INDIVIDUAL CABINS

Join us aboard Serenity Barge for a holiday to remember.  Whether you’re travelling as a couple, solo or with a friend, we offer individually bookable cabins on cruises departing on Wednesdays from April to October.  

Our all-inclusive six night hotel barge cruises include daily tour guide led excursions, all meals, all drinks on board and transfers to/from the barge.

With only three cabins on board, you’ll be sharing the barge with a maximum of four other guests.  And with a team of four crew to look after you, personalised service is guarenteed.

Take a barge cruise along France's intimate canals

A barge cruise is a very special way to explore the smaller canals and rivers, that larger river boats simply can’t reach.  And whilst this may be small ship cruising, at 128ft (39m) long there’s plenty of space on board, with a large open plan lounge dining area inside and a sun deck with dining area, comfortable seating and even a jacuzzi.

Read more: Discover the barge

Couples or friends

All our cabins can be set up with double or twin beds and offer en-suite bathrooms with showers

Escorted excursions

Discover our region on a wide range of escorted tours and activities – there’s something for everyone

Small group cruise

Our all-inclusive cruises have all the  benefits of traditional river cruising but on a more personalised scale 

Restaurant dining

Eating at great restaurants each evening is the only way to really experience French cuisine 

Dedicated crew

Our onboard team are here to spoil you and take care of all the details – so you can sit back and relax

Cruise through the heart of Champagne

On our 6 night cruises we travel between Chalons-en-Champagne and Courcelles (check the availability calendar below to see which direction the barge is travelling each week).

Whichever week you choose, you’ll experience cruising on both the winding river Marne and the narrower more intimate man-made canals which date from the 1800’s.

Champagne is just a short train ride from Paris, or to make things even simpler we can pick you up and drop you off in central Paris for a small extra charge.

Click for interactive route map

Barging really is the ultimate in slow travel.  It’s all about the journey, having time to connect and exploring both the highlights and hidden places of Champagne, far from the tourist crowds.

On our 6 night, 7 day trips you’ll truly relax into the cruising lifestyle and have plenty of opportunity to enjoy all the things France is world famous for; stunning chateaux, fresh food markets, mouth watering patisseries, charming quaint villages, grand gothic cathedrals, peaceful countryside, delicious cheese, fine wines and gourmet dining.

Read more: Enjoy 10 iconic French experiences on your cruise

Relax and unwind

We typically spend 3 to 5 hours cruising each morning through the varied landscape of the French countryside past vineyards, châteaux and through woodland and charming villages.

As the barge travels at only around 3 miles per hour (6 kilometres per hour), there’s time to look around and take in the beautiful tranquility of the countryside sliding past.

While we’re travelling the crew are here to look after you – relax on deck and soak in the scenery, take a dip in the jacuzzi or join Captain Claire in the wheelhouse, you can even try steering the barge!

Serenity halts frequently at locks which raise or lower the canal to match the contours of the landscape.  With the tarmac towpath alongside you can hop on and off the barge at the locks to take a stroll along the water or go and explore a pretty village we’re passing.

Explore our region

In the afternoon, after lunch aboard, you’ll enjoy an excursion accompanied by a member of the crew.

While some visits are just a short walk from our mooring, most days we’ll use our comfortable 9-seater van to explore a bit further.  With just six guests, all our excursions are private and exclusive, no crowds and no headsets needed to hear your guide.

Having been in the Champagne region for several years, we have done the ‘hard work’ for you and found amazing locations that showcase the best of the area’s wine, countryside, history and culture.

Whether you are meeting a passionate 5th generation winemaker, visiting the historic city of Reims or exploring a privately owned 18th century château, you’ll meet local people and enjoy authentic experiences.

But there is also plenty of opportunity to do your own thing – you can head off for a stroll or bike ride any time or if you don’t fancy joining the excursion, just stay onboard and relax.

Choose your itinerary.......

Carefully designed to showcase the very best of our region, the recommended daily excursions on our classic cruise itinerary are perennial guest favourites, suitable for all fitness levels and offer a great mix of visits across the week.

But a holiday is not ‘one size fits all’ – so we offer the other great excursions that we’ve discovered over the years as alternatives.

The first guests to book for each departure choose the excursions, which means that some departures have different itineraries.  So if you are flexible on your travel dates make sure you click to see the itinerary for each cruise departure – you’re bound to find something that is perfect for you.

Eastbound: Courcelles to Chalons-en-Champagne

Afternoon – Pick up at Dormans train station and your first champagne tasting
We will meet you at straight off your train from Paris at Dormans train station.  The direct train takes around 1 hour and we’ll provide all the information you need, including where to go and how to buy your tickets in advance. Typically the fare from Paris to Dormans is around €20 -€35 per person, each way.

