Toast Champagne on the River Marne

Château Thierry to Chalon-en-Champagne

Mid-July through August of 2023

Located in northeast France, Champagne, has a long and rich history filled with magnificent cathedrals, French kings, and of course, the sparkling white wine that bears the region’s name.  Cellar tours and private tastings will provide you with plenty of opportunities explore and taste a variety of champagnes.  On board meal pairings will further enhance the flavors of this incredible region of beauty and bubbles.

Day 1, Sunday: Château Thierry

  • Welcome to Château-Thierry! Come aboard your temporary home, Le Papillon, and have a glass of champagne (of course!) while you’re introduced to the crew that will be taking care of you this week. 
  • Take the rest of the day to relax and settle into your luxurious room before you enjoy your first gourmet dinner onboard, created by your own personal chef. 

Day 2, Monday: Château Thierry to Dormans

  • We begin the day with a short cruise to Saint Père and a morning excursion to the American memorial at Belleau Wood. 
  • The Battle of Belleau Wood took place in June of 1918, during World War I. It is still considered one of the most significant battles in U.S. Marine Corps history. It also marked the first major engagement of the U.S. in WWI. To this day, the story of Belleau Wood continues to have a significant impact on military culture.
  • Return to Le Papillon for a beautiful lunch and a short cruise before your first champagne tasting at Champagne Météyer Père et Fils.
    • This charming vineyard began from just one hectare of vines in the 1860s and is still in the same family. Today it’s managed by Franck Météyer, the great-grandson of winegrower Pierre Clément. The vineyard has a long and proud history of tradition and warm hospitality. 
  • The day is completed with a lovely dinner and a nightcap on board while moored at Dormans.

Day 3, Tuesday: Dormans to Épernay

  • This morning we cruise to Épernay, the capital city of the Champagne region. 
    • Located in the heart of the vineyards, Épernay is frequently a city alive with festivities where champagne is the theme — of course!
  • Our afternoon excursion includes a private tour of Champagne Boizel, created in 1834. Situated in the center of the Avenue de Champagne, Boizel is considered the “Champs-Elysees” of the Champagne region. You’re in for an educational and entertaining experience at this vineyard!
    • There are hundreds of miles of cellars and approximately 200 million bottles of champagne stored underground here.
    • Boizel is the last of the family champagne houses that remain open for visits, so enjoy your insider look!
  • Tonight, you’ll enjoy a fresh, local dinner ashore at the Royal Champagne, a luxury spa hotel, and Michelin Rosette restaurant in Champillon. You’ll be awed by the sweeping, overlook views of the valley and Épernay.
    • Napoleon himself was once a visitor at this former post house. You’ll notice the salon now pays homage to the women who played pivotal roles in his life.

Day 4, Wednesday: Épernay to Mareuil-sur-Aÿ

  • This morning, you’ll head to the village of Hautvillers, the “Cradle of Champagne.” Today, Hautvillers is considered the birthplace of champagne wine.
    • Hautvillers is also the final resting place of the Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, at the Abbey Saint-Pierre.
    • At this abbey in the 17th century, he paved the way for the eventual creation of champagne.
  • Return to Le Papillon, where you’ll enjoy lunch on board before heading to Pierry, just south of Épernay, where you’ll see and taste Xavier Thibaut’s bouchons de Champagne chocolates as they’re being made. A true dream for all chocolate lovers!
  • You’ll continue on your afternoon of indulgence with a tasting at Champagne Lenique, the supplier of the champagne onboard our barges for over 25 years!
    • In operation since 1768, the Linique House has stood the test of time and is still managed by members of the Lenique family.
  • Enjoy another delicious dinner on board tonight, moored in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. It will be the perfect finishing touch on a lovely day immersed in the history of Champagne. 

Day 5, Thursday: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ to Vraux

  • After a short cruise to Vraux, we head to France’s city of kings, the historic Reims, known for its unmissable cathedral and the chalky cellars of Veuve Cliquot. 
    • The stunning cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in the 13th century, has hosted the coronation of 25 kings of France from the 13th to 19th centuries.
    • The ground under Reims has been mined for its chalk for hundreds of years. Now, those tunnels are home to cellars that house over 23 million bottles of champagne. 
  • Before heading back to the barge, check out the busy Place Drouet d’Erlon, a pedestrian square — it’s the perfect place to people watch and take in the historic, classic architecture of the buildings.
    • Enjoy a cake (or two) in the art deco tea room at Pâtisserie Waïda. On sunny days the terrace is a beautiful place to enjoy your beverage and classic French pastry.
  • Back on board for the evening, your chef will greet you with an aperitif to prepare you for a marvelous dinner on board tonight.

Day 6, Friday: Vraux to Chalon-en-Champagne

  • This afternoon, after our final stretch of cruising to Chalons, we head to the village of Bouzy.
    • Bouzy is home to the Grand Cru Pino Noir, and we’ve come for one last tasting session at Champagne Herbert Beaufort.
    • Since the 17th century, the Beaufort family has been producing champagne in Bouzy. Today they still vinify, in the purest tradition, more than 130,000 bottles of champagne and Bouzy red a year.
  • After enjoying your tasting experience, you’ll return to Le Papillon to relax and prepare for your final night on board, which is topped off with the captain’s farewell dinner. Enjoy the food and drink of the Champagne region while listening to the fascinating stories shared around the table. Bon Appétit!

Day 7, Saturday: Chalon-en-Champagne

  • Even the best things must come to an end! Grab a final café and pain au chocolat before your departure this morning. Our captain will assist you in your seamless and stress-free transition to your flight home or on to your next destination.
  • After a week of cruising and experiencing the Champagne region on Le Papillon, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and relaxed with memories to last a lifetime.

À bientôt! See you soon!

 

Price includes:

  • Collection from, and return to Paris, France
  • Accommodation in a double or twin cabin with private facilities
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all cooked by our gourmet chef w/ local seasonal delicacies
  • Restaurant meals where required
  • Wine pairings of finest Burgundian vintages at lunch and dinner
  • Open bar 24/7 stocked with French champagne, fine wines and spirits
  • Use of the on-board library and stereo system
  • All ground transport in air-conditioned mini-bus for local sightseeing visits
  • Entry costs for sightseeing
  • Use of on-board bicycles

Le Papillon was remodeled in 2021 and is our flagship luxury barge.  She carries a maximum of 4 guests with 4 crew members and cruises multiple itineraries through some of the most beautiful wine regions of France.

Le Papillon in detail

More itineraries aboard Le Papillon

CHABLIS / N.BURGUNDY
Heart of Burgundy
Camargue
Provence

The Nymphea itinerary

The Loire Valley

Thank you for the wonderful week! We will long remember
the food, the wine, the cruising, the tours, the walks,
the lounging on the deck, the conversation and just plain fun!

Jane & Nelson

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