Travel by hotel barge through the heart of Alsace-Lorraine, where French and German culture entwine to create one of France’s most enchanting regions, with fabulous scenery and fascinating architecture. The experience is a relaxing mix of local wines, French cuisine and escorted visits to medieval sites.
Our privately chartered barge, Madeleine, has just 12 twin cabins, all with ensuite bathrooms and large windows. Launched in 2014 and designed using fresh, modern furnishings and bright fabrics, she is one of the most attractive barges in France today. The bright lounge and sundeck are lovely places to watch the scenery glide by. For the energetic, there are opportunities to cycle along the tow path as the barge carries bicycles on board. In the Rhine Valley we visit the ‘Hansel and Gretel’-style 15th-century town of Riquewihr for a tasting of local Alsace wines and Colmar with its maze of medieval streets, Renaissance buildings and waterside ‘Little Venice’ area. In Strasbourg, we shall visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, probably one of the finest in Europe, and the medieval riverside district of ‘Petite France’. The barge passes through the beautiful scenery of the Zorn valley and Vosges mountains and in Lorraine the barge is lifted 45m at the inclined plane of Arzwiller, an incredible feat of engineering.
Itinerary at a glance
Day 1: London to Strasbourg
Day 2: Strasbourg to Waltenheim-sur-Zorne
Day 3: Waltenheim-sur-Zorne – Saverne
Day 4: Saverne to Lutzelbourg
Day 5: Lutzelbourg to Xouaxange
Day 6: Xouaxange to Lagarde
Day 7: Lagarde – Strasbourg – Tour ends
Day 1: 22 September London to Strasbourg
Day 2: 23 September - Strasbourg to Waltenheim-sur-Zorne
Day 3: 24 September - Waltenheim-sur-Zorne - Saverne
Day 4: 25 September - Saverne to Lutzelbourg
Day 5: 26 September - Lutzelbourg to Xouaxange
Day 6: 27 September Xouaxange to Lagarde
Day 7: 28 September Lagarde - Strasbourg - Tour ends
|Cabin Class||Price||Single Supplement||Optional Flight from London||Availability|
|Standard Twin||£2,595||-||-||Waitlist Only|
Temple World can arrange transport from London to coordinate with this tour, subject to a minimum of 10 people booking this. Until we know flight and train schedules we cannot be sure which route will be the most comfortable but the likelihood is that we will use the Eurostar via either Paris or Lille and the cost will be approximately £180 per person. If fewer than 10 guests decide to book transport with us we will endeavour to arrange the same tickets for a similar price for those who need them, but please note that the full fare may need to be paid up front in this instance. A group transfer from Strasbourg station to and from the barge is included in the tour price but to take advantage as this you must arrive/depart at the same time as the majority of the group. Private taxis can also be arranged (at own cost) for those arriving or departing at different times.
Booking your own transport
Clients wishing to fly to France or who wish to travel from a city other than London are advised to book their own transport. The start and end point for the tour is STRASBOURG RAIL STATION if taking the group transfer, otherwise guests are welcome to make their own way to Strasbourg and back from Lagarde – detailed directions will be given as to the mooring point of the barge.
You can arrive at any time of day on 22 September but check-in at the barge is not normally until 5pm as the crew need to rest and re-provision the barge after its previous charter. There are no activities on the first day until dinner, which is likely to be at around 8pm.
On the last day (28 September) we will leave the barge after breakfast – those who do not need a transfer to Strasbourg station must vacate the barge by 10am. Those with earlier flights/trains are welcome to leave earlier if needs be.
Very Important! Those who plan to book their own transport should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed in writing on the tour and Temple World has confirmed the direction of the cruise and that it is a guaranteed departure.
Twin or double bedded cabin with private bathroom (WC, sink and shower), full board including red and white wines with lunch and dinner, all excursions with local guides, entrance fees, single group transfer to coordinate with the majority arrival/departure time, expert leader.
Transport to/from France, arrival/departure transfers if arriving independently, travel insurance, drinks other than included wines, tips to crew, drivers & local guides.
Single supplement: TBA. There are very limited single places on this tour – please enquire.
We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Easy/Moderate. This is a relaxed itinerary, though for those who wish to be more active there are opportunities to hike and cycle. There are no strenuous walks in this tour however in order to see all the points of interest some long strolls through villages and towns are required, at a moderate pace.
Whilst sightseeing we may be on the go for several hours at one time, and it is important that everyone is able to keep up with the group or we will not be able to see all the sights advertised in the time available. It is possible to remain on board the barge and relax instead of sightseeing. If you elect to travel by train from London, please note that you will be required to carry your own luggage at train stations – trolleys are not available and in France there are no porters. The best train times involve a change of stations in Paris – we will arrange a coach to transfer between the two stations but once again you will need to wheel/carry your own luggage up and down the platforms which we know some clients have found rather challenging in the past. We regret that the accommodation on board the barge is not wheelchair accessible. If unsure whether this tour is suitable for you, please check with us.
We know that age is not always a reliable indicator of fitness, but prospective participants over the age of 80 will be given a letter to be signed by their GP to say they are fit enough to undertake this tour.
NHS Fit for Travel advises travellers to France don’t normally need any immunisations as long as all UK childhood vaccinations and boosters are up to date. Please seek professional medical advice to discuss your personal circumstances at least 8 week before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website
UK and other EU passport holders do not need a visa to enter France. Nationals of several other countries, including South Africans, do require a visa in advance. Please check with your local French consulate.
Will my phone work
France uses 900 and 1800 MHz bandwidths as per the UK so almost all UK phones will work there as long as your provider has authorised its use abroad.
Dr Rowena E Archer
Medieval historian Dr Rowena E. Archer is a Fellow and lecturer at Brasenose College and lecturer at Christ Church. Her initial research focused on the Late Medieval English Nobility during the Hundred Years War with France but she was soon drawn towards the experiences of women. She has now published on a wide variety of aspects of women’s lives making particular use of the work of the late fourteenth century Franco-Italian writer Christine de Pisan, and is currently starting a study on the impact of the Anglo-French wars on women. She has a particular interest in Henry V and Agincourt. She teaches French History from 1000 – 1500 and runs a specialist course on Joan of Arc (born in Lorraine) and her Age, 1419-1435. She is Director of the long running Medieval Studies Programme for the Cambridge International Summer Schools and regularly teaches at Madingley Hall. She travels to France at least twice a year, partly for work and partly for pleasure.
Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.
We recommend a three-night extension to lights of Paris or relaxing Lake Lucerne after your tour. In Paris, our top picks are the Sydney Opera (Paris), for value in a great location and the Balzac, a boutique four star deluxe property in a quiet street close to the Arc de Triomphe. For unparalelled luxury we recommend one of Paris’ opulent ‘palace’ hotels, Le Meurice, the Plaza Athenée or the Four Seasons George V.
In Lake Lucerne The Palace has a wonderful lake-side location and is just 5 minutes’ walk from the old town.
Your trip scholar has put together a selection of suggested books for those who would like to find out more about some of the themes of the tour, either beforehand or on your return. Click here to view.
Note: The current list was collated for a tour we operated in 2014 and may be updated slightly before this year’s tour. All participants will be sent an updated list with their final statements.