SUNDAY – moored at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre
A Champagne Welcome and a tour of you first working lock
You are transferred by air-conditioned minivan from your meet up hotel in Paris and driven directly to your barge, moored in La Ferte-sous-Jouarre. After an introduction to your ship, you are given time to settle into your cabin before joining your captain and crew for our welcoming Champagne Reception. Afterwards we offer a short cruise above the next lock near to Chamigny. Your guide can take you down to the nearby lock where he explains how it works. Afterwards, relax and enjoy an aperitif from the panoramic top deck. Tonight your master chef will delight you with the first of many delicious meals. Welcome Dinner is onboard.
MONDAY – Chamigny to Chateau Thierry
A personal tour of a small Champagne vineyard and visit to WW1 American monument
This morning, before lunch, we visit the cellar of Alain Bedel, one of our favorite places ever. This small family-run vineyard is managed by father and daughter. Her passion for her heritage flows as abundantly as the juice form their vines. You can try some of their fine Champagnes. Afterwards a buffet lunch, whilst cruising onwards to Chateau Thierry for the night. Before dinner we take a short drive to the American Monument. Built in 1929, at an altitude of 660 feet, the monument keeps alive the memory of the American troops who fought in WWI. Back onboard for an aperitif or two followed by a delicious dinner.
TUESDAY – Chateau Thierry to Damery
Belleau Woods battlefield and a visit to Hautvilliers, reputed to be the birthplace of Champagne
After breakfast we visit Belleau Woods where the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments fought through most of June 1918. Their gallant actions resulted in the Battle of Belleau Wood ending on June 26. On June 30, 1918, the Commanding General, French 6th Army, officially renamed Belleau Wood as “Wood of the Marine Brigade.” The 2nd Division sustained casualties of 8,100 officers and men during the intense fighting in this vicinity during June 1918. Vestiges of trenches, shell holes, and relics of the war to include weapons found in the vicinity, may be seen near the Marine monument, which was erected by the U.S. Marine Corps. Afterwards we join the barge for our cruise to the small town of Damery, with its 13th century church, which was part of a former Benedictine priory. Before dinner Tom will take you to a beautiful viewpoint above Hautvilliers, reputed to be where Dom Perignon discovered Champagne in 1693 whilst making wine. He couldn’t get rid of the bubbles and in tasting his accidental creation he exclaimed, “Come quickly! I am tasting the stars”! Dinner is onboard.
WEDNESDAY – Damery to Cumieres
Tour of world famous Moet & Chandon cellars and visit to Epernay
After a leisurely breakfast we set off on our short cruise to the champagne village of Cumieres. You are privileged to enjoy one of the most beautiful moorings in the Champagne region. Stretching before you as far as the eye can see are hundreds of vineyards lining the slopes of the Montagne de Reims. Enjoy a stroll before lunch along the banks of the river. Early this afternoon we visit prosperous Epernay, the self proclaimed capital du Champagne and home to many of the world’s most celebrated Champagne houses. Bubbly galore! Beneath it’s streets, in 110kms of subterranean cellars, more than 200 million bottles of Champers lie, just waiting to be popped open. We take a guided tour of the cellars of Moet & Chandon, one of the most famous of all Champagne houses. Later we return to enjoy our spoils on deck. Dinner is onboard.
THURSDAY – Cumieres to Mareuil-sur-Marne
Tour of Lanson cellars followed by a visit to Reims Cathedral
After breakfast we set off on our cruise, leaving the River Marne and entering the Canal Lateral a la Marne, built in 1845. After the first lock you will find yourself holding your breath as we gently squeeze into the locks with only inches to spare. Our destination is idyllic. Surrounded by vineyards and overlooking a typical Champagne village, the setting can’t get better. After an early lunch we set off to Reims, where we visit the cellars of the world-renowned Lanson Champagne. Afterwards a visit to the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Reims where 33 sovereign coronations where hosted over 1000 years! It has been classed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1991. This magnificent structure is recognized as one of the defining models of Gothic art. Late afternoon we set back to the barge to enjoy a glass of champers followed by a delicious dinner. What a day!
FRIDAY – Mareuil-sur-Marne to Chalons-en-Champagne
Visit to medieval Chalons-en-Champagne
Today we cruise to Chalons-en-Champagne, with it’s rich religious heritage including two UNESCO-listed churches and a museum with astonishing Romanesque Sculpture. It even has it’s own National Circus Center, adding a splash of whimsy. With it’s medieval houses and beautiful parks it’s a town to be savored. We return later to the barge to prepare for our Captain’s Dinner. Sparkle and decoration adorn the table alongside of laughter, great cuisine and many a good sea dog tale! What a great conclusion to a great cruise!
SATURDAY – (Departure 9.30am)
After a hearty breakfast, our chauffeurs will drive you to your hotel or airport in Paris. Arrival usually around 12.30pm
Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions.