Strasbourg to Lagarde, off the beaten path
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.
After meeting your the rest of your group and Tour Manager 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 vacation 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).
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.
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.
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, halftimbered 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.
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.
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.
Following a buffet breakfast on Day 7, transfer to the railroad station in Strasbourg. Here we catch the train to Paris for our onward journey to London St Pancras.
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.
Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travelers would recommend this tour
based on 14 verified reviews
An excellent vacation in terms of restfullness, good food and wine, plus some very interesting visits.
The vacation was well organised, the little boat was nd the food and drink excellent. We enjoyed the organised visits and all the staff were charming.
Excellent barge with good facilities, superb food, charming, excellent crew.
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.
First class Barge Cruise! Not sure what to expect, but comfortable cabins, excellent food and service, good company- only 22 like-minded fellow travelers, and interesting visits. Who could ask for more to celebrate a'mature' birthday!
A relaxing gem with helpful, friendly staff and good food.
The whole experience was most enjoyable, the staff were efficient and polite and the food and drink first class.
The vacation 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 railroad 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.
Well organised rail travel. Excellent vessel, food, wine and other drinks high quality and generous. Crew, especially the catering crew superb. Good tours. Enjoyable local meal ashore.
Good food and wine excellent staff well organised vacation in fact we have booked a similar vacation on another barge next year.
Strasbourg to Lagarde, off the beaten path