13 Day Cotswolds & Champagne

Cotswolds & Champagne 13 Day Trip

This itinerary combines Jones and Campbell’s Cotswolds Classic Itinerary with a cruise in the Champagne region where you be greeted by your hosts and transferred to your own personal luxury barge. You will visit WW1 trenches and ancient history monuments. Partake in wine tastings and chocolate making, and sip a different Champagne each day from the deck of your luxury floating hotel. Saroche is the largest Luxmotor cruising the canals of France and her spacious en suite staterooms, enormous panoramic sun terrace with jacuzzi hot tub and attentive staff ensure a magical experience is had.
Your hosts are Captain Jason, who is also a trained sommelier and his wife Chef Dawn. As proud owners of Saroche and with a combined 30 years experience cruising the waterways of France you will be in good hands for your relaxing trip on the canals of Champagne.

Day 1: Paris to Champagne

Your chauffeur driven mini bus will transfer you to Saroche moored near the beautiful Champagne producing village of Vandierers on the river Marne. Owners of Saroche Captain Jason and Chef Dawn will meet you with a Champagne reception on deck and introduce you to the crew.
Plenty of time to settle into your stateroom and then enjoy a stroll along the river bank, or a cocktail on deck whilst overlooking the weir where you will spy kingfishers hunting and swans, herons and ducks enjoying the tranquility of the Marne. This evening your first of many gourmet dinners created by Dawn will be enjoyed aboard Saroche, followed by a night cap on deck star gazing.

Day 2: Vandierers to Cumières

After breakfast Jason will take you on a historic visit to the Chateau of Conde en Brie. This 16th century hunting lodge has hosted kings and queens, saints and sinners. As a personal friend of the owners Jason will guide you on a private visit through this wonderful building and introduce you to the Count, who will demonstrate the flamboyant technique of “Sabering” a bottle of Champagne and then indulge in a glass or two in the shade of the courtyard.
We return to Saroche for a lazy lunch with 360° views of the glorious Champagne vineyards before setting sail and heading up stream towards Cumières. This important river gently meanders through the Marne valley covered on both sides in vineyards, steeped in WW1 history and surrounded by wonderful French countryside. All this can be admired from the deck or even the Jacuzzi. We moor up in the shadow of the Abbey of Hautvillers, once home and work place to the grandfather of Champagne Dom Perignon. Dawn will be demonstrating the art of “confit-ing” duck in her galley and there is time for a gentle stroll or a cycle along the towpath before Jason introduces you to “ Bubbles du Jour” (each evening you will be presented with a different Champagne with explanations on the house it comes from and any unusual techniques and qualities it possesses) followed by another of Dawns fabulous meals on board, whilst Jason pairs your meal with magnificent wines from Burgundy. Finish the evening with a digestif on deck from the wide selection of single malts, rums, Cognacs and liquors and perhaps indulge in a Cuban cigar from Jason’s personal humidor.

Day 3: Cumières to Tour Sur Marne

After breakfast Jason will take you to Epernay, where he will drive you down the famous Avenue du Champagne home to the houses of Mercier, Perrier-Jouet and the biggest of them all Moet et Chandon to name a few. This morning you will visit chocolatier Thibault where you will spend time making artisanal chocolates with the master chocolatier, famous as the last chocolatier to make the alcohol filled champagne corks. This is a rare and exciting chance to get up close and personal and experience the intricacies of creating fine confectionary. Return to the Saroche where Dawn will present another fabulous lunch.
This afternoon we set sail for Tour-sur-Marne on the canal lateral a la Marne. We pass by hills covered in vines that stretch down to the waters edge. These are owned by many famous Champagne houses, such as Mumm, Philiponat, Moët & Chandon and Heidesek. With plenty of opportunity to walk and cycle along the well paved towpath, we slowly ascend the valley toward our mooring in the centre of the village of Tour-sur-Marne. This traditional Champagne village is home to the house of Laurent Perrier, however dozens of small independent champagne makers are represented here and Jason will take you on a short walking tour and then for “Bubbles du Jour” in one of the private cellars. On the way back to Saroche join the crew in collecting fresh bread from the baker or visit the butcher, one of the finest in the area, where the chef does most of her provisioning. This evening Dawn will demonstrate the art of pate and terrine making, before cocktails and canapés on deck. Following this Dawn will continue to impress with another fine dining experience and Jason will match some of the Rhone Valleys most famous wines to the food.

