Highlights of this tour

Tour the Champagne area’s rolling hills

Famous champagne cellars in Epernay

Paris, a must-see for Europe visitors

Barge with max. 24 passengers

Guidance
  • Fully-guided: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Semi-guided: Daily briefing by the tour leader, independent cycling but tour leader available ICE.
  • Independent: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Fully-guided
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 3 Difficulty level 3
Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 8 days

Bike and Barge France: Paris – Epernay or vice versa Premium | Zwaantje

There is no better way to immerse yourself in the rolling countryside, rich culture and beloved boutique wineries of the Champagne region of France than by bike and barge.

Not only will you experience the abundance of natural beauty this region is famous for whilst tasting the world’s best champagnes, cheeses and wines, but you’ll also have an opportunity to explore Paris at your leisure at the start of your epic journey.

This classic boat and bike tour will see you cycling small country roads that slope down toward the wide river valley through the Champagne vineyards. Cycle to boutique wineries, sample the delicious cheeses of the Brie region, visit the charming city of Meaux and stopover at Château-Thierry where some of the most epic battles of the first World War were fought.

The tour winds to an end in Epernay, the true capital of the Champagne region where you’ll have an opportunity to visit one of the town’s vast champagne cellars.

Day to day program Paris to Epernay

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.

The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal).

Day 1 (Saturday): Paris

We begin our tour with check-in at 2pm, during which you’ll be welcomed by captain, tour leader and crew. From there we’ll go on a walking tour of Paris followed by dinner onboard and a briefing about the barge, your bicycles and the tour program.

Day 2 (Sunday): Paris – Lagny-sur-Marne (38 km/23 mi.)

You’ll begin the cycling leg of the tour by riding out of Paris via the canal de l’Ourcq where you’ll join a bike path that leads from la Bastille through the basin of la Vilette to the banks of the l’Ourcq. Napoleon Bonaparte himself ordered that this canal be built to provide the city with water whilst acting as a transport route for the city. We’ll end the day in Lagny, a charming little town along the Marne.

Day 3 (Monday): Lagny-sur-Marne – Meaux (20 km/12 mi. or 37 km/22 mi.)

For today’s ride along the Marne river you can take either the short or long option. If you take the short option, the first challenge will be the hill near Chalifert where you can test your fitness and cycling legs as you climb and cross the hill. If you go for the longer option, the first part is quite hilly as you leave the Marne valley. Your final destination for the day will be the city of Meaux where you’ll sample some of its delicious “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and take in the sights of the magnificent Cathedral St Etienne.

Day 4 (Tuesday): Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (30 km/18 mi. or 52 km/32 mi.)

Again, there are two cycling options to choose from today – the shorter route takes you over the slopes of the Marne valley through quaint villages and lush forests. The longer option follows the valley in the morning through Trilport and Lizy-sur-Ourcq. After that, you’ll climb a number of challenging hills as you leave the valley and head for Jouarre. We’ll regroup in Jouarre to enjoy tasting both the famous Brie de Meux and Brie Noir at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. We end this idyllic day with dinner onboard and a night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre.

Day 5 (Wednesday): La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry (42 km/26 mi.)

On day five you’ll enjoy a somewhat challenge day of cycling, beginning with a track that runs alongside the Marne river before diverging to a side valley where you’ll follow country roads through quaint villages and hamlets. After an uphill climb you’ll reach the plateau above the northern region of the Marne valley as you make your way to the small river Clignon. Along the way, there will be an opportunity to visit the American War Cemetary and Monument just before you start your descent to reach Château-Thierry, which owes its name to the castle whose remnants still stand on the slopes above the Marne. Besides being the site of two important battles (the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars and the battle of 1918 at the end of World War I), Château-Thierry is also the home of fable-writer, Jean de la Fontaine.

Day 6 (Thursday): Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay (35 km/19 mi. or 50 km/35 mi.)

The excitement on day six mounts as you enjoy breakfast aboard the ship before entering the Champagne region. Beginning in Dormans, a peaceful village with a chapel and castle on the banks of the Marne, you’ll ride up the northern valley slope to Châtillon-sur-Marne with its stunning panoramic views over the Marne valley and expansive champagne vineyards.

