• More than 30 years of experience
  • wide range throughout Europe
  • guided and self-guided
  • good quality bikes

Champagne, Paris – Epernay

Marne River Valley & Paris tour

Paris - Charles de Gaulle

  • Start
  • Finish

Paris - Charles de Gaulle

This cycle tour not only allows guests to explore the world famous city of Paris, but also the Champagne region, famous of course, for producing Champagne wine. From the time the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon invented the bubbly drink in 1670 at the Abbey of d’Hautvillers, the Champagne name has been synonymous worldwide with the very best of sparkling wines.

On a daily basis from your base on board your floating hotel for the duration for the tour, the barge MS Zwaantje, you will have the opportunity to cycle to boutique wineries, sample a variety of champagnes, taste delicious Brie cheese and generally discover everything the Champagne UNESCO world heritage region, which is centred on the towns of Epernay and Reims, has to offer. But more than just visiting the Champagne region, you will also have the opportunity to explore Paris, one of Europe’s most beautiful and beloved cities on a full day guided excursion. Other highlights of the tour include a visit to the city of Meaux, well known for its Brie cheeses and a stopover in Château-Thierry, the scene of major battles in World War I. Along the way you will cycle through almost endless vineyards on the rolling banks of the Marne River. The tour ends in the city of Epernay, the real capital of the Champagne region where you will have the opportunity to visit one of the town’s massive champagne cellars.

  • Type of tour Guided
  • Level 3
  • Duration 8 days
  • Distance 40km (average per day)
  • Paris, City of Light
  • Impressive tunnel near Saint-Maurice
  • Meaux, cheeses and Cathedral Saint Etienne
  • Beautiful castles

Daily Program

1 km = 0,62 miles
Day 1

Saturday: Paris, embarkation

Embarkation and check-in between 05:00 and 06:00 PM at the Quai de Bercy on the Seine in Paris. Welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader. Dinner on board. First briefing about the barge, bicycles and tour program.
On the arrival day is it possible to load your luggage on board from 1 PM.

Day 2

Sunday: Paris, full day excursion

After breakfast you will leave the ship and enjoy a full day guided excursion to a choice of the various highlights of Paris. Visit some of the highlights that the “City of Light” has to offer. To mention just a few: the Eifel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica 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 transportation (day ticket, not included) from the barge to the center of Paris and on some walking tours. For safety reasons, no cycling tour in Paris is planned. Return in 30 min. by regional train to the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne.

Day 3

Monday: Lagny-sur-Marne – Meaux


In Lagny-sur-Marne, you can take your bicycle for a first ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. First challenge is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through the hill but cyclists can test their fitness and muscles for the first time by climbing and crossing the hill by bicycle. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Night in Meaux.

Day 4

Tuesday: Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre


After breakfast you will start your cycling tour through the center of Meaux. Today’s cycling tour will lead you 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 of which was started by Catherine de Médicis in the 16th century. During the day you will enjoy a presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses (included). Dinner on board and night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or a village nearby.

Day 5

Wednesday: La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry


Enjoy a somewhat challenging bike tour from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry. The first part of the cycling track leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will take a side valley and follow country roads along the small river Ru de Bouillons through various small villages and hamlets. 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, on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Follow the valley of the small river Clignon. En route you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau on the D82. Start your descent to reach Château-Thierry. Easier and shorter cycling option along the river through the valley. Dinner on board and night in Château-Thierry.

Day 6

Thursday: Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay


Château-Thierrry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. You can still see some remnants. The town was the site of two important battles: the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and the Battle of 1918 at the end of World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine. Choose between a longer and a short bike ride. Today we will enter the official Champagne area. Cycle along the Marne river or cruise to Dormans, a quiet village on the Marne with a castle and chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne. During World War I this area was the scene of close battles. We will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot, who gave her name (Veuve Cliquot) to a famous Champagne wine. A ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne rewards the cyclist with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. Dinner on board and night in Epernay.

Day 7

Friday: Epernay round tour. Afternoon: visit Epernay and Champagne houses


The last half day’s bike tour takes you along the quiet canal parallel to the Marne river to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay. Return via Dizy to visit Hautvillers. After a somewhat challenging ascent you will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. Highlight is a visit of the chapel with the tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon. 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 into a wine of superb quality. Double fermentation, characteristic for the making of champagne, was introduced also by him. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, visit the center of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne the Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many town houses dating in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon are situated. Champagne tasting and tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

Day 8

Saturday: Epernay, disembarkation

After breakfast at 9 AM: end of tour and disembarkation in Epernay near the train station.

