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Old 09-28-10, 06:34 PM   #1
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Woohoo! Two days to go!

Until we fly to Paris for our boat/bike tour.
This one.
http://freewheelholidays.co.uk/boat-...ris-montargis/
Weather forecast is cool and mostly cloudy, but I'm sure we will have a great time anyway.
I don't think we will be taking a laptop in the interest of traveling light, so a report will have to wait for our return.
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Old 09-28-10, 06:45 PM   #2
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Looks fantastic.
What a great way to indulge in French meals and not worry about putting on weight. Have a great time and bring back pictures or it didn't happen.
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Old 09-28-10, 06:54 PM   #3
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green with envy
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Old 09-28-10, 07:06 PM   #4
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Wow! My wife and I are looking into tours like this for next spring or fall. I can't wait to hear how it goes!
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Old 09-28-10, 07:08 PM   #5
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Looks like a great tour! Take plenty of pictures.
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Old 09-28-10, 07:13 PM   #6
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Tres cool.
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Old 09-28-10, 07:18 PM   #7
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Do you have the option of taking your own bike? And I'm crude, but I have to ask: How much does something like that cost?
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Old 09-28-10, 07:27 PM   #8
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Do you have the option of taking your own bike? And I'm crude, but I have to ask: How much does something like that cost?
http://freewheelholidays.co.uk/broch...010_LR_web.pdf
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Old 09-28-10, 08:39 PM   #9
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Do you have the option of taking your own bike? And I'm crude, but I have to ask: How much does something like that cost?
I'm sure you could take your own bike if you don't mind the logistical hassles. We've done a European cycling tour before, and just went with the bikes they supplied. Since it's easy terrain, short distances and slow paced, we find their bikes acceptable. YMMV.
Price is in LB, because the tour operator is based in Britain. May to August it is 859 lb, October 799.(per person) For some reason, they do not run in September. That is when we would have liked to go.
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Old 09-28-10, 08:41 PM   #10
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I just got back from 2 weeks in France. You will absolutely love it. They are a very cycling-friendly country. You are allowed to bring home 2 bottles of wine per person, duty free.

And U.S. baguettes will taste like cardboard when you come back.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:28 PM   #11
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French food and wine- Could almost forget the bike with those on hand.

Breakfast and you may be disappointed- I'm not- providing the croissantes are Fresh and plentifull from the local Bakery. Evening meal is provided but if you can suss out a local town one night and find the Restaurant that the "Locals" go to- then join them. Try the local Speciality -even if it still walks away from the plate- it will be fantastic. Desserts are not great so no Pie but "Tartes"are fantastic.

Suggested menu- Moules Marrinierre- Coq au Vin and Creme Broulet for desert. Then finish off with the cheese board. Wines and it is up to you but Try the local wine- It will be the best the locality produce and will be great but do finish off with a Cognac. And there is a Normandy Spirit called Calvados. As you will not be too far from there- give it a try but as a Pre-Dinner drink. Just one glass will be enough as they call it a Digestif in France. But Watch out for it if the "Patron" sees you like it- He may pull his special reserve out and that is akin to "Hooch"

Midday meal and most towns have a good array of restaurants but if Cycling you want something lighter. Easiest way is to buy your own ham, cheese and butter and a couple of baguettes from the local shops. But I always find a Takeaway in most towns. Cheaper and quicker than restaurants and you can always get a French Sausage called a Merguez- along with french fries with mayonaise.There are always the "brasseries" where you can get a quicker meal and at a more economic price but still allow a couple of hours to eat there.


As you can tell- I need the Green Envy emoticon but my advice is to just use the bikes to go from Eating Place to Eating place. You will love the Holiday but you may be putting on weight. Cater for thet when you get home.

Oh--Tap water is drinkable but may not be the best you have ever tasted. Bottled water is cheap in France but as the wife found out- Take your own litre bottle to the Vineyards and the Wine is cheaper. And more palatable than the Tap water.
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Old 09-29-10, 07:48 PM   #12
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French food and wine- Could almost forget the bike with those on hand.

Breakfast and you may be disappointed- I'm not- providing the croissantes are Fresh and plentifull from the local Bakery. Evening meal is provided but if you can suss out a local town one night and find the Restaurant that the "Locals" go to- then join them. Try the local Speciality -even if it still walks away from the plate- it will be fantastic. Desserts are not great so no Pie but "Tartes"are fantastic.

Suggested menu- Moules Marrinierre- Coq au Vin and Creme Broulet for desert. Then finish off with the cheese board. Wines and it is up to you but Try the local wine- It will be the best the locality produce and will be great but do finish off with a Cognac. And there is a Normandy Spirit called Calvados. As you will not be too far from there- give it a try but as a Pre-Dinner drink. Just one glass will be enough as they call it a Digestif in France. But Watch out for it if the "Patron" sees you like it- He may pull his special reserve out and that is akin to "Hooch"

Midday meal and most towns have a good array of restaurants but if Cycling you want something lighter. Easiest way is to buy your own ham, cheese and butter and a couple of baguettes from the local shops. But I always find a Takeaway in most towns. Cheaper and quicker than restaurants and you can always get a French Sausage called a Merguez- along with french fries with mayonaise.There are always the "brasseries" where you can get a quicker meal and at a more economic price but still allow a couple of hours to eat there.


As you can tell- I need the Green Envy emoticon but my advice is to just use the bikes to go from Eating Place to Eating place. You will love the Holiday but you may be putting on weight. Cater for thet when you get home.

Oh--Tap water is drinkable but may not be the best you have ever tasted. Bottled water is cheap in France but as the wife found out- Take your own litre bottle to the Vineyards and the Wine is cheaper. And more palatable than the Tap water.
For the 7 days of the tour, all meals are supplied, including a box lunch, although I expect we'll be doing one or two cafe lunches along the way. We have one day in Paris before the tour starts, and two days at the end, so we will have lots of opportunity to spend our meal budget I'm sure.
We have reservations for dinner in the Eiffel Tower on Friday. I know it's spendy, but hey, it's Paris. Not likely to get there again soon.
We know all about long lunches in Europe. No such thing as fast food, and that suits us just fine.
Counting hours now.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:01 PM   #13
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I had dinner at the Eiffel Tower when I was there. Get there at least 30 minutes early because the lines are unbelievably long. And unfortunately you have to watch for pickpockets because of the crowds, but security is very visible and pretty attentive.

Paris is fantastic. Almost everyone speaks a little English, and their public transportation very easy to use. Have a great time!
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Old 09-30-10, 06:56 AM   #14
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I had dinner at the Eiffel Tower when I was there. Get there at least 30 minutes early because the lines are unbelievably long. And unfortunately you have to watch for pickpockets because of the crowds, but security is very visible and pretty attentive.

Paris is fantastic. Almost everyone speaks a little English, and their public transportation very easy to use. Have a great time!
Thanks for the tip. We will be sure to be there early.
Language wouldn't be a problem even if there were no English speakers there because I'm taking my own translator. My wife is English/French bilingual.
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Old 09-30-10, 02:00 PM   #15
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green with envy
I'm with DnvrFox, the Mrs. and I would LOVE to be able to do a "bike and barge" tour in Europe, SIGH! Still playing the Lotto, have a most excellent time!!
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Old 09-30-10, 07:20 PM   #16
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Paris is fantastic. Almost everyone speaks a little English, and their public transportation very easy to use. Have a great time!
Don't bet on it. This is the thing that drives Parisians crazy. Why do we assume everyone speaks English?
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Old 10-01-10, 12:59 PM   #17
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Don't bet on it. This is the thing that drives Parisians crazy. Why do we assume everyone speaks English?
I do speak French but I find that most shops have at least one English speaker that wishes to practice their "Foreign" Language. If not then the Sign language and hand signals are very effective.

My only mistake is when I am in the middle of No-Where and in my Best "French" say something. That is generraly when the person I am talking to gabbles on at 90mph and with a dialect that a knife could cut.
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Old 10-02-10, 07:48 AM   #18
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All three of my European cycling trips have been in early October. The weather was like here in southern Canada, northern US, a bit of everything, but generally pleasant. I prefer some cool and rain over summer heat and crowds. Enjoy!
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Old 10-10-10, 09:17 AM   #19
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Greetings from Paris.
The boat/bike trip is over,and it was marvelous. Weve spent the last couple of days in Paris seeing the sights. Im using the hotel lobby computer, so there will be no pictures to show until we get home tomorrow. Also, this french keyboard is driving me crazy, all mixed up, and I cant even figure out how to type an apostrophe.
Trip report sometime tomorrow.
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Old 10-10-10, 10:18 AM   #20
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Hope the trip was as enjoyable as you say- but you have lots to report.

And French keyboards are great. Gives an alternative conotation to the "F" word without you even thinking about it.
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Old 10-12-10, 09:28 AM   #21
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We're back

We returned home yesterday mid day. We were picked up at the airport by our son in law, and taken directly to their home for Thanksgiving dinner. A very nice welcome home, I must say.
It was a stroke of luck that we flew out of Paris yesterday rather than today. If you have been paying attention to the news, you will know why. One day strikes in protest of austerity measures in that country are shutting the place down, one day at a time. We flew in one day ahead of the last strike too.
Anyhow, it was early to bed last night after dinner. I have one day to get time zone adjusted before heading back to work tomorrow.
Lots to do today, so I don't have time to do a comprehensive report here. I'll give you all a little taste, and if I have time on the road this week, if and when I have internet connections along the way, I'll add to it.
The bike trip was mostly very enjoyable. The weather was not too co-operative the first couple of days, but by the third day, it turned around nicely.
Just a few pictures now, more later.
The boat which was our home away from home for a week. It was very comfortable with surprisingly spacious cabins, and large eating and common space.


Our Dutch guide, Wil.


Part of our group. Suzanne and I were among the youngest in the group. There were lots of people in their 60s and 70s. They were all a great inspiration to me.
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Old 10-12-10, 09:41 AM   #22
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Some make shift rain gear. We got wet on the first two days.


Lots of really old towns and villages along the way.


The first day included a visit to the Chateaux at Fontainbleu. Lots of interior pictures, but I'll just throw in a couple for a taste.



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Old 10-12-10, 04:10 PM   #23
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A little bit about our first day on the boat. We boarded Saturday afternoon. We were supposed to go out through the lock before 6:00 pm Saturday so we could get an early start Sunday morning as the lock closes from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am.
Well, due to higher than usual boat traffic in and out of the lock, the water level above the lock had fallen by about 20cm, enough that our boat was not fully afloat.
Consequently, we did not get out of the lock until Sunday morning, when the water level had risen enough for the boat to move.
The late start meant there was not enough time for us to do the last 15km to Melun by bike,so we had a nice river cruise that day instead.
Here's a shot of our very capable all Dutch crew.
From left, first mate Peter, (also husband of the captain)
cook, Afra, cycling guide, Wil, chamber maid, Sophie, and ship's captain, Els.



Els is a supremely competent boat driver. It was amazing to watch her squeezing into the locks that the boat was made to fit very precisely.
Check this out. One more coat of paint, and this baby won't fit.


Our cook was also amazing. She came up with fantastic creations every evening. I heard no complaints from anyone about the food.
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Old 10-12-10, 04:18 PM   #24
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On the first morning's ride before the rain hit.


Some scenery along the way.





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Old 10-13-10, 06:39 AM   #25
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Looks live it was a great trip, despite the rain. I will never tire of photos of bicycling in Europe.
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