You will also cycle past the Château de Boursault, a castle built in 1848 by none other than the widow of Mr Cliquot who gave her name to the world-famous champagne, Veuve Cliquot. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants in town.

Day 7 (Friday): Epernay round tour (17 km/10 mi. or 25 km/16 mi.)

Your final day’s cycling takes you to Hautvillers where, after a challenging ascent, you will have an opportunity to visit the chapel in which the tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon (1638-1715) can be found. A truly remarkable man, Dom Pèrignon pioneered a number of wine-making techniques that changed the world, including blending grapes to improve regional wines and double fermentation, which is how champagne is made.

We return to Epernay for lunch where you’ll visit the beautiful Avenue de Champagne where the world’s most prestigious champagne houses (Moët & Chandon and Mercier to name a few) are located. Of course, a tour of one of the major champagne houses and a tasting are both on the cards!

Day 8 (Saturday): Epernay

Day eight brings this memorable tour to an end, fond farewells as we enjoy our last breakfast together with disembarkation running up until 9:30am.

Good to know

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.

The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal).

Important remark:

The cycling tours are fully guided, but cannot be rated as easy: you need to be a fit and well-practiced cyclist. Every day you will cycle small country roads (short distances: un- or semi-paved roads and tracks) that – almost all day – go up and down the beautiful slopes of the wide river valley, through the hills and the Champagne vineyards. Cycling distances vary from 30 – 50 km (19 – 31 miles) per day. This tour therefore is more challenging than tours in (flat) Holland or Flanders.

  • The daily cycling tours will be accompanied by a knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader.
  • During the days when 2 bicycle options are possible, the tour leader will make a choice for the longer or the shorter option together with the group.
  • Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bike option.
  • In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
  • On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 a.m.

Day to day program Epernay to Paris

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.

The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal).

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.

The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal).

Day 1 (Sat): Epernay

Embarkation and check-in at 2 p.m. in Epernay. After a welcome by the captain, crew and tour leader there is time for bicycle fitting and a short test ride.

After dinner your tour leader will take you for a walk through Epernay, the major wine center of the Champagne region. Epernay has many town houses dating in 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.

Day 2 (Sun): Epernay round tour (17 km/10 mi. or 25 km/16 mi.)

The first half day’s cycling 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 first ascent of the slopes and through the vineyards (cyclists can test their shape and muscles for the first time) 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 (1638-1715). In charge of the wine cellars of a Benedictine abbey, Dom Pérignon pioneered a number of winemaking techniques, being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve regional wines into a wine of superb quality. Double fermentation, characteristic for the making of champagne, was introduced also by him. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, visit the center of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center 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 dating in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne where prestigious champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier, are situated. Enjoy a Champagne tasting and take a tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

Day 3 (Mon): Epernay – Dormans – Château-Thierry (35 km/19 mi. or 50 km/35 mi.)

Start the first full day cycling tour along the canal and Marne river. We will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot, 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 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. During World War I this area was the scene of close battles. The short cycling tour ends in Dormans, where you can join the ship. The longer option ends at the lock of Mont St. Pierre. Today’s destination is Château-Thierry, that  owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. The town was the site of the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and of 1918 in World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of fables Jean de la Fontaine.

Day 4 (Tue): Château-Thierry – La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre (42 km/26 mi.)

Enjoy a somewhat challenging cycling tour from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre . The first part of the cycling tour leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will take a small side valley and follow country roads through various small villages and hamlets. En route you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. 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 forest, on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Start your descent to reach La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre in the Marne valley, where you will meet the barge and spend the night.

Day 5 (Wed): La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux (30 km/18 mi. or 52 km/32 mi.)

After breakfast you will start your cycling tour that will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley through forests and small villages on the southern and northern banks of the river. After just a few miles (uphill !) you will enjoy a very nice presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses at the family-run Fromagerie Ganot. Then you will hop on the bicycles again and you can opt for a longer or shorter ride to Meaux. The short option will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley on the southern bank of the river through forests and small villages. The long tour follows a few large curves of the river to Lizy-sur-Ourcq and Trilport. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Visit the historical city center of Meaux. Today there is no dinner on board. You can select one of the local restaurants in town.

Day 6 (Thu): Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne (22 km/13 mi. or 42 km/26 mi.)

