Compiegne to Bougival on the Oise and Seine rivers
Join the beautiful ship Aurora for a fascinating river cruise between Compiegne and Bougival. Taking in the sights along the beautiful river Oise and the Seine, each day will be a fabulous mixture of relaxation and exploration, with a range of potential excursions for you, our guests, to choose from.
We will meet you at either your hotel or the airport in Paris, for our transfer on our private bus to Aurora, moored in Compiegne on the River Oise. Enjoy a Champagne reception including petit-fours on either the stunning front deck or in the bar alongside the open fire.
There is time for a walk around the town before our first sumptuous dinner aboard.
Monday: Compiegne to Pont-Ste-Maxence
Enjoy your first gourmet breakfast while Aurora begins her cruise.
Today's excursion choices
The Chateau de Compiegne
This neo-classical Palace was the main residence of the French Kings and Emperors. Napoleon Ist restored the chateau to welcome his 2nd wife Marie Louise. It was also to become the favourite residence of Napoleon III and Eugenie. The chateau takes us back to a bygone age and is splendidly furnished.
This french village is connected with the Armistice signings of November 11th, 1914 and June 22nd, 1940. Discover the history of the Compiegne Wagon, which was sadly destroyed towards the end of the second world war.
The Fortress of Pierrefonds
Situated in the heart of the Compiegne forest in a lovely village, this magnificent castle dates from 1407 when it was built for Duke Louis of Orleans. After being dismantled in the 16th century, the fortress was perfectly restored in the 19th century under the rule of Napoleon III, by the architect Eugène Violette le Duc to recreate a fabulous example of Gothic medieval architecture.
Aurora will continue cruising to Pont Ste Maxence, where we moor for the night. Surrounded by beautiful forests, while parts of this town were destroyed in the second world war, researchers have found proof of pre-historique occupation of this area. During Roman times, Pont Ste Maxence became an important trade route between Paris and the north of France, with wheat and wine being the primary commodities transported via the rivers. Sand and wood were also destined for Paris for building works.
Today's town has a population of just 12,000 and includes some fine architecture, including the local town hall with its slate spire. Take a bike ride or stroll into the ancient town. Perhaps you will discover the Roman road or simply relax onboard. In the evening, why not take a walk through the historical centre before enjoying Dinner on board?
Tuesday: Pont-Ste-Maxence to St-Leu-d’Esserent
Today we can continue our discovery of the l'Oise and offer a choice of excursions:
Visit Senlis to step back 2000 years!
See the arenas where gladiators fought, the ancient wall of Augsutomagus dating back to the 3rd century and undoubtedly one of the best of these walls preserved in France. The magnificent romantic medieval town with many old cobbled streets and picturesque houses is full of surprises. The Cathedral of Notre Dame has a magnificent 78m high spire; St Vincents Abbey, founded by Anne of Kyiv in 1060 and St Maurice's Priory dating from the 13th century, show the importance that religion has played in the town. The ancient fortifications and towers date from the 13th and 16th centuries. Visit the Museum of Archeology and Museum of the history of the town to discover more about the rich history of the area and to see works by Séraphine. It is no wonder that the monarchs of the early french dynasties chose to live in this beautiful town, close to Chantilly Forest.
The Abbey of Royaumont
Built-in 1235 by the Cistercians monks, the impressive cloister and remaining buildings give a good idea of the prosperity of the monks in the middle-age period. The Abbey was dissolved during the French Revolution. The first world war brought love and service back to the Abbey when a voluntary military hospital cared for soldiers wounded during the Battle of the Somme.
Our evening mooring is at the foot of the beautiful church, overlooking the Oise River, giving us a picture-postcard view for our dinner aboard.
Wednesday: St-Leu-d’Esserent to L’Isle-Adam
Our cruise today will take us to the charming, picturesque village of L'Isle-Adam, a firm favourite for Parisians wishing to escape the capital for a peaceful weekend.
On our excursion menu...
The Chateau de Chantilly
Step back in history as we explore the Petit Chateau dating from 1560. The Grand Chateau was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 1870s. We explore the chateau discovering one of the largest fine art collections in France specializing in french painting and book illuminations of the 15th & 16th centuries, a fabulous library and chapel, while outside, the beautiful gardens and the Great Stables are equally impressive.
The Chateau saw the premiere of a Moliere play in 1659 so it is fitting that it has more recently been used as a movie set and concert venue!
Alternatively, we may visit the museum of Nacre and Tablature in Meru, and discover the way buttons and dominos used to be manufactured in older times.
Upon arrival at L'Isle d'Adam, you may wish to explore the town, including St Martin's Church, the Museum Louis-Senlecq displaying the art and the history of the district, the Center of Art Jacques-Henri-Lartigue the famous photographer; and the Chinese Pavilion of Cassan, remaining from the 18th century English-Chinese garden.
Thursday: L’Isle-Adam to Conflans-St.Honorine
Today is another day of choices. Do you prefer to bathe in the works of the impressionist, or to discover the history of one of France's oldest liquors?
For the art lovers, we offer a trip to Auvers-sur-Oise, a pleasant village where many impressionists were inspired, including Renoir, Monet, Pissaro and Cezanne. The highlight of the day will be a visit to the house of Van Gogh, where the famous painter lived and died. The chateau-museum includes exhibits to show the décor and life in Paris during this fascinating period.
For those preferring to discover more about Absinthe, the Museum of Absinthe reveals the history of this famous 19th-century liquor.
Friday: Conflans-Sainte Honorine to Bougival on the River Seine
This morning we enjoy our final cruising, along the Seine River to Bougival. Take time to admire the views, including the fine houses perched along the river.
After lunch, you are invited to choose between two excursions:
The Chateau de Malmaison
Josephine de Beauharnais bought this beautiful palace built west of Paris while her husband, General Napoleon Bonaparte was busy fighting in the Egyptian Campaigns. A woman of excellent taste, she decorated the house and created beautiful gardens, including a heated Orangery, a huge greenhouse and a truly magnificent Rose Garden, with over 250 varieties. While Napoleon was quite annoyed by the extravagance and cost, Malmaison was to become one of their favourite homes. We will discover the story behind Napoleon and his wife Josephine through the many personal items on display in the house.
While the marriage ended in divorce, Josephine lived in the house until she died in 1814. Napoleon then took up residence for his final year before being exiled.
As well as a home, Malmaison was a seat of the French government for two years. The Civil Code was conceived here, along with the Legion of Honour.
While the exotic animals and birds, including kangaroos, emus, black swans, zebras, sheep, gazelles, ostriches, chamois, a seal, antelopes and llamas that Josephine imported are long gone, the stunning house and garden remain, despite having been pillaged and ransacked at various times. More information about Chateau de Malmaison.
Whistle-stop tour of central Paris
Visit the "City of Lights" in half a day – Enjoy a quick tour of Paris in the minibus with brief stops at the main sights: the Eiffel tower, Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, Trocadero, Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur basilica.
Breakfast on board and morning return to Paris by private van. After your last plentiful breakfast, it's time to say a sad farewell to join the return drive to Paris. Au-revoir!
Excursions are tailor-made to fit your interests. Your charter: your choice!