Please note that shown below are only a sample of the many itineraries, which may be tailored to the interests of your
For example, there is the River Leie, whose verdant banks meander through the countryside that made famous the Latem
School of painting, which grew from St. Maartens Latem, near Ghent. Nearby is the spectacular Ooidonk castle, a beautiful
reminder of the Spanish occupation of ages past.
For contemporary art lovers the active art scene in the bustling city of
Antwerp is as famous as its diamond merchants and haute couture. A limousine ride to Knokke-Heist on the seacoast will
put you in play in the renowned casino, decorated with paintings of Magritte.
The ancient city of Leuven, with its incomparable
Stadhuis, or city hall. The battlefields of two wars and their moving memorials of the tens of thousands who died in
Flanders fields are not far away, Ballooning and sand yachting are two of the more esoteric sports available in the province
of West Flanders.
If antique hunting is your interest, this area is full of an overwhelming selection of antique shops, from
kitsch to matchless antiquities, as well as some fine Oriental carpet shops. A week or ten days on a slow boat is a perfect
adjunct to an extended Continental vacation. The choices are yours to make. It is a wonderful region of Europe, a virtually
undiscovered treasure trove, and only the beginning of our European Odyssey.
Extensive cruising from the Château of Fontainebleau via Paris to Reims in the heart of the Champagne
Cruise route map
(Click to enlarge)
—Board your yacht in Fontainebleau, and leave the world behind with a glass of champagne as you become familiar
with the amenities aboard. After settling into your cabin, there is ample time for a stroll around this beautiful Chateau
town before returning the first of what will be a series of memorable dinners. Perhaps end the day in the spa pool before
retiring to your stateroom.
—Breakfast, and, if you wish, a visit to the Chateau of Fontainebleau, or directly underway for a cruise to Paris, a
voyage of some sixty kilometres. Lunch will be whilst you cruise, and mooring for the night will be in the heart of Paris,
near La Bastille. The attractions of this city are legendary; and having one’s yacht moored here is a unique experience.
—Breakfast as we cruise through the Paris to Meaux, renowned for its gastronomy, its Brie cheese and its mustard.
Meaux was made famous by Maurice Chevalier and its pretty streets were the inspiration for the impressionists
Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. Lunch in a shore side restaurant, and dinner aboard.
—Cruise the quiet River Marne to Chateau Thierry, stopping along the way for lunch on deck or a picnic ashore.
After arrival, visit the chateau, which has some fine examples of sixteenth century furniture and objets d’art. Dinner aboard
and a quiet night
—A somewhat long cruise to Epernay, through the beautiful countryside of the Champagne district. There will be
ample opportunities to sample the smaller producers, and we will end the day in Epernay, where if desired we may visit the
caves of Moet and Chandon. A balloon trip over the countryside is always a possibility, either before or after dinner aboard.
—Cruise to Reims, passing through more of the verdant, vineyard-quilted countryside of Champagne. In Reims,
we may visit more champagne producers and learn more about this delicate sparkling wine, and its qualities, which differ so
much from district to district. Naturally the Cathedral of Reims, perhaps the most beautiful in the world, is always an option.
Perhaps a visit to the monastery where Dom Perignon discovered “la methode Champenoise”.
—A leisurely breakfast, perhaps on deck, and time to visit anything missed yesterday before being returned by
limousine to your point of origin.
FLANDERS (BELGIUM) ITINERARY
An extensive and ambitious cruise across Flanders
Cruise route map
(Click to enlarge)
—A chauffeured car will come to your hotel in Brussels from where it is but a short drive to Golden Odyssey
moored in the beautiful Flemish town of Mechelen where, after a champagne reception on board and settling into your
staterooms, this thirteenth century town awaits a walking exploration. Perhaps you will be favoured to enjoy a concert from
the town carillon, since Mechelen is the home of the world famous school of the “beiardeeren” or bell ringers, before returning
to aperitifs and leisurely dining aboard for your first taste of Golden Odyssey cuisine.
— Breakfast and lunch while underway to the fascinating and historic old city of Ghent, where we will arrive late
in the afternoon, having had a long lazy cruise up the Schelde River. We wend our way through the city, and moor at our
lovely green mooring place, on the banks of the River Leie, the “Golden River”, so called because of its associations with flax
and the riches of Gent. There will be time for a stroll into the town to whet your appetite for further exploration on the morrow.
Cocktails, a marvellous dinner, perhaps a glass of cognac in the spa pool before bed, or, if you are ambitious, a taste
of nightlife in Gent.
