Épernay - Paris, MS Zwaantje
From the Champagne region to Paris.
- 8 Days / 7 Nights
- Guided group tour
Arrival in Èpernay
Embark and check-in between 5pm and 6pm. You will be welcomed by the captain, crew and tour representative. Dinner will be on board. First briefing about the barge, bicycles and tour program.
The first half day’s bike tour takes you along the quiet canal parallel with the Marne river to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay. Return via Dizy to visit Hautvillers. After a somewhat challenging first ascent of the slopes and through the vineyards (cyclists can test their fitness and muscles for the first time), you will reach the picturesque village, Montagne de Reims. On the southern slopes is where Champagne wine growers work. The highlight is to visit the chapel with monk Dom Pérignon's tomb. According to tradition, Dom Pérignon (1638-1715), who was in charge of the wine cellars of the abbey of Benedictine monks, was the first to succeed in blending various kinds of wine to create a wine of superb quality. Double fermentation, characteristic for the making of champagne, was also introduced by him. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, you can visit the center of Epernay. Epernay (along with Reims) is the major wine center of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne of Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many town houses in the neo-renaissance or classical style dating back to the 19th century. You will especially find them around the beautiful Avenue de Champagne where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon are located. Champagne tasting and a tour of a Champagne house on the famous Avenue de Champagne are a must in this town.
Depending on where we can moor the boat, you can either do a shorter or a longer bike tour. Cycle along the river Marne or stay on board all the way to Dormans, a quiet village on the Marne with a little castle and a chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne. During WW1 this was a battle scene. You will see the Château de Boursault, which was built in 1848 and named after Mr Cliquot. This gave the famous champagne, Veuve Cliquot, its name. The journey up to the northern valley sides to Châtillon-sur Marne rewards sporty cyclists with a breathtaking view of the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. We officially leave the Champagne region on the way to Dormans. Today's destination is Château-Thierrry and it owes its name to the castle that was once situated on the slopes above the Marne. The town was the site of the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and of 1918 in World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous fable writer, Jean de la Fontaine. The short bike tour - if possible - starts in Dormans.
Enjoy a somewhat challenging bike tour today from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre . The first part of the tour takes you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will take a small side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. En route you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. Follow the small river Clignon and continue riding uphill until you finally reach the plateau above the northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered with forest, however on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Start your descent along the small river Ru de Bouillons to reach La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, where you meet the barge. Night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or in one of the villages nearby.
After breakfast you will start your cycling tour. You will cycle over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley and through forests and small villages on the southern and northern banks of the river. On the way we may visit the Château de Montceau, the building which was attained by Catherine de Médicis in the 16th century. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux , famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent cathedral, the Cathedral St. Etienne. During the day you will enjoy a tasting session of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses. Visit the historical city center of Meaux. Dinner on board and night in Meaux.
Visit Meaux's beautiful city center. After this, you set off on your last cycle ride on this tour. You will mainly follow the Marne river and its parallel canal. This tour's last challenge is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through this hill, but cyclists have to ride upand over the hill. In the afternoon you will meet the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne, where you will stay for the night.
After breakfast you will leave the ship and enjoy a full day's guided trip in Paris. Visit some of the may highlights that the “City of Light” has to offer. To mention just a few: the Eifel Tower, the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, the Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d’Orsay. Your tour guide will take you by public transport (day ticket not included) from the barge to the center of Paris and on some walking tours. For safety reasons, there is not a cycle ride planned in Paris.
After breakfast it is time to disembark at 9am in Paris.
More demanding tour for fit/skilled bikers with a good level of fitness. Daily stages approx. 30-50 km. The route goes along small country roads through a hilly area. There are also short sections on country lanes that are not asphalted. Max. ascent of 350m per day.
- Tour and accommodation on board in the booked category 8 days / 7 nights (Sat.-Sat.) from Epernay to Paris
- Full board: 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunch for cyclists,7x three course dinner
- Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels daily possible)
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Welcome drink, presentation of barge + crew and briefing on the first evening
- Tour guide (multilingual) for fully guided cycling tours
- Daily briefings of the bike tours
- 1 full day guided tour of Paris (walking / public transportation), Brie cheese tasting, half day guided tour of Epernay incl. champagne tasting
- Bus transfer between Epernay and Reims (incl. stop at Champagne-Ardennes TGV station) on Sat. at the end or start of the tour
- Printed instructions and maps for daily bike tours, 1 set per cabin
- Daily coffee and tea til 4pm
Arrival / Parking / Departure
- Paris-Gare de Lyon railway station is approx. 2 kilometers away from the boat
- Epernay railway station is approx. 1 kilometer away from the boat
- Return transfer by train (duration approx. 80 minutes) from Epernay to Paris (also the other way) approx €28 per person
- Transfer including: Epernay-Reims, incl. stop at the TGV-railway station Champagne-Ardennes (duration approx. 1.5 hours, no bicycle transport)
Number of participants
- Minimum of 16 people
- In France helmets are compulsory for all cyclists! We recommend that all our guests bring their own helmet! There are only very limited helmets on board.
- Timetable and program are subject to changes. At times of extreme flooding or low water the boat company reserves the right to transfer you by bus or to cancel the whole tour. There is no demand against that (water level is subject to force majeure clause). This is also valid for unforeseeable incidents like the reparation of a water gate/bridge or if the boat's engine were to break down.
- Please keep in mind that your boat is your hotel on the one hand and motor-driven equipment on the other hand. It has to move on at night as well. If you are sensitive to noise, please bring earplugs with you.