From the station it’s about a 10 minute drive (in our 9 seater vehicle) to where the Serenity is waiting for you on the Marne river.  You’ll be welcomed aboard by the rest of the crew with a glass of champagne and canapes.

 

Optional Extra: Transfer from Paris €100 per person
If you prefer we can pick you up and drop you off in central Paris at the Gare du Nord train station.
NB. We are only able to do one pick-up location per cruise so the first customers to book decide if there is a Paris transfer – so please check the individual itinerary for the date you are interested in.

Evening 
Your first dinner of the cruise will be at the Auberge Le Relais, a Michelin recommended restaurant, which offers classic french flavours with a modern presentation.   At this elegant country inn you can choose to sit on the  terrace looking out over the vineyards  or in the tastefully decorated dining room.  Conveniently located in the next village it’s just a quick 10 minute drive in the car to the restaurant.

Morning – Cruise from Courcelles to Damery
About 9.30am we’ll be taking off the mooring ropes to start our cruise along the river Marne. This tree lined winding river has for centuries been an important trade route to Paris and even today we will likely pass some cargo barges on our journey.  With sweeping views of the rolling vineyards above, the river is a peaceful place with wildlife, fishermen patiently waiting for their catch, pleasure boaters and canoeists.

Afternoon – Explore the vines at Champagne Le Gallais

At this winery not only are their vineyards blessed with beautiful views down the Marne valley but the grapes also go right up to the turreted Chateau Boursault, built in 1843 by Madame Clicquot. Join the lovely Florie for a walk in the vineyard and learn how they care for the vines throughout the year. And whilst tasting the estates champagnes, one of the group will be taught how to open a bottle using a sword! Called ‘Sabrage’ this technique dates back to the Napoleonic troop’s who liked to celebrate victory with champagne. (10 minutes drive from the barge)

Evening

Graeme’s manning the grill tonight for a BBQ dinner aboard. As we are moored in the countryside tonight dinner it’s a great opportunity to really enjoy the peace and nature. Dinner is accompanied by your choice of champagne or wine – how about trying the Bouzy Rouge, a full bodied Pinot Noir just like this region produced for the Kings of France before Champagne was invented. 


Alternative excursions

Chocolate making workshop (15 minutes drive from the barge) – Get hands on and learn how to make filled chocolate champagne corks with Xavier at his artisan chocolate shop. 

E-bike adventure through the vineyards to Chatillon sur Marne (0 minutes drive from the barge) – You’ll have looked up at the hilltop village of Chatillon-sur-Marne as we were cruising and this afternoon that’s where we are heading – don’t worry with an e-bike the uphill climb is easy!  We’ll ride through the vineyards and on quiet backroads and you’ll be rewarded with great views from the top.   

A stroll in historic Ay (15 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Claire for a walking tour of this charming village, with its 14th century half timbered houses, winding lanes and gothic church. After a ‘re-fueling’ stop at the patisserie we visit Champagne Collet, with its Art Deco villa and museum of champagne production. 

Morning – Cruise from Damery to Dizy

Today as we continue eastwards along the river, the banks become less tree-lined to reveal sweeping views of the rolling vineyards.  As we pass the village of Cumieres, make sure you look out for the metal sculptures along the river bank, depicting different scenes from the vineyards.

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Visit the historic city of Reims (35 minutes from the barge)

We start our visit at the magnificent gothic cathedral. Every king of France since Clovis in 1130 has been crowned in this cathedral. Today it is an UNESCO World Heritage site in recognition of this history, it’s architectural significance and the impressive beauty of the external sculpture work.

You can then choose from the following options:
– Option A – Walking tour of Reims city-centre – Settled since Roman times, Reims is awash with history. On our walking tour you’ll get to discover of it’s hidden gems and beautiful art deco buildings. With this option there is also time for souvenir shopping and a stop at a patisserie.
NB. We can combine this with options B or C to make a longer excursion if you would like.
– Option B – Musée de la Reddition – The school which served as the Headquarters of General Eisenhower, and where he received the German surrender that ended combat in WW2 (24 hours before it was re-signed in Berlin) is now a museum dedicated to this historic event and the city’s role in the closing stages of the war.
– Option C – San Remi Basilica and Musée San Remi – Built in the 11th century the beautiful romanesque San Remi basilica is even older than then main cathedral. Next door we will also visit the 17th century abbey which now houses a museum telling the history of the city through the ages.

Evening
It’s about 5 minutes in the car to reach our restaurant for this evening, the Henri IV restaurant in Ay.  This place is so popular with locals and visitors that they moved to a larger location a few years ago – guests often come home raving about the 12 hour lamb dish. 

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Alternative excursions

Cook a meal with a French Chef (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Chef Eric for a fun and educational evening in the kitchen – learn pro tips and techniques as you help prepare a starter, main and dessert. Then sit down to dinner and enjoy the fruits of your labour! Example menu: turbot with kaffir lime and ginger, duck cooked at low temperature with foie gras two ways and chestnut macaroon.

Tour the Art Deco Villa Demoiselle (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally built for the directors of Pommery Champagne, in the last five years this Art Deco house has been lovingly restored before being opened to the public. The result is a real architectural jewel with floral paintings climbing the walls, stained glass windows, period furniture throughout, sweeping central staircase and superb Baccarat chandeliers.  If you’d like we can also make a short visit to Reims cathedral before heading back to the barge.

Visit the chalk cellars of a Grande Maison (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally dug by the Romans, today there are millions of bottles of champagne sleeping in the kilometres of interconnected caverns.  During your tour you’ll learn about the history of the house and taste two or three of their premium cuvees.  You can choose to visit Ruinart, Tattinger, Veuve Cliquot or Pommery (please note this may be a public group tour).   

Chocolate making workshop (15 minutes drive from the barge) – Get hands on and learn how to make filled chocolate champagne corks with Xavier at his artisan chocolate shop. 

A stroll in historic Ay (5 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Claire for a walking tour of this charming village, with its 14th century half timbered houses, winding lanes and gothic church. After a ‘re-fueling’ stop at the patisserie we visit Champagne Collet, with its Art Deco villa and museum of champagne production. 

Morning – Market visit and cruise from Mareuil-sur-Ay to Damery
It’s an early morning start today if you want to join Claire for a visit to the bustling Saturday morning covered market in Epernay. The stalls are laden with fresh produce from across the region and you can choose the cheeses and charcuterie to enjoy as a platter style lunch today.

Afternoon – recommended excursion: Cellar tour at Champagne Guy Charbaut and a stroll in the village of Hautvilliers

Established in 1936, this family owned champagne house focus on bio-dynamic work in the vineyards and is experimenting with aging in oak barrels for their cuvees. On your tour, Marion will explain the complete process of making champagne as she shows you around the vat house and century old cellars dug into the chalk cliff above. Your visit ends with a generous tasting of their range of vintage and non-vintage champagnes.

We’ll then drive through the vineyards to the village of Hautvilliers, considered one of the prettiest villages in the region. Famous as the home of Dom Perignon, who is often credited with discovering how to make champagne, today this village is home to around 800 people and more than 30 champagne houses! On our guided walk around the village you’ll visit the abbey where he is buried.

Evening

Tonight we are moored in one of our favourite spots, on the edge of the village of Mareuil-sur-Ay. Right underneath the vineyards we always get beautiful sunsets over the canal here. You’ll have dinner at Les Avizes, a small restaurant housed in a chateau dating from the 1820’s.  Run by a champagne family who were among the early leaders of the high quality grower movement the food is gourmet and the wine list divine.

————————–

Alternative excursions

Cook a meal with a French Chef (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Chef Eric for a fun and educational evening in the kitchen – learn pro tips and techniques as you help prepare a starter, main and dessert. Then sit down to dinner and enjoy the fruits of your labour! Example menu: turbot with kaffir lime and ginger, duck cooked at low temperature with foie gras two ways and chestnut macaroon.

Candlelight evening at Chateau Vaux Le Vicomte (1hr 45mins drive from the barge) – Enjoy  a night to remember at this picture perfect 17th century chateau. Upon arrival we’ll visit the interior of the chateau with it’s magnificent state apartments. There is then time to wander in the formal gardens designed by Le Notre (who also did the gardens at the Palace of Versailles) before enjoying dinner al-fresco overlooking the gardens. Then as darkness falls over 2000 candles are lit in the gardens and chateau, a beautiful spectacle and a glimpse of how the chateau would have felt in the time of Louis XIV.    IMPORTANT: The chateau is around a 1 hour 45 minute drive from the barge (each way) which is much further than we normally travel for excursions and we won’t be back until around midnight.   But if you don’t mind a long car trip, previous guests who’ve chosen this option have really enjoyed this unique experience.

A stroll in historic Ay (5 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Claire for a walking tour of this charming village, with its 14th century half timbered houses, winding lanes and gothic church. After a ‘re-fueling’ stop at the patisserie we visit Champagne Collet, with its Art Deco villa and museum of champagne production. 

Morning – Cruise from Mareuil-sur-Ay to Vraux
Leaving Mareuil-sur-Ay we’ll spend this morning cruising through the pretty villages of Tours-sur-Marne, Bisseuil and Conde-sur-Marne.  With just short distance between the locks, today is a great opportunity to hop of the barge and watch from a different angle the precision of maneuvering Serenity in with just centimetres to space each side.

