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The Waterways of Alsace and Lorraine by Barge

4.5 stars(8 reviews)

Explore the hidden gems of Alsace and Lorraine by barge

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
7 days From £2,295 per person

2021 Tour code: CAR21

About the tour

On this all inclusive barge 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.


What’s included


Day 1 - To Strasbourg and embarkation

After meeting at our St Pancras Departure Office, board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Strasbourg - the capital of the historical region of Alsace. This area is one of France's best-kept secrets, by-passed by sun-seekers who race to the Côte d'Azur. But to the delight of gourmets across the country other than Paris, there are more Michelin-starred restaurants in Alsace than anywhere else in France. The region is famous for its cuisine and the world-renowned wines from vineyards along the 'Route des Vins', making it a delightful holiday destination. We transfer by 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).

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Villa Meteor

Today we travel to Truchtersheim where we delve into local heritage at the Maison du Kochersberg museum. We continue to Hochfelden and the Villa Meteor, where we learn about the beer-making Meteor family and their brewery, and enjoy a tasting of their famous products.

  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 3 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Haut-Barr Castle

Begin Day 3 sailing to Saverne. On arrival, we enjoy a visit to the towering Haut-Barr Castle. Strategically positioned at 470m above sea level, it is also known as 'the Eye of Alsace' for the views it offers out over the Alsace Plain. Haut-Barr Castle is also home to the 'devil's bridge', a walkway suspended between two seemingly perilously perched rocks - a unique experience not for the faint of heart! On our return to the boat, we stop briefly at the Chappe Tower.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Saverne

This morning includes a guided tour of Saverne, discovering the town's main street, with its unicorn fountain (Saverne's emblem), and Katz house, a tavern adorned with beautifully decorated, half-timbered sculpturing that dates back to 1605. We also visit the church of Notre Dame and the surviving 12th century porch tower. This afternoon we take a leisurely stroll to Lutzelbourg Castle, before dinner at a local restaurant. Here, you have the chance to experience a local delicacy - tarte flambée.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - The Inclined Plane

This morning is spent aboard the Madeleine as we pass through the Arzviller and Niderviller Tunnels. We make our way towards the remarkable Arzviller Inclined Plane and from our position on the ship, enjoy a unique view. 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 4 minutes, a unique and unforgettable experience. At the foot of the incline, we find the Inclined Plane Crystal Workshop which 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.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Sarrebourg

Arriving back in Lagarde this morning. After lunch, we depart the boat and transfer by coach to Sarrebourg which sits on the banks of the River Saar, the waterway from which the city gets its name. Here we enjoy a guided tour of this cultural destination and discover many of its hidden historical gems. The 13th century chapel of Cordeliers can be found in Sarrebourg: the original Marc Chagall stained glass window here, 'Peace', is the largest piece of its kind that the artist ever created and takes pride of place in the heart of the church. We'll also see the Art Nouveau architecture on display and wander the 18th century Grand'rue.

  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 7 - Breakfast
Day 7 - Strasbourg to London

Following a buffet breakfast on Day 7, transfer to the railway station in Strasbourg. Here we catch the train to Paris for our onward journey to London St Pancras.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Shore Excursions - Included in your Tour


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.

Haut-Barr Castle

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.

Shore Excursions
Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.

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.




MS Madeleine

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4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 8 reviews

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

Mr A Gander

5 stars

Submitted 21 Sep 2019

An excellent holiday in terms of restfullness, good food and wine, plus some very interesting visits.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs S Ganley

5 stars

Submitted 20 Oct 2018

The Madelaine barge was very comfortable and the staff were lovely. The itinerary was also really good with beautiful scenery and interesting places to visit.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr H Smith

3 stars

Submitted 30 Sep 2018

The food was below the standard of other river cruise operators, eg Viking. The 5 hour wait at Gare du Nord between arrival and departure to St Pancras (for which we have received £40 compensation)

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs P Brown

5 stars

Submitted 14 Jul 2018

First class Barge Cruise! Not sure what to expect, but comfortable cabins, excellent food and service, good company- only 22 like-minded fellow travellers, and interesting visits. Who could ask for more to celebrate a'mature' birthday!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr D Lindsley

5 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2018

The whole experience was most enjoyable, the staff were efficient and polite and the food and drink first class.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs E Barrett

4 stars

Submitted 30 Jun 2018

The holiday was very good and we enjoyed it; the boat was comfortable and the staff friendly and helpful.I'm not sure why we went to a Marshmallow factory instead of the scheduled visit to Lutzelbourg Castle, no explanation was offered,and Haut-Barr castle was disappointing as there isn't very much castle to be guided round. However, in spite of the mist the views were fairly spectacular. The food was generally quite good, but I would suggest that the Sauerkraut should not be repeated for British visitors! The real reason for my 4* rating was the 4 hour wait, mostly in Strasbourg railway station - dark, noisy and uncomfortable - on the day of our return. I know the crew had to get the boat ready for the next cruise but surely something could have been organised for us to fill the morning - even some free time to look round Strasbourg if there were no earlier trains to Paris.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Escorted Cruise in Europe 2022

Escorted Cruise in Europe 2022

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The Waterways of Alsace and Lorraine by Barge

Explore the hidden gems of Alsace and Lorraine by barge


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