Day 1: Paris – Bougival
Embarkation takes place at 2 pm in the center of Paris. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour guide, the ship departs and cruises through the city center. In the late afternoon, the tour group will gather for a welcome drink and your tour guide will have some safety information for you. The ship continues to Bougival, a picturesque suburb of Paris, during dinner. After dinner, we offer a short walking tour of the town where many artists lived, especially in the 19th century. Our tip: If you want to discover Paris in more depth, you can arrive a few days before departure.
Day 2: Paris (Bougival) – Auvers-sur-Oise, approx. 42 - 46 km
After breakfast, cycle along quiet country roads along the Seine to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Here, stroll along the higher Grande Terrasse, lined with 300-year-old lime trees, and enjoy the magnificent view of western Paris. Then continue through an idyllic wooded area to Conflans. After a short stop at the bridge of Pontoise, take the picturesque Chemin des Monts path to the small church of Auvers, made famous by a painting by Van Gogh. The grave of the famous painter is also located in the Auvers cemetery. You can visit it during an evening walk.
Day 3: Auvers-sur-Oise – Beaumont – Creil – Pont-Ste-Maxence, approx. 43 km
During breakfast, the boat departs for Beaumont. In Beaumont you will get on your bike and follow the course of the Oise upstream. On the way you will pass Royaumont Abbey, considered one of the best preserved 13th century monasteries. At noon, you will reach the enchanting village of Chantilly. In the impressive stables of the castle you will find the horse museum, where daily shows with real horses are organized. The bike tour ends in Creil. There you will disembark and the ship will take you to your destination today, Pont-Sainte-Maxence.
Day 4: Pont-Ste-Maxence – Compiegne, approx. 44 - 54 km
Your bike tour today starts in Pont-Sainte Maxence. On the way, you will pass the Abbey of Moncel, founded in 1309 by King Philip the Fair. Before you reach your destination for today, Compiègne, you will cycle through the forest "Forêt deihr deCompiègne". This was a popular hunting ground of the French kings. On the longer tour, you will cycle even longer through this forest area and also visit the town of Pierrefond with its imposing castle. Compiègne owes its architectural wealth to its proximity to Paris. The castle park of the Château de Compiègne is definitely worth a visit.
Day 5: Compiegne – Pont l’Eveque, approx. 42 - 51 km
First we go to l’Armistice de la Clairière, an important town during the First World War. Then on via Tracy and the abbey of Our-champs with its picturesque ruins through hilly woodland to Noyon with its imposing cathedral. For a longer bike ride, you can go to Blérancourt, where there is a charming 17th century town hall and a small palace with flower garden.
Day 6: Pont l’Eveque – Haudival – Peronne, approx. 47 - 56 km
Today you will continue your journey up and along the Canal du Nord. The construction of this canal was planned as early as 1903, but it was not until 1966 that the work was completed. It was intended to replace the old Canal de St. Quentin in order to better transport coal from the mines to the north. The old canal was built in 1801 by order of Napoleon. During breakfast, the ship will take you to Haudival, where the next bike tour begins. It leads through gently rolling open countryside via the Art Deco town of Ham and on along the Somme with its picturesque villages to Peronne. MS Zwaantje is moored outside this atmospheric town with its secluded market square, church, a fort and the captivating Musee de Grande Guerre.
Day 7: Péronne, rest day
Today the ship stays in Peronne. You will have time to visit the museum, stroll around the town a bit or go shopping. Dinner at a restaurant of your choice. (not included, restaurant recommendations available on board).
Day 8: Peronne – Ytres – Moevres, approx. 40 - 52 km
The first part of your bike tour leads through the Somme river valley. Then it goes through sparsely populated, open hilly countryside to Ruyaulcourt. The Canal du Nord has two tunnels through which the ship must pass. Once everyone is on board, the ship passes through the tunnel, above which is the watershed between the rivers Scheldt and Somme. The ship then sails back downhill towards Arleux. Its berth is located in the outskirts of Moeuvres.
Day 9: Moeuvres – Cambrai – Arleux – Pont Malin, approx. 35 - 50 km
Today you will visit Cambrai, a lively provincial town with listed buildings and a beautiful park. Then you cycle along the Chantraine moorland to rural Arleux.
Day 10: Pont Malin – Denain – Doornik, approx. 47 - 51 km
Today the ship sails for a few hours along the Canal du Grand Gabarit, passing through the former industrial region of northern France. Old coal mines and steel mills line the canal. The bike tour begins in Denain. It continues through open fields and small mining towns to the Belgian border. In Belgium you cross the so-called "white country". Our destination for today is Doornik (French: Tournai), one of the oldest cities in Belgium. This historically most interesting city is definitely worth a visit.
Day 11: Doornik – Oudenaarde, approx. 41 - 43 km
The ship sails downstream across the Scheldt and you reach the region of Flanders. From here on Flemish is spoken. Your destination for today is Oudenaarde. In earlier times, this small town was located on the border between the French and German empires and was thus a frequent theater of war. Since the town was right in the line of fire, there was a permanent guard post. The figure of the most famous guard, "Hanske de Krijger", stands on the dome of the magnificent town hall. Oudenaarde has also made a reputation as a carpet weaving town.
Day 12: Oudenaarde – Ghent, approx. 45 km
Shortly after you leave for your next tour in Oudenaarde, you can make a short stop at the ruins of the old Ename Abbey, which was located on the Scheldt River. You will continue to follow the river towards Ghent, your destination for today. Ghent is a lively university town with a rich history. Originally Roman, and situated at the confluence of the Scheldt and Leie rivers, Ghent was a rich trading and textile city in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, to which the Lakenhal, the cathedral and the town hall bear witness. Fabrics were traded in the Lakenhal (1425). The most significant church is St. Baaf’s Cathedral, which was built in several centuries and different architectural styles. In the cathedral you can see some masterpieces of medieval artists. The most famous painting here is probably" The Adoration of the Lamb of God" by Jan van Eyck. Possibility to take a tour to the city center or visit the old castle Gravensteen.
Day 13: Ghent – Aalterburg – Bruges, approx. 34 - 44 km
During breakfast the Zwaantje takes us to Aalter. There you will get on your bike to cycle along trees and fields and past small villages and castles to the country estate of Hertsberge, where you can visit an interesting agricultural museum. Early arrival in Bruges, arguably the most picturesque city in Flanders, which was one of the most important European banking and art centers from the 14th to the 16th century.
Day 14: Bruges, approx. 22 - 38 km
Today the ship stays in Bruges. The tour guide offers a shorter or longer bike tour through the beautiful surroundings of the city today. You can also spend the day in Bruges to see the city, visit a museum, go shopping or enjoy a delicious beer in one of the sidewalk cafes.
Day 15: Bruges
After breakfast you will leave the ship. Disembarkation till 9.30 am.