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French Canal Voyage by Barge: Discover Alsace-Lorraine

Program Number: 21158RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/4/2013 - 10/13/2013; 9/15/2015 - 9/24/2015; 10/13/2015 - 10/22/2015; 4/19/2016 - 4/28/2016; 5/17/2016 - 5/26/2016; 9/6/2016 - 9/15/2016; 9/20/2016 - 9/29/2016; 10/4/2016 - 10/13/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: France
Price starting at: $3,199.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Holidays, Festivals & Events Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 22; 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The region of Alsace-Lorraine borders Germany and the proximity shows in its culture. But these two provinces are also deeply, proudly French. Beginning and ending in medieval Strasbourg, this voyage on the Marne-Rhine Canal introduces you to Alsace-Lorraine’s spectacular landscapes, magnificent castles and unique customs and cuisine.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; uneven terrain and cobblestones common. Embark and disembark the ship via ramp.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Strasbourg, 2 nights; aboard vessel, 6 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-4: Arrival Strasbourg / embark MS Jeanine:

Spend a full day exploring the capital of Alsace including its famed Romanesque cathedral and the Palais Rohan, a magnificent baroque building now home to three museums. Journey through the Vosges Mountains to meet the ship. Lodging: Charming, ideally located city hotel.

Day 5: Xouaxange and Sarrebourg:

As the ship navigates the canal, learn about the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine in an onboard lecture. Go ashore to visit Sarrebourg’s church and examine its Chagall-crafted stained glass windows.

Day 6: Niderviller, Arzviller and Lutzelbourg:

Enjoy a unique day on the canals as the ship passes through darkened tunnels then is raised 144 feet by the Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane. Visit a crystal glassworks to meet the artisans. Arrive in picturesque Lutzelbourg in time for an evening stroll.

Day 7: Lutzelbourg and Saverne:

Begin the day with a field trip to the medieval Château de Lutzelbourg. Sail next to Saverne, where the ship moors in front of Rohan Castle. Journey across the Alsatian plains to the Château de Hohbarr.

Day 8: Saverne and Waltenheim:

Explore the off-the-beaten-path town of Saverne with its half-timbered houses. Pass through bucolic landscapes en route to Waltenheim and, if you like, disembark for a walk or bike ride on the canal-side path.

Day 9: Wingersheim:

Learn about wine and beer making in Alsace. Walk through the hop fields of Wingersheim and enjoy a sampling of the local brew. Try Alsatian wines during an expert-led tasting back onboard the ship.

Day 10: Strasbourg / disembark / departure

La Jeanine

This comfortable two-deck barge was fully renovated in 2013. It can accommodate up to 22 Road Scholar participants on an exclusive sailing. Each cabin has a window, private bath with shower, TV and independent temperature control. Amenities include a spacious lounge with a bar, a sun deck and a Jacuzzi. Bicycles are available for you to borrow.


The epicurious and the curious find much to admire in Western Europe’s largest nation, whose agricultural riches and terrain of beaches, mountains and fertile fields have drawn residents for thousands of years. The northern region hosts the nation’s Parisian capital, as well as unique Breton culture, while the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast sports the chic beach-goers and the terraced vineyards of the interior.

Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Hannong
  Strasbourg, France 2 nights
   MS Jeanine
  Alsace Lorraine Canal, France 6 nights
 Hotel Hannong
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Hannong is located in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, within a 10 minute walk of la Petite France, Place Kleber and Strasbourg Cathedral. The hotel has modern furnishings throughout with charming public spaces decorated with an ecclectic mix of fine art.
  Contact info: 15, rue du 22 Novembre
Strasbourg,   France
phone: +33 3 88 22 63 87
  Room amenities: Rooms features a safe, cable TV, desser and closet, bathrooms have hair dryer and soap and shampoo.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour reception desk staff with fluent English. The hotel has a wine bar where participants can relax and talk about the day's activities. High speed Internet WIFI is free of charge throughout the hotel. Room-service and laundry service are available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for reservations.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MS Jeanine
Type: Luxury Barge
  Description: With a capacity of 22 passengers, 12 spacious cabins with a window, MS Jeanine is 39 m long and 5.05 m wide. Each cabin with an outside view is equipped with a bathroom, shower and toilet, a TV, a radio, an indoor telephone a safety deposit box and air conditioning. On board, everything has been designed to be convivial with a lounge bar, a restaurant, a sun deck with loungers and parasols, a Jacuzzi and a barbecue deck at the front of the boat for outdoor pleasure. Bicycles are also available onboard. This new vessel will be inaugurated in Strasbourg in April 2013.
  Ship Information: The ship is a motorized canal and river barge. It is 128 feet long and 24 feet wide.
  Contact info: 12, rue de la Division Leclerc
Strasbourg,   France
phone: +Nopublicphoneforthebarge
  Room amenities: All cabins are outside cabins with window or porthole and feature a private bathroom with shower.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Showers only
  Additional nights after: No pre or post nights 

