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

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

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

Please note: For those traveling in 2015, your itinerary may vary slightly from what is presented below. 

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 ride

VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for meeting our barge, the Fleur, between 2:00 and 2:30 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 advise the VBT Tour Leaders. The barge will be moored at Port Renee de France, Montargis (next to Hotel De Police). Contact telephone number is ++0031 622 738 010. Please refer to the information listed in the tour handbook. If you wish to join the VBT bus transfer from the Millennium Hotel Paris Opera, please be in the lobby in time to board at 12:30 pm. You should arrive at the barge around 2:15 pm. Please plan on having lunch before joining the transfer.

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 12:30 pm board your minibus for your transfer to the barge, arriving at around 2:15 pm. Please plan on having lunch before joining the transfer. 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 ride. This evening, gather onboard with the group for a welcome dinner. With its numerous canals and bridges, Montargis sometimes bills itself as the "Venice of the Gâtinais." Though quite modern, it retains a medieval charm in its downtown area, close to our mooring spot.

Dine on the barge this evening.

Day 4 - Montargis loop ride

Today we cycle through some lovely scenery, 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 about 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.

This evening, you can take some time to explore Montargis, tracing its network of bridges before having dinner in one of the restaurants.

Day 5 - Montargis to Neronville

After breakfast, we cruise out of Montargis until the lock at Cepoy. Here we cycle through vast agricultural lands and small farming hamlets 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. 

After time to relax, we continue through more farmland before meeting our barge in the rural and tranquil setting of Neronville. Dinner will be served on the barge this evening. 

Day 6 - Cycle Neronville to Nemours with a guided walking tour of Château Landon

After breakfast, there is an option loop ride from the barge. Afterwards we ride a short distance to the medieval town of Château Landon. Perched on a rocky spur, its ramparts and towers recall the Middle Ages. Here we meet local VBT friend Gillian Mundy, who will bring her town's history to life on a guided walk. Afterwards she will accompany you to 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.

This afternoon, cycle through more agricultural landscapes and hamlets to meet our barge in the charming medieval town of Nemours, located on the River Loing and its canal. This evening, after dinner onboard, you can walk into town and explore its historic center and canal system. 

Day 7 - Cycle Nemours to Moret-Sur-Loing

Today we leave Nemours for 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.

We continue through the peaceful forest of Fontainebleau into Bourron Marlotte. This community homed and inspired many artists during the Impressionist movement. You may wish to buy lunch here.

Our afternoon ride takes us through another artist community of Grez-sur-Loing. This lovely locale inspired many artists and was one of the main centers of the Impressionist movement. It still attracts artists from all over the world. We continue to cycle to the small village of Episy and onto the bike path along the Canal Loing to meet up with our barge again 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 8 - Cycle Château of Fontainebleau, Barbizon and Melun

This morning, we cycle to 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 around a series of stately courtyards. There’ll be time to explore the château and gardens and to buy lunch before continuing our ride through the wonderful forest of Fontainebleau. Keep your eyes open for the pretty little red squirrels.

Our second destination is the “painters 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.

Continue our ride until we reach the barge at Melun. Built on the crossroads of transport routes from Roman times, the town grew up around a bend in the River Seine. Enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants this evening.

Day 9 - Cycle to the lock of Evry / Cruise to Paris

Getting underway this morning, we follow the banks of the Seine, passing some lovely residential villas and the upmarket town of Seine Port. Here you can stop and buy a picnic lunch before arriving at the lock of Evry. Here we board our barge and cruise back to Paris, mooring in the Port de l'Arsenal, just south of Notre Dame.

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 refer to the information listed in the tour handbook.

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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