Cruise & tour in secret Loire

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Another new stretch of fascinating inland waterway to explore as we cruise through the Loiret
Department with visits to some of the great attractions of this lovely part of France.

Another new stretch of fascinating inland waterway to explore as we cruise through the Loiret
Department with visits to some of the great attractions of this lovely part of France.

Additional Information

Year :
Start Location :
Lille, France
Tour operated by :
Spirit of Remembrance
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Another new stretch of fascinating inland waterway to explore as we cruise through the Loiret
Department with visits to some of the great attractions of this lovely part of France.

Starting where the River Loing feeds into the Seine at Moret-sur-Loing, our cruise over 5 days takes us southward on the Canal du Loing to Montargis, where we follow the Canal de Briare onwards via the famous historic lock flight of Rogny-les-Sept-Écluses to conclude in Briare with its 700m aqueduct over the River Loire.  In all we cruise for 104km with 51 locks, and have a free day when
we visit the Palace of Fontainebleau and the plus-beaux village of Barbizon with its connection to the great 19th century landscape painters.  We also visit the magnificent Château Vaux-le-Vicomte on
our way into Paris for our return Eurostar.

This is a route of great significance to waterways history.  The River Loing has been utilised since medieval times to float wood towards the Paris basin, but in 1604 it was decided to construct the world’s first summit canal to link the catchments of the Seine and the Loire, and it was in 1642 that the waterway was finally opened to barge traffic.   It is a gently winding waterway throughout, passing through countless villages and with long stretches through woodland and countryside and fascinating history always close-by.

We stay at the recently refurbished Ibis hotel in the centre of Montargis, well-reported by our previous tour groups and with an independent restaurant on the ground floor providing our meals.

Our two departures are reciprocal, so for our first week we cruise Moret-sur-Loing to Briare, returning the following week.  The day-by-day cruise itineraries therefore differ, but the cruise route covered is the same and we include the same local visits.

This tour-cruise will operate by Eurostar into Paris Gare du Nord, with a local coach operator supporting our transfers for the rest of the week.  We will travel Standard Premier Class with meal and drinks included.  Our train times are:
Outbound - London St Pancras


Ebbsfleet 10:42

Paris Gare du Nord


Return -
Paris Gare du Nord


Ebbsfleet 17:18

London St Pancras


Train transfers will be escorted, and meeting instructions at St Pancras will be issued with tickets prior to the trip. Passengers joining at Ebbsfleet will receive their tickets in advance and will be asked to make their own way through check-in to meet the main party on the train.

The Daily Programme : 1st July Departure
Moret-sur-Loing to Briare staying at the Ibis Hotel, Montargis
Day 1 Report to St Pancras for Eurostar Departure by 08:45 for 10:24 departure. Passengers boarding at Ebbsfleet will be issued with tickets in advance and must organise their own transfer to the station and check in to join the main party on the train.  Local transfer by coach from Gare du Nord, expected hotel check-in Montargis around 18:00. Dinner in hotel
  Embark Disembark Km/Locks Lunch Excursion Dinner Hotel
Day 2 Moret-sur-
Loing 13:00
18/7 On board Free morning to
visit Moret-sur- Loing
Hotel 09:00/18:00
Day 3 Nemours
Nargis 16:00 20/7 On Board Free time in
Nemours pre-cruise
Hotel 09:00/16:30
Day 4 Nargis 11:00 Montcresson
25/15 On board Morning guided
walk in Montargis, then all-day cruise to Montcresson
Hotel 09:00/17:30
Day 5 Morning visit Palace of Fontainebleau, lunch and afternoon visit in the plus- beaux village of Barbizon Hotel 09:00/17:00
Day 6 Montcresson
Rogny-les- Sept Écluses
20/8 On board Free time to see the historic lock flight at Rogny Hotel 09:00/17:00
Day 7 Rogny-les- Sept-Écluses
Briare 16:00 21/14 On board All day cruise concluding with passage over Briare Aqueduct Hotel 08:30/18:00
Day 8 Morning visit Château Vaux-le-Vicomte 10:00-12:00 and onwards to Paris Gare du Nord for 14:00 check-in. Meal served on board Eurostar but passengers requiring lunch will be asked to self-purchase at Gare du Nord
On Board Facilities:

Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply so you can expect to cruise-electric, free of vibration and fumes!

The boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 40 passengers in observation lounge comfort and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air. The boat has two WC/washrooms and a galley serving hot and cold drinks, and there is a free bar serving beers and wines. There is no smoking on board.


We then travel on to the Cambrai and our hotel for the night.

After time to freshen up, we head to the canal, where we first expierence Natalia.  We are welcomed aboard by the crew offering wine, beer and soft drinks and canapes.  We set sail along the St. Quentin canal, cruising silently along the waterways which have seen so much through the years.  On board is our local historian who will regale us with stories of the area and people who lived and served in this once sleepy town.

As night falls, the screen descends from the cieling revealing images of the past, before the First World War, continuing through the war years, introducing us to the people and places we will visit.  We will be joined by Philippe Gorcynski, owner of our hotel Beatus and historian of the Battle of Cambrai.  He will show us photographs and tell us stories of  his experiences are he researched the abandoned tank for 6 years and finally began excavation in 1998 and located Deborah.  She is not just any old tank, she is the only one that survives form the Battle of Cambrai in October 1917.  

