Set Sail in Champagne

Words by Belmond Editors

Set Sail in Champagne

Looking over a dining table in soft-focus to the seating area, where a small French flag flies against the peachy sunset sky.

Onboard Coquelicot, explore the sparkling Champagne region with curated activities, wine tasting and culinary lessons – courtesy of Ruinart, our partner in this adventure on waters.

Welcome aboard Coquelicot. A genuine illustration of savoir-vivre, the luxury barge cruise of Les Bateaux Belmond captures the essence of French refinement while offering you the chance to rediscover Champagne through a contemporary lens.

There is a certain romance in the name of our new luxury barge, Coquelicot. The French word for “red poppy”—a flower carrying countless insignia in mythology and history—the name widely symbolises the strength one can find behind the delicacy of things. Radiant and complex, as depicted in Claude Monet’s impressionist piece Champ de coquelicots, it becomes a delicate but intriguing blossom in Gustave Courbet’s eponymous painting. No matter how illustrated throughout time, the flower leaves a deep impression on those who encounter it for the first time. By its moniker, the coquelicot is a nod to discovery, a journey past appearances and a study of what lies beneath the surface. Just like our new boat, the coquelicot is a sophisticated invitation to embark on a sensational journey, a voyage towards excellence.

When you step aboard Coquelicot, ready to set sail and marvel at the many landscapes of Champagne, let your eyes wander around the luxury barge’s sleek layout. Meticulously renovated by French duo of interior designers Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, our refurbished and finest floating villa offers comfortable, yet modern features. With its open kitchen, the exquisite wood top deck sets the stage for any celebration, whether you mark the start of a unique journey with your family, or invite your most elegant friends to an exclusive voyage.

Aboard Coquelicot, anticipate a unique luxury barge cruise in France. Starting your journey in Épernay, gather your party around the bar in the lounge, where the sommelier awaits to serve a refreshing flute of Ruinart, the very soul of Champagne and our partner in this adventure. A studied marriage of white marble, gold tones, chocolate wood and natural rattan, the bar announces the beginning of the festivités, before you and your guests take a seat around the adjacent dining table.

In the morning, savour a coffee paired with local pastries, the gentle sound of water to keep you company. By day, striking accents of Art Nouveau complement the wonderful hues of the ever-changing scenery of Châlons-en-Champagne. Come sunset, antique lighting will set the scene of picturesque, unforgettable dining, with distinctive menus designed by your Coquelicot chef. As the night beckons, keep the champagne flowing as your party slowly assembles under the undulating movements of the skylight, engaging in a sparkling conversation with the sommelier.

While Coquelicot guides you through the wakes of the French countryside, head down to your cabin to find a whole new tier of enduring excellence, courtesy of Humbert & Poyet. There, the four-handed architectural project achieved the juggling act of highlighting l’élégance à la française, while harmonising with fresh, contemporary flair. The three spacious double bedrooms and their en-suite bathrooms pleasantly house earthy hues, cream walls, and a sparkling touch of soft pink and sea green—a nod to the region’s character.

After a day of visiting Ruinart’s vineyards and three levels of cellars, uncovering the secrets of the world’s oldest champagne house and experiencing exclusive effervescence with your companions, head back to Coquelicot. Here, your private lunch awaits—a four-hands menu composed by Ruinart’s chef Valérie Radou, in collaboration with your Coquelicot chef. Finally, return to your cabin where time slows down and your bedroom turns into an intimate sanctuary, in harmony with the gentle motion of the boat on its way to the village of Sillery.

Sailing with Coquelicot is like floating towards the unknown. A new direction, intriguing at first, invites you to see the famous Champagne region with a fresh pair of eyes. Experience locally-sourced cuisine while learning modern recipes. Appreciate the marriage of heritage and contemporary furnishings. Travel through the past while crafting new memories. At the end of your voyage, Coquelicot will leave you longing for more escapism—until next time.

Set sail aboard Coquelicot

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