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Epernay and the Avenue of Champagne (20 minutes drive from the barge)
This afternoon we’re heading to Epernay, the so called ‘Capital of Champagne’.  You’ll discover the stories of some of champagne’s most iconic names on a walking tour along the Avenue of Champagne, home to Moet & Chandon, Pol Roger, Perrier Jouet and Mercier to name a few.  We’ll start with a tasting flight at Boizel and there are many options for additional tasting stops if you wish.  We’ll finish our walk with a flight on a tethered balloon, offering fantastic views over the city and vineyards (weather permitting). There is also time for some shopping if you wish.  

Evening

As it’s Sunday and most restaurants are closed, tonight it’s a relaxed dinner aboard.

————————–

Alternative excursions

Visit the chalk cellars of a Grande Maison (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally dug by the Romans, today there are millions of bottles of champagne sleeping in the kilometres of interconnected caverns.  During your tour you’ll learn about the history of the house and taste two or three of their premium cuvees.  You can choose to visit Ruinart, Tattinger, Veuve Cliquot or Pommery (please note this may be a public group tour). 

E-bike adventure through the vineyards to Bouzy (0 minutes drive from the barge) – You’ll have seen the vineyards from the barge and from the car but today we head out to explore them on electric bikes. Our ride takes us up through the vineyards to the villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay. This is Pinot Noir territory and with both villages being designated Grand Cru, the highest quality, here you’ll find vineyards belonging to famous names such as Krug, Bollinger and Veuve Clicquot. As well as stopping for a couple of tastings we’ll visit the charming village church which dates from the 1850s and a panoramic viewpoint. And with electric bikes even going uphill is easy! 

The villages of the Montagne de Reims (20 minutes drive from the barge)- Head out to explore the vineyards and villages of the Montagne de Reims. This north east facing hillsides here are famous for their Pinot Noir grapes, with many villages designated as ‘Grand Cru’ ie. the highest of quality. Our explorations take us to the pretty villages of Verzy, Verzenay and Mailly with a stop at the picturesque ‘Lighthouse in the vines’ and a tasting at a small producer.

Tour the Art Deco Villa Demoiselle (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally built for the directors of Pommery Champagne, in the last five years this Art Deco house has been lovingly restored before being opened to the public. The result is a real architectural jewel with floral paintings climbing the walls, stained glass windows, period furniture throughout, sweeping central staircase and superb Baccarat chandeliers. 

Morning – Cruise from Vraux to Chalons-en-Champagne
Chalons has been an important city since medieval times and today the compact city centre boasts two beautiful cathedrals and many charming half timbered buildings.    On todays cruise we are surrounded by trees and greenery and once we get close to the city there is a great view down the canal to the St Etiene cathedral. 

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Private tour of Chateau Vitry la Ville (15 minutes drive from the barge)
Small, but perfectly formed Chateau Vitry-la-Ville looks like a chateau from a story book,  surrounded by ponds, moats and bridges and an elegant French garden.  Join us for a private tour of the reception rooms and gardens with the owner who’ll share with us it’s history and insight into life as the guardian of such a special place.

Evening
As a fitting end to your cruise, dinner tonight is at the Michelin starred restaurant of chef Jerome Feck.    We love this restaurant for the interesting flavour combinations, beautiful presentation and excellent service to match and it’s just 10 minutes walk from the barge (or we can hop in the car if you prefer).

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Alternative excursions

Walking tour of Chalons-en-Champagne  (0 minutes drive from the barge) – Join us for a time travelling walking tour through the centre of this historic city.   We’ll see traces of the roman settlement, medieval merchant houses, a gothic cathedral and attractive neo-classical public buildings as well as the small canals and pretty parks that criss-cross the city. 

L’Epine Basillica (15 minutes drive from the barge) – This beautiful 15th century gothic church is a UNESCO world heritage site and is only slightly smaller than Reims cathedral.   But what makes it so special is that its located in a village of just 700 people and being completely off the tourist trail we’ll likely have this special, sacred space entirely to ourselves.  We’ll also take a walk around the village and stop for a coffee at the cafe on the square.

Explore the heart of the Cote de Blancs (35 minutes drive from the barge) – One of 17 villages designated as ‘Grand Cru’, Le Mesnil Sur Oger is the land of Chardonay and the champagnes from here are often described as mineral-dominated, elegant and complete.   On a tour and tasting at a small independent producer you’ll try both non-vintage and vintage champagnes made solely from plots in the village.  We’ll round out the afternoon with a stroll in the neighbouring village of Vertus, with it’s photogenic 14th century church built above a natural spring and 13th century defensive gate.

After a relaxed breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to Serenity.


