Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne Moulin de Verzenay
Champagne Celebration Cruise
2021 is the year of Colibri’s 90th Birthday and we decided that the champagne region was the obvious place to cruise.
We are pleased to share with you our provisional itinerary for our Champagne cruise. We will be offering visits to several Champagne houses, at least one of world renowned and a small producer offering equally lovely champagne.
We will be spending time this year really getting to know the area and talking with local tour guides to be sure that we are offering you the very best of the Champagne region.
Champagne cruise - sample itinerary
Your cruise will commence in a small village near the Champagne Centre Reims. After welcome drinks, and enjoying one of Fiona’s fabulous lunches, we will start our cruise along the L’Aisne a la Marne Canal taking us around the edge of the Montagne de Reims. We will moor in a rural location near the Mont de Billy Tunnel for the evening and the village of Sept Saulx.
This mornings excursion will be to the Historic Champagne city of Reims with its magnificent Gothic cathedral where the coronations of the Kings of France have been held. Reims is also the home to some of the world famous champagne houses. After lunch aboard Colibri we will cruise through the Mont de Billy Tunnel and down a staircase of locks towards Conde sur Marne. This village is where the canal L’Aisne a la Marne ends at the junction with the Canal Lateral a la Marne. We stopped here back in 2004 when Colibri was a very different barge.
We explore the vineyards and villages of the Montagne de Reims this morning, this area has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. The hillside is home to many ‘Grand Cru’ villages - producing the highest quality grapes for Champagne. We will visit the Verzenay Lighthouse in the vines, giving splendid views over the vineyards and region, looking towards Reims and beyond. We will visit one of the many fabulous small champagne producers today, heading back to Colibri for lunch. We will start our cruise on the Canal Lateral a la Marne today, heading in the direction of Paris. We will be running parallel to the Marne river, along a beautiful stretch of canal, mooring for the night in Mareuil sur Ay. A charming village to take a walk and stretch you legs, where many of the names of the Champagne houses will be familiar to you.
Today is market day in Epernay, the Capital of Champagne. The Avenue de Champagne houses many of the big names, including Moet & Chandon. The champagne houses have kilometres of tunnels below ground in the limestone, keeping their sacred bubbles at the best temperature for maturation and make an interesting visit, of course rewarded by a tasting at the end. Time permitting, we can visit an artisan Chocolatier here, who makes chocolate champagne corks filled with bubbly, and you may try your hand making them. During this afternoons cruise we leave the canal and cruise on the Marne river, stopping at a beautiful riverside village for the evening.
Our visit this morning will take us to the picturesque village of Hautvillers, the home and burial place of Monk Dom Perignon. The village and abbey are beautiful to stroll around with fabulous views over the Marne valley. This is a lovely village with artisanal and antique shops to browse in, and cafes to relax and enjoy watching the world go by. Our cruise this afternoon will take us along the Marne river to the small town of Dormans, a lovely river mooring for our final dinner aboard. Those wishing to take a walk may explore the village and walk up to the First World War memorial chapel.
After a leisurely breakfast, depart Colibri, Earl will take you to our agreed drop off point, Reims, to continue your travels.
Note * This is a sample itinerary, and we would be delighted to customise our itinerary to enhance your cruise and visits.
Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne
Barge Cruise info
The city of Reims will be our pick up and drop off point.