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program starts with orientation at the hotel in Strasbourg at 5 p.m. You will be staying at Hotel Hannong that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast and disembarkation at 9 a.m. followed by a coach transfer to Strasbourg. You will be staying at MS Jeanine the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
NO parking available
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Strasbourg
  Transportation to site: A group transfer from the Strasbourg Airport to the hotel is organized on the arrival day, the time will be determined based on final flight schedule but is likely to be in the early afternoon. For those arriving a day or more earlier, a taxi from the airport to the hotel is the suggested or you can take a train into the city central train station. Please see
  From End of Program
  Location:  Alsace Lorraine Canal
  Nearest city or town:  Strasbourg
  Nearest airport:  SXB
  Transportation from site: A group transfer from the barge docking area to the Strasbourg Airport is organized on the departure day. The time will be determined based on final flight schedule but is likely to be in the early morning. For those extending their stay a taxi to the city center will be your best option.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Travel to France
(Friday, October 4)
 In Transit Overnight: Overnight flight to Strasbourg, France

Day 2: Arrival Strasbourg and Orientation
(Saturday, October 5)
 Afternoon: Afternoon transfer to the hotel and check in. Orientation is scheduled for 5 p.m. Please meet in the lobby.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner near the Hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Discovering Strasbourg
(Sunday, October 6)

Note: Walking up to 2 miles in the morning over cobbled stone streets.

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Enjoy a morning walk in Strasbourg. Discover the section called "La Petite France" and the beautiful famed cathedral.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in the historic center of Strasbourg
 Afternoon: Visit the Palais Rohan and Strasbourg City Museums. Enjoy an expertly-led introduction followed by free time for individual explorations of the Fine Arts Museum, the Decorative Arts Museum, and the Archaeological Museum.
 Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Hannong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Free Time in Strasbourg and Embark the MS Jeanine
(Monday, October 7)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning at leisure to explore Strasbourg on your own. Check out must be completed by 11:30 a.m. Luggage can be stored in the lobby.
 Lunch: On your own.
 Afternoon: Gather in the hotel lobby at 1:30 p.m. for the group coach transfer to Sarrebourg, the gateway to the Vosges mountains. Sarrebourg has a rich historical diversity and is home to a charming church which features some very unique stain glass windows done by Marc Chagall. Late afternoon, continue on your coach transfer from Sarrebourg to Arzviller. Embark on your home for the next six nights, the MS Jeanine. Remain in port for the night.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner on board the MS Jeanine
Accommodations: MS Jeanine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Sail from Arzviller to Lutzelbourg: Crystal glassworks/Saint-Louis-Arzviller incline plane/Chateau de Lutzelbourg
(Tuesday, October 8)

Note: Short walk ascending 300 meters (984 ft.)

 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: This morning enjoy a presentation titled "Learn about Navigating and the History of the Alsace-Lorraine Canal." Afterwards, visit the crystal glassworks, a family-run business located at the foot of the famed incline for over 25 years. Encounter this old-time tradition and watch crystal blowing and cutting demonstrations.
 Lunch: On board
 Afternoon: You have the option of viewing the Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane by the comfort of a minature tourist train. A fabulous structure, the inclined plane is a one-of-a-kind transverse system boat “elevator” in Europe. The inclined plane replaces 17 successive locks over 4 km (2.5 miles) that once needed a full day to navigate. The structure consists of a caisson (41.5 m x 5.5 m/136 ft x 18 ft) which is lifted or lowered on an over 41% incline. A 44 m (144 ft) altitude difference is reached in only four minutes. You'll understand how the plane works though an explanatory film and by visiting the museum and the machine room. What's more, you'll be able to observe the three closest locks in Europe and the Arzviller tunnel from the train. Later this afternoon, the barge will leave Arzviller and set sail along the canal into the Alsace region. Enjoy the scenery as the barge sails on, leaving the Vosges Mountains behind. Arrive in Lutzelbourg, which deserves its reputation as the most beautiful village on the French canal banks. Walk to the Chateau de Lutzelbourg. Perched at over 300 meters (984 ft.) above sea level on a rocky, red sandstone spur, the ruins of the castle majestically dominate the village below in the Zorn Valley. The barge will moor in Lutzelbourg for the night.
 Dinner: On board
 Evening: Join in a game of French trivia.
Accommodations: MS Jeanine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sail from Lutzelbourg to Saverne: Château de Hohbarr
(Wednesday, October 9)
 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: Enjoy a presentation entitled "A Brief History of Alsace and Lorraine" led by your Study Leader as your barge cruises to Saverne. Arriving just before lunch, the barge will moor in front of the Rohan Castle.
 Lunch: On board
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, you can experience a visit to the Château de Hohbarr, nicknamed "The Eye of Alsace." From the chateau, you'll marvel at the splendid view of the Alsatian plains. On the way back, you can stop at a Chappe tower, an old semaphore location with an interactive discovery of the ancestor of modern telecommunications.
 Dinner: On board
Accommodations: MS Jeanine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Sail from Saverne to Waltenheim: Exploring Saverne and Walking or Biking Along the Alsace Canal
(Thursday, October 10)
 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: The morning will be dedicated to a visit of Saverne. Virtually unknown from the usual tourist routes, Saverne offers a wide range of places to discover. The Grand Rue with its unicorn fountain (the symbol of the city); the Katz house, adorned with magnificent carved timbers; Notre Dame Church with its 12th century steeple; various 18th century administrative buildings; or the Recollects Monastery founded in the 14th century.
 Lunch: On board
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy a bucolic journey that transports you to Waltenheim. Pass by the towns of Schwindratzheim—nestled on a hillside—and Hochfelden, a typical village. As the barge sails, you have the option of staying on board or you can stroll on the trails or bike on the paved trails along the canal. Moor in Waltenheim for the night.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant in Waltenheim featuring the local specialty "Flammekueche"; a savory thin-crusted tart with cream, bacon and onions on top.
Accommodations: MS Jeanine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Sail from Waltenheim to Strasbourg: History of Beer in Alsace
(Friday, October 11)

