Guided Bike and Barge

Web code FR098

France / Paris and the Champagne region

From Paris to Epernay

Bike and boat: a very Dutch way to travel along the shores of the Marne, among the vineyards of the well-known Champagne area, where Brie cheese is produced and where first World War were fought. The most important stage of the tour is Paris, “la ville lumière”, that you will visit during a whole day guided tour.
  • Day by Day

    map

    1. Individual arrival in Paris
    Embarkation and check in at 2:00 pm, at the Quai d’Austerlitz. If you are not too tired, you can have a first walk in Paris with the tour guide.

     

    2. Paris – Lagny-sur-Marnen (35 km)
    You will leave Paris behind cycling along the canal de l’Ourcq. A bike path leads from the place de 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.

     

    3. Lagny-sur-Marne - Meaux (25/45 km)
    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 over the hill by bicycle. Also on the longer option the first part is quite hilly, because you are leaving the valley of the Marne. Later you will follow the small Canal de l’Ourq on to the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.Etienne. Overnight in Meaux.

     

    4. Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (30/55 km)
    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 woodland and small villages. The longer option stays in the valley of the river in the morning, riding 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.

     

    5. La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry (45 km)
    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 ride into a small valley marked by quiet villages and country roads. 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 woodland, 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 overnight in Château-Thierry.

     

    6. Château-Thierry – Epernay (35/50 km)
    Château-Thierrry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. You can still see its ruins. 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. Choose between a longer and a shorter bike ride. Today we will enter the official Champagne area. Cycle along the Marne river or cruise 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 an important battlefield. You will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by Mr. Cliquot’s widow , 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 there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants in town (dinner not included).

     

    7. Epernay round tour (20/25 km)
    The last half day’s 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 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. According to the local tradition, Dom Pérignon (1638-1715), who was in charge of the wine cellars of the abbey of Benedictine monks, and he was the first to succeed in blending various kinds of wine into a wine of superb quality. He also introduced the double fermentation, typical of champagne production. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, visit the center of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center of the Champagne region. Epernay has many town houses in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century. Champagne tasting and tour in a Champagne house on the famous Avenue de Champagne.

     

    8. Epernay
    Disembarkation after breakfast around 9:30 am and end of tour.


    Due to organisational reasons, weather conditions or warnings issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistic obstacles such as officially ordered - previously not announced - repair work on locks or bridges can modify some of the daily stretches or overnight stays and may even request a transfer by bus. These decisions are only taken by the boat’s captain.

     

  • Route profile

    The tour winds along the valley of the Marne and in the Champagne wine region. Even if most part of the route follows the river and its tributaries, the itinerary will also take you on  countryside roads in a hilly territory with some difficult ascents(vertical up ob request). You will rarely cycle on bike paths and mainly on paved low traffic roads.  

     

     

  • How to get there

    Embarkation on arrival day is at 2 pm, but the boat will leave only the day after. Please inform us in case of delays.

     

    The precise point of embarkation, will be written in the Final Tour Details that you will receive some days before departure.

     

    By plane
    Paris has 3 airports, Charles de Gaulle (30 km away from the point of embarkation), Orly (15 km away from the point of embarkation) and Beauvais (80 km away from the point of embarkation).

     

    - From the airport Charles de Gaulle:
    Take a train RER from Charles de Gaulle and get to Denfert-Rochereau. Here take the subway line 6, direction Pont de Bercy, and arrive in Quai de la Gare. From here you can reach the Quai d’Austerlitz on foot. Duration of the journey: about 1 hour. For further information please visit the website: www.ratp.fr

     

    - From the airport Orly:
    Take a train RER to Bibliothèque-François Mitterrand. Here take a bus, line 89, to Quai de la Gare. FGare. From here you can reach the Quai d’Austerlitz on foot. Duration of the journey: about 40 minutes. For further information please visit the website: www.ratp.fr

     

    - From the airport Beauvais:
    Take the bus to Porte Maillot (duration 1:15 hours, cost 20 €) and from here the subway line 1 and 6 to Quai de la Gare. From here you can reach the Quai d’Austerlitz on foot. For further information please visit the website: www.ratp.fr

     

    By train
    The closest station to the point of embarkation is Gare de Lyon. From here take the subway line 14 and 6 to Quai de la Gare. Visit the website www.voyage-sncf.com and www.ratp.fr for further information.

     

    By car
    Parking in Paris is quite expensive. We suggest you to visit this website in order to find the best solution: www.parking-public.fr.

     

  • Accommodation and meals

    ZWAANTIJE

    The Zwaantje (little Swan) is a new built passenger barge.

     

    The cabins
    On the lower deck, the Zwaantje has 12 comfortable guest cabins.

    • 10 twins (7 m² – 75 sq.ft.) with two separate single beds
    • 2 doubles (6 m² – 65 sq.ft.) with one double bed.

    Each cabin has a private shower, toilet and basin. All cabins have ventilation, central heating, air-conditioning and a window. Furthermore, in each cabin you will find a mini safe and hair dryer.

     

    The windows in the doubles can be opened, the windows in the twins are fixed for safety reasons.

     

    Common areas
    On the upper deck you will find the nice and cozy salon with heating, air conditioning, large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar. Wi-Fi is available.

    The Zwaantje also has a very spacious sun deck with chairs and tables where you can relax, enjoy the scenery while sailing or join the skipper in the wheel house.

     

    In brief:

    • Passengers (max): 24
    • Private bathroom
    • Towels
    • Air conditioning
    • Wi Fi
    • Hair dryer

     

    Watch Zwaantje photo gallery. 

     

     

  • Bikes and accessories

    In this tour you can rent: 

    - unisex  21 gear bikes, an easy and low entry and handbrakes.

    - E-Bike with hand breaks and 3 gears.

     

    The bikes are equipped with: 

    - pannier bag

    - lock

    - helmet

     

    In France bike helmets are only mandatory for children under 12.  

     

  • Accompanying material

    A few days before departure ypu will receive an email including:

    - Embarkation voucher with details on the name of the boat and the precise embarkation point;

    - Tour Notes;

    - Final Tour Details

     

    You will be given on site: 

    - printed instructions and maps.

     

    If you have any doubts, please contact us before departure.

     

  • By your side

    Our tour leaders are multi-lingual, and speak at least English and German. Smart, entertaining, caring and endlessly enthusiastic, they have a true passion for sharing their love of the outdoors, people, culture and local food. Thanks to a deep knowledge of the territory, they can give you useful hints and help you appreciate the place you are visiting. Of course they love cycling and will be happy to give you some advice about how to correctly use the bicycle gears and whenever necessary they can fix your flat tyre.

     

    For the whole duration of your bike tour, you can contact us:

    - office +39 0444 1278430 from Monday to Friday 8:30-13:00 and 15:00-18:30 

    - emergency phone number every day 8:00-20:00 which will be specified in the Final Tour Detail

  • 2 To combine with

Tour details

 

from 1,289 €

8 days / 7 nights

Tour type

guided tour

 

Departures

From Paris: 30.05, 13.06.2020

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(from Epernay: 23.05, 6.06 and 20.06.2020)

 

Price per person

1,289 €
 

Included

  • 7 overnights
  • full board (breakfast, packed lunch and 6 dinners - excluding drinks)
  • accompanying material
  • english speaking tour leader
  • Champagne and Brie tasting
  • use of bed linen and towels
  • hotline service

 

Not included

  • Transport to and from departure point
  • 1 dinner in Epernay
  • All drinks on board
  • Entrance fees to tourist attractions
  • Anything that is not mentioned under included

 

Supplements
646 € single cabin
85 € bike rental
185 € E-bike
50 € gluten free/ lactose free menu (to be paid on site)

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