Day 1 — Sunday
Arrival at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre
Join the barge for a champagne reception, meeting your captain and crew. Relax and settle in and perhaps take a short stroll along the tow-path. Meanwhile, your chef is preparing your first gourmet dinner of the week.
Day 2 — Monday
Cruise to Chateau-Thierry | Visit Belleau Wood
After breakfast, relax into your first cruise along the winding River Marne to the city of Château-Thierry, site of pivotal battles in 1814 and 1918, and now at the heart of the champagne region. Lunch on board is followed by a visit to Belleau Wood, the site of a famous battle during World War I, when American troops halted the progression of the German army. Continue to the Aisne-Marne cemetery, containing the graves of 2,288 American soldiers.
Before returning to the barge, head to the enchanting medieval town of Chézy-sur-Marne for a taste of the famous Brie de Meaux in a local fromagerie. Back on board, enjoy a champagne tasting on deck as your chef prepares a delicious dinner.
Day 3 — Tuesday
Cruise to Mareuil-le-Port | Participate in oenological workshop | Lunch at Michelin starred restaurant
Spend a leisurely morning on board as the barge winds its way past the glorious vineyards of this celebrated region. Alight for a short drive to the Michelin-starred Hostellerie La Briqueterie, on the slopes of the river, for a wonderful lunch. Afterwards, a scenic drive to the house of Champagne J de Telmont, where you spend a fascinating afternoon participating in their unique oenological workshop. On the way back, your guide takes you for a brief visit to the abbey in Hautvillers where Dom Pérignon’s tomb lies. Admire the spectacular views overlooking the vineyards before returning to the boat for dinner.
Day 4 — Wednesday
Cruise to Conde-sur-Marne | Excursion to Epernay market and wine-tasting
Rise early to accompany your chef to the charming covered market in Epernay. Here you can help select ingredients from the plump, seasonal produce available. While Chef returns to the barge to prepare lunch, stay and explore the attractive town. Wander down the Avenue de Champagne, an elegant street lined with prestigious champagne houses and swish courtyards. Enjoy a private tasting at Moêt & Chandon before returning to the boat for lunch as we cruise towards to Condé-sur-Marne, our mooring for the night. This evening, before dinner, enjoy a tasting and a sabre-ing demonstration at the family-run champagne house of Ployez-Jacquemart.
Day 5 — Thursday
Cruise to Juvigny | Walking tour of Reims
Having left the river Marne, we are now gliding along the canal. Take advantage of the slow pace and wide towpaths to alight for a walk or a cycle ride alongside the barge. After lunch, your guide will accompany you to the city of Reims, not just an important centre of champagne production but the place where some 34 French sovereigns were crowned. Explore the beautiful gothic cathedral, the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the bountiful shops. Return to the barge for dinner.
Day 6 — Friday
Cruise to Châlons-en-Champagne | Discover the town with free time
The final leg brings us to the picturesque town of Châlons-en-Champagne, whose numerous attractions include the gothic Saint-Étienne Cathedral, museum of the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Cloister with its remarkable statuary, and three glorious public gardens. Alight after lunch to explore at your leisure and perhaps find those souvenirs. Back on board, your chef is busy preparing a farewell gala dinner.
Day 7 — Saturday
Departure from Châlons-en-Champagne
After breakfast, disembark at 9am for your onward travel arrangements.
Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks.