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Waterways of The Yonne, Paris and The Petite Seine

You are viewing the 2025 itinerary. Select your departure year
7 days From £2,595 per person
4.4 stars(29 reviews)
Barge Cruise

A delightful journey along the Seine, exploring Parisian elegance, stately châteaux, charming villages, and ancient history. Embrace art, culture, and natural beauty, exploring the highlights along this fascinating river

2025 Tour code: CYR25

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 on this barge cruise. We start by admiring the beauty of Paris by night, cruising along canals and below bridges that larger ships cannot navigate. Heading downstream from here, delightful river scenery floats by and we visit the Seine's most fascinating treasures.

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 explore ancient Sens, known for its Gothic cathedral and vibrant food market.

Unforgettable Experiences

Yonne River
Yonne River
Sail along the picturesque Yonne River via barge, whose waters are out of bounds for larger ships.
Enjoy a guided tour through the medieval charm of Sens, one of the oldest cities in France.
Uncover Vaux-le-Vicomte's magnificent châteaux and the grandeur of Fontainebleau.
Experience the romance and beauty of Paris on an enchanting illuminated evening cruise.
Melun & Barbizon
Melun & Barbizon
Sail to attractive Melun and explore the inspiring village of Barbizon, walking in the footsteps of talented artists.

What’s included


Day 1 – Cultural Paris

Our holiday begins as we meet our Tour Manager and the rest of our group at London St Pancras. From here, we board the Eurostar to Paris where we're welcomed onboard our barge ship with a cocktail before dinner. This evening we enjoy an idyllic cruise, seeing the City of Light's iconic landmarks from the river and taking in the romantic Parisian atmosphere.

  • Dinner
Day 2 – The stately Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

We spend our morning cruising on the Seine. Sailing through the heart of the French capital, we enjoy the wonderful riverside views on our way to Évry, on the outskirts of Paris. Arriving in the early afternoon, we step ashore for a guided visit to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Built between 1656 and 1661 by King Louis XIV, it is considered to be a masterpiece of the 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.

After our tour, we return to our barge ship for dinner and the rest of the evening is at leisure to relax or explore at your own pace. You could enjoy a peaceful stroll along the river and through the charming town centre, or simply relax in a lovely café, embracing the town's serene ambience.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 – Attractive Melun and artistic Barbizon

Sit back and enjoy a delightful morning of sailing as we pass bucolic scenery on our way to Melun, famous for its Brie de Melun cheese. From here, we join our coach in the afternoon and drive 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.

Explore the charming village at leisure. One of the main attractions is the Auberge Ganne, once the meeting place of all the resident artists. Now, it has a museum exhibiting the life and work of local artists. Or, you could visit the studios of Theodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet, which have been preserved in their memory and now host temporary exhibitions.

After dinner back onboard, enjoy the rest of the evening at your own pace. With a pedestrian-only centre and pleasant harbour, you could get to know more of Melun or simply unwind with a quiet night onboard.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 – The Regal Château de Fontainebleau

After a morning of peaceful sailing, we disembark in Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne, a picturesque medieval town that lies close to Fontainebleau Forest. We moor here for today. After lunch on board, we set out by coach to the Château de 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. 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. We also tour the cosmopolitan town before returning to Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne for the evening.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 – Picturesque Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne

This morning we explore Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne on a guided tour. This royal town is famous for its barley sugar and landscapes which inspired the Impressionist Alfred Sisley. We discover the fortified medieval gates, the superb Renaissance facades, and the banks of the Loing and Notre Dame church. There's time after our tour to wander around the town at your own pace. We recommend visiting the barley sugar shop, a sweet and delicate flavour created during the reign of Louis XIII in Moret.

Later this afternoon, we sail to Montereau-Fault-Yonne at the confluence of the Yonne and Seine Rivers, where we moor for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 – Ancient Sens

This morning we begin our cruise along the Yonne River, gliding past idyllic hamlets of stone cottages, thick woodlands and lesser-known towns. We reach Sens this afternoon. After lunch, we enjoy a guided tour of the city, one of the oldest in France with a history dating back to the 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 our wonderful gala dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – Home

Today marks the final day of our barge adventure along the Seine. We say goodbye to our lovely crew after breakfast and head by coach to Paris. From here, we board the Eurostar back to London where we bid farewell to our Tour Manager and new friends.

  • Breakfast, Dinner

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

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.




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4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 29 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Ian Gordon

2 stars

Submitted 26/Jun

The disruption caused by the Olympics, not GWR's fault, meant too much time spent on coach trips and too little cruising, It also meant three nights at a the same mooring far from a walkable town

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr Ian Baxter

3 stars

Submitted 25/Jun

Good food and wine on the barge cruise. However the itinerary was changed to a vey considerable extent. In fact at no stage did we actually travel on the Yonne by barge and local tour guides said this was the best part of the barge journey. A pity.

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Kirsten Campbell-Ferguson

5 stars

Submitted 4/Jun

A splendid relaxed holiday with other positive holidaymakers and , as usual, a really helpful crew. Having done all five barge holidays, this was up with the best, though the top place still goes to the Camargue from Sete to Arles. What a pity that there are no more for us to enjoy.

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Ann Taylor

5 stars

Submitted 2/Jun

excellent friendly helpful staff, food and planning

Collected by Trustpilot

Adrian Bourne

5 stars

Submitted 28/May

Relaxing plus well run excursions. Professional, friendly crew Would recommend to others

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr John Coleman

4 stars

Submitted 28/May

Excursions interesting but not our cup of tea

Collected by Trustpilot

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