Cruising on a canal barge: the best way to see the Champagne region
PUBLISHED: 13:42 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:00 13 August 2019
Although the Champagne region isn't necessarily the first place you think of when planning a barge cruise holiday, it offers beautiful scenery, great places to visit and, of course, plenty of champagne! And with prices from just €1,220 per person, it's more affordable than you might think...
The Champagne rivers and canals are much less crowded than other areas
Without the crowds you find on other French waterways, such as the Canal du Midi and Burgundy, you can enjoy cruising on peaceful waterways with just the wildlife, fishermen and a few pleasure boaters and canoeists for company. Plus Champagne is only 90 minutes from Paris and your travel to and from the capital is included in the price of a cruise with Serenity Barge.
There is beautiful scenery along the canals and rivers in Champagne
The canals in Champagne run through beautiful countryside, past vineyards, châteaux and villages, so a cruise is a great way to see the area. As you are travelling at around 6km/h you have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and admire the landscape which you can't do in a car. If you're feeling energetic then you can hop on a bike and explore the area before catching up with the barge further along the canal.
Visit the towns and villages of Champagne on excursions
You aren't just restricted to the barge on a cruise. There are plenty of beautiful towns and villages in Champagne to explore and it is easy to do so on excursions from the barge. There's Reims with its UNESCO-listed cathedral, Épernay with its famous Avenue de Champagne and charming villages nestled in the vineyards, including Hautvilliers where, according to legend, the monk Dom Pérignon discovered how to make champagne. On a Serenity Barge cruise you have the freedom to create your own bespoke itinerary so you can choose the places that appeal most to you.
Indulge in some champagne tasting (without having to drive!)
If you are holidaying in Champagne then of course you have to visit the champagne houses and have a glass or two of bubbly. As well as visiting a famous 'Grande Marque' champagne house such as Moët & Chandon, Serenity Barge will introduce you to award-winning smaller producers. Discover the terroir and winemaking techniques which make champagne so special and expand your palate with rosés, 100% pinot noir blends and vintage champagnes. On your cruise you will try a minimum of 12 champagnes so by the end you will be a connoisseur! Plus, the advantage of choosing a cruise is that there's no designated driver so you can all indulge!
There is more to the region than just champagne...
The wine is world famous, but there is so much more to the Champagne region. You can visit the perfectly preserved map room where Eisenhower accepted the German surrender at the end of the Second World War; enjoy the art deco architecture of Reims or take a personal guided tour at a private château. For foodies, a visit to the buzzing Saturday morning market in Épernay or Reims is a must - don't miss trying regional specialities such as Reims ham, boudin blanc and Brie de Meaux cheese.
Take your hotel with you
On a barge holiday your hotel moves with you so there's no need to keep packing and repacking, driving from one hotel to another or spending much of the day in the car. You can just relax onboard and enjoy the slower pace of life watching the vineyards, villages and wildlife float past you, maybe with a glass of fizz in your hand...
Relax and enjoy the journey with everything provided for you
An all-inclusive river cruise means that you can relax and enjoy yourself with everything provided for you. But this doesn't mean that you won't get to sample the local cuisine, on a Serenity Barge cruise you'll enjoy one meal a day (either lunch or dinner) at a local restaurant recommended by your hosts.
Serenity Barge is a historic converted cargo barge on which you can enjoy affordable, bespoke cruises in the Champagne region of France from May until September. The all-inclusive cruises include daily tour guide led excursions, all meals, all drinks onboard and transport to/from Paris. The barge has three en-suite bedrooms, a large lounge and spacious sun deck. Either charter the whole barge for up to six people - perfect for celebrating a special occasion with family or friends - or, if there are just two of you, individual cabins are available (selected weeks only).