6 night half-board ecological cruise through the Champagne region
“Floating in Champagne”; enjoy the beautiful region and check out the bubbles
River trip highlights
- Enjoy a relaxed, bespoke holiday far from mass-tourism.
- Unwind on the boat’s sundecks.
- Learn about the French canals and their locks.
- Enjoy wine tastings and visit some of the vineyards.
- Sample the region’s many gastronomic specialities.
- Visit some of the many WW1 memorials along the Marne.
River trip summary
WHAT WE WILL DO DURING THE CRUISE;
- We will be sailing both on the river Marne, on its peaceful “Canal Lateral” and on the Canal de l’Aisne a la Marne. The Marne is a broad winding river which still has some commercial traffic.
- We will meet barges transporting gravel, grain and scrap metal, but at the same time be treated to beautiful views of historic villages and undulating landscape with the Champagne vineyards up the hills.
- The small canals will bring total peace of mind and amble chances of observing flora and fauna as the ship advances at only 6 km/h, - pure relaxation!
- The ship’s folding bikes are of course at the disposal of the more energetic guests for cycling on the towpath or discovering the villages a little away from the waterway.
- The cruise will start in Chateau-Thierry and we go upstream through 17 locks, pass under Mont de Billy in a 2.3 km long tunnel in the watershed and then go down through 7 locks before reaching Reims a week later. (Or, of course, in the opposite direction, from Reims to Chateau-Thierry).
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE CHARTER PRICE;
- Exclusive use of the barge for your group (max. 4 persons)
- Half-board : breakfast buffets and lunch buffets reflecting local gastronomy
- A “Captain’s Dinner”
- All beverages underway
- Use of the ship's 4 folding bikes and helmets, at your own risk
- Tourist brochures and guides for sightseeing excursions, use of the ship’s WI-FI
- No stress, the captains will handle the boat, provide the food and the domestic logistics. However, the guests are requested to take responsibility for their own cabin and bathroom during their stay.
- The final cleaning of the guest area
- All taxes, fuel and mooring charges
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE CHARTER PRICE;
- Transport to and from the boat
- Sightseeing fees
- Dinners at local restaurants
- Your personal Liability, Property, Medical and Travel Insurance.
River trip description
- Our charter cruises go from Château-Thierry to Reims, or in the opposite direction. They normally start on Monday, but we can be flexible.
- Below is a description of a typical cruise, but again, in case of specific wishes from the guests, we can modify the planning.
Day 1-Monday: Arrival in Château-Thierry
- You will arrive by train from Paris and we will meet you at the station and take you to the boat.
- Settle down, have some nibbles and – of course – a glass of Champagne, then go for a walk in the old part of the town with its beautiful houses and the ruins of a medieval castle. You may also wish to hike up to the spectacular American WW1 memorial.
- As most French restaurants are closed on Mondays, we have the “Captain’s Dinner” on board.
Day 2-Tuesday: Cruise to Dormans
- We will leave the mooring and go along the Marne river to Dormans. Lunch aboard upon arrival.
- You can hike or bike to the winegrowing villages around the town or admire the beautiful old castle and the Chapel of Reconnaissance which was built in 1920 in commemoration of the two battles of the Marne.
- Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3-Wednesday: Cruise to Aÿ
- We will have lunch aboard in a lock-cut in Damery.
- After lunch, we enter the Canal Latéral à la Marne and moor in Aÿ.
- You can visit the “Cité du Champagne” (a UNESCO world heritage site) with its kilometers of underground caves and its viticulture and tools museum, and of course have a champagne tasting.
- Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 4-Thursday: Cruise to Tours-sur-Marne
- We stay in Aÿ and you hike or take a taxi to Epernay (3 km), the capital of Champagne, and visit the famous Avenue du Champagne with its many renowned champagne houses.
- Have lunch in a local restaurant and come back for the short cruise to Tours.
- Dinner-buffet aboard.
- We go straight to Tours after breakfast.
- You can hike or bike to Bouzy (4 km), a “Grand Cru” village growing not only champagne but also the famous red wine that was used for coronation banquets in Reims in the old days.