You’ll leave the boat at around 10am and we will drop you off at the train station in Reims to meet your train back to Paris.


Alternatively if you choose the Paris pick-up & drop-off option you’ll be dropped off at Paris Gare du Nord train station around midday, depending on traffic.

Westbound: Chalons-en-Champagne to Courcelles

Afternoon – Pick up at Chalons train station and welcome aboard

We’ll meet you on the platform at Chalons-en-Champagne train station, which is just 5 minutes drive from the barge. The direct train from central Paris takes 1 hour 40 minutes (which is quicker than if you drive).   We’ll provide all the information you need, including where to go and how to buy your tickets in advance. Typically the fare from Paris to Chalons-en-Champagne is around €25 – €40 per person, each way.

Or if you prefer we can pick you up from central Paris, at the Gare du Nord train station (see optional extras above).

When you arrive at the barge you’ll be welcomed aboard by the rest of the crew with champagne and canapes.   There’s then time to take a stroll to explore the medieval buildings in the centre of Chalons or just relax onboard and unpack. 

Optional Extra: Transfer from Paris €100 per person
If you prefer we can pick you up and drop you off in central Paris at the Gare du Nord train station.
NB. We are only able to do one pick-up location per cruise so the first customers to book decide if there is a Paris transfer – so please check the individual itinerary for the date you are interested in.

Evening
We’re kicking off your cruise in style tonight with dinner at a Michelin stared restaurant.  Holder of a Michelin Star since 2018, we love this restaurant for the interesting flavour combinations, beautiful presentation and excellent service to match and it’s just 10 minutes walk from the barge (or we can hop in the car if you prefer).

Morning – Cruise from Chalons-en-Champagne to Vraux
About 10am we’ll be taking off the mooring ropes to start our cruise along the canal. Here the canal takes us through peaceful countryside, past occasional grain silos that are the canal’s original raison d’être.

Afternoon – recommended excursion: Historic city of Reims (40 minutes drive from the barge)

We start our visit at the magnificent gothic cathedral. Every king of France since Clovis in 1130 has been crowned in this cathedral. Today it is an UNESCO World Heritage site in recognition of this history, it’s architecture significance and the impressive beauty of the external sculpture work.

You can then choose from the following options:
– Option A – Walking tour of Reims city-centre – Settled since Roman times, Reims is awash with history. On our walking tour you’ll get to discover of it’s hidden gems and beautiful art deco buildings. With this option there is also time for souvenir shopping and a stop at a patisserie.
NB. We can combine this with options B or C to make a longer excursion if you would like.
– Option B – Musée de la Reddition – The school which served as the Headquarters of General Eisenhower, and where he received the German surrender that ended combat in WW2 (24 hours before it was re-signed in Berlin) is now a museum dedicated to this historic event and the city’s role in the closing stages of the war.
– Option C – San Remi Basilica and Musée San Remi – Built in the 11th century the beautiful romanesque San Remi basilica is even older than then main cathedral. Next door we will also visit the 17th century abbey which now houses a museum telling the history of the city through the ages.

Evening
Graeme’s manning the grill tonight for a BBQ dinner aboard. As we’re moored in the countryside tonight, it’s a great opportunity to really enjoy the peace and nature before ending the evening with a beautiful sunset over the hills. Dinner is accompanied by your choice of champagne or wine – how about trying the Bouzy Rouge, a full bodied Pinot Noir just like this region produced for the Kings of France before Champagne was invented.

————————–

Alternative excursions

E-bike adventure through the vineyards (0 minutes drive from the barge).- You’ll have seen the vineyards from the barge and from the car but today we head out to explore them on electric bikes. Our ride takes us up through the vineyards to the villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay. This is Pinot Noir territory and with both villages being designated Grand Cru, the highest quality, here you’ll find vineyards belonging to famous names like Krug, Bollinger and Veuve Clicquot. As well as stopping for a couple of tastings we’ll visit the charming village church which dates from the 1850s and a panoramic viewpoint. And with electric bikes even going uphill is easy! 

The villages of the Montagne de Reims (25 minutes drive from the barge) – Head out to explore the vineyards and villages of the Montagne de Reims. This north east facing hillsides here are famous for their Pinot Noir grapes, with many villages designated as ‘Grand Cru’ ie. the highest of quality. Our explorations take us to the pretty villages of Verzy, Verzenay and Mailly with a stop at the picturesque ‘Lighthouse in the vines’ and a tasting at a small producer.

Visit the chalk cellars of a Grande Maison (40 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally dug by the Romans, today there are millions of bottles of champagne sleeping in the kilometres of interconnected caverns.  During your tour you’ll learn about the history of the house and taste two or three of their premium cuvees.  You can choose to visit Ruinart, Tattinger, Veuve Cliquot or Pommery (please note this may be a public group tour). 