It has been a busy day so take time to relax as our "floating lounge" heads for the bank near Masnieres, where music is playing and a barbeque French style awaits. 

Our executive coach and friendly driver are there at the end of the night to take us back to our hotel, where you can turn in or head for a night cap in the hotels French "estaminet", (bar), complete with a proper zinc covered bar top.

Accommodation:           Hotel Beatus, Cambrai, France
Meals:                             Breakfast & dinner

Day 4 – Tuesday 21 April 2020
After breakfast at our hotel we visit "Deborah", who we learnt about last night - a rare First World War tank, now housed in her own museum.  We then depart for Mont St. Quentin to learn about the bitter battle in 1918 and see the inspiring Mont St Quentin Australian Memorial. 

We visit the sites of the American & Australian attacks on the St Quentin Canal line.  The mouth of the St Quentin Canal tunnel and the inspiring Bony American Cemetary.

For those who wish to relax and take a pause from the busy schedule and visiting battlefields, relax aboard Natalia as she cruises from Masnieres to Honnecourt.   For those interested, there will be a talk on the Louvre gallery in Lens following which the coach will collect those wishing to visit the gallery while others simply take it easy onboard Natalia with a drink to two.
then return to our hotel for a relaxing afternoon before an early dinner (included) in the hotel as it is a very early start tomorrow. 

Accommodation:         The Grand Hotel, St Quentin, France
Meals:                            Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 – Wednesday 22 April 2020
After breakfast we leave the hotel with our first stop the famous Wellington Quarry in Arras (La Carriere Wellington) This world famous amazing underground museum is where the Allies launched their audacious attack on 9 April 1917 in the Battle of Arras - at the same time the Canadians launched their successful assault at Vimy 12 miles to the north of Arras. Miles of underground tunnels were carved out by Kiwi tunnellers in the Wellington (Named after Wellington NZ) quarry complex, housing up to 24,00 Allied troops for the attack.

We will then stop in Arras centre for a light *lunch break (*not included) before we visit the amazing Vimy Memorial at Vimy Ridge, and learn how an all Canadian assault on the *9th April (*Vimy Ridge Day) took this impregnable fortress. This date (9 April) is equivalent to all Canadians as Anzac Day is to all Australians. Vimy is an amazing and truly inspirational memorial and sits on top of Vimy Ridge - and is Canadian 'Holy Ground'. 

After visiting the Vimy memorial ** we will then return to our hotel for the evening and to prepare for tomorrow's historic Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day event (Australian National Memorial) and your visit to the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre. 

Accommodation:          Grand Hotel, St Quentin, France
Meals:                            Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 – Saturday 25 April 2020           ANZAC Day
Leave the hotel this morning very early at 1am sharp. Security is very strict at the ceremony and we want to arrive with plenty of time for security processing. We anticipate arriving at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and cemetery around 2.30-3am so we have time to give you an opportunity to experience the full commemorative programme for the Anzac Day ceremony. It is usually very cold before dawn at the memorial so be prepared and wear layered clothing as the day will change from sub freezing temperatures in the early morning to usually quite a warm day.(You will have a Spirit rainproof poncho/thermal blanket in case it rains). Full details of the ceremony here: 

Once the service is over we will then visit nearby Adelaide Cemetery (where our unknown soldier came from) on our way to a well deserved full breakfast at the delightful Le Moulin des Ecrevisses restaurant. After breakfast we head back north to visit the newly refurbished *Franco- Australian (Victoria School) Museum in Villers Bretonneux, then onto Monash's greatest victory at Le Hamel Memorial Park. We then travel north again to Bullecourt for the official DVA centenary service. Here we will enjoy a packed picnic lunch before the ceremony starts at 2pm. This will finish about 4.00 pm then we depart for Arras where our tour ends. (Arras is a 1 hour fast train trip from Paris or Lille). We also suggest that you *stay the night in Arras before you resume your travels the next morning as it is a very long day. (*Overnight accommodation 25 April in Arras is not included) 

Accommodation:            None 
Meals:                              Full buffet breakfast


Item Details
Your guide:   
Duration:    7 Nights / 8 Days
Tour Code:   
Cost in EUR € TBC pp (2 people sharing room)
€ TBC Single supplement 










Tour includes:
What’s Included:

Eurostar Transfers London-Paris at Standard-Premier class
7 nights hotel stay at the Ibis Hotel, central Montargis
All meals excluding only lunch on the return travel day
Five days of cruising the 104km of waterway between Moret-sur-Loing and Briare
Free bar whilst cruising and wine with all lunches and dinners
Visits to the Palace of Fontainebleau, Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, and plus-beaux village of Barbizon
Free time in Montargis, Nemours, Moret-sur-Loing, Rogny-les-Sept Écluses
Guided walk in Montargis
Highly experienced and knowledgeable military historian and guide throughout
• Executive standard coach used throughout the tour
• 3 star accommodation
• Breakfast daily whilst on tour
• 4 lunches
• Museum entrance fees:

* Special souvenir colour tour booklet  
* Commemoration tour bag