Cruising the Beautiful Waterways of France: From the Rhone to the Rhine by Deluxe Barge

Waterways of France

In the fall of 2016 you can cruise through the very soul of France, as you enjoy the peace and quiet far from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

To cruise along France’s canal network is to set off on an unexpected adventure. Here, life is simplicity itself as you sail peacefully alongside the shore.

Aboard your barge you will have a chance to appreciate a wide range of regional gastronomic dishes, accompanied by carefully chosen local wines. By foot or bicycle it is easy to set off on a discovery tour along the numerous hiking trails. (Bicycles are available on your barge). There are also excursions available from the boat itself.

These custom designed hotel barges have been equipped with maximum comfort in mind for an unforgettable and relaxing holiday. Passengers are well looked after if not pampered by the crew.

Experience life in France from a truly unique perspective.

Only 11 cabins are available on this cruise.

Early booking is your only guarantee for passage on this incredible journey.

Sales will be on a first come first served basis and cannot be held.

French Barge Ship

Tour Itinerary


Day 1- Ottawa to Paris

Depart Ottawa International Airport for your overnight flight to Paris. Your flight will go through Toronto. A meal will be served aboard your flight.


Day 2- Paris

Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. The balance of your day will be at leisure to get acquainted with this, the city of lights. (B)


Day 3- Paris to Gray

This morning we will leave Paris and make our way to Dijon. Dijon is the historic capital of Burgundy. Its centre is packed with many excellent examples of medieval buildings and homes. From Dijon we will head to Besancon and Gray to board your ship. Upon boarding your ship, you will be met by the crew and enjoy a short presentation about your upcoming cruise through the canal system of Burgundy. (B, D)

French Barge exterior back


Day 4- Gray- Auxonne

We will head out on foot for anoptional guided tour of Gray. You’ll get a chance to discover secret treasures scattered throughout town. You will admire the town hall (one of the most stunning structures from the Renaissance period in Franche-Comté), distinguished homes, and the Gothic style of Gray’s Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame). The visit will come to a close after enjoying a sampling of local products. Then, we’ll return on board. In the afternoon, the boat will take us along the Petite Saône and arrive in the evening at Auxonne. We’ll remain in port overnight. (B,L,D)


Day 5- Gray- Saint-Jean-de-Losne

During the morning, we will set out on foot on an optional guided tour of Auxonne. The town exhibits many symbols of its historic and military past. Napoleon Bonaparte resided here as a lieutenant from 1788 to 1791. You’ll be able to discover old buildings, including Gray’s Basilica made in a gothic style and still displaying traces of fresco. You will also see the last Arsenal for artillery in France. In the afternoon, the boat will depart for Saint-Jean-de-Losne. You’ll enjoy the beautiful landscapes that unfold before you. We’ll arrive late afternoon and remain in port overnight.(B,L,D)

French Barge Ship


Day 6- Saint-Jean-De-Losne to Dole

Saint-Jean-de-Losne is the capital of canal barging in France. This lovely village lies at the heart of the French waterways and canal system in southern Burgundy. Your morning will be free to explore or take an optional excursion through the town. Your afternoon will be spent cruising towards Dole. (B,L,D)

French Barge Sleeping Cabin


Day 7- Dole to Ranchot

Today you will have a unique opportunity to tour the ”trail of the Perched Cat” (optional). This trail refers to the famous tales of the Perched Cat written by Marcel Ayme who lived in Dole as a child. It also refers to Dole’s location, which is perched on a beautiful hillside. Back on board you will cruise to Ranchot. (B,L,D)

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Day 8- Ranchot to Besancon

Your morning will be spent cruising. In the afternoon you will have the option to visit the Saline-Royale. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this factory, built between 1775-1779 in the shape of a semi-circle, was where salt workers traditionally lived and worked. Tonight there will be a Gala dinner aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Ship deck


Day 9- Besancon to Paris

Enjoy breakfast before transferring to Paris. Upon your arrival in Paris you will be taken to your hotel. You might wish to experience Paris on a hop on hop off tour. Your tour manager will be happy to get you to the appropriate location for the tour.(B)


Day 10- Paris

A free day in Paris! There is so much to see and do. Your tour manager will be happy to help you with your plans for the day.(B)


Day 11- Paris to Ottawa

Your guide will advise you of your departure time from Paris for your return flight to Montreal and your connection to Ottawa. (B)


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Portraits of Southern France with Viking Cruise Line

Viking Cruise

Tour Itinerary


Day 1

Depart Ottawa for your flight(s) to Lyon. Dinner and a light breakfast are served onboard. (D)


Day 2

Welcome to Lyon. Transfer to your hotel from the airport.