Cook a meal with a French Chef (40 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Chef Eric for a fun and educational evening in the kitchen – learn pro tips and techniques as you help prepare a starter, main and dessert. Then sit down to dinner and enjoy the fruits of your labour! Example menu: turbot with kaffir lime and ginger, duck cooked at low temperature with foie gras two ways and chestnut macaroon.

Morning – Cruise from Vraux to Mareuil-sur-Ay
We will spend around 6 to 7 hours cruising today so the barge may already be moving as you sit down to breakfast. Serenity will be descending downhill through a chain 6 locks, before passing through the pretty villages of Tours sur Marne and Bisseuil. With the towpath alongside and several nearby villages this is the perfect opportunity to take a stroll as there are lots of chances to get on/off the barge as we stop in each lock.

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Cellar tour at Champagne Guy Charbaut and a stroll in the village of Hautvilliers (15 minutes drive from the barge)

Established in 1936, this family owned champagne house focus on bio-dynamic work in the vineyards and is experimenting with aging in oak barrels for their cuvees. On your tour, Marion will explain the complete process of making champagne as she shows you around the vat house and century old cellars dug into the chalk cliff above. Your visit ends with a generous tasting of their range of vintage and non-vintage champagnes.

We will then drive to Hautvilliers, considered one of the prettiest villages in the region. Famous as the home of Dom Perignon, who is often credited with discovering how to make champagne, today this village is home to around 800 people and more than 30 champagne houses! On our guided walk around the village you’ll visit the abbey and enjoy another champagne tasting at one of the villages small producers.

Evening
Tonight we are moored in one of our favourite spots, on the edge of the village of Mareuil-sur-Ay. Right underneath the vineyards we always get beautiful sunsets over the canal here. You’ll have dinner at Les Avizes, a small restaurant housed in a chateau dating from the 1820’s.  Run by a champagne family who were among the early leaders of the high quality grower movement the food is gourmet and the wine list divine.

————————–

Alternative excursions
Chocolate workshop (15 minutes drive from the barge) – Get hands on and learn how to make filled chocolate champagne corks with Xavier at his artisan chocolate shop. 

A stroll in historic Ay (15 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Claire for a walking tour of this charming village, with its 14th century half timbered houses, winding lanes and gothic church. After a ‘re-fueling’ stop at the patisserie we visit Champagne Collet, with its Art Deco villa and museum of champagne production.

Tour the Art Deco Villa Demoiselle (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally built for the directors of Pommery Champagne, in the last five years this Art Deco house has been lovingly restored before being opened to the public. The result is a real architectural jewel with floral paintings climbing the walls, stained glass windows, period furniture throughout, sweeping central staircase and superb Baccarat chandeliers.

Morning – Market visit and Cruise from Damery to Mareuil-sur-Ay
It’s an early morning start today if you want to join Claire for a visit to the bustling Saturday morning covered market in Epernay. The stalls are laden with fresh produce from across the region and you can choose the cheeses and charcuterie to enjoy as a platter style lunch today.

When we return to the  barge we’ll enjoy the short cruise along the canl to Dizy, from where there is a great view of the village of Hautvilliers perched above us.

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Explore the vineyards at Champagne Le Gallais (15 minutes drive from the barge)
At this winery not only are their vineyards blessed with beautiful views down the Marne valley but the grapes also go right up to the turreted Chateau Boursault, built in 1843 by Madame Clicquot. Join the lovely Florie for a walk in the vineyard and learn how they care for the vines throughout the year. And whilst tasting the estates champagnes, one of the group will be taught how to open a bottle using a sword! Called ‘Sabrage’ this technique dates back to the Napoleonic troop’s who liked to celebrate victory with champagne. 

Evening
It’s about 5 minutes in the car to reach our restaurant for this evening, the Henri IV restaurant in Ay.  This place is so popular with locals and visitors that they moved to a larger location a few years ago – guests often come home raving about the 12 hour lamb dish. 

————————–

Alternative excursions

A stroll in historic Ay (5 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Claire for a walking tour of this charming village, with its 14th century half timbered houses, winding lanes and gothic church. After a ‘re-fueling’ stop at the patisserie we visit Champagne Collet, with its Art Deco villa and museum of champagne production.

Tour the Art Deco Villa Demoiselle (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Originally built for the directors of Pommery Champagne, in the last five years this Art Deco house has been lovingly restored before being opened to the public. The result is a real architectural jewel with floral paintings climbing the walls, stained glass windows, period furniture throughout, sweeping central staircase and superb Baccarat chandeliers.  If you’d like we can also make a short visit to Reims cathedral before heading back to the barge.