Visit the beautiful city center of Meaux. Then you can take your bicycle for a last ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. The longer option leads along the Canal de l’Ourq, that was built by Napoleon to transport wood, grain and drinking water to Paris. In the afternoon you will meet the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne, an outskirt of Paris, where you will stay for the night.

Day 7 (Fri): Paris: Lagny-sur-Marne – Paris (38 km/23 mi.)

Today we will bike further along the river Marne. After about 10 km you will pass the castle of Champs-sur Marne. The Château de Champs-sur-Marne 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. You will bike all the way along the rivers Marne and Seine to the mooring in the heart of Paris.

Day 8 (Sat): Paris

End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.


Prices & information

Request a quote

The price of a charter depends on many things. The beauty of the tours that we offer is that they are fully customizable. We can add extra services such as special bikes, extra meals or we can organize visits to the highlights of the region where you cycle that are not included in the program. That all affects the price. You can request a quote here for a trip of your choice. Our team of specialists will assist you to choose the right ship and itinerary or design a customized program for you.

Included in this tour

8 days/7 nights

7 x breakfast

Packed lunches

6 x 3-course dinner

Coffee and tea on board

Welcome drink

Use of bed linen and towels

Daily cleaning of the cabin

Climate-controlled cabin

Daily briefings

Fully guided cycling tours (1 tour leader)

Some short walking tours

Maps for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)

GPS tracks

Use of a helmet

Use of a waterproof pannier bag

Water bottle

Fees for ferries

Brie cheese tasting in Jouarre

Champagne tasting at local producer

Visit champagne cellar in Epernay

Wi-Fi

Insolvenzabsicherung: Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden (SGR) und (nur für Endverbraucher aus Deutschland) Sicherungsschein über tourVERS

Reiseveranstalter sind nach geltendem Europäischen Recht dazu verpflichtet, erhaltene Kundengelder für den Fall eigener Zahlungsunfähigkeit oder Insolvenz abzusichern. Boat Bike Tours (Handelsregisternummer 3714 7084) ist ein in den Niederlanden unter Nummer 3734 registrierter Teilnehmer von SGR (Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden). Diese Registrierung ist auf www.sgr.nl überprüfbar. Die teilnehmenden Reiseveranstalter unterliegen dem in den Niederlanden gesetzlich vorgeschriebenen Garantieschutz des SGR Insolvenz-Garantiesystems. Gemäß der Garantieleistung von SGR werden dem Endverbraucher die im Voraus bezahlten Reisesummen erstattet, wenn der Reiseveranstalter finanziell nicht in der Lage ist, seine vertraglichen Verpflichtungen zu erfüllen. Sofern die Vereinbarung Transport beinhaltet und das Ziel bereits erreicht ist, wird die Rückreise arrangiert. Boat Bike Tours hat die vom Gesetzgeber vorgeschriebene Insolvenzversicherung für Endverbraucher, deren Wohnsitz in Deutschland ist, über die tourVERS, eines in Deutschland führenden Anbieters, abgeschlossen. Über 1.200 Veranstalter aller Größenordnungen und touristischen Bereiche sind über tourVERS versichert. Auf der Internetseite der tourVERS finden Sie alle Informationen zur Insolvenzabsicherung. Endverbraucher, die in Deutschland bewohnhaftet sind, erhalten bei Buchung bei Boat Bike Tours mit der Buchungsbestätigung auch den Sicherungsschein von tourVERS.

Hinweis: Die o.g. deutsche Übersetzung des Abschnitts über SGR ist keine offizielle SGR-Übersetzung. SGR kommuniziert nur auf Niederländisch und Englisch. Der niederländische Text zum SGR-Garantiesystem ist allgemeinverbindlich.

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Excluded in this tour

1x dinner

Drinks

Bicycle rental or E-bike rental

Personal insurances

Gratuities (at your discretion)

Entrance fees and excursions (not mentioned under included)

Transfers to/from the docking place

Parking fees


Photos & videos

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Available ships for this tour

Premium Experience the higher levels of comfort, smaller groups and extra’s.
Ship Zwaantje Holland, Belgium, France, Netherlands
max. 24 passengers
12 cabins
4 tours available with this ship

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Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1

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France: Champagne | Paris – Epernay or vice versa

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