01303 261 870

No.12 - Into Paris on the Marne

No.12 - Into Paris on the Marne

A great chance to savour Paris from the waterways perspective as we cruise into the city on the River Marne before following the Seine as far as the Eiffel Tower before returning to join the Canal St Martin to cruise underneath the Place de la Bastille and onwards to conclude at the Parc de la Villette.

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This fascinating cruise includes lengthy canal sections which bypass great meanders of the Marne as it approaches Paris, and we pass through the tunnels of Chalifert and St-Maur as well as the remarkable passage underneath La Bastille.  Our cruise over 4 consecutive days will cover around 95km on river and canal and pass through 12 locks.   We stay throughout at the 4* Mercure Val de Fontenay, nicely situated midway along our canal route and with the Château de Vincennes and zoological gardens both close by – and both on the optional visit programme. 


We will have exclusive use of our passenger vessel “Natalia”, designed to serve as an observation lounge for those who like the intimacy and charm of the smaller-gauge waterways where the neighbouring countryside and passing villages feel close enough to touch.  Our hybrid-engined boat seats 45 in comfort and has a galley serving complimentary hot and cold drinks including wines and beers.  There is outside seating space forward and the saloon is air conditioned for refuge on hot days.

Day 1

We depart Folkestone by Eurotunnel in the morning and aim to pause for lunch in Compiègne. We then follow the Autoroute and Peripherique around the eastern side of Paris, aiming to arrive at our hotel in Fontenay-sous-Bois by late afternoon.


Day 2

We leave the hotel at 08:30 and join the coach to travel out to Meaux (about 40 mins) where we allow ourselves 3 hours for a chance to see the city centre, noted for its 12th Century Bishop's Palace, now housing the regional museum, Cathedral of St Etiénne, and the most comprehensive Great War Museum in all of France. At lunchtime we board the Natalia and enjoy lunch aboard as we begin our cruise along the Canal de Chalifert. After an 11km canal section we pass through the 700m Tunnel of Chalifert before rejoining the river as far as Vaires-sur Marne where we expect to moor for the day.

B, L, D

Day 3

Returning to our cruise, we begin with a 9km canal section as far as Neuilly-sur-Marne before we return to the Marne and continue to Nogent-sur-Marne where we moor. After lunch on board this leaves us able to choose between afternoon excursions either to the zoological gardens or to the Château de Vincennes, both of which are just a short coach ride away.

B, L, D

Day 4

Re-boarding at Nogent-sur-Marne, we continue to Joinville-le-Pont where we eliminate another of the river's enormous meanders by taking the Tunnel de St-Maur. This soon brings us to the confluence of the Marne with the Seine where after lunch on board we disembark for the day close to Bercy and the Gare de Lyon. We will aim to keep coach and boat available for the afternoon to provide a base for city centre sightseeing.

B, L, D

Day 5

Our cruise reaches its climax with an early (08:00) start from the hotel so that we can enjoy a run down the Seine and underneath the great bridges of Paris as far as the Eiffel Tower before the river gets busy with tourist boats. We then return upstream, past the Ile de la Cité and Notre-Dame Cathedral before turning into Paris Arsenal basin and on to the Canal de St Martin. Our cruise then concludes soon after lunchtime after our passage underneath the Bastille and through the series of double-chamber locks taking us up to the Parc de la Villette, where the boat will again linger to allow guests to explore the Park and the nearby Science Exhibition and Paris Conservatoire.

B, L, D

Day 6

After a leisurely breakfast we check out of the hotel mid-morning and aim for a lunchtime pause in Amiens ahead of our late afternoon return crossing.


B=Breakfast Included, L=Lunch Included, D =Dinner Included

What’s Included:


  • Executive Travel

  • 5 nights at the 4*Mercure Val de Fontenay, Dinner B&B

  • 4 days cruising the River Marne, River Seine and Canal St Martin, with lunch and drinks included

  • Free time in Paris

  • Optional visits to Paris Zoological Gardens or the Château de Vincennes (no charge for the coach connection but entry tickets not included


Our Hotel:

This spacious and modern 4* hotel is perfectly situated at the mid-point of our cruising route and has all the comforts and facilities that would be expected of a large 4* Accor establishment.  




Our tour and cruise package includes all meals with the exception of lunch on our travel days outbound and homebound. 



On Board Facilities:

Our boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate a coachload of passengers in lounge-standard seating and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air.  There are 3 bikes on board free of charge for anyone who would like to ride the towpath.  The boats has two WC/washrooms and a galley.  Tea, coffee, soft drinks, beers and wines are always available at no charge.  There is no smoking on board.



Environmental Policies

Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply.  Its diesel engines are only used if battery power is exhausted, so most of the time you can look forward to silent cruising.  The saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system.


We also operate to a strict waste-avoidance policy.  We try to completely avoid the use of single-use plastics and we operate to a responsible recycling code.  All meals and drinks on board are served using normal crockery, cutlery and glassware.  Our crew also has a brief to support the recovery from rivers and canals of floating litter whenever this is practicable.



Departure from Kent:

Anyone from further afield please feel welcome to join us on this or any other Buzzlines tour.  We are happy to arrange parking for you here in Kent, or we can pick you up from Ashford International Station – only 37 minutes by HS1 from London St Pancras – and help you to find overnight hotel or B&B stops. 



International Guests

If you are an international visitor and you would like to book a cruise/tour with Backwaters whilst you are already in France, you are welcome to make your own way to the hotel and join the tour there.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Ashford International Htl Ashford International Hotel
Folkestone Bus Station Bay E, Folkestone

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Contact Us

Buzzlines Travel
Unit G1, Lympne Distribution Park, Lympne, Nr. Hythe, Kent, CT21 4LR
01303 261 870

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday
09:00hrs – 17:00hrs

Saturday & Sunday