CIA (Cycling in America)*

Champagne Tour

Information from BOAT-BIKE-TOURS website

This is from the tour operator’s website (click here). 

Click here for their official brochure on this ride.

Please see the notes at the end. 


Tour Details France: From Epernay to Paris – MS Zwaantje

Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Epernay
In the afternoon: (optional, included) bus transfer from Reims city centre via TGV train station Champagne-Ardennes to Epernay. Embarkation and check-in where the captain, tour leader and crew will welcome you on board is between 5pm and 6pm. After settling into your cabin you will enjoy your first dinner on board the MS Zwaantje. After dinner the tour leader will brief you about the barge, your bicycles and the tour program.

Day 2 (Sun): Epernay round tour (Approx. 25 km/16 miles) | afternoon: visit Epernay and Champagne houses
Your first day of cycling will take you from Epernay along a quiet canal parallel to the Marne River to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay and return via Dizy and Hautvillers. After a challenging ascent where you can test your fitness for the first time you will finally reach the famous Champagne wine growing region on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. The highlight of the day is a visit to the chapel and tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon (1638-1715) who, according to tradition, discovered how to blend various varieties of grapes to make a sparkling wine of superb quality. After cycling back to Epernay discover the centre of the city on foot after lunch. 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 dating back to neo-renaissance times and in the classical 19th century style, especially around the beautiful Avenue de Champagne where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon are situated. Enjoy a champagne tasting and tour in one of the major Champagne houses.

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Day 3 (Mon): Epernay– Dormans – Château-Thierry (Approx. 30-50 km/19-35 miles)
After breakfast you will cycle along the Marne River and past Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot, who gave her name to the famous Champagne wine Veuve Cliquot. Following a climb up the northern slopes of the valley you will arrive at the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne where the reward is a stunning panoramic view of Champagne vineyards as far as you can see. As you cycle (or cruise) along the Marne River away from the official Champagne area you will eventually reach Dormans, a quiet village on the Marne complete with a castle and chapel built in memory of the battle of the Marne. Today’s destination is Château-Thierry a town that owes its name to the castle that was situated on the hill above the Marne – some remnants of which remain today. Over the centuries the town has been 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 home of the world-famous writer of fables, Jean de la Fontaine.

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Day 4 (Wed): Château-Thierry – La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre (Approx. 50 km/32 miles)
Today you will enjoy a challenging ride from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre. After warming up with a relatively easy ride along the Marne River you will pedal through a number of picturesque villages and hamlets via the large WWI American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. Pay your respects at the cemetery before steadily climbing uphill until you finally reach the plateau high above the northern part of the Marne valley. After enjoying the views cycle to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, your destination for the night where the MS Zwaantje will be waiting for you. In the evening after dinner you can explore La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or one of a number of nearby villages.

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Day 5 (Wed): La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux (Approx. 35-40 km/22 or 25 miles)
Today’s cycling will take you through the hills of the Marne valley. Along the way you will pass a number of small villages and forested areas on both the southern and northern banks of the river. A highlight is Château de Montceau, built by Catherine de Médicis in the 16th century. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux , famous for its ‘Brie de Meaux’ cheeses and the magnificent cathedral, the Cathedral St.Etienne. During the day you will also have the chance to enjoy a tasting of famous Brie de Meaux and Brie Noir cheeses. Make sure you find the time to visit the historical city centre of Meaux in the evening.
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Day 6 (Thu): Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne (Approx. 35 km/21 miles) | Lagny-sur-Marne – Paris
Your last day of cycling will see you pedal from Meaux along the Marne River and a parallel canal. Your final challenge of the tour is the hill near Chalifert. While the barge will take the tunnel through the hill, you are encouraged to tackle the last climb of the tour on your bicycle. In the early afternoon you will meet the barge at Lagny-sur-Marne for the trip on the MS Zwaantje to Paris. Dinner tonight will be on board the MS Zwaantje in Paris.

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Day 7 (Fri): Paris: full day excursion
Today is all about discovering Paris, the ‘City of Light’. After breakfast your guide will lead the way on a full day guided excursion to some of Paris’ most famous highlights. These include: the Eifel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d’Orsay. You will travel by public transport (day ticket not included) from the barge to the centre of Paris and will also do some walking tours. For safety reasons, no cycle tour in Paris is planned.

Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Paris
Disembarkation and bid the crew farewell after breakfast in Paris: End of your trip.

Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

--- IMPORTANT NOTES ---

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

  • When a guest does not want to cycle one day, she/he can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.

  • Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

  • On the arrival day is it possible to load your luggage on board from 1pm.

  • Guided bike tours: it is also possible to ride some shorter bike tours self-guided, on an individual basis: descriptions and maps are available on board.

  • During the day the tour leader will guide the daily bike tour and – for those who want to cycle individually – is reachable on his/her mobile phone in cases of emergency or technical breakdown of the bicycle.

http://boatbiketours.com/boat-bike-tours/france/paris-to-epernay-champagne/

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