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)

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 2.57.58 PM

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)

back to top

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

back to top

Grand European with Viking Cruise Line

Viking Cruise

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Depart Ottawa on your scheduled flight(s) to Amsterdam. Dinner and a light breakfast are served onboard. (D)

Day 2

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship. After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Rijksmuseum, or the van Gogh Museum next door. (D)

Day 3

Kinderdijk, The Netherlands

This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a 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. Return on board for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and take in a culturally enriching presentation on the Dutch Golden Age. We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)

Day 4

Cologne, Germany

You have a morning tour of Cologne, including a visit to the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After your tour, spend the rest of the day and evening exploring Cologne on your own: There are Roman ruins, interesting neighborhoods and wonderful museums like the Fragrance Museum and the Chocolate Museum. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or, join an optional excursion on which you will ascend to the Dom’s roof, enjoying up-close views of the cathedral’s architecture and bird’s-eye vistas of Cologne. Lunch and dinner are served aboard; we depart at midnight. (B, L, D)

Day 5

Koblenz, Germany

Cruise past hilltop castles along the Rhine, stopping in Koblenz to visit Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine fortress never destroyed. After your tour, continue cruising this stunning stretch of the Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the Lorelei Rock, which marks the river’s narrowest point and is named after the legendary Rhine maiden who lured sailors to their demise. Lunch and dinner are served aboard your ship. (B, L, D)

Day 6

Miltenberg, Germany

The morning is spent sailing along the beautiful Main River as it winds its way through the Spessart region, home of the actual Snow White. During our sail, you will have the opportunity to learn about the region’s glassblowing traditions during a live demonstration. After lunch, we stop in Miltenberg, known for its half-timbered houses and Germany’s oldest inn. Join our walking tour that concludes with free time for you to explore. Alternately, depart the ship prior to our morning sail for an all-day optional excursion where you will gain a rare glimpse into noble life, enjoying Privileged Access visits to two very different castles: Schloss Mespelbrunn and Schloss Löwenstein. We sail through the night. (B, L, D)

Day 7

Würzburg, Germany

After breakfast, tour Würzburg’s Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or, instead, join an optional full-day journey along Germany’s picturesque “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg, with its turreted city wall and impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Upon returning to Würzburg, you will also enjoy a tour of the Bishops’ Residenz. Before rejoining your ship for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 8

Bamberg, Germany

Sail through the morning; after lunch we visit 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 perhaps try some of the town’s distinctive smoke-flavored beer before returning aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 9

Nuremberg, Germany

After breakfast, disembark in Nuremberg and visit the ruins of Zeppelin Field, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s; then see the Palace of Justice, site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials. Alternately, you may take an optional World War II tour that includes the illuminating Documentation Center Museum. After lunch, spend free time exploring Nuremberg’s Old Town. Or, join an optional tour to discover the secret network of underground bunkers where priceless art was hidden in wartime. We depart just before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 10

Regensburg, Germany

Arrive in Regensburg midday. After lunch, 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. Alternately, you may choose to disembark this morning and drive with your guide to Munich for an optional full-day tour of this cultural and historic city, rejoining your ship in time to enjoy dinner on board before our evening departure. (B, L, D)

Day 11

Passau, Germany

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. Alternately, set out this morning with your guide to enjoy a full-day optional tour of picturesque Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and setting of The Sound of Music. We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)

Day 12

Melk, Austria

After breakfast, visit the abbey at Melk, a 900-year-old Benedictine monastery featuring Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture. Cruise through the spectacular Wachau Valley this afternoon. Before dinner, you have time to explore the time-honored town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate, or take an optional excursion to a local winery to sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region. (B, L, D)

Day 13

Vienna, Austria

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. Alternately, you may choose to join an optional excursion to see the famed Lipizzaner Stallions; or, express your creativity and create a lasting keepsake at an optional art workshop inspired by the work of Gustav Klimt. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)

Day 14

Vienna, Austria

Enjoy a day at leisure in Vienna. Perhaps see an unrivaled collection of Old Masters at the Museum of Fine Arts, or visit the Albertina. Maybe ride the Riesenrad, the world’s oldest Ferris wheel. Alternately, you may join an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” or enjoy a Viennese waltz lesson as well as visiting the palace during a full-day optional excursion. A cup of coffee or tea and a slice of exquisite Sachertorte are a must for any afternoon in Vienna. Later, rejoin your ship and sail for Budapest. (B, L, D)

Day 15

Budapest, Hungary

The Danube River divides Hungary’s capital city into the once separate towns of Buda and Pest. Explore both sides, 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, with the rest of the day to explore on your own. Alternately, choose one of our optional excursions designed to allow you to delve deeper into the history, culture and cuisine of this fascinating city. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 16

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight. (B)

*Itinerary always subject to change*

** Please note that you are required to have a valid Canadian passport with you. Non-Canadians may require a visa. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have such a document if required. Any other nationality other than Canadian persons must identify themselves to the booking agent for verification of documents required. IF YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DEPARTURE POINT WITHOUT PROPER ID YOU WILL BE DENIED BOARDING.**

back to top