Champagne Region to Paris Bike and Boat

  • Category

    Bike and Boat
    Self Guided or Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely to Moderate
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Epernay / Paris
  • Distance

    130 miles/210 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and LakesWine Lovers
  • Accommodation

    Comfort
  • Tour code

    008-111CFRB
Price From £1108

Overview

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

Explore the beautiful Champagne Region and visit a famous Champagne House on the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay before embarking on a pleasant bike and boat journey eastwards along the scenic Marne River to Paris – The City Of Lights. Daily rides reveal elegant Chateaux and charming towns.

On this wonderful cycling adventure you will live aboard the lovely Zwaantje, a very comfortable and welcoming river cruiser run by a charming couple, Martijn van Tatenhove and Marjorie Kersten. Each day you will disembark for guided cycle rides through the beautiful undulating scenery of the Marne Valley.

The tour will start with two nights in Epernay, the centre of Champagne culture and home to some of the world’s most  famous Champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier. As well as cycling through the scenic vineyards, we’ll also visit the tomb of Dom Perignon, the monk credited with pioneering the champagne production method. We’ll also visit a Champagne House for a tour and of course a tasting.

Enroute in champagne

Enroute in champagne

On our cruise along the Marne River towards Paris we’ll disembark for  daily guided rides that showcase the splendid undulating countryside and villages of the Marne Valley. The region is justly proud of its wine and cheese and there will be opportunities to stop at local producers to learn more and sample the wares.

The rides follow quiet lanes that ascend and descend the contours of the wide river valley. The routes lead us to scenic outlooks, small villages and historic buildings along the valley. Each night we moor up in a different riverside town or city, ensuring the after-dinner stroll is always a fresh, unique experience.

This route will best suit customers with a reasonable to good level of fitness. Each ride will include some hills as the terrain along the valley is invariable undulating. E-bikes are a popular option on this route for anyone who feels a bit of assistance on the hills may be appreciated.

Itinerary & Map

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.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrival in Epernay

Avenue de Champagne – Epernay

Embarkation and check-in is from 2pm in Epernay. After a welcome from the Captain, crew and guide the bike fitting takes place and this is followed by a short test ride to get used to the bikes.

After dinner the tour guide invites you to join him for a stroll through Epernay. The town features many beautiful town houses, many owned by internationally famous Champagne brands, dotted along the beautiful Avenue de Champagne.

Day 2: Epernay round tour, 10 to 16 miles/17 to 25 kms

Enroute in champagne

Enroute in champagne

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 tour of one of these houses which will of course include a tasting session. The Zwaantje remains moored in Epernay for a second night.

Day 3: Epernay – Dormans – Château-Thierry, 19 to 35 miles/35 to 50 kms

The Marne Valley

The Marne Valley

Our first full day’s cycling leads us on an idyllic route alongside the Marne river, through fertile countryside and charming little villages. We will see the elegant Château de Bousault, built by the widow (veuve) of Monsieur François Clicquot. Veuve Cliquot demonstrated impressive business acumen and built the family champagne business into the famous company it is today. We climb to Châtillon sur Marne to drink in the marvellous views of the Marne valley and Champagne vineyards. The quiet town of Dormans marks the boundary of the Champagne region, it is also the site of the Battle of Marne which took place in World War I and you might wish to visit the Chapel that serves as memorial to this fierce encounter. If you opt for the shorter ride today you will rejoin the Zwaantje at Dormans but if you prefer to ride some more you’ll continue to the lock at Mont-Saint Père, some 15 kms downstream. The Zwaantje then cruises on to Château-Thierry, a pleasant town on the banks of the Marne where we moor for the night.

Day 4: Château-Thierry – La Ferté sous Jouarre, 26 miles/42 kms

Zwaantje on the Marne River

Zwaantje on the Marne River

The first part of today’s ride leads us alongside the banks of the Marne river. After a while we leave the river and begin to follow some country lanes uphill along a valley. We pass through a succession of small villages and hamlets, stopping off at WWI American Cemetery near Belleau before continuing uphill beside the river Clignon. Eventually we reach a plateau above the northern side of the Marne valley. After enjoying the views our route leads us back down to the river Marne along some forest-lined lanes. The Zwaantje is waiting for us at the charming little town of La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre where she remains moored for the night.

Day 5: La Ferté sous Jouarre – Meaux, 18 to 32 miles/30 to 52 kms

Brie - Marne Valley

Brie upon Brie!

Today’s route is undulating, leading us through woodland and small villages on either side of the Marne. A steady climb is rewarded with a visit to a family-run Fromagerie where we enjoy a presentation from the owners and an opportunity to taste and buy their excellent Brie cheese. Afterwards you can decide between a shorter route over the hills and valleys of the southern bank to tonight’s overnight stop in the historical city of Meaux, or a longer route that tracks the river as it meanders through the pleasant countryside. Meaux is a lovely old city with the magnificent Cathedral of St. Etienne as its centrepiece.

Day 6: Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne, 12 to 22 miles/20 to 37 kms

Cycling near Lagny sur Marne

Underway!

We start off cycling beside the Marne River and its parallel canal. We then leave the river and begin to follow the Canal de l’Ourcq which was built on Napoleon’s orders to transport food and water to central Paris from the countryside. Our ride concludes in the pleasant town of Lagny-sur-Marne where the Zwaantje is waiting for us. In the afternoon a second ride is offered, leading us to the splendid Château de Champs-sur-Marne, one of the most opulently furnished châteaux in the Ile-de-France. We then return to Lagny-sur-Marne for our penultimate night aboard the Zwaantje.

Day 7: Lagny-sur-Marne – Paris, 21 miles/35 kms

Paris – City of Lights

Our final ride continues along the Canal de l’Ourcq into Paris. After passing the basin of La Vilette, we find the Zwaantje moored at the Quai Bercy on the Seine in the heart of Paris. After dropping off the bikes at the boat the rest of the day is yours to spend as you will in the City of Lights. A final dinner on board is the prefect opportunity to reflect on our cycling adventure from the Champagne region to Paris.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast it’s time to disembark, by 9.30am, and head for home or your next adventure.

Dates & Prices

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

2019 Arrival Dates
Epernay to Paris08 June, 22 June & 17 August

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2019 Prices
008-111CFRB
Per person
08 Jun
to
17 Aug
 
Zwaantje - comfort
Twin cabin £1108                  
Single cabin £1441                  
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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

Example of the type of bike used on this tour.

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

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