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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights on a Category A barge
Meals
  • 6 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$2150USD

 
 

Overview

Trip Code: CBU

Trip highlights


  • Discovering Paris on a full day guided excursion
  • Exploring the small towns and villages en route
  • Soaking up the hospitality onboard the comfortable barge
  • Cycling through the Champagne region and tasting local wines
  • Exploring Epernay, which together with Reims is the major centre of the Champagne region

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.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

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On arrival in Paris make your way to the barge, moored at the Quai d’Austerlitz on the Seine river. Embarkation and check-in is at 2:00pm and meet your guide and crew (luggage can be dropped off from 11:00am). When all passengers have boarded there will be a short welcome briefing followed by a guided walking tour through Paris. After dinner back on board, there will be a full welcome briefing.

Meals:  D

After breakfast we will begin cycling from Paris along a dedicated bike path next to the Marne River. We pass the Chateau of Champs-sur-Marne and bike through the surrounding gardens. The château 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. Our destination for today is the nice small town of Lagny-sur-Marne (meaning along the Marne).

Meals:  B,L,D

There are two options today, 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.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we will start our cycling tour through the centre of Meaux. 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 valley of the river in the morning with a ride through Trilport and Lizy-sur-Ourcq. Later we will have to climb a few challenging hills, leaving the valley 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.

Meals:  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.

Meals:  B,L,D

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 close battles. Along the way is the Château de Boursault, built in 1848 by the widow of Mr Cliquot, who gave her name (Veuve Cliquot) to the famous Champagne house. A ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne rewards us with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. Dinner is at leisure and you are free to choose one of the many restaurants in Epernay.

Meals:  B,L

The morning bike 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 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.

Meals:  B,L,D

The tour ends after breakfast by 9:30am. Disembarkation is near the train station in Epernay. Note: 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.

Meals:  B

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Arrive at the barge in Epernay. Embarkation and check-in is at 2:00pm and meet your guide and crew (luggage can be dropped off from 11:00am). When all passengers have boarded there will be a welcome briefing followed by a bike handover and short test ride. After dinner on board there will be a guided walk through Epernay, which together with Reims is the major wine centre of the Champagne region. Epernay has many town houses dating back to the 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.

Meals:  D

The first half day’s bike 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'll 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. Dinner on board and overnight in Epernay.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today our first full day cycling leads along the canal and Marne river. We will see the Château de Boursault, built in 1848 by the widow of Mr Cliquot, who gave her name (Veuve Cliquot) to the famous Champagne wine. A ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne rewards us 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. On the shorter option we join the barge in Dormans for a cruise to Château-Thierry, our destination for today. The longer cycling option will end at the lock of Mont St. Pierre. Château-Thierry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne where 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 of 1918 in World War I during which it was the scene of close battles. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine. Dinner on board and overnight in Château-Thierry.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is a somewhat challenging cycle from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre. The first part of the track leads along the Marne river. After a few kilometres we will take a small side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. Along the way we can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. Follow the small river Clignon and 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. Start our descent along the small river Ru de Bouillons to reach La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, where we meet the barge for dinner on board. Overnight in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or a nearby village.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we will start your cycling tour. After a few kilometres we will enjoy a presentation and tasting of the famous 'Brie de Meaux' and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Continue by bike, opting for a longer or shorter option to the city of Meaux. The short route leads over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the southern bank of the river through forests and small villages. The longer route follows a few large curves of the river to Lizy-sur-Ourcq and Trilport. Meaux, our destination for today, is famous for its brie and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. You may visit the historical city centre of Meaux. This evening you have dinner at leisure, a chance to sample one of the many restaurants in the town of Meaux.

Meals:  B,L

In the morning you will have more time to visit the beautiful city centre of Meaux. There are two options for today's cycle. The first stage leads mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. The longer route leads along the Canal de l'Ourcq, that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and drinking water to Paris. For the shorter route you can cruise with the barge from Meaux to Lagny-sur-Marne, on the outskirts of Paris where the barge will stay for the night. Dinner on board and overnight in Lagny-sur-Marne.

Meals:  B,L,D

Our last day's cycle will lead us further along the river Marne. After about 10km we will pass the Château of Champs-sur Marne. The chateau 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. The boat will wait for us just outside Paris to cruise the last stage, or we can cycle all the way along the Marne & Seine rivers to the mooring in the heart of Paris.

Meals:  B,L,D

The tour ends after breakfast by 9:30am. Note: Itinerary is provided as a guide and small amendments may occur.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches, 6 dinners (does not include drinks)
  • Continental breakfasts are served and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. At breakfast you will prepare your packed lunch for the day which will be sandwiches, fruit & juice. Dinner will consist of three courses inclusive of either a pasta, vegetarian or meat dish.
  • 7 nights accommodation aboard a Category A barge in a cabin with ensuite facilities on a twin share basis. 10 of the compact cabins are configured with twin lower beds, while 2 of the cabins offer a double (French) bed. We do not match clients together so if you are travelling solo you will need to book a single cabin - limited and on a request basis, supplement applies.
  • 21 speed trekking bike rental with pannier, helmet and water bottle (electric bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Information pack including route notes and maps (one set per cabin)
  • Multilingual tour leader for fully guided cycling tours and daily briefings (2 tour leaders with 18 or more guests)
  • Linen and change of towels as required
  • Daily cabin cleaning
  • Welcome drink and briefing on the first evening
  • Daily coffee and tea until 4PM
  • Brie cheese tasting in Jouarre, visit of a Champagne celler in Epernay, Champagne tasting, several city walks
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPS Tracks on request
  • Ferry fees
  • WIFI

  • Travel to and from Paris / Epernay
  • Dinner on day 6 in Epernay (Paris to Epernay) or day 5 in Meaux (Epernay to Paris), drinks other than afternoon tea and coffee on board
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specified
  • Public transport tickets in Paris and to Lagny-sur-Marne
  • Transfers not specified
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Tips - while tipping is not obligatory, it is customary to offer a tip if the guide and crew have done a good job. As a guide we would recommend EUR30-60 per person (to be distributed between the guide/s, captain and crew).
  • Catering for special diets (except Vegetarian). A supplement is payable for lactose or gluten free diets - EUR50pp (subject to change) paid locally on board. See below for further details regarding catering for dietary requirements.
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry etc.
  • Car parking
  • Bike insurance - payable locally (EUR10 for standard bikes and EUR25 for e-bikes) - further details of this Limitation of Liability (damage) policy are available on request

Cabins


Bike information


Grading

moderate  

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.


Departure dates


Notes

IT1
Trip commences in Paris.
IT2
Trip operates in reverse, commencing in Epernay - refer to trip notes for itinerary.

Want to organise a private group?

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Total Priceper person from

$2150USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Electric Bike SupplementUSD$180
  • Single Supplement (single in twin cabin - one only per departure)USD$870
*Prices listed are per person

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