Welcome to the heart of leafy Champagne for the start of your cruise. This incredible week-long journey sees you gliding through stunning riverside locations including Vraux, Isse and Courcy before an exclusive visit to the Veuve Clicquot underground cellars.
Table d’hôte meals and complimentary beverages
All excursions including exclusive use of onboard bicycles
Return transfer from Paris
Board the barge in Châlons-en-Champagne, where you're welcomed aboard with an effervescent champagne reception and the chance to meet your captain and crew. Meanwhile, your chef is preparing your first gourmet dinner of the week.
After breakfast, take a short walk to explore the town of Châlons-en-Champagne whose numerous attractions include the gothic Saint-Etienne Cathedral, the Cloister Museum of NotreDame-en-Vaux with its remarkable statuary, and three glorious gardens. Mid-morning, return to the barge for a relaxing cruise to the countryside mooring of Vraux.
After lunch, alight with your guide for a visit to the house of Champagne J. de Telmont and spend a fascinating afternoon participating in their unique oenological workshop. Dinner tonight is served on board
This morning’s cruise takes you to Isse, a quiet mooring at the junction between the Marne’s Lateral Canal and the Marne-to-Aisne Canal. The lingering pace means you can easily alight from the barge to stroll or cycle along the towpath. Just before noon, your guide takes you to a celebrated local restaurant where you enjoy a fabulous lunch overlooking the vineyards. Afterwards, pay a visit to a local champagne house in Cumières, which offers sweeping views of Epernay.
You then visit Epernay, the jewel of Champagne itself, and stroll down the elegant Avenue de Champagne admiring the prestigious champagne houses and swish courtyards. One last stop before rejoining the boat takes you to picturesque Hautvillers Abbey, site of Dom Pérignon’s tomb, where you can pay homage to the “inventor” of champagne and gain spectacular views over the vineyards. Dinner is served on board.
Spend a leisurely morning on board, savouring a breakfast of French specialities as you soak up the scenery. After lunch, your guide will take you on a tour of Fort de la Pompelle. Built by General Séré de Rivière in 1880, the fort played a major role in the defence of Reims during World War I. The museum’s exceptional collection of helmets, uniforms and everyday objects gives a poignant insight into the soldiers’ experiences and hardships of battle. Return to the barge for dinner.
This morning’s cruise takes you around the city of Reims. From a distance, you can see the cathedral’s 270ft spire reaching for the heavens. After lunch on board, your guide takes you to visit this splendid city, famous as a centre of champagne production but also where some 34 French sovereigns were crowned. Take the time to explore the beautiful gothic cathedral, the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the bountiful shops.
On your way back to Courcy, stop to see a little-known gem. Tucked away in a red-brick school is the perfectly preserved room where, on May 7, 1945, the German delegation signed an unconditional surrender, effectively marking the end of WWII in Europe. The people of Reims locked the door and threw away the key, only to rediscover it 40 years later. After an enthralling visit, return to the barge for dinner.
Spend a last leisurely morning on board, absorbing the beautiful landscapes as you glide to your final mooring of Berry-au-Bac. After lunch, set out to visit one of the most famous champagne houses in the world: Veuve Clicquot. Plunge into the atmospheric underground cellars that stretch deep into the crayères, or chalk pits, for over 24km and glean fascinating facts about this most hallowed of marques. Return to the barge for a late-afternoon cocktail on deck
After breakfast, your crew bids you farewell as you disembark at 9:30am for your onward travel arrangements. We look forward to welcoming you back on board soon.