll be time to explore the château and gardens and to buy lunch before continuing our ride.

We meet our barge in the charming medieval fortified town of Moret-Sur-Loing, strategically situated on the banks of the Loing. Here the painter Sisley found inspiration for his beautiful Impressionist paintings. Our barge moors here overnight. Enjoy dinner onboard. You might take a walk this evening on the “Sisley in Moret” trail. 

Day 6 - Cycle Moret-Sur-Loing to Nemours

Today we leave the River Seine behind as our ride sets off along the River Loing. After passing through the small village of Episy we continue into the beautiful Grez-sur-Loing. This lovely locale inspired many artists and was one of the main centers of Impressionism. It still attracts artists from all over the world.

After free time for lunch we continue through the peaceful forest of Fontainebleau to the small settlement of Larchant. The village retains its medieval character; its undeniable centerpiece is the spectacular gothic-style Saint Mathurin basilica, boasting a tower that soars over 150 feet. 

Continue cycling through peaceful farmland to meet our barge in the charming medieval town of Nemours, located on the River Loing and its canal. After dinner onboard this evening, you may wish to walk into town and explore its historic center and canal system.

Day 7 - Cycle Nemours to Neronville with a guided walking tour of Château Landon

This morning we cruise out of Nemours until we reach a lock on the outskirts of town. Here we start cycling through open agricultural lands to the small town of Egreville before continuing to the medieval town of Château Landon. Perched on a rocky spur, its ramparts and towers recall the Middle Ages. Here we visit the home of local artist Pascal Bost, who lives in the old Mint House. Enjoy a picnic lunch in his garden before learning about his artwork. Afterwards join VBT friend Gillian Mundy on a guided walk around the town, during which she will bring history to life.

Continue our short ride to meet the barge in the rural locale of Neronville.

Dinner will be served onboard this evening.

Day 8 - Neronville to Montargis

After breakfast, we cycle from Neronville through the lovely countryside to Ferrières-en-Gâtinais. Explore this medieval town's narrow streets and beautiful lavoir before enjoying a picnic lunch in the gardens by the Abbey of St Pierre.
 
This afternoon, we ride through fields, pastures and farmlands before meeting our barge in the city of Montargis. With its numerous canals and bridges, Montargis is affectionately known as the "Venice of the Gâtinais." Though quite modern, it retains a medieval charm throughout its downtown area, which is close to our mooring spot.

This evening you can take some time to explore Montargis, tracing its network of bridges. You're sure to find a local restaurant for dinner on your own—your Trip Leaders can point you in the right direction.

Day 9 - Montargis loop ride

Today we cycle through some of the most lovely scenery so far, passing through small farming hamlets before arriving at the family home of Dominique and Jacques Goût, near Château-Renard. Not only is it a peaceful home for man and bees alike; it has been in Jacques' family for several generations. Here Jacques will welcome us with a short film and an explanation of apiculture. Later, he will show us his bees at work and demonstrate how he harvests their treasure. Naturally you will have the chance to taste the golden honey at the end of their hard labor, washed down by homemade cider. During our visit, we'll enjoy a picnic lunch in the Goût's garden.

After lunch, we continue our loop ride along the Fatisse Riviere before rejoining the River Loing and our barge.   

Dine on the barge one last time this evening.

Day 10 - Depart barge / Discover Paris / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, your tour ends. It is important that you leave the barge no later than 9:00 am in order for the crew to prepare for their next guests. Please disembark with the rest of the group at 9:00 am. Refer to the information listed in the tour handbook. You can join the VBT bus transfer back to the Millennium Hotel Paris Opera.

VBT Air Package guests and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your barge crew and Trip Leaders, then transfer back to our hotel in Paris. After checking in, you have free time for independent exploration. Please note your rooms may not be ready at this time but the hotel will store your luggage. Enjoy dinner on your own in town tonight. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Paris.

Day 11 - Depart for U.S. or begin optional Paris Extension

After breakfast*, meet in the hotel lobby for your transfer to the Paris airport and your flight back to the U.S. Please be sure that you are waiting at the designated time and transfer location.

Important: The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

*For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.
 
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