Experience the beauty of the Marne River Valley, the lights of Paris and the famous Champagne houses of Epernay from the comfort of a well appointed barge. Along the way, sample delicious cheese in Meaux, well known for its Brie cheese and visit Château-Thierry, scene of major battles in World War I. Cycling along the river in the company of your expert guide, through vineyards and past small villages, ensures you gain a unique insight in this special region. In the Champagne region, visit small producers, who will be proud to let you taste their best Champagne wines. The journey concludes in Épernay, the real capital of the Champagne region, where the Avenue de Champagne is home to famous producers such as Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier-Jouët.
Discovering Paris on a full day guided excursion
Soaking up the hospitality onboard the comfortable barge
Exploring the small towns and villages en route
E-bike cycling through the scenic Champagne region and tasting local wines
Exploring Epernay, which together with Reims is the major centre of the Champagne region
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Embarkation In Lagny-Sur-Marne (Paris) (38Km/23.7Mi)
Meals Included: L, D
Arrive Paris and make your own way to the barge in Lagny, on the outskirts of Paris. Embarkation and check-in is at 11.00am. Your final documents will note the embarkation point for your departure.
Meet your guide and crew, and when all passengers are on board there will be a short welcome briefing. You head off on the first cycle stage, a loop ride to explore the region (includes a packed lunch).
Cycle To Meaux, Famous For Its 'Brie De Meaux' Cheese (22 Or 42Km/13 Or 26Mi)
Meals Included: B, L, D
From Lagny there are two options which both initially having an uphill. The shorter option's first challenge is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through the hill, but cyclists can test their fitness for the first time by climbing and crossing the hill by bicycle. Also on the longer option the first part is quite hilly because you have to leave the valley of the Marne. Later we will follow the small Canal de l’Ourq that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and fresh water to Paris. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its brie and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Overnight in Meaux.
Cycle Along The Marne To La Ferté-Sous-Jouarre (27 Or 52Km/16 Or 32Mi)
Meals Included: B, L, D
After breakfast we will start our cycling tour. There are options today. The shorter route leads over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the south bank of the river, through forests and small villages. The longer route stays in the river valley in the morning with a ride through Trilport and Lizy-sur-Ourcq. Later there are a few challenging hills, in the direction of Jouarre. In Jouarre, we can enjoy a nice presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Dinner on board and overnight in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or a nearby village.
Continue Cycle To Château-Thierry (40 Or 44Km/24 Or 26Mi)
Meals Included: B, L, D
Today is a somewhat challenging day from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry. The first part leads along the Marne river. After a short time we will take a side valley and follow country roads along the small river through various small villages and hamlets. Continue riding uphill until we finally reach the plateau above the northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered with forest, and agriculture is predominant on the plateau. Follow the valley of the small river Clignon. Along the way we can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau on the D82. Start our descent to Château-Thierry. Dinner on board and overnight in Château-Thierry. Château-Thierry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne, remnants of which can still be seen today. 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 WW1. It is also known as the native town of Jean de la Fontaine, the writer of fables.
Enter The Champagne Area And Cycle To Epernay (35 Or 50Km/19 Or 31Mi)
Meals Included: B, L
Today we will enter the official Champagne area. During breakfast the barge will take us to the lock of Mont St Pierre, from where we'll commence cycling, or cruise further upstream to Dormans. Dormans is 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 intense battles. Along the way is the Château de Boursault, built in 1848 by the widow of Mr Cliquot, who gave her name to the famous Champagne house (Veuve Cliquot). Dinner is at leisure tonight, you are free to choose one of the many restaurants in Epernay.
Vineyard Cycle, Visit Epernay + Champagne Houses (19 Or 26Km/11 Or 16Mi)
Meals Included: B, L, D
The morning cycle tour takes us 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 we will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. A 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. He also introduced double fermentation, a characteristic for the making of champagne. Return by bike to Epernay. After lunch, visit the centre of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine centre of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many town houses in neo-renaissance or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue de Champagne where prestigious champagne houses are located such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier. We will visit one of the major Champagne houses for a tour and Champagne tasting.
Trip Concludes After Breakfast In Epernay
Meals Included: B
The tour ends after breakfast by 9:00am. Disembark near the train station in Epernay.
Note: the itinerary operates in reverse every alternate departure i.e. Epernay to Paris (see below). Itinerary is provided as a guide and small amendments may occur.
What You Carry
During the cycle day you will carry your daily requirements in the pannier provided with the bike. This may include your lunch, wet weather gear, mobile phone and water. A small daypack which can be kept inside the pannier is useful for sightseeing.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
The cycling is moderate (3) grade with daily cycling distances from 19 to 52km (11.8 to 32mi) along undulating usually well graded low traffic roads. There are some short stretches on some busier roads and off-road bike paths. The cycling includes ups and downs every day through the beautiful wide river valley, hills and the Champagne vineyards - between 50 and 400m (164 and 1312ft) (aggregate) difference in altitude per day. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. A good level of fitness and cycling experience is required to fully participate in this trip. Cycling in the hills will be comfortable as E-bikes are reserved for all guests.