Barge Germany and France Burgundy Alsace Black Forest Neckar Rhine



A Wine & Dine Odyssey

Paris and Germany

June 12th to June 26th, 2019

Discover a countryside with a stately procession of colorful villages, vineyards, and crumbling castles. Our journey will be by land in combination with a relaxing seven-night voyage aboard our exclusive chartered hotel-barge on the Rhine River and Mittelland Canal. With a length of 202 miles, the canal is the longest artificial waterway in Germany and is the main east-west inland waterway connection. Its importance goes beyond Germany as it links France, Switzerland and the Benelux countries with Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic Sea. We board the barge in Cologne and finish the cruise in Magdeburg.

Tasting the many splendid wines will delight your palate and whet your appetite for the excellent local repast. Enjoy extraordinary dining and a wealth of simple “rustic” dishes. Beer is usually locally brewed and almost every district grows its own wine. Indulge in the French and German cheeses and chocolates.

The trip has been planned for your convenience. All gratuities, excursions, transfers and porterage are included in the price, as well as all breakfasts, three lunches, and eleven dinners. Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks are included with every dinner. The Merlijn has twelve comfortable cabins onboard. All have private facilities with a shower, closet, small desk, and a safe. During our time on the barge, we will have walking excursions in most of the towns we visit, and you also have the option of riding one of the boat’s bikes.

Plan to arrive at Paris Airport no later than Wednesday, June 12th. Our private limousine will provide a transfer to the deluxe hotel in Paris. If you would like more time to enjoy the delights of Paris you may wish to arrive two or three days before the tour begins. There is so much to see and do in this enchanting city and we have special rates available at our hotel, for the extra nights. On the first day of the tour, a local guide will introduce you to the city’s history, monuments, and museums. It’s the perfect way to get oriented.

The journey comes to a close on June 26th as we bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Dresden International Airport.

DAILY ITINERARY –June 12th to June 26th, 2019

Most days of the trip you have the option of a sightseeing walking tour or a hike. Once we get on the barge, you will also have the option of a daily bike ride.

Wednesday, Paris. Our limo will transfer you from the airport to our hotel in the city center. An afternoon orientation bus tour, gives you a great overview of Paris. Learn about the architectural heritage as you visit the principal districts of Paris, as well as the great squares and avenues. You will see the most important monuments of Paris, the bridges that rise over the Seine and the museums.
Paris – Le Littre

Thursday, Paris. Plan your day’s itinerary at your own pace and explore at leisure. As a farewell to the city we’ll enjoy a memorable night out in Paris with a gourmet dinner cruise along the Seine River. Float past the city’s famed monuments – the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral, aboard a luxury riverboat.
Paris – Le Littre.

Friday, Cologne. This morning we drive to Reims, the capital of the Champagne region. Visit the magnificent Cathedral du Notre Dame and continue through the vineyards with a stop for lunch, and a tasting at one of the great cellars. Later in the afternoon we’ll stop in Germany for coffee and pastries.
Cologne – Steigenberger Köln

Saturday, Düsseldorf. We tour the historic highlights of Cologne, including the famous 13th Century Gothic Cathedral. When the cathedral was finally completed in 1880, it was the tallest building in the world. For a unique experience you can also visit the Chocolate Museum. We are welcomed on board the Merlijn with a drink as we begin our cruise, sailing the Rhine River.

Sunday, Oberhausen. This morning we’ll walk Düsseldorf’s Altstadt and the Königsallee. It marks one of the original city walls and now is known for the shops that sell premium brands such as Swarovski, Armani, and Prada. In the afternoon we cruise the Bergisches Land rich, with gorgeous nature and castles.

Monday, Münster. The Merlijn takes us through a region famous for nature and castles. Visit Vischering, a fortress built on two islands, protected with double fortified walls. Explore Münster, with a blend of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. For dinner this evening, we mingle with the locals in a town restaurant.

Tuesday, Minden. In Bad Essen we’ll stroll the historical town center with an assortment of half-timbered houses. We visit an old watermill, and the Alte Apotheke (pharmacy), established in the 18th century. In Minden, the canal crosses the Weser River on a large aqueduct, the second biggest aqueduct in Europe.

Wednesday, Peine. Today we tour Hannover’s, Herrenhausen Gardens. They have been an example of grand horticultural style for more than 300 years and are the most important baroque garden in Europe. We walk amidst opulently designed beds, splendid sculptures and artistically clipped, illuminated hedges. Water features can be heard babbling in hidden corners and a fountain jets a plume of water to a height of 270 feet.

Thursday, Haldensleben. Morning drive to Wolfenbüttel, a time capsule of half-timbered houses – there are over 600 of them, all beautifully restored. It's also the home of the potent, Jägermeister, a herb-flavored liqueur. In Wolfsburg, we’ll tour Autostadt, adjacent to the Volkswagen factory. It’s emphasis is on automobiles, including all the brands in the Volkswagen Group. Major attractions are select legendary cars, such as the first gasoline vehicle produced, and the Beetle.

Friday, Magdeburg. Cross the border into what was once East Germany. See another engineering marvel, as the canal passes over the Elbe river, allowing large commercial ships to pass between the Rhineland and Berlin without having to descend into and then climb out of the Elbe itself. Tour Magdeburg, one of the country’s oldest cities, founded some 1200 years ago and home to the first Gothic cathedral on German soil. Magdeburg’s newest architectural attraction, meanwhile, is the whimsical Grüne Zitadelle (Green Citadel), the last building of eccentric artist-architect Hundertwasser.

Saturday, Meissen. We say “auf Wiedersehen” to the Merlijn and travel to Leipzig, ranked by the New York Times as one of Germany’s most significant places to visit. Included in our walking tour will be some of the historic glass-roofed arcades with shops, bars, and cafes. The afternoon is free for lunch and independent sightseeing, followed by a short coach ride to our hotel in Meissen.
Meissen – Parkhotel

Sunday, Meissen. Morning tour of Meissen with cobble-stoned alleys and town houses from the Renaissance. The late Gothic guildhall, romantic courtyards, craft shops, and rustic wine bars are all characteristic of the city. We’ll visit the famous Meissen porcelain factory and learn about the "white gold" with the "blue swords" as a trademark that helped Meissen get such an international reputation. Each piece is unique, and all patterns are painted by hand.
Meissen – Parkhotel

Monday, Meissen. Travel to nearby Dresden, were we have a walking tour of a city that is considered one of the architectural and cultural treasures of the world. The Old Town is particularly impressive with the baroque cathedral and the newly completed Frauenkirch. There is free time for shopping and visiting museums. The Green Vault contains the impressive royal collection of silver, gold, and the elaborate bejeweled painted figures.
Meissen – Parkhotel

Tuesday, Meissen. Today we travel through Saxon Switzerland with some of Germany’s most dramatic scenery. High sandstone cliffs and crags form a deep gorge through which the Elbe River flows. The stone has been weathered and worn into a series of fantastic sculptured pillars, towers, and arches. Tonight we celebrate our last evening together with a special farewell dinner featuring the regional delicacies.
Meissen – Parkhotel

Wednesday, June 26th. Pack up your happy memories. The journey comes to a close as we regretfully bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Dresden International Airport, arriving home the same day.

PRICE PER PERSON: $5,595 land cost ($2,495 single room surcharge)

Seven nights aboard our private chartered river barge, the Merlijn.
Seven nights in outstanding, first-class hotels in central locations.
28 meals – buffet breakfast daily, three lunches and eleven taste-tempting dinners unique to the region, including the Welcome and Farewell dinners.
Complimentary wine, beer, bottled water, and soft drinks during dinner.
Transfers between airports, hotels, and the barge.
Transport by private luxury motorcoach.
Personalized tours of most towns visited with local guides and entrance fees.
Complimentary bicycles and helmets throughout our time on the barge.
All gratuities, taxes, service charges to hotel staff, barge staff, and local guides.
Porterage and handling of luggage at the hotels and on the barge.
Laminated luggage tags and tour information packet.
A careful balance of free time to pursue your own interests.
Hosted by Gerhard Meng.
• Special feature: A brisk pre-breakfast or after dinner walk for those who would like to start or finish the day with a bit of exercise.


RESERVATIONS:  Notify us that you wish to join the tour. Your space will be reserved, and a sign-up packet will be forwarded with registration form and an invoice for deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, an information packet will be forwarded with further confirmation of your reservation and details to help prepare for the tour. Full and final payment is due February 12, 2019.

 COST OF TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE:  Air transportation, expenses of passports, laundry, telephone, and items of a personal nature; beverages other than those mentioned as being included; excess baggage charges; health and accident and baggage insurance; or any services other than those specifically mentioned as being included. Gerhard’s Odysseys is not responsible for delays or missed portions of your tour relating to flight delays or incorrect travel documents. The itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements for the barge.

Our hotels:
Paris – Le Littre
Situated between St Germain des Pres and Montparnasse, and 350 feet from Rue de Rennes shopping district. The district is a great choice for travelers interested in food, culture, and art. You can shop 'til you drop for popular brands like Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Louis Vuitton. Set in a building originally built in the early 20th century, the hotel offers modern rooms with panoramic views over the city. The air-conditioned rooms and suites are equipped with free Wi-Fi access, a flat-screen TV and bathrobes and slippers. Montparnasse train station is close to the hotel and it is easy to take day trips to Versailles, Brittany, and Normandy.

Cologne – Steigenberger Köln
This 4-star hotel in Cologne is situated on Rudolfplatz Square, and close to Hahnentorburg Castle, and minutes from other important historical sites. All the rooms have a view, free Wi-Fi access and the restaurant offers buffet breakfast in the morning, while the bar serves a variation of snacks and drinks. Cologne's famous cathedral and the Rhine promenade are 20 minutes' walk away.

Meissen – Parkhotel
Situated in an ideal location on the banks of the River Elbe and near to the Meissen Old Town. Free WiFi is available in all areas, and all rooms come with satellite TV. The restaurant serves a wealth of delicious dishes and there is also a bar, and a beer garden. From the terrace, guests enjoy fantastic and unique views of the imposing silhouette of Albrechtsburg Castle and the Cathedral. Within a 5-minute walk you can reach the center of Meissen on foot as well as a beautiful park, also boasting marvelous views. In the hotel’s spa you can enjoy the sauna and steam room, and various wellness treatments. Be pampered with classic massages and Ayurveda massages, baths, and cosmetic treatments.

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Questions?  Call us at 503-223-2402

View the TOURIST OFFICE Web sites for some of the destinations we visit.