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France: Champagne Tour, Paris – Epernay or vv

Duration: 7 Days
Price: € 1129
Level: Moderate
  • Champagne vineyards along a gorgious river

    During this tour we follow the beautiful valley of the river Marne from Paris, the famous capital of France to Epernay, centre of the Champagne region. Along the way, you have plenty of opportunity to taste the cheese and the champagne this part of France is so famous for. You meet your floating hotel, in the heart of Paris, not far from the Notre-Dame. From there, we follow the valley of the Marne upstream. We stay for the night in the city of Meaux, famous for its Brie. Later on we arrive in the real Champagne region and you bike straight across the vineyards on the rolling banks of the Marne. We also spend a night in Château-Thierry, scene of the American battles in World War I. We visit the immense champagne cellars in Epernay, capital of the Champagne region, as well as small champagne growers, who will be proud to let you taste their best champagne. Close to Epernay you bike to the village Hautvillers, where the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon invented the bubbly drink in 1670 at the Abbey of d’Hautvillers.

    Level of difficulty: The trip is rated as level 3: moderate. The cycling terrain is not very easy. We cycle small country roads that go up and down through the Champagne fields.

    Itinerary:  Paris – Lagny-sur-Marne – Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Chateau-Thierry – Epernay


  • TOUR DATES 2019 – ZWAANTJE:
    Paris – Epernay:
    departures on June 15 and August 10
    Epernay – Paris: departures on June 8, June 22 and August 17

    Cabin type Max passengers Price
    Twin
    Single (on request)
    2
    1
    € 1129
    € 1469

    Check availability here and book

  • Barge Zwaantje ( 24 passengers / 12 cabins)                 Premium

    The MS Zwaantje (“Little Swan”) is a fully converted passenger barge that sails under the Dutch flag and management. The barge has a length of 40 metres (131 ft.) and can accommodate 24 passengers in total comfort. On the lower deck there are 12 sleeping cabins for guests: 10 twin cabins with two single beds each and two cabins with a double (French) bed. All the cabins have a small ensuite bathroom with toilet, shower and wash basin, a fixed window (both double cabins have larger windows that also open) and individual air conditioning. On the main deck you will find the nice and cozy salon complete with air-conditioning 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 experienced 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.

  • Day 1 (Sat): Paris
    Embarkation and check-in at 2 p.m. at the Quai de Bercy on the Seine river in Paris. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader there is time for a walking tour through Paris. After dinner on board there is a first briefing about the barge, bicycles and tour program.

    Day 2 (Sun): Paris – Lagny-sur-Marne (35 km/21 mi.)
    You leave Paris by bike via the canal de l’Ourcq. A bike path leads from the place the la Bastille (close to the mooring place of the Zwaantje), via the basin of la Vilette to the banks of the l’Ourcq.  This canal was built by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The canal provided the city with water and played an important role in the transportation of goods to and from the city. Destination of today is Lagny, a nice little town along the Marne.

    Day 3 (Mon): Lagny-sur-Marne – Meaux (20 km/12 mi. or 37 km/22 mi.)
    In Lagny-sur-Marne, you can take your bicycle for a first ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. In case you opt for the short ride, the first challenge is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through the hill, but cyclists can test their fitness and muscles 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 you 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 de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Night in Meaux.

    Day 4 (Tue): Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (30 km/18 mi. or 52 km/32 mi.)
    There are a few cycling options today. The shorter option will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the south bank of the river through forests and small villages. The longer option stays in the valley of the river in the morning with a ride through Trilport and Lizy-sur-Ourcq. Later you will have to climb a few challenging hills, leaving the valley in the direction of Jouarre. In Jouarre, all cyclists can enjoy a very nice presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Dinner on board and night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or a village nearby.

    Day 5 (Wed): La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry (42 km/26 mi.)
    Enjoy a somewhat challenging cycling tour from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry. The first part of the cycling track leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will take a side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. 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. Follow the valley of the small river Clignon. En route you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau on the D82. Start your descent to reach Château-Thierry. Dinner on board and night in Château-Thierry. Château-Thierry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. You can still see some remnants. 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 World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine.

