Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your journey to the Ramada Dover (4T). Spend this afternoon easing into your holiday with time at leisure in the hotel; perhaps enjoy a cocktail in the stylish Octagon Bar before dinner this evening with your fellow travellers.
Dover - Fontainebleau
We journey this morning by Eurotunnel or ferry to Calais and on to Fontainebleau, south of Paris, stopping en route in Amiens, a city rebuilt following World War II with careful consideration to retain its original architectural charm. There should be time to visit the UNESCO-listed Cathedral of Nôtre-Dame and perhaps enjoy a bite to eat at one of the restaurants along the St Leu waterfront. Resuming our journey to Fontainebleau, we check in to the Mercure Château de Fontainebleau (4T), our base for the next seven nights, with dinner included each evening. A modern hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the Royal Palace, it is surrounded by a lush garden, with an outdoor pool.
Montargis - Ferrières-en-Gâtinais
Our river cruising begins today as our coach takes us into Montargis to join our cruise following the Canal du Loing northwards. Before leaving Montargis, there will be some time to see something of the town known as the ‘Venice of the Gâtinais’. Its picturesque canals crossed by 17 pretty bridges making for a fascinating wander, and we will be joined by a local guide who will give us an initial introduction to the main sights, which feature the fairytale Château de Montargis, and remains of some of the defensive walls and magnificent towers. Late morning our cruise gets underway and we enjoy lunch on board before disembarking close to the village of Ferrières-en-Gâtinais, from where we will make our way back to Fontainebleau, pausing at the ‘Plus Beaux Village’ of Barbizon situated on the western edge of Fontainebleau Forest.
Ferrières-en-Gâtinais - Château-Landon
Today, we glide northwards along the peaceful Canal du Loing, enjoying the rural tranquillity of this unspoilt area. We can again savour a locally-produced fresh light lunch delivered to the boat by a local boulangerie, before we conclude for the day at Château-Landon. From here our coach takes us for a guided visit to the Château de Courances, a moated château built during the 17th century that has undergone many changes over the centuries - the most notable being its restoration during the 19th century when many impressive embellishments included the grand horseshoe staircase and the traditional red bricks on all of the facades. Today you can admire the many classical features and grand rooms, along with the exquisite 17th century gardens - named ‘one of the loveliest gardens in France’ - featuring tranquil ponds, an avenue of plane trees, pretty flora, and lush landscapes.
Château-Landon - Nemours
Our scenic cruise continues from the superb, medieval fortified town of Château-Landon towards the waterways town of Nemours, notable for its wooden church spire and medieval castle alongside the River Loing. After lunch on board we return to Fontainebleau for our guided tour of Fontainebleau Palace, the UNESCO-listed medieval castle and the residence of many French monarchs including Louis VII and Napoleon III. One of the most attractive structures in France, the castle makes a splendid visit with its grand royal apartments, beautifully detailed Trinity Chapel, horseshoe staircase, Renaissance halls, and lavish gardens.
Nemours - Moret-sur-Loing
Rejoining the boat in Nemours, we continue our gentle cruise north-eastwards, still following the Loing Valley as it drops towards the Seine. Mooring in the fine gated town of Moret-sur-Loing, we will share the same riverside vista as was so much loved here by Monet, Renoir and Sisley. Early afternoon we rejoin our coach, for a guided tour of the 17th century Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte - one of the country’s most famous and renowned for its architectural design, grand decorations and gardens. Constructed for King Louis XIV’s superintendent of finance, the lavish structure marks the beginning of Louis XIV’s expressive style which combined impressive exterior, detailed interior and landscape designs to create remarkable architectural masterpieces.
Moret-sur-Loing - Cannes-Écluse
This morning we return quite early for more time to visit the picture-postcard medieval town of Moret-sur-Loing with its impressionist connections. Here you will be able to stroll the historic centre filled with fascinating attractions including the Musee du Sucre d’Orge, an excellent museum revealing the history of barley sugar production; the beautiful Nôtre Dame church; and a collection of old half-timbered houses. Rejoining the boat late morning, we continue our cruise, heading northwards to join the River Seine and upstream to Montereau-fault-Yonne where we turn south-eastwards onto the River Yonne as far as Cannes-Écluse. Disembarking here, we depart for Provins, a UNESCO World Heritage town famed for its medieval flair, and you can enjoy some time for independent sightseeing before returning to Fontainebleau.
Cannes Écluse - Pont-sur-Yonne
Today we enjoy rural river scenery at its best as we follow the Yonne upstream for an all-day cruise from Cannes-Écluse to our final calling point at Pont-sur-Yonne. One of the major tributaries of the Seine, the Yonne rises in the Morvan Hills some 180 miles to the south, and it tracks through some of the prettiest scenery in western Burgundy with its mix of wooded hillsides, rich agricultural land, ancient settlements, medieval towns and sleepy villages. To make today all the more special, our onboard guide will be on hand throughout the morning to recount some of the region's history and describe the key historical sites along this lovely stretch of waterway.
Day 9 Fontainebleau - Dover
After breakfast we begin the return journey home, aiming to pause in Senlis en route before continuing to Calais and the Channel crossing. Upon arrival in Dover, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.