We began our first day of the Bike and Barge adventure early in the morning as we cruised along the Seine with the sun shining on the much admired Parisian landmarks – the Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. This set the scene for what was to become an amazing tour. After cycling in the summer hear, our team arrived at St Germain –en-Laye where we had magnificent views over the city of Paris. Louis XIV was born here in 1638. He turned the chateaux over to King James II after his exile from Britain in 1688. King James is buried in the nearby church.
The next day we moored in the town of Auvers sur L’Oise. It was here that Van Gogh painted 78 of his works. The ‘Painters Pathway’ is on the historic route of some famous impressionist and post-impressionist painters. Their works are replicated in various areas so you can get the thrill of being on the very spot depicted in so many well-loved paintings. Vincent Van Gogh and his brother are buried in the local cemetery.
Bert the captain of the barge found the most suitable places to unload our bikes. We would ride along the canal cycle ways and for the most part avoid heavy traffic. Each afternoon we met up with the barge and retreated to our cabins and ensuite showers! Then we relaxed on the deck or in the dining room to await the culinary creations of our on board chef. This was a perfect ending to our activities each day.
Written by Pat Mandeno
Bike & Barge France 2015