Recreational hub of the Westhoek
The de BOOT vessels are moored on the Ieper-IJzer Canal, at Driegrachten Bridge in Merkem, western Belgium, about 25 km from the North Sea. This idyllic spot is a recreational hub, ideally located between the towns of Ieper (14km) and Diksmuide (10 km) and the municipalities of Houthulst (10 km) and Lo-Reninge (8km). From here visitors can explore the area by bike, canoe or solar boat, on foot, by covered wagon or by mule. Detailed walking and cycling maps are available at democratic prices. De BOOT is equipped with a bar. Cyclists and walkers can eat their picnics on board.
The St. Antoine, a 1929 freighter, has been fitted out as a houseboat and now sleeps nine. Passengers spend the night in comfortable modern beds, or if they prefer, in the barge family’s original alcove bunks. Cooking is done on a big AGA range. The St. Antoine is equipped with solar panels, a composting toilet and a small wind turbine. She can be rented for holidays, parties, meetings, seminars, retreats, press conferences, etc.
1 night: 330 euros
Weekend 2 nights: 495 euros
Weekend 3 nights: 595 euros
Midweek 4 nights: 595 euros
Week 7 nights: 715 euros
2 weeks 14 nights: 1080 euros
The Bachten-de-Kupe cruise
With an experienced skipper at the helm, we set off on a cruise of almost 100 km, mooring in Lo, Veurne, Nieuwpoort, Diksmuide and Ieper. If you are the active type, feel free to roll up your sleeves; who knows, you might be a born sailor. There is no television on board, but we do have a well-stocked library. If they wish, passengers can cook for themselves.
Departure at 9.00 a.m. from Driegrachten Bridge in Merkem-Houthulst, sailing to Fintele (Lo), or to Ieper or Diksmuide, and back. You can sleep on board before or after the cruise.
Price: 995 euros
Deposit: 250 euros
Cleaning: 50 euros
Day 1: Departure at 2 p.m. from Driegrachten Bridge, sailing to Ieper, Lo, Veurne, Nieuwpoort or Diksmuide. We spend the night on board the St. Antoine.
Day 2: Departure at 9.00 a.m. for return voyage to Driegrachten Bridge. A guided kayak and solar bicycle package can be provided.
Price: 1,500 euros
Included: fuel, insurance, crew.
Not included: drinks, meals, kayaks, solar bicycles.
Day 1: Departure at 2 p.m., sailing to Ieper via the Boezinge locks. At 8 p.m. we attend the moving Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. We spend the night on board the St. Antoine, moored in Ieper marina.
Day 2: Departure at 9.00 a.m., bound for Nieuwpoort. Around noon we moor in Diksmuide and lunch in the floating restaurant Water en Vuur. After a visit to the Dodengang (Trench of Death) - a preserved section of the World War I trenches - we resume our journey by boat, or by bicycle and kayak.
Day 3: We breakfast on board and pass through the impressively large St. Joris lock. Via the conservation reservoir and the meandering IJzer, we arrive in Diksmuide, where we visit the Yser Tower and/or the town. In the afternoon we steer the St. Antoine peacefully homeward.
Price: 1,995 euros
Included: insurance, fuel, three-man crew, boat rental.
Not included: drinks, meals, kayaks and bicycles.
Gallery St. Antoine
You can also explore the Ieperlee Canal or the IJzer yourself by solar boat (6 people per boat, no boatmaster’s certificate required).
Rental price: 30 euros/hour for the first hour. 20 euros from the second hour. All day: 120 euros.
July to August: daily from 12.30 to 7 p.m.
Easter to 30 November: Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m., or by appointment.