    Day 6 (Thu): Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay (35 km/19 mi. or 50 km/35 mi.)
    During breakfast the ship will take us to the lock of Mont St. Pierre or even a bit further upstream to Dormans. Today we will enter the official Champagne area. 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. 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. During the cycling tour you 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. Dinner on board and night in Epernay.

    Day 7 (Fri): Epernay round tour (17 km/10 mi. or 25 km/16 mi.)
    The last half day’s cycling 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 ascent 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 (1638-1715). In charge of the wine cellars of a Benedictine abbey, Dom Pérignon pioneered a number of winemaking techniques, being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve regional wines 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 de 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 and Mercier, are situated. Enjoy a Champagne tasting and take a tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

    Day 8 (Sat): Epernay
    End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.

    Parts that are printed in italics will be covered by the ship.
    All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
    The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal)

  • Day 1 (Sat): Epernay
    Embarkation and check-in at 2 p.m. in Epernay. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader there is time for bicycle fitting and a short test ride.
    After dinner your tour leader will take you for a walk through Epernay, the major wine center of the Champagne region. 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 many prestigious champagne houses are situated.

    Day 2 (Sun): Epernay round tour (17 km/10 mi. or 25 km/16 mi.)
    The first half day’s cycling 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 (1638-1715). In charge of the wine cellars of a Benedictine abbey, Dom Pérignon pioneered a number of winemaking techniques, being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve regional wines 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 de 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 and Mercier, are situated. Enjoy a Champagne tasting and take a tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

    Day 3 (Mon): Epernay – Dormans – Château-Thierry (35 km/19 mi. or 50 km/35 mi.)
    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 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. The short cycling tour ends in Dormans, where you can join the ship. The longer option ends at the lock of Mont St. Pierre. Today’s destination is Château-Thierry, 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.

    Day 4 (Tue): Château-Thierry – La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre (42 km/26 mi.)
    Enjoy a somewhat challenging cycling 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 to reach La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre in the Marne valley, where you will meet the barge and spend the night.

    Day 5 (Wed): La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux (30 km/18 mi. or 52 km/32 mi.)
    After breakfast you will start your cycling tour that will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley through forests and small villages on the southern and northern banks of the river. After just a few miles (uphill !) you will enjoy a very nice presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Then you will hop on the bicycles again and you can opt for a longer or shorter ride to Meaux. The short option will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the southern bank of the river through forests and small villages. The long tour follows a few large curves of the river to Lizy-sur-Ourcq and Trilport. 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 (Thu): Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne (20 km/12 mi. or 37 km/22 mi.)
    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. The longer option leads along the Canal de l’Ourq, that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and drinking water to Paris. In the afternoon you will meet the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne, an outskirt of Paris, where you will stay for the night. You can add an afternoon bicycle ride of 20 km through the valley of the Marne river to the castle of Champs-sur Marne. The Château de Champs-sur-Marne is characteristic of the residences of leisure built in the countryside in the 18th century, giving rise to a new style of living. It is one of the most magnificently furnished châteaux in the Ile-de-France.

    Day 7 (Fri): Paris: Lagny-sur-Marne – Paris (35 km/21 mi.)
    Today we will bike further along the Canal d’Ourcq. This canal was built by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The canal provided the city with water and played an important role in the transportation of goods to and from the city. We will enter the city along a bike path that leads via the basin of la Vilette all the way to the place the la Bastille (close to the mooring place of the Zwaantje). We will find the Zwaantje at Quai Bercy in the heart of Paris.

    Day 8 (Sat): Paris
    End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.

