Picardy has for centuries been at the centre of Europe, fought over by the Great Powers from the Battle of Crecy in 1346 during the Hundred Years War to the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The region’s rich farmlands have always brought prosperity as well as conflict and this is reflected in its heritage of Gothic art and architecture, including its six splendid cathedrals, the most impressive of which is perhaps the UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral church at Amiens.

The battlefields of the Great War have left their mark on the landscape with memorials, cemeteries, museums and preserved features such as trench complexes and craters. Peaceful now, they offer a fascinating and moving insight into Europe’s troubled past.

We cruise the region from North to South along the Canal du Nord, crossing the pastoral Fields of Flanders, the ancient city of Lille, founded on its cloth trade and on through the nearby battlefields of Arras, Vimy Ridge and the Somme.

Some of the action actually took place on the banks of the canal and we can still see the evidence as we sail by or walk the towpaths. Further south the châteaux of Chantilly and Compiègne nestle in a large forest that once extended all the way from Paris and it is near Compiègne itself that the World War I Armistice was famously signed in a railway carriage, sited in a forest clearing.

Highlights


• Join a guided walking tour of Bruges with a local guide

• Visit Ghent. Visit the cathedral with fabulous painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” painted by the van Eyck brothers

• Visit the museum of fine arts in Valenciennes

• Enjoy a trip to Amiens to visit what must be one of the greatest of all Gothic cathedrals with its powerful towering spires and columns

• Visit the war museum in Peronne

Guests are met In Bruges or Brussels and transferred to the hotel barge moored in the beautiful little town of Bruges, known as the “Venice of the North”. After a champagne welcome, we visit Bruges for a city tour on one of the little canal boats which meander this picturesque town. Upon return to La Nouvelle Etoile, you’ll have time to relax and get ready for your first of many gourmet meals on board.
This morning we join a guided walking tour of Bruges with a local guide. Return to the hotel barge for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll have some free time in Bruges. Later in the day we cruise to Ghent. Dinner on board.
After breakfast, we visit Ghent. Visit the cathedral with fabulous painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” painted by the van Eyck brothers. Return to the hotel barge for a cruise up the River Schelde to the town of Oudenaarde where we will moor for the night. Dinner on board.
A morning cruise further up the River Schelde will take us to the ancient town of Tournay with its famous “Pont des Trous” (Bridge with Holes) used to collect tolls on the rivers in the old times. This afternoon you can stroll around Tournay before dinner on board.
We continue along the Schelde through the town of Valenciennes to the junction of the Canal du Nord at the little French village of Arleux. Along the way, we visit the museum of fine arts in Valenciennes.
We begin our climb over the Vermandois Hills of Picardie through the many locks and several tunnels of the Canal du Nord. The scenery is spectacular, rural France at its best. There is a great towpath for the barge along the canal for a leisurely walk if you wish. After lunch, there will be a trip to Amiens to visit what must be one of the greatest of all Gothic cathedrals with its powerful towering spires and columns. Dinner on board.
After breakfast we visit the war museum in Peronne. Upon return, we will continue on the Canal du Nord. There will be plenty of opportunities to walk or bike while the barge travels from lock to lock. The cruise now continues along the Canal du Nord as it drops down into the valley of the Somme River. Dinner on board.
After breakfast, we cruise down to the Oise River valley to moor in the riverside town of Compiegne. There are many places to visit, including the train where the World War I armistice was signed, as well as the Royal Palace. Dinner on board.
This morning we are now cruising down the Oise River valley where we stop at the village of Auvers sur Oise. This charming village is a van Gogh scene. Here is where he lived and painted most of his last and most important paintings, when he stayed in a small room above a local café. In the afternoon we walk around the town and visit the cemetery where Vincent and his brother are buried. Dinner on board.
After a short morning cruise and an early lunch we drive to Giverny to visit the home and gardens of Claude Monet, probably the most famous of all the impressionist painters. The gardens will be at their most beautiful at this time of year where we will see the famous lily pond and the Japanese bridge that inspired so many of his paintings. This evening, we moor for the night in Conflans, which is the junction of the Oise and Seine Rivers. Dinner on board.
This morning we cruise to Bougival and visit Malmaison, the home of Napoleon. Here you’ll see its many lavishly decorated rooms furnished by Josephine. We will rejoin La Nouvelle Etoile for an afternoon cruise up the River Seine past the Eiffel Tower to our Paris mooring for the Captains Farewell Dinner on board.
After breakfast, disembark La Nouvelle Etoile and transfer to your drop-off point in Paris
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.

Suite

€ 7190 EUR pp
Suite
Each of the four generous 200 sq ft cabin suites is lavishly equipped and the en suite bathrooms feature double hand-basins and oversized showers.

Suite Solo

€ 10740 EUR pp
Suite Solo
Each of the four generous 200 sq ft cabin suites is lavishly equipped and the en suite bathrooms feature double hand-basins and oversized showers.

Suite

€ 7190 EUR pp
Suite
Each of the four generous 200 sq ft cabin suites is lavishly equipped and the en suite bathrooms feature double hand-basins and oversized showers.

Suite Solo

€ 10740 EUR pp
Suite Solo
Each of the four generous 200 sq ft cabin suites is lavishly equipped and the en suite bathrooms feature double hand-basins and oversized showers.

La Nouvelle Etoile

Vessel Type: Hotel Barge / River Boat

Length: 129 feet / 39.31 meters

Passenger Capacity: 8

La Nouvelle Etoile has been designed to offer a very high level of comfort and convenience, to provide an on board blend of traditional elegance and modern-day facilities.

The spacious, air conditioned saloon with its attractive cocktail bar, piano and elegant furnishings provides a truly sophisticated setting, while other amenities include an exercise room and a lift.

Each of the four generous 200 sq ft cabin suites is lavishly equipped and the en suite bathrooms feature double hand-basins and oversized showers. On deck there is a large sun deck with comfortable loungers and a hot tub, as well as bicycles for you to pedal along the nearby towpath.

This cruise on the luxurious La Nouvelle Etoile is a journey back in time through a picturesque landscape along two delightful canals, including France’s oldest, the Canal de Briare. She also cruises in Alsace, Champagne, Holland, Belgium, Picardy, Germany and Luxembourg in Spring and Autumn.

Cabin layout for La Nouvelle Etoile
12 Days from
€ 7190 EUR pp

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