Paris to Champagne Region Bike and Boat

  • Category

    Bike and Boat
    Self Guided or Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely to Moderate
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Paris / Epernay
  • Distance

    130 miles/210 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and LakesWine Lovers
  • Accommodation

    Comfort
  • Tour code

    008-111CFRA
Price From £1108

Overview

This holiday also operates in reverse, click here for the Champagne Region to Paris route.

Explore Paris before embarking on a cruise along the Marne River to the Champagne Region. Disembark each day for leisurely cycle rides through glorious countryside, discovering elegant castles and charming towns. Cycle the champagne vineyards and learn more about the history and heritage of this world-famous wine.

Your tour starts in Paris, the City of Lights. Your Barge, the Zwaantje, is moored on the Seine at Quai de Bercy and over dinner the crew and tour guide will welcome everyone and provide a detailed briefing of the week ahead.

The next day your cycling adventure begins as you leave Paris by bike, following an old Canal out of the city to the charming town of Lagny sur Marne.

The Marne Valley is green and fertile with some wonderful, historic towns and villages dotted along its length. The town of Meaux and surrounding villages have a well-deserved reputation for producing some award winning Brie Cheeses and there will be plenty of opportunities to sample them during your overnight stay in this charming old town.

 

You’ll also spend a night moored in Chateau Thierry, scene of some major battles during World War I. At Dormans you enter the Champagne Region and close by you’ll find the elegant home of the Veuve (widow) Clicquot who inherited her dead husband’s business and turned it into a world famous Champagne brand.

Cycling through a sea of Champagne vineyards is an unforgettable experience as is visiting the village of Hautvillers where the monk, Dom Perignon first created champagne. A fitting finale to the trip is a tour of a major Champagne House in Epernay which will of course include a tasting session .

You can opt to accompany the bikes guide each day or, on some of the shorter days, you can use the maps and route notes available on board to navigate yourself.

You will need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy this cycling holiday. The daily rides range between 19 and 32 miles in length. In general, the terrain is level with only the odd, short climb to contend with. On day four you will encounter a few more hills but these are also mercifully short. E-bikes are available on this tour, albeit in limited numbers so we advise booking early if this mode of transport appeals.

Itinerary & Map

You will need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy this cycling holiday. The daily rides range between 16 and 35 miles in length. In general, the terrain is level with only the odd, short climb to contend with. On day four you will encounter a few more hills but these are also mercifully short. E-bikes are available on this tour, albeit in limited numbers so we advise booking early if this mode of transport appeals.

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

Please note: The itinerary below describes the tour heading west to east, from Paris to Epernay, however on alternate weeks the tour operates in the opposite direction from Epernay to Paris. In this instance the itinerary should be considered in reverse. The Dates and Prices tab shows which tour dates operate in which direction

View larger map

Day 1: Arrival in Paris

Paris - France IV*

Seine and Notre Dame – Paris

On arrival in the ‘City of Lights‘, make your way to Quai de Bercy on the Seine where the Zwaantje (Swan) is moored – check-in is at 2pm. In the afternoon you are invited to join a guided walk around the city and after dinner a detailed welcome briefing covers the week ahead, including information about the barge the bikes and the day to day itinerary.

Day 2: Paris – Lagny sur Marne, 21 miles/35kms

Cycling near Lagny sur Marne

Underway on the bikes

After breakfast we disembark with the bikes and mount up for our first ride. This easy, level route leads us via the La Vilette basin to the Canal del’Ourcq which was built on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte to provide water and transportation to the city centre. The Canal leads us out of the city to the Marne River. Our destination today is the charming little town of Lagny-sur-Marne where the Zwaantje is waiting for us.

Day 3: Lagny sur Marne – Meaux, 12 to 22 miles/20 to 37 kms

Bishop's Palace

Bishop’s Palace – Meaux

After breakfast we disembark with the bikes.  Today’s route follows the river to start with before presenting us with our one and only climb of the day over the hill near Chalifert. Once we’ve got our breath back we enjoy an easy and scenic ride along the river to the town of Meaux. Lovers of cheese are in for a treat as the city’s Brie de Meaux is highly regarded by cheese aficionados around the world. The magnificent Cathedral of St. Etienne is also worthy of mention as is the 12th century Bishop’s Palace which houses a fascinating museum. We moor for the night in this pleasant riverside town.

Day 4: Meaux – La Ferte sous Jouarre, 18 to 32 miles/30 to 52 kms

CyclistsAfter breakfast at our mooring in Meaux we disembark and cycle out into the rolling countryside of the Marne Valley. Our route leads us through forests and small villages on the south bank of the river. The terrain is more undulating than yesterday and if you opt for the longer ride you will encounter a few challenging climbs. During the ride we’ll stop for a cheese tasting session where we can sample the delicious Brie cheeses that the region is renowned for. Our destination today is the pleasant riverside village of La Ferté sous Jouarre (or a nearby village) where the Zwaantje moors for the night.

Day 5: La Ferté sous Jouarre – Château-Thierry, 26 miles/ 42 kms

Cyclists - Black ForestThis morning we ride alongside the Marne valley for a few kilometers before turning north away from the river. Winding country roads lead you through tiny hamlets and villages up onto a raised plateau. After descending through a forest into another valley you head east through rural countryside, following the course of the River Clignon towards Château Thierry. En-route you may wish to stop off at the WWI American Cemetery and Monument near Belleau before returning to the Marne Valley and rejoining the Zwaantje in Château Thierry, an attractive town that straddles the Marne River.