    Parts that are printed in italics will be covered by the ship.
    All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
    The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal)


  • Included in the cost of the tour
    – 8 days / 7 nights
    – 7 x breakfast
    – Packed lunches
    – 7 x 3-course dinner
    – Coffee and tea on board
    – Welcome drink
    – Use of bed linen and towels
    – Daily cleaning of the cabin
    – Climate-controlled cabin
    – Daily briefings
    – Fully guided cycling tours (1 tour leader)
    – Some short walking tours
    – Maps (1 per cabin)
    – GPS tracks
    – Use of a helmet
    – Use of a waterproof pannier bag
    – Water bottle
    – Fees for ferries
    – Brie cheese tasting in Jouarre
    – Champagne tasting at local producer
    – Visit champagne cellar in Epernay
    – Wi-Fi

    Not included
    – Drinks
    – Bike rental or E-bike rental
    – Personal insurances
    – Gratuities (at your discretion)
    – Entrance fees and excursions excursions (not mentioned under included)
    – Transfers to / from the docking place
    – Parking fees

    Bike rental: € 80 per week
    E-bike rental: € 175 per week (only on request, limited number available)
    Gluten free or lactose free diet: € 50 per week. only on prior reservation and payment

  • Good to know
    The daily cycling tours will be accompanied by a knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader.
    During the days when 2 bicycle options are possible, the tour leader will make a choice for the longer or the shorter option together with the group.
    Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bike option.
    You can also choose to ride individually with the help of a map and route notes (available on board). GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour.
    In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
    On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 a.m.

    Level of difficulty
    This trip is rated as level 3: moderate.
    The cycling terrain is not very easy. You cycle small country roads that go up and down through the Champagne fields. A good physical condition and basic cycling skills are important. Some stages are a bit more challenging. Average distances up to 50 km. Short slopes with heights up to 200 meters. Sometimes a short stage with a little more climbing.

    Type of bike
    The bicycles on board are 21-speed touring bicycles with hand brakes and a pannier bag. A limited number of e-bikes (electrically assisted bicycle) are available on request (early booking is strongly recommended). Other bikes (e.g. children’s bikes, tandems, etc.) are not available in this area and cannot be ordered for these tours. Due to limited space on deck guests cannot bring their own bicycles or E-bikes. Only in exceptional cases when you need a special bike or tandem. Please let us know well in advance when you would like to bring your own special bicycle/tandem. This is only possible after reconfirmation by us. Neither crew nor tour operator are liable/ responsible for any damage, loss or theft of own bicycles. 

    Place of departure Zwaantje: Paris or Epernay
    The trip on the Zwaantje begins in either Paris or in Epernay.
    In Paris the Zwaantje is moored at the quai de Bercy in the river Seine.
    In Epernay the Zwaantje will be docked at the Quai de Marne.
    We expect you on board the Zwaantje at about 2 p.m. 
    When you are going to arrive late at night on Saturday, please let us know per telephone or e-mail.

    Transfer from Paris:
    Nearby the docking place of the Zwaantje you can take the subway, tram or train to the airports Charles de Gaulle Roissy or Paris Orly.
    More information and online route planner:
    http://en.parisinfo.com/practical-paris/how-to-get-to-and-around-paris
    http://www.parisaeroport.fr/en

    Transfer from Epernay:
    The SNCF train station is approx. 1 km / 0.6 mi. from the docking place of the Zwaantje. From the train station in Epernay you can travel with only one change in approx.. 1 hour and 20 minutes with SNCF to TGV Station Champagne-Ardenne, just a little South of Reims. There is also a good, direct (SNCF) connection to both Reims Centre (23 – 39 minutes) as Paris Gare de l’Est (1 hour and 16 min – 1 hour and 42 min). Plan your route at www.goeuro.co.uk of www.trainline.eu.
    Taxi from Epernay to Reims or the TGV train station:
    We can recommend taxi company A’Gil. We strongly recommend you to reserve your taxi in advance, especially with a transfer from Reims or TGV station to Epernay.
    Tel.: +33 326 59 01 44 Mobile: +33 6 80 30 55 89 / www.agiltaxi.fr

    CONTACT:
    Tel Office: +31 (0) 299313071
    e-mail: info@eurosailtravel.com

    Mooring in Paris

    Parijs weergeven op een grotere kaart

    Mooring Epernay Zwaantje