Cook a meal with a French Chef (35 minutes drive from the barge) – Join Chef Eric for a fun and educational evening in the kitchen – learn pro tips and techniques as you help prepare a starter, main and dessert. Then sit down to dinner and enjoy the fruits of your labour! Example menu: turbot with kaffir lime and ginger, duck cooked at low temperature with foie gras two ways and chestnut macaroon.

Candlelight evening at Chateau Vaux Le Vicomte (1hr 45mins drive from the barge) – Enjoy  a night to remember at this picture perfect 17th century chateau. Upon arrival we’ll visit the interior of the chateau with it’s magnificent state apartments. There is then time to wander in the formal gardens designed by Le Notre (who also did the gardens at the Palace of Versailles) before enjoying dinner al-fresco overlooking the gardens. Then as darkness falls over 2000 candles are lit in the gardens and chateau, a beautiful spectacle and a glimpse of how the chateau would have felt in the time of Louis XIV.    IMPORTANT: The chateau is around a 1 hour 45 minute drive from the barge (each way) which is much further than we normally travel for excursions and we won’t be back until around midnight.   But if you don’t mind a long car trip, previous guests who’ve chosen this option have really enjoyed this unique experience.

Morning – Cruise from Dizy to Damery
Today we continue to cruise west on the Marne. This tree lined winding river has for centuries been an important trade route to Paris and even today we will likely pass some cargo barges on our journey. Otherwise the river is a peaceful place with wildlife, fishermen patiently waiting for their catch, pleasure boaters and canoeists.

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Epernay and the Avenue of Champagne (20 minutes drive from the barge)
This afternoon we’re heading to Epernay, the so called ‘Capital of Champagne’.  You’ll discover the stories of some of champagne’s most iconic names on a walking tour along the Avenue of Champagne, home to Moet & Chandon, Pol Roger, Perrier Jouet and Mercier to name a few.  We’ll start with a tasting flight at Boizel and there are many options for additional tasting stops if you wish.  We’ll finish our walk with a flight on a tethered balloon, offering fantastic views over the city and vineyards (weather permitting). There is also time for some shopping if you wish.  

Evening
As it’s Sunday and many restaurants are closed you’ll enjoy a relaxed dinner aboard tonight.

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Alternative excursions

E-bike adventure through the vineyards (0 minutes drive from the barge) – You’ll have seen the vineyards from the barge and from the car but today we head out to explore them on electric bikes. Our ride takes us up through the vineyards to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne, which has a commanding hilltop position with great views. As well as stopping for a couple of tastings we’ll visit the pretty village church which dates to the 1500’s from the 1850s. And with electric bikes even going uphill is easy! 

Tour at Champagne Dom Caudron (25 minutes drive from the barge) – A visit to this village co-operative makes an ideal introduction to how champagne is produced. We start our tour at the historic wine presses in the museum, before moving onto the modern cuverie. And your visit ends with a tasting of three champagnes, each paired with a different handmade chocolate. 

Morning – Cruise from Isse to Sillery
Our final morning cruising takes us through the more tree-lined winding section of the Marne river past the town of Dormans.  

Afternoon – Recommended excursion: Discover Champagne history at Champagne Meteyer et Fils (10 minutes drive from the barge) 
In the 18th century vaulted cellars at their winery Anna and Frank have created a museum to the lost traditions of champagne with a fascinating collection of the tools and machinery used by their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.  After a personal tour of the museum we’ll enjoy a tasting of three of Frank’s champagnes, including an 100% Pinot Meunier, a more unusual style you don’t often find outside France.

Evening – Michelin star dinner
The final dinner of your cruise is at the Auberge Le Relais, a Michelin recommended restaurant, which offers classic french flavours with a modern presentation.   At this elegant country inn you can choose to sit on the  terrace looking out over the vineyards  or in the tastefully decorated dining room.  Conveniently located in the next village it’s just a quick 10 minute drive in the car to the restaurant.

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Alternative excursions

WW1 history (40 minutes drive from the barge) – This area was a key strategic location during the Aisne Marne Offensive in the closing stages of World War 1. We start our tour at the statuesque Franco-American Memorial atop Hill 204, with its sweeping views over the champagne hillsides of the Marne valley. We’ll then drive a short way to Belleau Wood where the trench lines and shell holes remain as scars of the fierce fighting that took place here, famous as the first significant engagement of the newly created US Marine Corps – who earned the nickname ‘The Devil Dogs’ from the assaulting German troops. We will also visit the adjoining American and German cemeteries.

E-bike ride to Dormans and it’s memorial chapel  (0 minutes drive from the barge) – We’ll ride back along the river and through farmland to reach the village of Dormans with it’s beautiful white memorial.  As well as exploring there’s time for a bit of shopping and a well earned drink at a cafe on the square.