— Awaken to a new day; feed the ducks that will come to visit, and, after breakfast, an exploration of the vibrant
and historic city of Gent, whose origin is seventh century, and offers such rich and diverse panoply of incomparable
architectural vistas that the senses reel. This even before one has time to begin to take in the wonderful shops, taverns,
art, and other attractions. One absolute must is viewing the van Eyck altarpiece, which has been drawing visitors to Ghent
for over five hundred years. It is located in one of the chapels of St. Bavos Cathedral in the heart of the old city, and is the
most beautiful medieval Flemish painting in Belgium, if not the world. Some guests elect to spend the remainder of their
cruise here, so rich is the city in sights and pleasures. At the very least it requires an entire day. Take advantage of the
wonderful shops here, from fine art and antiquities to chocolate, from monastery-brewed beer to handmade lace and tapestries.
—After breakfasting in a leisurely fashion, perhaps a side trip down the beautiful River Leie for lunch at St.
Maartens Latem, or in a waterside pub, or a trip to Ooidonk Castle, one of the finest in Belgium, or simply remain in the old
city of Ghent exploring and shopping, getting a glimpse of Flemish life and culture. You will find the people warm and
friendly, and most speak English or French, as well as Flemish. The choice is yours.
—Sated, if not overwhelmed by the sights of Ghent, we are underway early for a cruise down the Ghent-Ostend
Canal. Lunching aboard, we arrive late afternoon at a mooring near the windmills of Bruges. Met at the quayside by horse
drawn carriages, you will be driven on a trip back in time. Almost nothing disturbs the medieval atmosphere of this gem in
the crown of Flemish cities. In the sixteenth century, Hadrianus Borlandus, Professor of Rhetoric at Leuven University
wrote, “The cities of Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Leuven, and Mechelen are beautiful, but they are nothing in comparison to
Bruges”. After Venice, it was the finest and richest city in Europe, if not the world. It is from here that we can, if you wish,
arrange to have you driven to Knokke-Heist or Ostend, to gamble away the night in one of the famous casinos.
— A day spent in enjoying this incomparable town will be an appropriate leave-taking of the delights of Flanders,
perhaps finding that special piece of art, enjoying a few glasses of convent-brewed beer; perhaps taking another carriage
ride through the town. A sinfully indolent picnic with delicious food and wines on a grassy riverbank is almost always an option.
— After breakfasting, we will return you overland to your hotel in Brussels or to the airport, whatever arrangements
you have made with us.
Please note that all itineraries shown here are merely samples, and represent ideas of what might
occur whilst cruising. Cruises may be altered without notice.
A FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE ITINERARY
A leisurely cruise up the River Yonne and Canal du Nivernais
Cruise route map
(Click to enlarge)
—Board the Golden Odyssey at the beautiful town of Auxerre, perched on the left bank of the River Yonne. Undoubtedly
one of the prettiest towns in France, Auxerre is the capital of Lower Burgundy and is situated in the heart of the
Chablis wine growing region. You may content yourself with simply relaxing on deck with your party and looking at this ancient
and impressive city, or explore the twisting cobbled streets and visit the Cathedral of St. Etienne, one of the finest examples
of gothic architecture in France, which was three hundred years in the building. Shopping for local products or antiques
and beginning your Chablis education are other possibilities before returning aboard to your first experience of
Golden Odyssey cuisine.
—You may decide to remain in Auxerre for the morning before getting underway for the first days cruising
through a variety of landscapes until we turn into a divergence canal, which leads us to Vermenton, our mooring for the
night. This is in ancient wine country, and the remnants of a Roman portal can still be seen. Wine, of course, was an important
resource for the Roman Legions, as it kept better than water. Happy Centurions! They did not have a heated spa
pool, however, which is one of your options aboard.
—By now you will have fully adapted to the pampered lifestyle aboard, and may decide to sleep late and breakfast
on deck. When you are quite ready, we will get underway for our cruise to Mailly le Chateau. Perched high above the
valley of the Yonne, the impressive chateau has a commanding view of the valley and surrounding countryside.
—Today, we propose a cruise to the town of Clamecy, which is situated at the junction of the Yonne and Beuvron
Rivers. En route, we will pass the very dramatic cliffs named Le Sausois. Perhaps we will stop and bring ashore a picnic, or
swim in the lovely clear water, as you wish. We arrive in this charming old town, and wander the narrow streets, with its
half-timbered houses leaning out overhead, to be transported into another century. Have a Pernod or a glass of wine in an
old bar and see that life here has a quiet pace. But not, perhaps as quiet as aboard the Golden Odyssey, where you will
eventually return for another in the continuing series of memorable dinners.
