Discovery & theme tour


From Sun 22 Jun 2008 to Tue 15 Jul 2008Programmed so that everyone spent the last night in Paris on Bastille Day!

Aspects of the Industrial Revolution in France (with a day hopover into Belgium). Old trains excursions, station visits, internationally famous locomotive and car museums, iron work, canals, barges, canal bridges, locks, mines, and even wallpaper! As always, food and wine were important, as too were the additional general interest cultural visits. porcelaine factories, aircraft museum

Of interest to :
Everyone interested in Industrial Tourism

Starting in Paris, we had a guided visit of Montmartre and lunch in the Place du Tertre in order to recover from the long flight. During the next few days we enjoyed a very fully programme of highly varied activities related to the theme :

A cruise on the Canal St Martin (and the Seine); The Railway History Museum at Rosny; a trip on the new Paris tramway; the French National Waterways Museum; the National Arts, Crafts & Trades Museum; the Headquarters of the Paris transport system; the National Aeronautical & Space Museum; a walking tour on the theme of "Iron Work & the Iron road in 19th century Paris".

The actual coach tour began with a trip on the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de la Somme. While in the north of France we also visited the Historic Mining Centre of Lewarde, the glass-making factory of the Cristallerie d'Arques, and a whole day in Belgium visiting tghe world Heritage canal system and boat lift at La Louvière and Strepy-Thieu.

The TGV took us back to Paris to join Jacques Henriot, our coach driver for the rest of the tour, highly popular with everyone.  First to the famous Canal Bridge at Briare, a canal cruise, and brief visits to the canal and enamel museums at Briare.

In Limoges the highlights were the National Porcelaine Museum, the Bernardaud factory and the Casseaux oven - followed by the famous Limoges railway station.

A morning visit to a tapestry workshop in the celebrated town of Aubusson, before driving on the the cutlery capital, Thiers. A whole-day cruise on the historic Digoin-Roanne Canal brought a welcome change from the coach.

Then up into the Massif Central to visit first one of the oldest printing-houses in Europe, followed by a train ride on the historic Livradois-Forez line to La Chaise Dieu with its great abbey. This was followed by a stay in the industrial city of St Etienne before moving on to Grenoble.

Highlights in Grenoble were undoubtedly the trip up into the celebrated region known as the Chartreuse on the famous St Hilaire Funicular Railway, the evening meal taken near the Fort de la Bastille (cable car gets you there) overlooking the city, and the all-day trip on one of Europe's best known historic scenic railways : the Chemin de fer de la Mure.

An all day-trip through spectacular scenery from Grenoble to Mulhouse included magnificent scenery through the French Alps and a lunch-cruise on Lake Geneva.

The industrial city of Mulhouse was an important part of the tour : here are to be found to of the finest transport museums in Euroope : Locomotives and Automobiles. In addition, we had an excursion on the old railway in the Doller Valley, a visit to the Wallpaper Museum, and a thoroughly enjoyable day following the Alsatian Wine Route (in particular Colmar - the Haut Koenigsburg castle - and Riquewihr).

The last part of the tour started with a cruise on the Rhine (popping over into Germany to catch the boat!), before going on to the final place on the tour, the World Heritage city of Nancy. From Nancy we visited the Mines Eco-Museum at Neufchef, while in Nancy itself the Ecole de Nancy and the fabulous Daum collection. a guided walk through Nancy's historic centre completed the stay.

Everyone returned to Paris for their departure on the TGV-Est, the world's fastest rail train.









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