- Have lunch in the very special Brasserie in Bouzy.
- Dinner-buffet aboard.
Day 5-Friday: Cruise to Sept-Saulx
- We will enter the Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne and go uphill through a “staircase” of 8 locks.
- Lunch at the waiting quay in front of the Mont de Billy tunnel
- The passing of the tunnel takes approx. 45 min., - always an adventure to navigate underground!
- We moor for the night at an industrial quay, another experience.
- You can visit the French war cemetery nearby or bike to Verzy, a village renowned for its unique old dwarf beeches.
- Dinner at the “Cheval Blanc” restaurant.
Day 6-Saturday: Cruise to the city of Reims
- Lunch aboard in Sillery.
- You can visit another WW1 cemetery close to the harbor before we continue, this time through an industrial area before we reach Reims.
- We moor to a bank not far from the center to avoid the noisy highway passing through the city.
- A must is a visit to the huge Gothic cathedral which has witnessed the coronation of 25 kings of France.
- Do not miss the amazing laser show on the cathedral in the evening.
- Dinner at a local restaurant, e.g. the “Boulingrin”.
Day 7-Sunday: Reims, day of departure
- You will have time for sightseeing in this interesting historical city before leaving for Paris by train in the afternoon.
Type of experience
Heating / cooling
Languages spoken onboard
Music-sound system / CD player
Books and magazines
Nordic walking sticks
Binoculars for animal watching
How to get there
- By taking the TGV express train from Paris, you can be in Reims in 45 minutes!
- The Coronation City is at the crossroads of the Lille – Dijon – Mediterranean line and the Paris – Charleville – Sedan line.
- Two stations enable you to get to Reims: Reims-Centre station, located in the heart of the city center, and the Champagne-Ardenne TGV express train station in Bezannes, with a connection to Reims by tram.
- More details on the SNCF website
- Reims is also at the crossroads of the A4-50 motorway (Paris - Strasbourg) and the A26-E17 motorway (Calais – Troyes – Dijon).
- 6 exits serve the city; with the tram, think about relay parking: Leave your car at the entrance of the city and take the tram to go to the city center.
- Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG); Reims is located 30 minutes* from the Paris-Roissy international airport.
Paris-Vatry Airport; Freight and destinations for international passengers.
- Reims en Champagne Airport; Light aircraft for business trips and tourism.
About the area
- The Champagne region and its capital city Reims have lots to offer to tourists, but also to locals. The landscapes are just stunning, a combination of rolling hills and beautiful countryside, small and picturesque villages, and cities rich in history and patrimony.
- While the barge cruises at a slow path (6 km/hour or 3 mph/hour), you will have all the time to observe the surrounding environment, wildlife and flora.
- Champagne tasting is a must-do here, whether it is tutored tasting to learn about Champagne nuances or the evening bottle you will enjoy on the deck. We will help you discover a wide range of them, as there are no less than 300 champagne houses on our itinerary!
- More than the product itself, the whole process and life that has appeared around Champagne is also fascinating! Do you know that a hectare or vine is now worth nearly 100,000 euros, while the same land without the appellation is only worth 3,000?
- Local architecture is also fascinating, both with Reims, the city of Kings, and the quaint small villages with their medieval streets and houses.
- What would Champagne be without the food that was served before, during and after drinking! Local products will be a wonder for your taste buds and you will taste many of the typical recipes and products during your stay onboard.
River trip owner
We (Bente and Kurt, of Danish nationality) built the barge in the Netherlands in 2006, and since 2007 we have cruised 19,153 km, passed through 4,661 locks and innumerable tunnels, boat lifts, aqueducts and mobile bridges (as per August 30, 2019).
We still love this peaceful life afloat and invite you to join us and enjoy the amazing network of canals and rivers in Europe.
In 2020 we will again be underway in France and enjoy the Champagne region with its spectacular vineyards (and the wine), but may also spend some time on the beautiful Canal de la Somme with its unspoiled nature and interesting historical sites. This true gem really has captured our hearts.