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Champagne, Epernay-Paris

Marne River Valley & Paris tour

Epernay
Paris - Charles de Gaulle

  • Start
  • Finish

Paris
Paris - Charles de Gaulle

This eight day, seven night Champagne, Marne River Valley & Paris tour on board the barge MS Zwaantje is a cycle touring classic that 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. In 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 40 km (average per day)
  • Beautiful castles
  • Meaux, cheeses and Cathedral Saint Etienne
  • Impressive tunnel near Saint-Maurice
  • Paris, City of Light

Daily Program

1 km = 0,62 miles
Day 1

Saturday: Epernay, embarkation

In the afternoon: Embarkation and check-in between 05:00 and 06:00 PM. Welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader. Dinner on board. First briefing about the barge, bicycles and tour program.
It is possible to load your luggage on board from 1 pm.

Day 2

Sunday: Epernay round tour, afternoon: visit Epernay and Champagne houses

25KM

The first 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 first ascent of the slopes and through the vineyards (cyclists can test their shape and muscles for the first time) 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 a Champagne house on the famous Avenue de Champagne.

Day 3

Monday: Epernay - Dormans - Château-Thierry

40KM

Start the first full day cycling tour along the canal and Marne river. 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. Today we will leave 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. Dinner on board and night in Epernay. Today’s destination is Château-Thierrry, that owes its name to the castle that once was 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 writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine. Short bike tour – if possible – starts in Dormans.

Day 4

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

50KM

Enjoy a somewhat challenging bike tour from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre . The first part of the cycling tour leads 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, 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. Easier and shorter cycling option along the river through the valley. Night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or one of the villages nearby.

Day 5

Wednesday: La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux

40KM

After breakfast you will start your cycling tour that 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. After just a few miles you will enjoy a presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses (included). On the way we may visit the Château de Montceau, the building of which was started 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 St.-Etienne. Visit the historical city center of Meaux. Dinner on board and night in Meaux.

Day 6

Thursday: Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne

35KM

Visit the beautiful city center of Meaux. Then you can take your bicycle for a last ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. Last challenge is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through this hill, but cyclists have to ride up to take the hill by bicycle. In the afternoon you will meet the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne, where you will stay for the night.

Day 7

Friday: Paris, full day excursion

After breakfast you will leave the ship and enjoy a full day guided excursion to many highlights of Paris. Take the regional train (30 min.) to Paris and visit some of the many highlights that the “City of Light” has to offer. To mention just a few: the Eiffel 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 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.

Day 8

Saturday: Paris, disembarkation

After breakfast at 9 AM: end of the tour and disembarkation in Paris.

Travel Dates

Date Availability Departure Accomodation Category  
6/8/2019 - 6/15/2019 Available Epernay Zwaantje Comfort Plus Book now
6/22/2019 - 6/29/2019 Available Epernay Zwaantje Comfort Plus Book now
8/17/2019 - 8/24/2019 Available Epernay 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

Included

  • 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;
  •  Printed instructions and maps for daily bike tours, 1 set per cabin;
  • Complimentary daily coffee and tea till 4 PM

Not included

  • Transfers to/from the docking places Paris and Epernay (info on request)
  • Reservation fee (obligatory surcharge)
  • Rental bicycle
  • Other transfers
  • Ticket public transport in Paris and to Lagny-sur-Marne
  • Parking fee, entrance fees & excursions
  • 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 diet), we ask you to mention this when booking. Surcharges may apply.
  • Minimum number of 12 participants to be reached at least 22 days prior to departure.
  • The program is subject to change without notice.

Docking place
Your tour starts in Epernay. You will find the Zwaantje at the Quai de l’Île de Bélon (along the Marne – Porte de Plaisance) or at the Quai de la Marne near the Carrefour Supermarket (docking place can change weekly).

Embarkation
Embarkation in Epernay on Saturday between 5 and 6 pm.
It is possible to bring your luggage on board from 1 pm.

Arrival by train from the airport (Charles de Gaulle):
From Airport Charles de Gaulle there is an excellent TGV-train connection to TGV Station Champagne-Ardennes. Further with SNCF to the train station in Epernay. Plan your route at www.goeuro.co.uk of www.trainline.eu.

From the train station it is about 1 km to docking place Quai de L’Île de Bélon and about 970 meter to docking place Quai de la Mare. You can walk or grab a taxi outside the station.

Disembarkation
Disembarkation in Paris is after breakfast till 09:30 am. Please check your cabin for personal items. Before you leave, please do not forget to hand over your cabin and bike key at reception.

Departure from Paris
The docking place of the Zwaantje in Paris is at the Quai de Bercy along the Seine (close to the bridge, Pont de Bercy). From here you can take the subway, tram or train to the airports Charles de Gaulle Roissy or Paris Orly.

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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.

  • What languages do the guides speak?

    All tour guides speak English. Some of the the tour guides speak German and/ or French. We also have a few guides who speak Spanish and/or Italian. We try to match the guide’s linguistic abilities with the nationalities in the group.
    The common language on board is English.

  • What packing list do you suggest?

    What you need to bring with you on the Bike & Barge tours starting and/or ending in the Netherlands and along the Mosel & Saar:

    Specialised cycle clothing may be handy but not strictly necessary. What you do need (among other things) is the following:
    •    shorts/ long trousers/ track suit/ legging
    •    shirts/ sweater/ rain clothing
    •    gloves (in case you booked a tour in April and October. It can be chilly in the morning)
    •    good shoes/ sneakers
    •    sunglasses/ cap/ swimming costume
    •    shower gel
    •    shampoo (available on the barge Sailing Home)
    •    insect repellent
    •    hairdryer (220V) (available on the barges Sailing Home and Zwaan)

    The final packing list we suggest for your tour will be included in your travel documents.

  • What is the average age of the participants?

    The ages vary between 35 and 75, but of course we have younger and older guests. During school vacations there are more children on board.

More questions

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

Accommodations

Zwaantje
Zwaantje

 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

Champagne Epernay-Paris

 

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