Travel Dates

Date Availability Departure Accomodation Category  
6/15/2019 - 6/22/2019 Available Paris Zwaantje Comfort Plus Book now
8/10/2019 - 8/17/2019 Available Paris Zwaantje Comfort Plus Book now

Tour prices

Accommodation Room Price Children 0-2 years Children 3-11 years
Prices are per cabin 0 0
Zwaantje 2-berth cabin low beds € 2258,- 0 0
Zwaantje cabin for single use € 1469,- 0 0

Rent a bike

Image Name Type Price per week
21-speed bicycle 21-speed bicycle €80
Electric bicycle (limited number available) Electric bicycle (limited number available) €175


  • Tour and accommodation on board in the booked category 8 days / 7 nights (Sat.-Sat.) from/to Paris or Epernay;
  • Full board; 7 x breakfast, 6 x picnic lunch during bike tours, 7x three course dinner
  • Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels daily possible); daily cleaning service of the cabin,
  • Welcome drink, presentation of barge + crew and briefing on the first evening;
  • Tour leader (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. TGV station) on sat. at end or start of tour;
  • Printed instructions and maps for daily bike tours, 1 set per cabin;
  • Daily coffee and tea till 4 PM

Not included

  • Transfers to/from the docking places Paris and Epernay (other than bus transfer as mentioned under “inclusions”)
  • Reservation fee €15,00 (obligatory surcharge)
  • Rental bicycle
  • Other transfers
  • Parking fee
  • Entrance fees & excursions
  • Drinks on board
  • Personal insurances
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Special diets on request / surcharges may apply.

Special details

  • Please take good notice of our Terms & Conditions.
  • If you have special meal requirements (vegetarian meals, or if you are on a lactose- or lluten-free diet), we ask you to mention this when booking.
    In case of lactose or gluten-free diet an additional charge may apply.
  • Cycletours Holidays reserves the right to cancel tours with fewer than 12 participants up to 21 days prior to the date of departure.
  • The program is subject to change without notice.

Docking place
Your tour starts in Paris. The barge Zwaantje is moored at the Quai de Bercy along the River Seine ( close to the bridge Pont de Bercy). Navigation system : Quai de Bercy, close to Parking  Bercy.

Embarkation on Saturday is between 5 pm and 6 pm. On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 1 PM.

Airport: Charles de Gaulle or Paris Orly

Disembarkation in Epernay will take place after breakfast till 9.30 am.

Departure from Epernay
The docking place of the Zwaantje in Epernay is at the Quai de la Marne at Carrefour Supermarket (in some cases possibly also at Quai de l’Ile de Bélon along the Marne-Porte de Plaisance. The docking place can be different every week.

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Frequently asked questions

  • What biking level is the Champagne tour?

    This cycling tour is fully guided, but cannot be rated as easy: you need to be a fit and well-practiced cyclist. Every day you will cycle small country roads (short distances: un- or semi-paved roads and tracks) that go up and down the beautiful slopes of the wide river valley, through the hills and the Champagne vineyards. Cycling distances vary from 30 – 50 km (19 – 31 miles) per day.

  • How do I get from the airport to the destination place and is this transfer included?

    Our sales and information department can inform you on this manner. These transfers are usually not included (see the included section for each tour).

  • How large is the group on board?

    The size of the group depends on the barge scheduled on the tour. The capacity of the barges varies between 12 and 26 participants.

  • What are the cabins like?

    The Standard Plus category has bunk beds.
    The Comfort category is similar to Standard Plus, except there are low beds in the cabins.
    The ComfortPlus category is similar to Comfort, but the maximum capacity is 14 people (instead of 20/24 people).
    The Comfort DeLuxe category gives you about 9 square meters in the cabins, very well furnished with low beds and a comfortable equipped bathroom.

    In all categories the cabins have private shower/toilet and a porthole or window.
    There is room for a moderately sized suitcase per person.

More questions

Price starting from € 1099,- * * There are no extra's included in this price



 About the barge

The “Zwaantje” (little Swan) is a fully converted passenger barge under Dutch flag and management. On the main deck you will find the nice and cozy salon with airco and large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar. Depending on the quality of the network connection (mobile internet, limited data amount the salon offers free Wi-Fi. The barge has a very spacious sun deck (90 square meters / 860 square ft.) with chairs and tables and a beautiful view, where you can relax or join the skipper in the wheel house. Bicycles will be stored in a separate area on the sun deck. Since September 2014, the „Zwaantje“ has new owners and operators: Martijn van Tatenhove and Marjorie Kersten, who are experienced as operators of a passenger barge for more than thirteen years. Martijn is your captain on board; he grew up in a family in the hotel and restaurant business and is also a licensed chef. Marjorie graduated in Tourism at the Breda High School and has been working in public relations. The sympathetic and very motivated couple have slightly restyled the interior of the “Zwaantje” in winter 2014-2015 and have created a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Cabin plan

On lower deck the barge has 13 sleeping cabins: 10 twin cabins with two single beds each and two cabins with a double (French) bed and an additional 3rd bed as Pullman bed. The tour leader will be accommodated in a single cabin. All cabins have a small en-suite bathroom with toilet, shower and wash basin, a fixed window (both double cabins have larger windows that also open) and individual air conditioning.

  • Offical name MPS Zwaantje
  • Length 40 m
  • Width 6 m
  • Capacity 24 persons
  • Electricity 220 Volts



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