Day 6: Château Thierry – Dormans – Epernay, 19 to 35 miles/35 to 50 kms

Marne river lock just west of Dormans

Marne river lock just west of Dormans

Today you can choose between a longer and shorter route. If you opt for the shorter version you’ll stay on the barge as it cruises upstream to Dorman and then join the ride there, thus reducing the route from 35 to 19 miles. If you opt for the full length ride you’ll enjoy an idyllic cycle alongside the Marne river through fertile countryside and charming little villages. At Dormans we enter the official Champagne region and nearby we can see the elegant Château de Bousault, built by the widow (veuve in french) of Monsieur François Clicquot. Veuve Cliquot demonstrated impressive business acumen and built the family champagne business into one of the region’s major Champagne houses. Further along the river we climb to Châtillon sur Marne to drink in the marvellous views of the Marne valley and Champagne vineyards. We then descend into the valley once more and make our way to Epernay where the Zwaantje moors for the night.

Day 7: Epernay – Hautvillers and Champagne Houses, 10 to 16 miles/17 to 25 kms

Avenue de Champagne in Epernay

Avenue de Champagne – Epernay

Today is all about Champagne, the region’s world famous elixir. In the morning we ride along a quiet canal to the charming village of Ay. We then climb through a sea of champagne vineyards to the beautiful village of Hautvillers, the birthplace of Champagne. It was here that Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, developed the double fermentation process that has since become a defining characteristic of the famous wine. We visit the chapel and tomb of the famous monk before cycling back to Epernay for lunch. Three extensive wine regions meet at Epernay; Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blans and the Vallée de la Marne so it’s not surprise that the city is home to some of the most prestigious Champagne Houses. In the afternoon we visit the Avenue de Champagne for a tour of one of these houses which will of course include a tasting session. We spend the last night of our tour moored in Epernay.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you disembark in Epernay, by 9.30am, near the train station. It’s now time to head for home or your next adventure.

Dates & Prices

This holiday also operates in reverse, click here for the Champagne Region to Paris route.

2019 Arrival Dates
Paris to Epernay15 June & 10 August

Scroll/swipe to see more

2019 Prices
008-111CFRA
Per person
15 Jun
to
10 Aug
 
Zwaantje - comfort
Twin cabin £1108                  
Single cabin £1441                  
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    
Ignore                    

Scroll/swipe to see more

Deposit per person £200

Price Includes

7 nights aboard the MS Zwaantje. See practical information
7 x Breakfast, 6 x Packed lunch, 7 x Dinner
Welcome drink and daily briefing
Coffee and tea
Fully guided cycling tours with a tour leader
GPS route data
Helmet
Ferries
Brie cheese tasting
Champagne tasting at a local producer
Visit champagne cellar in Epernay
Wi-Fi

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Drinks on-board
Special dietary requests, excluding vegetarians (€50, payable locally)
Public transport in Paris & Lagny-sur-Marne
Gratuities/tips
Entrance fees and excursions (not mentioned under included)

Supplements

Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£79)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£196)

Practical Information

Bikes

The bikes provided on this tour are modern alloy framed, hybrid models with 21 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position.

The bikes also come equipped with rear pannier, lock and repair kit.

Electric bikes are available, but in limited supply and subject to availability at the time of booking.

Helmets are included, however we always suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons.

Accommodation

On-board payments: Cash and debit/credit cards accepted.

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

This tour operates on the Zwaantje, a comfort class barge. More images of the barge can be found the gallery.

Zwaantje (comfort)

Zwaantje

The MS Zwaantje is a comfortable boat offering a good standard of accommodation and facilities.

She has 12 cabins on the lower deck; 10 are twin cabins (7 m²) with two separate single beds and 2 are doubles (6 m² ) with one double bed. Each cabins has a private shower, toilet and basin. All cabins have ventilation, central heating, air-conditioning and a window; the windows in the doubles can be opened, the windows in the twins are fixed for safety reasons. Furthermore, in each cabin you will find a mini safe and hair dryer. A few of the twin cabins are available for single use.

Twin cabin

On the main deck a warm and cosy atmosphere pervades throughout. There’s a comfortable, air-conditioned salon with large, panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge area and small bar. Free Wi-Fi is available in the salon although the quality of the connection does vary depending on the location of the barge.

On the spacious sun-deck there are tables and chairs for relaxing in the fresh air, you can also step into the wheelhouse to watch Martijn, the skipper, at work.

Meals
A hearty breakfast is provided each morning, along with a packed lunch to take with you on the daily rides. A three-course meal is served each evening in the dining area.

Daily complimentary coffee and tea is available until 4pm.

Getting There

Paris – Epernay:
Fly to Paris or take the Eurostar and then make your way to Quai de Bercy where the barge is moored. At the end of your tour will be dropped off at the main TGV station in Reims. Regular trains connect Reims to Paris and the jouney time is roughly 2.5 hrs.

Epernay – Paris:
Fly to Paris or take the Eurostar and then make your way to Gare de l’Est and take a TGV train to Reims – the journey time is roughly 2.5 hrs. From Reims take a local commuter train south to Epernay where the barge is moored (journey time 30 mins).

Research flights here

 

Gallery