Note: Walking up to 2 miles on uneven paths. Good walking shoes needed.

 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: Start the morning exploring the hops footpath in nearby Wingersheim (good walking shoes required). Alsace offers an attractive and unusual landscape. A province of wine-growing and beer-brewing, gain a new perspective on the region through learning about growing hops. Enjoy a pleasurable walk through the hop fields followed by beer tasting. Afterwards, the barge will set sail for Strasbourg.
 Lunch: On board
 Afternoon: Your afternon is at leisure. Enjoy the scenery as the MS Jeanine sails towards the historic city of Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace. En route, cross the Zorn Valley and its landscaped fields where the canal is wide. Moor in Strasbourg for the night.
 Dinner: On board
 Evening: Night cruise of historic Old Strasbourg by small boat (water levels permitting.)
Accommodations: MS Jeanine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Sail from Strasbourg to Erstein-Kraft: History of Wine in Alsace
(Saturday, October 12)
 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: This morning enjoy a final presentation by your Study Leader as your barge sails to Erstein-Kraft.
 Lunch: On board
 Afternoon: After lunch leave for an exploration of the Alsatian Wine Route. You'll discover the region's wines and its seven grape varieties while traveling through picturesque villages with half-timbered houses, enchanting fountains and, of course, wine presses. Later in the afternoon, stop to taste the local wine at a wine-maker's. Learn about the vineyards and the wines while you enjoy four different types of Alsacian wines and identify the elements in each. Moor in Erstein-Kraft for the night.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner on board
Accommodations: MS Jeanine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Departure from Strasbourg to return to the US
(Sunday, October 13)
 Breakfast: On board
 Morning: This morning, disembark in Erstein-Kraft by 9 a.m. and continue by coach to Strasbourg. Transfer to the airport for your flights home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Traveller's History of France

Author: Robert Cole

Description: This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.

A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Portrait of an Age

Author: William Manchester

Description: Organized into sections on the Renaissance, Reformation and Discovery, Manchester's popular history evokes in vivid detail the great figures and daily life of the 16th century, including Henry VIII, Magellan, Borgia, da Vinci and Martin Luther.

Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer's Tour of France

Author: Kermit Lynch

Description: A delightful and warmly anecdotal book, highly recommended for anyone touring the wine regions of France. Lynch brings the domains and appellations of French wine to full-blown life, and his portraits of the grand personalities who make the wine are priceless.

Alsace, Lorraine Map 516

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: An up-to-date regional map at the very good scale of 1:200,000 published by Michelin.

Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages

Author: Alain Erlande-Brandenburg

Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.

Corkscrewed, Adventures in the New French Wine Country

Author: Robert V. Camuto

Description: An American journalist living in the south of France, Camuto travels far afield from Bordeaux visiting new winemakers from the Alsace to Mayonnaise, Corsica and Burgundy for this celebration of the culture and diversity of French wine.

Michelin Green Guide Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne

Author: Michelin Travel Publications

Description: A guide to Alsace, Champagne and Vosges in the classic Michelin style.

Strasbourg Map

Author: IGN

Description: A city map of Strasbourg at a scale of 1:10,000.

The Age of the Cathedrals, Art and Society 980-1420

Author: Georges Duby

Description: French scholar Duby, writing very accessibly, describes both the great cathedrals and the philosophical, religious, and political climate that enabled them to be built in this classic.

The Food of France

Author: Waverly Root

Description: An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).

Wine and War, The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure

Author: Donald Kladstrup

Description: This thrilling account of how the vintners of France saved their crops -- and their bottles -- as the Nazis approached, focuses on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.

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