The Waterways of Alsace and Lorraine
Save up to £150 on 2020 departures when you book on or before 15/10/2019.
On this all inclusive cruise, explore the hidden gems of Alsace and Lorraine, discovering many sights that lie off the beaten path. With visits to the medieval towns of Saverne and Sarrebourg, we travel on board the MS Madeleine, along these scenic waterways. This tour is operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys.
After meeting at our St Pancras Departure Office, board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Strasbourg - the capital of the historical region of Alsace. We transfer to our hotel barge, the Madeleine - home for the next seven days. We then get the chance to take a separate panoramic boat-ride through the city at night (subject to availability).
Take time to relax on board this morning before we set off by coach for a tranquil walking tour of the Wingersheim hops path. Beautiful Alsace is famed for its beer production and we get the opportunity to try some at a special tasting. Back on board tonight, there is a celebratory gala dinner.
Our first excursion takes us by foot to Lutzelbourg Castle today, a 12th century fortress built overlooking the Zorn Valley. This afternoon we cruise towards Saverne, enjoying a visit to the towering Haut- Barr Castle. Strategically positioned at 470m above sea level, it is also known as 'the Eye of Alsace'. Here we are rewarded with unparalleled views over the Alsace plain. On our return to the boat, we stop briefly at the Chappe Tower - an ancient telegraph boasting an interactive display of communication through the ages. You have some free time to explore later in Saverne, The Musée du Château des Rohan is well worth a visit, with its collection tracing the town's long history. Otherwise there is the delightful Saverne rose garden with over 550 varieties of genus', it is the second largest in the country.
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Saverne discovering many of the sites not usually seen by tourists including the town's main street with its unicorn fountain (Saverne's emblem) and Katz house, adorned with beautifully decorated, half-timbered sculpturing. We also visit the church of Notre Dame and the surviving 12th century porch tower. During our tour we observe many examples of the town's historical architecture, with buildings dating from the 14th and 18th centuries. This evening dinner is served in a local restaurant and giving you the chance to experience a local delicacy - tarte flambée.
This morning is spent aboard the Madeleine with a candlelit lunch as we pass through the Arzviller and Niderviller Tunnels. We make our way closer towards the remarkable Arzviller Inclined Plane. The only one of its kind in Europe, it was designed to replace over 4km of locks that used to take a whole day to navigate. It is essentially a boat lift that traverses a 41% incline in only four minutes, a unique and unforgettable experience. At the foot of the incline, we find the Inclined Plane Crystal Workshop that has been preserving the art of blowing, carving and etching crystal for the past 25 years. Here we learn about these age-old methods and receive a demonstration before continuing along the canal through the Vosges mountain range to Lutzelbourg, where we moor for the night.
With a morning spent cruising to Lagarde, you might like to make the most of the on board facilities, including the Jacuzzi, and sun deck equipped with loungers and parasols for perfect relaxation. After lunch, we depart the boat and transfer by coach to Sarrebourg. Here we enjoy a guided tour of this cultural town and discover many of its hidden historical gems. These include the chapel of Cordeliers, where we discover an original Marc Chagall stained glass window. It is the largest piece of its kind that the artist ever created and takes pride of place in the heart of the church.
After a buffet breakfast, we disembark the barge for the last time and transfer to the railway station in Strasbourg. Here we catch the train to Paris for our onward journey to London. On arrival our tour concludes.
Discover the cultural and historical background of this industrial town located at the edge of the Vosges mountains on a guided tour.
The Inclined Plane and Crystal Works
Your passage through the Inclined Plane is a highlight of the cruise and afterwards enjoy an informative demonstration of local crystal production.
The size of The Madeleine allows you to reach this town that lies off the beaten tourist path for a fascinating guided tour.
Set high in the Alsatian hills, this 12th century castle offers stunning views. Perhaps brave the devil's footbridge.
This excursion immerses you straight into the traditions of Alsace as you take a delightful stroll through a working hops field and see first hand how these plants are grown and cultivated. This is followed by a welldeserved tasting of the local brew.
River boat tour of Strasbourg
Take a river boat ride through Strasbourg (subject to availability). The Old Town by night is truly spectacular and the cruise takes you past important monuments such as the European Court of Human Rights.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Strasbourg to Lagarde, off the beaten path