Europe & Baltic
(Champagne River Cruise)
Experience Versailles with your private guide and embark on a relaxing voyage aboard a refined river barge, cruising the rivers and canals of Champagne, from Paris to Epernay, taking in the sights, history and flavors of the Champagne region as you cruise. Since the reign of the Emperor Charlemagne, the Champagne region of France has been one of the great agricultural regions of Europe, and now thanks to a type of sparkling wine to which the region has given its name, the word Champagne is known worldwide. The region starts around 75 miles from Paris, around the city of Meaux and stretches along the beautiful River Marne to the city of Epernay, home of such renowned Champagne houses as Moet & Chandon. There is a plethora of vineyards spread across the undulating plains as far as the eye can see, brilliant green with the new leaves of spring, turning to gold as the grapes ripen in the autumn.
Cruise Departure Dates (2014):
Aug 3,10,17,24,31, Sep 21,28, Oct 5
Enjoy a private airport transfer in Paris in a private vehicle with a professional driver to your Hotel Chateau de Courcelles in Aisne
Westminster (4*) hotel is located close to the Place Vendome and the Opera house, 5 minutes walk from the Tuileries Gardens. This is an elegant district offering a wide variety of prestigious designer boutiques and jewellers. This is an attractive and elegant, 6 storey Parisian style hotel. The lobby is spacious and luxurious, with an impressive marble reception desk and comfortable Louis XV style central seating area. The public areas are bright and elegant. This is a very nice and traditional Parisian hotel, with a brilliant location. The hotel offers 80 rooms and 21 suites, each individually decorated by the famous interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. The "Westminster Fitness Club", overlooking the rooftops of Paris offers sauna, steam room, exercise room, relaxation room and Orlane beauty treatments.
Enjoy a half day visiting the Palace of Versailles with a private car and English speaking driver. A superb Baroque palace known to the world as a symbol of civilization and pleasure, the Palace of Versailles dates back to 1038, and was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790. Used by Louis XIV initially as a hunting lodge he had the property expanded to become the magnificent site of French classical architecture complete with extensive manicured gardens that it is today. The interior showcases magnificent examples of baroque furnishings, a rare collection of objects d'art and houses special exhibitions. Visit with audioguide in the State Apartments (Hall of Mirrors, King and Queen`s Apartments). At the end of the tour you will be dropped at accommodation or in a central location of your choice in the city. (Includes entrance). Please let your Advisor know if you would like to have a Guide accompany you for this excursion and this tour can be re-priced for you.
Your chauffeurs collect you from the designated meeting place for your transfer to your awaiting barge moored at Cumieres, 2km from the heart of Epernay
After an introduction to your ship, you are given time to settle in to your cabin before joining your captain and crew for a welcoming 'Champagne Reception'.
The 12-passenger Savoir Faire was built in 1932 as a Belgian transport barge. She was converted into a hotel barge in 1979 and was substantially refurbished for the beginning of the 2005 season. The air conditioned interior is unique with five separate areas for passenger enjoyment, whether for a personal retreat, a gathering at the on board piano or all passengers together enjoying each others company. The saloon, dining area, and bar are finished in mahogany, teak and brass and decorated with antiques and paintings collected over the years. Two spacious sun decks offer magnificent views of the countryside and bikes are provided for those who wish to explore further. Savoir Faire features six staterooms all of which are air conditioned and have en-suite facilities. Each can be configured with two twin beds or with one queen bed. All cabins offer good lighting, a large number of electrical outlets, and include 220v European standard and 110v U.S. standard power outlets. Internet access is also available. You will be attentively catered to by six English-speaking crew including the captain, deck hand, master chef, tour guide and two housekeepers.
Today you visit Reims and its magnificent cathedral. Enjoy lunch on board, and cruise to the delightful little town of Damery, with its 13th century church, which was part of a former Benedictine priory. You'll also get to visit the Abbey of Hautvilliers where the monk Dom Perignon first made Champagne. Dinner aboard.
You are now entering the true Champagne region. Your hosts have arranged a pre-lunch visit to the world famous cellars of Moet and Chandon for a tour and tasting. Cruise to Chateau Thierry, were you moor for the night. This pretty town offers a promenade along the original walls of the town with views over the Marne valley. This whole area was the scene of American battles in World War I. Nearby is the American Monument. Built in 1929, at an altitude of 660 feet, the monument keeps alive the memory of the American troops who fought in WWI.
Your cruise today will take you through picturesque landscapes so loved by both the French and visitors abroad. Today you'll tour some top places of the area, and a selection of visits to small family-run vineyards so that you can try their fine selection of champagnes. Your mooring for the night is at La Ferte, which offers beautiful, refreshing promenades along the river. Dinner aboard.
Cruise Meaux in the very heart of Brie, famous for its wonderful cheeses of the same name. Nearby, on the route to Soissons, stands a monument that commemorates the 5th September 1914, the extreme point of advance of the German troops and the date of the French counter-attack. Visit Coulomniers, one of the centers of Brie cheese. Your personalized visit to a master cheese maker will enable you to see the cheese-making process first hand and to sample a variety of the world famous Brie cheese, along with wines from his excellent cellar. Dinner aboard.
Cruise Meaux and head towards the mighty Seine which will take you into the very heart of Paris. Your cruise will take you past Coupvray, the birthplace of Louis Braille, the inventor of the alphabet for the blind. At St Maur des Fosses you'll pass through the tunnel, which enables you to bypass the shallow waters of the Marne Loop. Today, visit the magnificent Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The wonderfully-proportioned chateau and its exquisite gardens are the highlight of this visit. Built between 1656 and 1661 for finance minister Nicolas Fouquet. Finish your journey with an exclusive evening cruise through Paris. As the "Savoir Faire" glides past the magnificent church of Notre Dame, the resplendent Louvre art gallery and the symbolic Eiffel Tower, you will be joined by your captain and his wife for cocktails followed by the farewell "Captains Dinner". Pass beneath the Eiffel Tower and the floodlit bridges. Your final berth for the night is in the Arsenal, a stone's throw from the lively district of the Bastille.
After a hearty breakfast, you'll disembark from your barge.
After a fond farewell from your crew, you'll be transferred to the designated drop-off point in Paris.
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