—Again you may decide to spend some more time in this medieval river town, which, incidentally, was the birthplace
of the famous writers Romain Rolland and Claude Tellier, as well as the celebrated sailor Alain Colas, who was lost at
sea. Perhaps visit a museum, which graphically displays the ancient practice of assembling huge rafts of wood to float to
Paris in the old days, a practice that accounted for much of the commerce of this town. We can also take a short cruise to
Chevroches, an enchanting village perched high above the river not far from Clamecy. We will eventually come to Tannay,
which the guidebooks call “…a joyful wine city”. The chalky hills that surround the town are covered with vineyards, which
produce an excellent dry white wine that you must sample with some local cuisine.
-We will now pass through country of green pastoral landscape, dotted with white Charolais cattle (yes, we do obtain
Charolais beef from a local butcher), through old wooden bridges. We will moor for lunch in a suitably idyllic spot and
perhaps you will doze in the sun as we wend our way to the riverside town of Chitry les Mines, a charming port. Another
town to explore, more wine to taste, and perhaps a special last night dinner; a glass of good cognac in the pool is always a
delightful prelude to a quiet nights sleep in this beautiful country surrounding.
—Your morning, as always, is yours to spend. Sleep late, sightsee, bicycle the towpaths, or simply lounge in a
deckchair and reflect on the past week over a cup of coffee with your friends until it is time for the chauffered car to arrive
and transport you back to reality.
A TASTE OF THE LOIRE
An extensive cruise in the centre of France
Cruise route map
(Click to enlarge)
—From Paris you will be whisked away into the country in a chauffeured limousine and board the yacht in the ancient
city of Nemours, beautifully situated in the valley of the Loing. A fitting place to begin your adventure, with a twelfth
century castle and a church containing relics brought from the second Crusade. Unwind with a glass of champagne as you
investigate your yacht and unwind from travel and the bustle of Paris. Dinner will be your introduction to the cuisine of the
—This day marks the beginning of an ambitious cruise. Underway while you breakfast, we traverse fourteen
locks and arrive at the town of Montargis.. A charming place in which to wander, with a museum containing some exceptionally
good paintings and a local speciality called “praslines”: grilled sugared almonds created originally by the cook of the
Duke de Plessis-Pralins. Was this the origin of the Flemish Praline?
—As Montargis marks the beginning of the Briare Canal, we enter, technically speaking, a new waterway. Today,
after you have breakfasted, perhaps had a dip in the pool, we voyage at a more leisured pace, and travel through
lovely countryside enroute Montbouy, where we moor for lunch and stroll ashore to visit the ruins of the Roman Baths and
Amphitheatre (The Romans loved France, as much as we do) before continuing to Chatillon – Coliny. Here we spend the
night not far from the remains of a XII century feudal chateau overlooking this town.
—Underway as you breakfast, for today is a special destination, the town of Briare, for which the canal is named.
Enroute, we pass the town of Rogny and enter a series of locks which have replaced the seven “staircase “locks which were
built during the reign of Henry the IV, and represented an engineering marvel at the time. Lunching while underway, we
pass through the town of Briare, and actually cross the Loire River via a beautiful canal bridge which was designed by Gustave
Eiffel. A very unique sensation to appear to be floating in air as we slowly cross the river and shortly come to the
lovely and quiet village of Chatillon – sur – Loire.
Though we are now in the Canal Lateral de la Loire, the town was built on the banks of the Loire, and a short wander
through town takes us to this historic river which has meant so much to the history of France, and waters what is referred
to as the Garden of France. Such a different variety of wines is produced in this area that each time we stop you can sample
a different vintage.
—The next portion of our voyage will be alongside the Loire river, and we will have it, often, in our view. As we
are now in the Sancerrois, or region of Sancerre, it is as well to go straight to the heart, and cruise to this famous town
which has, through history, produced this delicate wine to which it gives its name. Enroute we continue to pass through the
beautiful valley of the Loire; verdant, rich in history as it is in scenery, it presents a never ending panorama. Once we arrive
in Sancerre, there will be time to have a quick meander before returning to the yacht and another Golden Odyssey dining
—Today , when the mood strikes you, because by now you will most likely have lost all sense of time, an exploration
of the town, perhaps shopping, tasting the various vintages of Sancerre, both white and rose’, having lunch in a local
bistro, developing a taste for Crottin de Chavignol, a delicious goat cheese, perhaps the most well-known in France. In general,
just messing about ashore for the day before returning to a special dinner aboard the Golden Odyssey. A late night dip
in the heated spa pool to remember this feeling of being in the centre of France on a yacht, and to bed.
—Breakfast and perhaps a last visit to the town, or just lying idly in your deck chair awaiting the arrival of your
chauffered car which will return you to Paris.
TO CONTACT US
Phone: +33 563 02 87 04, Fax: +33 563 02 24 11
Phone (Toll-Free from USA + Canada): 1-800-688-0245
The Barge Cruise Company Ltd, 501 Chemin Lacoste, 82170 Grisolles, FRANCE