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Waterways of The Yonne, Paris and The Petite Seine by Barge


Glide along the Seine and its tributaries

7 days From £2,395 £2,195 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys
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Save £400pp on barge holidays departing in 2023.

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No Solo Supplement

No Solo Supplement subject to availability on selected departures. 

2023 Tour code: CYR23

About the tour

Glide along the Seine and its tributaries - the Yonne and Loing Rivers - taking in picturesque villages, medieval churches, and lichen-draped forests. Experience the grandeur of royal French châteaux with visits to Fontainebleau and Vicomte, take in the simple charm of historic towns and their architecture, and admire the beauty of Paris by night, cruising along canals and below bridges that larger ships cannot navigate.


What’s included


Day 1 – London and Sens

We depart from London St Pancras on the Eurostar to Paris. Alighting at the Gare du Nord, we transfer by coach to Sens, on the banks of the Yonne River, and board our barge, the MS Deborah. After being welcomed with cocktails, we settle into our cabins before enjoying a 3-course dinner.

  • Dinner
Day 2 – Sens and Montereau

This morning we embark on a guided tour of Sens, one of the oldest cities in France with a history dating back to 1st century BC. Dotted with impressive and ancient architecture, we see the Gothic cathedral, one of the earliest built in Europe, as sunlight filters through the intricate stained-glass windows. We then take a stroll through the Roman streets and promenades before visiting the vibrant food market, Marché Couvert. This covered market is housed in a pentagonal wooden building with rows of benches that serve as stalls. Hundreds of sellers come here daily with local vegetables, cheese, meat, gingerbread, and honey, and there's some free time to look around and experience a snippet of everyday life in Sens before returning to our barge for lunch.

This afternoon we begin our cruise along the Yonne River, gliding past idyllic hamlets of stone cottages, thick woodlands and lesser-known towns. We reach Montereau-Fault-Yonne, situated at the confluence of the Yonne and Seine Rivers, where we moor for the night. The evening is free to explore Montereau-Fault-Yonne, best remembered as the site of one of Napoleon's last battle in 1814. This quiet French town is a well-kept secret, boasting some excellent cafés, a quaint riverside church, and a number of colourful murals painted on walls across the town. Later, another delicious dinner is served onboard MS Deborah.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 – Moret-sur-Loing and Provins

This morning we reach the Loing River, another tributary of the Seine. We continue to Moret-sur-Loing, a picturesque medieval town that lies close to Fontainebleau Forest. We moor here for today. After lunch on board, we set out by coach for Provins, a UNESCO-listed town boasting an impressive 58 historic monuments. We take a guided tour of the city, taking in the medieval charm as well as half-timbered houses dating from the 13th century. Provins is famous for its rose cultivation and produces a wide variety of rose-based food products. We get to sample some of the local rose honey, enjoying its distinctive floral flavours, before returning to our barge in time for dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 – Melun and Fontainebleau Palace

We re-join the Seine this morning, making our way to Melun, famous for its Brie de Melun cheese. After lunch on board, we travel by coach to the Château of Fontainebleau. Spread over many acres of land and flaunting an elegant horseshoe stairway, it was used by French royal families between the 12th and 19th centuries as a hunting lodge. Set on the edge of Fontainebleau Forest, French monarchs would ride out to hunt its resident wildlife; deer, wild boars, and rabbits.

Over the years, the palace has been home to a variety of distinguished residents, with each inhabitant putting their unique mark on the building. During our tour, we see Marie Antoinette's unique Turkish boudoir, elegantly painted white with inlaid gold, and Napoleon III's imperial theatre. One of the most impressive rooms in the palace, it features 3 levels of plush seating, an ornate chandelier and a stage with hand-painted sets. There's also a ballroom that displays Italian frescoes and intricate woodwork from the 16th century, while hundreds of acres of parkland surround the Château, punctuated with magnificent sculptures. This evening we return to Melun, where our barge remains for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 – Évry and Barbizon

After a relaxing morning sailing the Seine, we arrive in Évry on the outskirts of Paris. Flaunting a contemporary architectural style, with red brick buildings dominating the town centre, its main attraction is its cathedral. Constructed in the shape of a cylinder, this is the only cathedral in France to be built in the 20th century. From here, our coach transports us to picturesque Barbizon, known as the painter's village. A settlement that began with a single grocery store grew to become the birthplace of the Barbizon School of Art, a precursor of French Impressionism. You are free to explore the charming village on your own, and one of the main attractions here is the Auberge Ganne. Once the meeting place of all the resident artists, it now houses a museum exhibiting the life and work of local artists. Perhaps, visit the studios of Theodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet, which have been preserved in their memory and now host temporary exhibitions. Returning to Evry, tonight we enjoy the captain's gala dinner onboard.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Vicomte château and Paris cruise

This morning we set out by coach to explore another stately château, Vaux-le-Vicomte. Built between 1656 and 1661 by King Louis XIV, it is considered to be a masterpiece of French Baroque style, while its extensive grounds were designed by Andre Le Notre who later designed the gardens at Versailles. Opulent tapestries, paintings, and chandeliers adorn the interiors, while the gardens boast beautifully laid out flowerbeds and elaborate fountains. We take a guided tour, discovering the fascinating history of this royal residence before returning to MS Deborah.

This afternoon we begin cruising towards Paris, reaching the capital by evening time. Our small vessel takes us along narrow canals and beneath low bridges, revealing the romantic beauty of the illuminated city (dependant on water levels). We admire the brightly lit Eiffel Tower as well as life on the French capital's 2 banks, experiencing the city of love from a different perspective.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – Paris and London

After breakfast, we disembark for the final time, transferring to the station where we board the Eurostar back to London St Pancras.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.




The Deborah

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Waterways of The Yonne, Paris and The Petite Seine by Barge

Glide along the Seine and its tributaries


Simon Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Ashleigh Howe