Château Thierry (Charly) – Reims. River Marne and Marne Canal
Highlights : WWI battlefield and cemetery of Belleauwood and American monument, Haultevilliers- village of monk Dom Perignon, La Chocolatier « Thibaut » in Pierry, Champagne visit to a small family run winery, Ployez Jacquemart, Reims and its Gothic Cathedral.
Additional tours can be arranged.
Cruise to Joulgonne
Pickup in Paris, your party will be met at 1 hotel of your choice in Paris at 10.00am by our driver and driven to the “C’est la Vie” which is moored in the town of Charly.
After the traditional champagne welcome from Captain and the crew, there is time to unpack before we set sail.
Enjoy your buffet lunch on the sun deck, as we cruise on the beautiful river Marne. The C’est La Vie calmly floats towards the village of Joulgonne, through heavily wooded countryside with adorable villages that hug the shoreline and patient fisherman who wave as we pass by, relax as we wind our way through this valley, which was forged out during the ice age. Sit with the pilot in the wheel house and get a different perspective of what it’s like to maneuver a vessel of this size.
Once we have moored up, before your 1st gourmet dinner take a stroll along the banks of the river or relax with a cocktail.
Cruise to Damery
Begin the day with our breakfast buffet, featuring village baked pastries just warm from the oven! After which we’ll visit the French-American Friendship monument, built in 1929 it overlooks Chateau Thierry and the Marne valley, then we take a short drive to the WWI battlefield and cemetery of Belleau-wood which was the scene of the second battle of the Marne in the spring of 1918, this battle ended the last German offensive of World War I. The cost was 8,000 American troops killed, missing or wounded. We will then pay our respects at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery.
Return to the C’est La Vie for lunch and an afternoon’s cruise to the town of Damery, across the river you can spy nestled in the hillside the magnificent chateau of Veuve Clicquot, This lady took over the running of her husband’s family business and made it her own.
After arriving in Damery there’s time before dinner to take a scenic drive to visit Haultvilliers, a pretty champagne village perched high over the vineyards. Tour the unassuming church with the tomb of Dom Perignon, credited with inventing the champagne producing process. The church itself dates back to the 7th century.
Cruise to Mareuil sur Ay
This morning we leave Damery and cruise to Mareuil sur Ay, through scenery that could have been painted by the Impressionists, we will leave the river Marne for the canal Lateral à la Marne, perfect time to put your working shoes on, or ride a bicycle along the tow path and catch the C’est la Vie at the next lock.
Arriving in Mareuil sur Ay, early afternoon we will then take a short drive to the town of Pierry, where we will learn the art of Chocolate making and have the chance to make your own to take away with you.
C’est La Vie awaits your return and there’s time to explore the neighbouring villages before dinner aboard.
Cruise to Vaudemange
Leaving Mareuil sur Ay as the C’est La Vie meanders along the canal, take the opportunity before lunch to work up an appetite by either walking or cycling, or you can also just sit on the sun deck and watch the world pass before you. We leave one canal, the Lateral à la Marne to join another, the canal l’Aisne à la Marne.
After lunch, driving through vineyards and over the mountain of Reims (well a small hill really), we pay a visit to a small family run vineyard, Ployez Jacquemart, it’s time for a bit of Champagne tasting. Created in 1930 by Marcel Ployez and his wife Yvonne Jacquemart, it remains in the family and is today run by their granddaughter, Laurence Ployez.
Back to the C’est La Vie moored in Vaudemange for drinks and dinner.
Cruise to Reims
This morning’s cruise takes us to Reims. But before we arrive there we have to pass through a tunnel, finished in 1856, it was in 1840 that 13 million francs was allotted to the construction of this canal and hence the tunnel of 2,320 meters in length. The tow path stops for a while and so cargo boats were walked through by the crew, by lying on their backs on a plank of wood and literally walking on the tunnels roof. The horses would be taken over the hill to meet the boats coming out the other side.
After lunch, we visit Reims, an important city from Roman times onwards. With its vast Cathedral, larger than Notre Dame in Paris, it is where many of the French kings were crowned, starting with the baptism of Clovis in 496. Next door is the Archbishops place, which has been turned into a museum and holds many of the original statues from the Cathedral that were damaged during the bombing raids on Reims in the first world war, built on roman foundations that once housed baths, it’s played host to many kings of France and the last king Charles X, who was crowned here in May 1825.
Walk along the pedestrian streets of this vibrant city, or take a coffee in many of the side walk cafes and watch the world go by.
Head back to the C’est La Vie for The Captain’s Dinner which ends your cruise in style!
After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeured back to Paris for the end of the morning.
We hope to see you again on the “C’est la Vie”!
The 5-night Champagne barge cruise route is run in reverse on alternate weeks and can be different due to locale conditions.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.