Oise, Seine and Paris Canals with Backwaters Cruises, 6 days


5-and-a-half day cruise aboard the Backwaters Cruises barge Natalia, with 5 nights spent in two ideally-located hotels, to discover the river Oise, the Seine, the waterways capital Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, the busy port of Gennevilliers and the unique Paris Canals, September 20-25, 2022.
Full price per person £920 in twin/double room
The deposit corresponding to 20% of the full price secures your place on this special cruise, which is limited to 40 participants.
David Edwards-May is a partner of Backwaters Cruises in assembling and running this product.



Deposit on a special waterway-themed cruise in the Île de France region. 4½ days on board the cruising barge Natalia and 5 nights in two different hotels, for a unique immersion in the waterways of Paris and the region, including the Oise, the Seine and the Paris canals. Tuesday 20th to Sunday 25th September, 2022. The cruise is organised by Backwaters Cruises and is reserved for members of Inland Waterways International. Enjoy the company of an enthusiastic and motivated international group. Secure your place(s) by paying the deposit corresponding to 20% of the price per person, which is £920.


Tuesday, September 20th

Assemble 15:00 at our first hotel, the 3* Apart-Hotel Olivarius in Cergy. The hotel is 10 minutes walk or a short taxi ride from the RER A train Station Cergy-Préfecture. The hotel has a large underground car park which is free for guests.
At 16:00 guests will assemble for the short walk to Cergy-Port, where we will board Natalia for a return cruise upstream through Pontoise lock to Auvers-sur-Oise where we will turn about to return to Cergy for our evening meal at one of the restaurants clustered around the marina. During our cruise we will be accompanied by distinguished waterways historian Bernard Le Sueur, whose talk on barge traffic and barge families’ lives on the French waterways, also discussing the Seine-Nord Europe Canal under construction, will be simultaneously interpreted by David Edwards-May.


Wednesday, September 21st

special lock maquetteBreakfast early and return to Cergy Port to re-board at 08:00, now cruising downstream to the confluence of the Oise and Seine at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where we moor to visit the Musée de la Batellerie et des Voies Navigables
Groups will be formed to reduce the numbers in any room to acceptable size. The overall presentation by Bernard Le Sueur will be given outside the museum, in its superb château overlooking the Seine, before entering. One of many fascinating models and exhibits in the Museum is this model of an elaborate barge-towing system erected at Janville lock on the Canal lateral à l’Oise, nicknamed the “zinzin” or thingummyjig. Resuming our cruise, lunch aboard follows as the Seine meanders extravagantly around the great forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and onwards to upstream of Malmaison. From our mooring it is about a 15-minute stroll to the Reuil-Malmaison RER station where we take a train through to the terminus at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, crossing the Île des Impressionistes and then crossing the meander again further downstream via the Île Corbière.  Arriving at the RER terminus, there will be views of the Château before we board a service 27 bus for a scenic half-hour ride through the Saint-Germain-en-Laye forest, crossing the Seine at Conflans and onwards into Cergy. Local bus services to transfer to and from Pontoise for dinner.

Thursday, September 22nd

Check out to transfer by bus to Malmaison to board Natalia. The bus continues with our luggage to our second hotel, the Ibis Cité des Sciences in La Villette. Today’s cruise continues upstream on the Seine, joining the Canal Saint-Denis which will take us through to our mooring for the day in La Villette. In Argenteuil we pass the great integrated river port and rail freight interchange at Gennevilliers and we will aim to have local officials on board with us to explain the development of this, the biggest river port in France.

Paris canals junction La VilletteHaving celebrated its bicentenary in 2021, the Canal Saint-Denis is emerging from a state of industrial decay to become a cultural attraction in its own right. The canal remains an important artery bringing aggregate and sand to support reconstruction projects in the city centre as well as the Grand Paris Express Metro.

At the same time, it is becoming more attractive to leisure craft as the waterway corridor is adapted for recreational use.  There are 7 locks along the 7 km course of the canal, which is crossed by the main line into Gare du Nord at its northern end, then passing around the Stade de France before the steady straight-line climb to the junction with the Canal de l’Ourcq. There is also a short spur leading into the shopping complex at Bassin d’Aubervilliers and we will pause awhile here before continuing through to La Villette.

Our second hotel is situated on the canal junction, so having enjoyed lunch aboard we expect to be disembarking at around 14:30 to walk across to the Hôtel Ibis to check-in. The rest of the afternoon is then free to relax or explore locally, then at 18:00 we will assemble in hotel reception for a walk of around 2km following the Canal de l’Ourcq through La Villette Park and onwards to Porte de Pantin where we will dine before strolling back down the towpath to the hotel.

Friday, September 23rd

Re-board at 09:00 in La Villette and cruise through the bassin, then following the Canal Saint-Martin down to the canal’s junction with the Seine at Paris Arsenal.  This is a fascinating journey as we negotiate a succession of double-chambered locks and pass through the tunnel underneath Place de la Bastille before reaching the canal’s junction with the Seine at Paris Arsenal.   From here we turn briefly upstream on the Seine before mooring at Bercy.  We will again lunch aboard before taking the tram service to Porte de Vincennes, where we interchange, continuing to parallel the Périphérique through to the Porte de la Villette.   The rest of the day is then free for private sightseeing.  There is no organised evening meal today, so guests are free to explore the lively evening scene around La Villette or venture to favourite haunts elsewhere in Paris.

Saturday, September 24th

Rreturn to Bercy next morning by tram for our final cruise leg, timed to operate between 10:00 and 13:30 whilst the river is relatively free of day and restaurant boats.  Heading downstream from Bercy, we cruise past Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, through all of the great bridges, past the Eiffel Tower and onwards as far as the National Park of Saint-Cloud. We then turnabout and re-trace our pathway through the heart of Paris, with a view from the river of the restoration work under way at the Notre-Dame Cathedral before we return to our mooring in Bercy. We will enjoy a final lunch with our crew before returning to La Villette by tram for a free afternoon. During the afternoon our cruiser will return along the Canal St-Martin to La Villette ahead of its next assignment, and any guests preferring to remain aboard for the additional cruising will be more than welcome. We would anticipate being moored for the day by around 16:00.
This evening we will enjoy a final dinner together in a restaurant alongside La Villette bassin.

Sunday, September 25th

The tour closes morning as we check out of hotel after breakfast.

The price per person of £920 includes 4½ days of cruising, 5 nights B&B, 4 lunches on board, 5 dinners, public transport and one coach transfer, the waterways museum visit and, uniquely, a complimentary bar on board while cruising.

Deposit of 20% payable to secure your place. Select * 2 for two persons

100% refundable if cruise does not go ahead, or is cancelled in the unlikely event of lack of participants.
Single room supplement of £135 payable with the balance due in July.
The balance may be paid in IWI’s shop in GBP, or here in equivalent EUR.