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River Cruise
River Cruise

Champagne on the River Marne

French Waterways

  • Full Board Full board

Explore the picturesque Marne Valley

Discover river cruising with a difference… This holidays offers five day-cruises on the backwaters of France, while staying seven nights in a welcoming hotel. After breakfast at your hotel, make yourself at home on the environmentally-friendly, 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!


7 nights in a hotel

20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 light lunches and 7 dinners

Excursions and visits

  • Visit of the 13th-century church of our Lady in Mezy-Moulins
  • Visit to Memorial Chapel of the Battles of Marne
  • Visit to Ecomusée d’Oeuilly
  • Visit to Mercier Champagne House with tasting and lunch at a local auberge
  • Free time to explore Reims and Château-Thierry

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 seven nights. The hotel is set on a hillside overlooking the picturesque Marne Valley. Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner at the hotel tonight.

Day 2 Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Charly


After breakfast, board your coach and travel to your smart day cruiser, Natalia. Settle down and make yourself comfortable in the spacious lounge or on the outside viewing deck as you take a leisurely cruise along 23-kilometres of winding river, passing sleepy villages, vineyards and wooded hillsides. Your destination is Ferté-sous-Jouarre, a 9th-century fortified town. On the edge of the town you can find La Ferté-sous-Jouarre memorial, which commemorates more than 3,000 British soldiers from WWI with no known grave. Travel back to the hotel by coach for dinner this evening.

Day 3 Azy-sur-Marne to Dormans

Cruise the backwaters aboard Natalia

This morning re-board your cruiser upstream and cruise past Chateau-Thierry and onwards to the small town of Dormans. Pause at the village of Mont-St-Pére to visit the 13th-century Church of Our Lady in Mezy-Moulins. Return to the hotel for dinner this evening.

Day 4 Dormans to Ay

Cruise the river Marne

Depart by coach for Dormans, pausing outside the town to visit the poignant Memorial Chapel. The chapel was built to commemorate the two Battles of Marne fought in WWI, the first of which saw a strategic victory saving Paris from German capture. Around mid-morning you’ll join your cruiser and sail the River Marne to the village of Ay, which claims to be the original home of Champagne. Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise a 30-kilometre stretch of the river, and return to your hotel for dinner this evening.

Day 5 Epernay and Reims


Spend today touring the local region by coach. Travel to back towards Epernay, pausing en route at the small village of Oeuilly to visit the Ecomusée d’Oeuilly to get a taste of winegrowers life a century ago. This small museum features a fully-furnished, typical Champagne wine growers home showcasing traditional viticulture methods, complete with a 20th-century school room. On arrival in Epernay, visit the underground cellars of the great Mercier Champagne House and enjoy a tasting course. Lunch follows in a local auberge, before you 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. Return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 6 Ay (Epernay) to Vaudemanges


Today you’ll rejoin your day cruiser Natalia at Ay and cruise along the River Marne’s lateral canal through the villages of Mareuil-sur-Ay and Tours-sur-Marne. Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise a total of 19-kilometres today, ascending to the village of Vaudemanges through a series of eight locks. Return to the hotel for dinner this evening.

Day 7 Vaudemanges to Reims


After breakfast, rejoin the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne at Vaudemanges and continue to cruise northwards. Enjoy lunch on board as you journey through 7 locks and nearly 28-kilometres of pleasant parkland, open farmland, and woodland ideal for spotting local wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for heron, kingfisher and cormorant by the waters edge, and buzzards soaring overhead. As you approach Reims, pass through the Mont-de-Billy tunnel, a 2.3-kilometre tunnel which took 15 years to construct. From Reims, travel back to the hotel by coach for dinner at the hotel.

Day 8 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.

A few details about your hotel

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 details

In case you need to leave contact details with a friend or relative…

Best Western Île de France
02400 Château Thierry
0033 323 691 012

Champagne on the River Marne

French Waterways

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Champagne on the River Marne

French Waterways