- Wine tasting
Cruise the Champagne region, and enjoy a tasting at the Mercier Champagne House.
This French town is home to the Champagne houses of Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouet.
- Notre Dame de Reims
Reims’ cathedral is one of the finest examples of the 'French Gothic' style
- Spot wildlife
Look out for local wildlife, including kingfishers, along the waters edge as you cruise.
- No fly
- VIP on selected river cruises
- Full board
Explore the picturesque Marne Valley
Discover river cruising with a difference… This holiday offers a five day-cruise on the backwaters of France, while staying six nights in a welcoming hotel. After breakfast at your hotel, make yourself at home on the award-winning day-cruiser ‘Natalia’ and admire the passing scenery as you cruise various stretches of the River Marne. A light lunch of local specialities will be delivered to the ship each day to enjoy with included drinks as you cruise. Our programme of excursions then takes you through delightful rural countryside to the historic attractions that abound in the Marne Valley, before returning to your hotel for dinner each evening. Magnifique!
6 nights in a hotel
17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 light lunches and 6 dinners
- Included travel insurance
- Return coach travel from Folkestone by Eurotunnel or ferry, and transfers
- Welcome drink
- Included drinks on board
- Saga Cruise Assistant
- More than 110 kilometres of river cruising
- Passage through the 2.3 kilometre Mont-de-Billy canal tunnel
Excursions and visits
- Guided visit to the Marne American Memorial Belleau Wood
- Visit to Noyon cathedral
- Visit to Church of Our Lady in Mezy-Moulins
- Visit to Memorial Chapel of the Battles of Marne
- Visit and tasting at the Paul Sadi Champagne House in Beaumont-sur-Vesle
- Time at leisure in Château Thierry and Reims
Day 1 UK to Château-Thierry, Champagne Region
Travel by coach from Folkestone to Château-Thierry via Eurotunnel or ferry. Pause en route in the town of Noyon, where you can admire the fine Gothic cathedral.
Continue to the locally rated 3-star Best Western Île de France in Château-Thierry (3Q) where you’ll stay for the next six nights. The hotel is set on a hillside overlooking the picturesque Marne Valley. Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner at the hotel tonight.
Please note: holidays departing on July 1st departure, to mark the 105th anniversary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme, you will make an early afternoon stop at the Devonshires Trench Cemetery just off the A1 Autoroute, near the village of Mametz, to leave a wreath.
Day 2 Reims to Vaudemanges
After breakfast, join the coach for the short motorway journey into Reims where your cruiser awaits.
Today you will be cruising the summit canal which links the valleys of the great rivers Aisne and Marne, and you will be cruising southwards towards the Marne. As the journey begins you will pass through some pleasant parkland, ascending three locks in quick succession before the canal emerges into the countryside. The cruise continues through the villages of Sillery and Beaumont-Sur-Vesle, with a light pick-up lunch served as you cruise and a complimentary bar in operation throughout your time on board.
In Beaumont-Sur-Vesle the cruise pauses for you to visit the nearby champagne house of the local producer Paul Sadi. After passing the village of Sept-Saulx you soon pass through the 2.3km summit tunnel of the Mont-de-Billy. This is one of the great constructional wonders of the French canal network having taken 15 years to dig before coming into service in 1866.
Day 3 Vaudemanges to Ay-sur-Marne (Epernay)
This morning you are returned to Vaudemanges to resume cruising as you begin our descent through a series of 8 locks over 6km to reach the canal’s junction with Marne’s Lateral Canal at Condé-Sur-Marne. There are good opportunities to stroll the towpath between some of the locks along this morning’s course.
Cruising continues in the afternoon as you turn westwards on to the Marne Lateral, passing the villages of Tours-sur-Marne and Mareuil-sur-Ay before concluding in Ay-Sur-Marne, on the opposite side of the river from the great Champagne capital of Epernay.
Day 4 Ay-sur-Marne (Epernay)
Today after breakfast your group is joined at the hotel by a military historian who will explain the course of the Battle of Belleau Wood, a decisive action in 1918 and one of the earliest actions in the honourable history of the US Marine Corps. You will go on to visit the nearby American Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Memorial and the Belleau Wood Monument before an easy motorway journey back into the great city of Reims. Here, dine as a group in a city-centre brasserie before you have a free afternoon in the city.
You depart Reims at 5pm for your return to Château-Thierry.
Day 5 Ay-sur-Marne to Dormans
This morning you depart the hotel after breakfast to return to Ay-sur-Marne. Your cruise now continues in the downstream direction, soon leaving the Lateral Canal to join the river proper just west of Epernay. The valley-side champagne vineyards are always close as you cruise, passing the villages of Cumières and Damery before a short canal cut which bypasses one of the river’s more extravagant meanders.
Returning to the main river, cruise onwards through Reuil and Port-à-Binson before concluding for the day in Dormans. Before returning to Château-Thierry, pause just outside Dormans to visit the poignant Memorial Chapel, built to commemorate the two Battles of the Marne fought in World War One, the first of which saw a strategic victory saving Paris from German capture.
Day 6 Dormans to Château-Thierry
After a short transfer by coach from your hotel, board your Backwaters cruiser in Dormans to resume your cruise downstream. This morning pass the small towns of Varennes and Jaulgonne before pausing over lunchtime at the village of Mont St Père where the coach is available to take you just across the river to the little village of Mézy-Moulins with an opportunity to visit the 13th Century three-storey Church of our Lady, noted for its beautiful rose window. Your cruise concludes by mid-afternoon in Château-Thierry, where there should be time for some local sightseeing before you gather for a gala dinner in the hotel pre-departure.
Day 7 Château-Thierry to UK
Check out after breakfast and board your coach for your return journey. You’ll pause for a while en route so you can buy yourself lunch, before setting off again to the UK via Eurotunnel or ferry.
The locally rated 3-star Best Western Île de France is a comfortable hotel set in a rural location on the outskirts of Château Thierry in the picturesque Marne Valley. You can unwind in the spa which has an indoor pool, sauna, massage treatments (extra cost) and fitness centre, relax with a drink at the bar, or drink in the panoramic views from the terrace. Breakfast at the hotel is buffet-style and you can enjoy regional cuisine for dinner in the bright restaurant. There are 37 rooms, all with satellite television, free wireless internet access, hairdryer, safe, iron, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Accommodation is arranged over three floors. There is a lift.
Accommodation contact detailsIn case you need to leave contact details with a friend or relative…
Best Western Île de France
02400 Château Thierry
Tel: 0033 323 691 012