Day 3

LYON, FRANCE

Today you will be transferred from your hotel to the ship. After boarding, take free time to explore this vibrant city, or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs & get oriented. Head upriver along the Saône around dinnertime

(B, L, D)


Day 4

MÂCON, FRANCE & BEAUJOLAIS WINE TOUR

After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Beaujolais, where viticultural tradition runs deep. See the legendary Moulin-à-Vent, the windmill that gives its name to one of the most prestigious wines of the region, learn about the art of winemaking in a small museum and enjoy a tasting in one of the Beaujolais’s famous cellars. Return to your ship for lunch. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or, take an optional excursion to the picturesque Burgundy town of Cluny, known for its magnificent medieval abbey ruin. Return aboard for dinner. (B, L, D)


Day 5

LYON, FRANCE

Wake up in Lyon this morning and take a tour of this city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for marvelous views. Visit the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. A walking tour is next, through the cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), where you’ll have free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world famous. In the afternoon, your ship sails to Vienne, where you may participate in a tour of the extensive Roman ruins in neighboring St.-Romain-en-Gal. If you prefer, you may remain in Lyon for additional free time and enjoy a brief coach ride to Vienne. Dinner served aboard. (B, L, D)


Day 6

VIENNE & TOURNON, FRANCE

This morning take a walking tour of Vienne, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. Visit the Temple of Augustus and Livia, the Roman amphitheater and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice; then spend some time discovering more of this engaging riverside town on your own. In the afternoon, enjoy the rolling vine-clad banks of the river, as you sail through its wide meanders to Tournon. After dinner, enjoy a stroll along the riverbanks under the plane trees. (B, L, D)


Day 7

TOURNON & VIVIERS, FRANCE

All aboard the Train de l’Ardèche this morning for a locomotive ride through the deep gorges of the Ardèche plateau, cut by the Doux River. You’ll return to your ship and enjoy lunch aboard as we cruise to Viviers, an engaging little town in a mountainous setting. After dinner, join your Program Director for an evening stroll through Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Enjoy free time before retiring for the evening. (B, L, D)


Day 8

ARLES, FRANCE

Arrive during breakfast and take a walking tour of Arles with its diverse architectural highlights. Experience the city’s vibrant colors and striking quality of light that have inspired artists. Arles is also the site of some impressive Roman ruins, including Les Arènes, an arena that seats 20,000 and is still in use, as well as Romanesque monuments such as the Church of Saint-Trôphime, completed in the 15th century. Return aboard for lunch followed by an afternoon on your own to explore or shop for handcrafted gifts. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served as you depart. (B, L, D)


Day 9

AVIGNON, FRANCE

This morning, set out on a guided walk of Avignon, nicknamed “City of Popes” because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377. Stroll through the historic center, stop at the picturesque Pont d’Avignon and walk the Place de l’Horloge. Continue to the renowned Palace of the Popes for a guided tour through this rambling maze of Gothic architecture that served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner are served aboard. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B, L, D)


Day 10

After breakfast, disembark the ship and proceed to the airport for your return flights back to Ottawa. (B)

***Itinerary Subject to Change***

Most bus tours often recommend that each person tip their tour leader $5 per person per day, coach driver $3 per person per day and local guide $2 for half-day tour. While we at Travac do not stress a tipping policy, any gratuities provided are greatly appreciated.