Day 4: Tour sur Marne to Mont du Billy

After a lazy breakfast we take the mini bus to Meruil sur Ay, home to many famous Champagne houses but non more so than Billecart-Salmon. Enjoy a private tour of the last remaining independent large Champagne house followed by a delectable tasting. Returning to Saroche for more of Dawns creations which will leave you well suited to a relaxing afternoon on the deck or walking by the barge as we climb the 8 locks to the summit pound, where we moor in the shade of the trees in the middle of the French countryside. As we cruise, those who are interested can join Dawn in the kitchen and watch her prepare her food as she divulges her kitchen secrets and recipes, whilst quizzing her about her menus and creations.
Enjoy canapés on the deck as Jason introduces “Bubbles du Jour”. Following this tonight’s dinner is classic French farmhouse style, where Dawn will present one of her hearty creations like Cassoulet, Beouf Bourgignon or Coq au vin, all washed down with delicious French wines from the Bordeaux region.

Day 5: Reims

We leave the Saroche this morning to head into the historic city of Reims. Our first stop is to the Eisenhower War Rooms, an important yet under publicised museum, where the treaty to end the Second World War was signed. From here Jason will take you to the world famous Cathedral of Reims. Having survived the revolution and two world wars it is a testament to the resilience of the people of Reims, with its amazing nave and wonderful architecture it deserves the UNESCO World Heritage status it has gained. Time to wander the shopping district of Reims before meeting up to go to lunch. Jason will host lunch at Les Crayers bistro for a lazy yet tantalising Michelin dining experience. After lunch enjoy a stroll in the formal gardens at this most magnificent Relais and Chateau, once home to the Pommery family and now one of the best small hotels in the world.
Crossing the city of Reims we will visit one of the local fromageries for a cheese degustation and talk on their magnificent products. As we make our way back to the barge, Jason will stop off at an artisanal snail “ranch” where he will describe in detail what goes into making this gourmet dish so special. For the more adventurous there will be a sampling of this local delicacy. Back on board there is time for a dip in the Jacuzzi or a stroll by the canal side before the evening kicks off with “Bubbles du Jour”. Tonight Dawn serves a light rustic French dinner of her homemade terrines and pates with local cheeses and salads, accompanied by hearty wines from the Langudoc.

Day 6 : Mont De Billy to Beaumont

This morning we set sail and head along the canal to the tunnel at Mont du Billy, Jason will prepare the barge to go through the tunnel. A marvel of French engineering this tunnel allowed commercial traffic to enter the heart of Reims and thus connected Paris and Reims in the 18th century. Having passed the tunnel we continue our lazy cruise down the canal to Beaumont sur Vesels, with views of the Montaigne du Reims covered in Grand Cru vines. After lunch Jason will drive you to the World War 1 trenches at the Mains de Messige. An archaeological dig that is as authentic and sobering as it is mysterious.
These trenches were discovered by a Parisian archaeological student during a summer dig. Today they are the newest discovery of this grizzly episode in Champagne’s torrid history. A walking tour of real trenches is a reminder of the other reason Champagne is world famous. Before returning to the barge there is time to pay our respects to the fallen at the war cemetery. The route taken by Jason is the one used by General Paton as he swept across France on the allied offensive to help end the Second World War. For your final evening aboard Saroche Jason will start by presenting your last “Bubbles du jour” on the deck with canapés and perhaps recount stories of barging Folk lore, many of which he and Dawn are apart of. Then Dawn will delight you one final time with a magnificent gala meal and accompanied by Jason’s selection of Grand Cru wines.

Day 7 : Champagne to the Cotswolds

After breakfast your chauffeur driven minibus will take you to the Paris Eurostar, where you will take a 2hr 20 minute train journey to London, where you will be greeted and transferred to the Cotswolds for another week of luxurious relaxation, touring and fine dining.
View the continued itinerary in the Cotswolds here.

Please note: this itinerary can be reversed.

Tariff for Six Guests 

(an additional couple can be added to the Cotswolds part of the trip at an additional cost)

Total cost is $15,500 per person

This itinerary includes : 12 nights / 13 days made up of:

  • 6 nights full board accommodation at the Manor in the Cotswolds.
  • 6 nights full board accommodation aboard Saroche in Champagne.
  • All alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, teas and coffees whilst at The Manor or onboard Saroche.
  • All transportation from pick up on in Paris on the first day to drop off in London on the last day inclusive of the midweek transfer from France to England.

Not included:

  • Travel to the pick up point in London
  • Travel from the Drop off Point in Paris
  • Travel insurance. Gratuities.

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