Paris to Champagne Region Bike and Boat

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 d’Austerlitz and after 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 bike 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.

Paris to Champagne Region Bike and Boat

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 d’Austerlitz and after 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 bike 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

This holiday also operates in reverse, see the Champagne to Paris route.

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.

Day 1 : Arrival in Paris

On arrival in the ‘City of Lights‘, make your way to Quai d’Austerlitz 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/35 kms

After breakfast we disembark with the bikes and mount up for our first ride. The route leads us through the gardens of Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne and 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
13 or 26 miles/22 or 42 kms

After breakfast we disembark with the bikes. Today’s route is presenting us with our one and only climb of the day over the hill near Chalifert. Once we’ve got our breath back we continue the route via the La Vilette basin past the Canal de l’Ourq which was built on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte to transport water, grain and wood to Paris. We then enjoy a 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 or 32 miles/30 or 52 kms

After 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

This 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 : CChâteau Thierry – Dormans – Epernay
19 or 35 miles/35 or 50 kms

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 Dormans 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. Dinner on-board is not included today to give you a chance to taste what Epernay has to offer.

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

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.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 21 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are provided on arrival.

Accommodation

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.

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

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.

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