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Classic Cruise - Champagne to Bar-le-Duc (30 June 2019 only)
Sunday, Day 1 Châlons-en-Champagne
Guests are met early afternoon in Paris** and transferred via private chauffeured minibus to the hotel barge moored in Châlons-en-Champagne. A Champagne welcome awaits you onboard where the Captain will introduce you to the crew. Dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Châlons-en-Champagne to La Chaussée sur Marne
After breakfast we head into the “Champagne Capital” of Epernay, home to the Avenue de Champagne. It is here that we visit one of the best-known Champagne houses in the world, Moët & Chandon, founded in 1743, where we are guided through their vast underground cellars, the largest in the region, which were carved out of the chalk to offer the maturing wine the perfect temperature and humidity. This is followed by a tasting of some of Moët’s renowned vintages in an elegant private salon, hosted by an experienced cellar master. After lunch on board we cruise past the pastoral scenery of Sarry and St Germain la Ville to La Chausée sur Marne. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 La Chaussée sur Marne to Vitry le Francois
After breakfast on board we visit the Domaine of Champagne Henriot, one of the oldest family owned houses in Champagne, originating in the late 1700s. En route, we stop at a Henriot vineyard on the hillside above Epernay where we are met by one of their viticulture experts who will explain how their selected grapes create the house style. We then move on to the beautiful Château Les Aulnois in the nearby village of Pierry where, after a private tour of this 18th Century manor, we enjoy an exclusive tasting of various Henriot champagnes before a gastronomic lunch in the château’s dining room. This afternoon we continue our cruise past the vineyard carpeted countryside along the Marne before mooring at the busy river port of Vitry le Francois – the ideal spot for an evening stroll before dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 Vitry le Francois to Pargny sur Saulx
This morning, we leave the River Marne to cruise the Canal de la Marne au Rhin to Pargny sur Saulx, along the way passing the tiny village of Ponthion, which was once a palatine crown estate in the 9th century Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties. After lunch we visit the medieval fortified city of St Dizier, site of Napoleon’s final victory before his abdication and eventual downfall at Waterloo. Originating as a fortified settlement around a 13th century château, during World War II, it became a base for German troops and the chateau now houses the municipal museum. We can also make an optional visit to the nearby scenic National Park of Lac du Der Chantecoq, the largest artificial lake in Western Europe, an ideal spot for walking, birdwatching or just enjoying the view. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 Pargny-sur-Saulx to Revigny sur Ornain
After breakfast we visit the Joseph Perrier Champagne house, famous for its light reflecting cellars which were constructed in 1825 to allow light into the depths of the foundation where the vintages are shelved to reach maturation. With 21 hectares of south facing slopes, the view is just as delightful as the vintage! After sipping champagne, we travel to the UNESCO world heritage site of Notre Dame en Vaux; constructed around 1217, this Catholic Church was given world heritage status in 1998 as it was one of the stops on the religious pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Lunch on board is followed by a serene cruise as we enter the ancient region of Lorraine, home of the eponymous quiche – to our mooring for the night at Revigny sur Ornain. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Revigny Sur Ornain to Bar le Duc
This morning we cruise to Bar Le Duc, a town overflowing with renaissance architecture and art, the elegant Place Saint-Pierre is occupied by some fine Renaissance houses, including the Florainville mansion, now the Law Courts, and the Grangettes belvedere provides a spectacular view across the town. Enroute we pass the postcard perfect village of Laimont; the surrounding countryside and its glorious floral arrangements are ideal for a leisurely stroll or bike ride. Lunch aboard is followed by a visit to the truly historic town of Vaucouleurs, for it was here that Joan of Arc began her mission, upon asking the local military captain to escort her as far as Chinon. The local museum and castle chapel are a cornucopia of canonical history, from the 14th century statue of Our Lady of the Vaults (before which Joan meditated) to a 1945 statue of Joan which sits atop the high altar. Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Bar le Duc
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Paris**.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
**other locations are available for Private Charter bookings
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