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River Cruise
River Cruise

Champagne on the River Marne

French Waterways

from £1,729 per person
2 passengers 6 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £20 if not required
  • No fly No fly
  • Full Board Full board

Explore the picturesque Marne Valley

Discover river cruising with a difference… This holiday offers a 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!


Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Bed6 nights in a hotel

Dinner plate17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 light lunches and 6 dinners

PersonSaga Cruise Assistant

Plus all this…

  • Return coach travel from Folkestone by Eurotunnel or ferry, and transfers
  • Welcome drink
  • Included drinks on board
  • 110 kilometres of cruising between Château-Thierry and Reims
  • Passage through the 2.3 kilometre Mont-de-Billy canal tunnel

MapIncluded excursions

  • Visit to Noyon cathedral (16 July departure visits St Quentin Basilica)
  • Visit to the Church of Our Lady in Mezy-Moulins
  • Visit to Memorial Chapel of the Battles of Marne
  • Guided visit to the Marne American Memorial Belleau Wood
  • Visit and tasting at the Paul Sadi Champagne House in Beaumont-sur-Vesle
  • Time at leisure in Château Thierry or Reims

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Château-Thierry, France

Marne Valley

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 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 16, 2021 travel to Reims via the city of St Quentin, where a visit to the splendid Basilica is included. You stay at the locally rated 4-star Holiday Inn Reims. Some excursions run in a slightly different order to that shown.

Day 2 Château-Thierry to Dormans

Cruise the river Marne

Transfer by coach to the port of Château-Thierry to board your Backwaters Cruiser for the journey upstream to the town of Dormans. A light lunch is served on board and you will pause at Mont St Père where you will visit the charming 3-storey Church of our Lady in nearby Mézy-Moulins. Then, continue cruising past the town of Jaulgonne, before arriving in Dormans. Your cruise covers a 25-kilometre stretch of the river. Perhaps take the shuttle service to explore Château-Thierry, returning to the hotel for dinner this evening.

Day 3 Dormans to Ays (Epernay)


Return by coach to Dormans, pausing outside the town to visit the poignant Memorial Chapel, built to commemorate the two Battles of Marne fought in WWI, the first of which saw a strategic victory saving Paris from German capture. Board your barge to sail upstream, passing the villages of Port-å-Binson and Reuil, before continuing along sections of canal and river to the village of Ay, which claims to be the original home of Champagne.

Ay is connected to the town of Epernay, on the opposite bank of the River Marne, where the Champagne houses of Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouet as well as many smaller producers, are based. Today’s cruise covers 31 kilometres and your barge will pass through five locks.

Day 4 Reims


After breakfast at the hotel you’ll be joined by a military historian who will give a talk about the Battle of Belleau Wood before you set off on a visit to the nearby American Aisne-Marne Cemetry and Memorial and the Belleau Wood Monument.

Continue by coach to Reims, the unofficial ‘capital’ of Champagne, for an afternoon of exploration at your leisure. Highlights include the Place Royal and the Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of the finest examples of the 'French Gothic' style. Enjoy lunch with your fellow travellers at a brasserie in the city centre. Return to the hotel for dinner.

Please note: holidays departing on July 16, 2021 will enjoy the day at leisure in Reims.

Day 5 Ay (Epernay) to Vaudemanges


Travel by coach to Ay where you’ll board your barge to spend the day on the water. Cruise through Mareuil-sur-Ay and Tours-sur-Marne before making a lunchtime stop at Condé-sur-Marne.

Continue your cruise, ascending through eight locks with the opportunity to stroll the towpaths between some of them, before arriving at the summit pound at Vaudemanges. Return to your hotel for dinner, having cruised 19 kilometres.

Day 6 Vaudemanges to Reims

Cruise the backwaters aboard Natalia

Return by coach to Vaudemanges where you’ll re-board your ship and sail through the summit tunnel of the Mont-de-Billy, a journey of around 30 minutes. This is one of the great constructional wonders of the French canal network, having taken 15 years to dig before starting service in 1866. Continue cruising through woodland, past the village of Sept-Saulx, pausing in Beaumont-sur Vesle to visit the Paul Sadi Champagne House for a tasting ahead of lunch on board. In the afternoon your cruise continues through Sillery and into Reims.

Perhaps enjoy a stroll along the towpath as your barge passes through three locks within pleasant parklands. Return to your hotel for the final dinner of your holiday. Today’s cruise covers 28 kilometres.

Day 7 Château-Thierry or Reims (July 16, 2021 departures) 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.

July 16, 2021 departures

The locally rated 4-star Holiday Inn Reims – City Centre is just 850 metres away from Reims Cathedral. The 82-room hotel offers free Wi-Fi throughout and has a roof terrace with spectacular views across the city. Bedrooms are well equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities, satellite television, minibar and hairdryer. All bedrooms feature free Wi-Fi and are non-smoking. Bathrooms have either a bath or walk-in shower.

Accommodation contact details

In 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

Holiday Inn Reims – City Centre (July 16, 2021 departures)
46 Rue Buirette
51100 Reims
Tel: 0033 326 789 999

Champagne on the River Marne

French Waterways

from £1,729 per person
2 passengers
6 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £20 if not required
Champagne on the River Marne

French Waterways

from £1,729 per person
2 passengers
6 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £20 if not required