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Grand European with Viking Cruise Line

Viking Cruise

Tour Itinerary


Day 1

Depart Ottawa for your flight(s) to Budapest. Dinner and a light breakfast are served onboard. (D)


Day 2

Welcome to Budapest, capital of Hungary. Transfer to your ship from the airport. After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or do a bit of exploring; if your arrival schedule permits, join an organized walk to Budapest’s famous covered market in the three-story Great Market Hall established in 1897. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (D)


Day 3

Today we visit highlights of the hilly Buda and cosmopolitan Pest sides of the city, starting with Pest’s National Opera House and historic Heroes’ Square. In Buda, walk along Castle Hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Enjoy lunch aboard your ship; the rest of the day is yours to explore the city. You may wish to visit the Art Nouveau Gellért Spa, or one of the many other lavish facilities in this “City of Healing Waters.” Return to your ship for dinner and evening departure. (B, L, D)


Day 4

Enjoy a day of scenic cruising as you sail along the beautiful Danube toward Vienna, arriving early this evening. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)


Day 5

Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or you may take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” erected in 1778 and graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and Roman ruins. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)


Day 6

Today, visit the abbey at Melk, a 900-year-old Benedictine monastery featuring Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture. See its wonderful frescoes and admire the comprehensive collection of medieval manuscripts in its library. Rejoin your ship and cruise through dinner. (B, L, D)


Day 7

Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You’ll see the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.† Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)


Day 8

Arrive in Regensburg after breakfast and tour this wonderfully preserved medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including structures dating back to Roman times. Discover many 13th- and 14th-century patrician houses and see the splendid St. Peter’s Cathedral. During free time, visit the Alte Würstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), Germany’s oldest restaurant. Cruise through dinner. (B, L, D)


Day 9

During our morning cruise, you may choose to attend a noteworthy presentation about the European Union. Then in the late morning you’ll arrive in Nuremberg; after lunch, disembark for a tour. Visit the ruins of Zeppelin Field, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s, and see the Palace of Justice, site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials. See the Old Town area as you walk past the Albrecht Dürer House and Main Market Square. You can spend more time exploring Nuremberg, or join an optional World War II tour including the illuminating Documentation Center. Enjoy free time throughout the evening; dinner is served aboard your ship. We depart in the wee hours of the morning. (B, L, D)


Day 10

Enjoy a tour of Bamberg, with its medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your walking tour includes a visit to the magnificent 11th-century cathedral, reworked in late Romanesque style in the 13th century, and the picturesque city hall built on a tiny island in the middle of a river. Take some free time to enjoy Bamberg and sample some of the town’s distinctive smoke-flavored beer before returning aboard. (B, L, D)


Day 11

After breakfast, tour Würzburg’s Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy an onboard lunch or join an optional journey along Germany’s “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg, which features a turreted city wall and impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship for dinner and an evening glassblowing demonstration. (B, L, D)


Day 12

Wertheim is located at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers. During your morning walking tour, experience life in a typical small German town. Stop in a bakery and a butcher shop, and learn about Wertheim’s glassblowing tradition. Enjoy free time to explore before returning to your ship for lunch. (B, L, D)


Day 13

Today, we cruise past hilltop castles along the Rhine; this stunning stretch of the river is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We pass the Lorelei Rock, which marks the river’s narrowest point; the rock is named after a legendary Rhine Maiden who lured sailors to their demise. This afternoon, we’ll stop to visit Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine fortress never destroyed. Rejoin your ship in Koblenz and dine aboard. (B, L, D)


Day 14

Arrive in Cologne during breakfast, and then disembark for a tour of Germany’s fourth largest city. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church and visit the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend your free time enjoying Cologne’s atmospheric waterfront before returning aboard for dinner and evening departure. (B, L, D)


Day 15

We sail along the Rhine during the morning hours, enjoying scenic views. Spend your morning enjoying some popular Dutch diversions: sample Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand atsjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). After lunch, your ship arrives in Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for an afternoon tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Board your ship for departure and dinner. Arrive in Amsterdam after midnight. (B, L, D)


Day 16

After breakfast, disembark the ships and proceed to the airport for your return flights back to Ottawa. (B)

***Itinerary Subject to Change***

Tipping is included for luggage handling and maid services at the hotel. Most bus tours often recommend that each person tip their tour leader $5 per person per day, coach driver $3 per person per day and local guide $2 for half-day tour. While we at Travac do not stress a tipping policy, any gratuities provided are greatly appreciated.


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