France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   A Day on a Canal Barge in France
Here's a description of a typical day on a bike-and-barge cruise in France, this one operated by International Bicycle Tours, Inc.




Moored in the Seine during the night, the canal barge Fleur , chartered by International Bicycle Tours, Inc., rocks gently every now and then as another vessel quietly passes.

Up at 07:30 am, we wash and brush and go to the dining room to serve ourselves a buffet breakfast (cereals, yogurts, breads, butter, jam, fruits, meats and cheeses, eggs, coffee, tea, milk, etc.) at 08:00 am.


The bikes are German-made Gude Reit (Good Ride) in various sizes with 11-speed hub gears (not open derailleur) with thumb-and-index-finger shift; adjustable seats; front and back lights that come on automatically when riding; strong brakes; thumb-bell; rear fenders (to prevent "brown back" in rainy weather); and a rear rack with hinged clip to hold essentials such as water bottle, sunblock, extra garments, etc.

Safety Briefing

The all-important safety briefing includes information on French traffic signs and signals, the attitudes of French drivers, dangers and annoyances, how to make turns and to navigate rond-points (roundabouts, traffic circles, of which France has very many).

The roles of the Guide (leader of the group) and Sweep (the rider designated to stay at the end of the line) are explained, as is the IBT Corner System,and the function of the chase car which follows the group carrying bike repair equipment, drinking water, etc. We're also told what to do if we get lost.

The Ride

A typical bicycling day includes some time on bike paths, town and village streets, some two-lane highway, a roundabout or two, perhaps a path through a forest and along a river.

At the end of the 30- to 50-kilometer ride, there is the barge, waiting to rest and refresh you. More...


Late afternoon we return to the Fleur, clean up, and gather on the fore-deck or in the lounge for conversation lubricated with coffee, tea, soft drinks, wine or beer.

The family-style dinner is served relatively early so the conversation may continue afterwards. Those who wish can read, or rest from the day's exertions with an early-to-bed.

Bike & Canal Barge Tours

Canal Barge Fleur

Canal Barge Cruises in France

Bicycling in France

Special Interest Vacations

Where to Go in France

When to Go to France


Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan


  Relaxing on the deck of a canal barge in France

Relaxing on the fore-deck of a canal barge
on the Seine near Paris.




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