Ride a Segway through the vineyards (10 minutes drive from the barge) – On this fun excursion we’ll explore the vineyards above the Marne valley in the company of Bruno, the wine maker at Jacques Copin Champagne. Segways are easy to ride and mean we can cover a greater distance than walking. And of course your visit ends with a tasting of Bruno’s champagne. 

Explore the vineyards at Champagne Le Gallais (30 miniute drive from the barge) – At this winery not only are their vineyards blessed with beautiful views down the Marne valley but the grapes also go right up to the turreted Chateau Boursault, built in 1843 by Madame Clicquot. Join the lovely Florie for a walk in the vineyard and learn how they care for the vines throughout the year. And whilst tasting the estates champagnes, one of the group will be taught how to open a bottle using a sword! Called ‘Sabrage’ this technique dates back to the Napoleonic troop’s who liked to celebrate victory with champagne. 

After a relaxed breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to Serenity.

You’ll leave the boat at around 10am and we will drop you off at the train station in Dormans to meet your train back to Paris.

Alternatively if you choose the Paris pick-up & drop-off option you’ll be dropped off at Paris Gare du Nord train station around midday, depending on traffic.

Fabulous food and wine

From relaxed BBQs to fine dining at Michelin starred restaurants, with Serenity Barge all-inclusive cruising doesn’t mean only eating aboard.

Each morning starts with a feast of croissants and gorgeous pastries from the best local bakery together with yoghurts, fresh fruit and cereals.

Lunch is your opportunity to try the pates, charcuterie, cheeses and quiches that France is famous for, all accompanied by a selection  of tasty salads.  And if you’ve still got room, there’s a light dessert to follow.

Served aboard while the barge is cruising, lunch is typically a relaxed affair at the top deck table, accompanied by a selection of wines, sourced directly from small independent vineyards.  During your cruise you’ll have the chance to try famous Grand Cru wines and hidden gems you’ll never taste outside France.

Most evenings you’ll enjoy dinner at one of our favourite restaurants.  As our cruises are all-inclusive, when eating off-board the 3 course set menu is covered in your cruise price.  Normally you will have a choice of several dishes for each course, or if something on the a-la-carte menu catches your eye instead we will pay the equivalent value towards your meal.

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Affordable hotel barge cruises

With Serenity Barge we have deliberately kept our prices affordable and comparable to other much larger river cruise ships – so that everyone can experience the magic of the French canals. 

Travelling solo? – as standard a €1,500 single supplement applies, but we can waive this on cruises where only 1 cabin remains or last minute bookings, so if you can be flexible on your travel dates get in touch.

6 night / 7 day cruise

Based on two people sharing a cabin
3,250
per person
  • Double or twin cabin
  • Breakfast and lunch aboard each day
  • All dinners - either aboard or at restaurants (set menu or equivalent)
  • All beers, wines and soft drinks aboard
  • Daily excursion with one of the crew as your guide
  • 9 seater vehicle for excursions and transfers
  • Pick up/drop off at local train stations (easily accessible by train from Paris)
  • Use of onboard amenities including hot tub and wi-fi
  • All taxes, fuel and mooring charges

Optional extras

prices per cruise
  • Pick up and drop off in central Paris - €100 per person
  • Bicycle - €40 per person
  • Electric bicycle - €100 per person
  • Hot air balloon flight - from €200 per person

Book with total confidence

No fees or price increases

Need to change your plans? No worries, re-schedule your cruise to any available date in 2022 or 2023 with no fees or price increase.

COVID safe travel

Undoubtedly COVID will continue to impact how we travel but with six guests and stringent hygiene procedures, our cruises are a safe option.

Guaranteed departures

We don’t have minimum numbers.  Your cruise departure is guaranteed from the moment you pay your deposit, even if no-one else books.

100% financial protection

Your payments are held in an independent trust account until your cruise, giving your complete peace of mind on your financial protection.

Book your hotel barge cruise

Our cruises depart on Wednesdays from mid April to mid October, travelling Eastbound and Westbound on alternating weeks.

By booking early you not only get the pick of the dates (we normally limit the number of cabin departures to two per month) but if you’re the first to book you choose the daily excursion option.

As soon as your deposit (€500 per person) is paid, your cruise departure is guaranteed, regardless of whether any other cabins are booked.

Not sure when to cruise? – check out our handy month by month guide.

2022 availability

KeyWhite =  Available   Red = Fully booked     Green = 1 or 2 cabins available

Click on the month to see available departure dates

2023 availability

KeyWhite =  Available   Red = Fully booked     Green = 1 or 2 cabins available

Click on the month to see available departure dates

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Excursion Profile: Champagne Le Gallais

We love visiting here - sampling their wines on the terrace overlooking the vines below is just bliss!