Guided Bike and Barge

Web code FR104

France / Paris and the Champagne region

From Epernay to Paris

Bike and barge: a very Dutch way to travel along the shores of the Marne, among the vineyards of the famous Champagne area, where Brie cheese is produced and the battlefield where first World War were fought. The most important stage of the tour is Paris, “la ville lumière”, that you will visit during a whole day guided tour.
  • Day by Day


    1. Individual arrival in Epernay

    Embarkation and check-in at 2:00 pm. Bicycle delivery, bike fitting and test ride. Dinner on board. Welcome briefing and presentation of the tour program.


    2. Epernay round tour (20/25 km)

    The first bike tour takes you along the quiet canal parallel to the Marne river to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay. Return via Dizy to visit Hautvillers. After a somewhat challenging first ascent of the slopes and through the vineyards you will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. The highlight of the morning is a visit of the chapel hosting the tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon. According to the local tradition, Dom Pérignon (1638-1715), who was in charge of the wine cellars of the abbey of Benedictine monks, was the first to succeed in blending various kinds of wine into a wine of superb quality. After lunch, visit of the center of Epernay, which is the major wine centre of the Champagne region, together with Reims. Epernay has many town houses in neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century. Champagne tasting and tour in a Champagne house on the famous Avenue de Champagne.


    3. Epernay– Château-Thierry (35/50 km)

    Start the first full day cycling tour along the canal and Marne river. You will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot (Veuve Cliquot), who dedicated to her name a famous Champagne wine. After a ride up the northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne you will enjoy stunning views over the Marne valley and the Champagne vineyards. Cycle along the Marne river (or cruise) to Dormans, a quiet village on the Marne with a castle and chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne. The short cycling tour ends in Dormans, where you can join the boat. The longer option ends at the lock of Mont St. Pierre. Today’s destination is Château-Thierry, that owes its name to the castle once situated on the slopes above the Marne. The town was the site of the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia and the Battle of 1918 at the end of World War I.


    4. Château-Thierry – La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre (40/45 km)

    Enjoy a somewhat challenging bike tour from Château-Thierry to La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre. The first part of the cycling tour leads you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will ride into a small valley marked by quiet villages and country roads. En route you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau. Follow the small river Clignon and continue riding uphill until you finally reach the plateau above the northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered in woodland, while on the plateau agriculture is predominant. Start your descent along the small river Ru de Bouillons to reach La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre, where you meet the barge. Night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or in one of the villages nearby.


    5. La Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Meaux (30/50 km)

    After breakfast your cycling tour will lead you over the hills and slopes of the Marne valley and through forests and small villages on the southern and northern banks of the river. On the way you may visit the Château de Montceau, Catherine de Médicis residence in the 16th century. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux , famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. On the way you will enjoy a tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses. Visit the historical city centre of Meaux. Dinner in the city of Meaux (not included) and overnight on board.


    6. Meaux – Lagny-sur-Marne (25/45 km)

    Visit the beautiful city centre of Meaux. Then you will cycle mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. The last challenge is the hill near Chalifert while the barge will go through the tunnel crossing this hill. In the afternoon you will meet the barge in Lagny-sur-Marne, where you will stay for the night.


    7. Lagny-sur-Marne – Paris (40/50)

    Today you will bike further along the river Marne. After about 10 km you will pass the castle of Champs-sur Marne. The Château de Champs-sur-Marne is characteristic of the residences of leisure built in the countryside in the 18th century, giving rise to a new style of living. It is one of the most magnificently furnished châteaux in the Ile-de-France. Zwaantje will wait for you just outside Paris to cover the last kilometers by ship to the mooring point in the heart of Paris.


    8. Paris

    Disembarkation after breakfast around 9:00 am and end of tour.


    Due to organisational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistic obstacles such as officially ordered - previously not announced - repair work on locks or bridges can modify some of the daily stretches or overnight stays and may even request a transfer by bus. These decisions are only taken by the barge’s captain.


  • Route profile

    The tour winds along the valley of the Marne and in the Champagne wine region. Even if most part of the route follows the river and its tributaries, the itinerary will also take you on  countryside roads in a hilly territory with some difficult ascents. You will rarely cycle on bike paths and mainly on paved low traffic roads.


    With 18 guests or more, the daily cycling tours will be accompanied by two knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leaders. On most days, the tour leaders will offer a long and a short (or a quicker and a more relaxed) cycling option. The option for a long tour is also depending on weather conditions and wishes of the group.

    When there are less than 18 guests aboard, the tours will be accompanied by one knowledgeable and multi-lingual tour leader. During days when two bicycle options are possible, the tour leader will make a choice to guide the longer or the shorter option after consultation of the group. Not all mentioned highlights can be visited during the short cycling option.


    In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town. 


  • How to get there

    The precise embarkation point will be written in the Final Tour Details that you will receive a few days before departure.


    By plane

    The best way to reach Epernay is by flying to Paris, which has 3 airports, Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais.


    - From the airport Charles de Gaulle:

    Take a train RER to Paris Nord, here reach by a 5 minutes walk Paris Est, where you take a direct train to Epernay. Duration of the journey: about 2h35.


    - From the airport Orly:

    Reach Antony station by tram and there take a train RER to Paris Nord, here reach by a 5 minutes walk Paris Est, where you take a direct train to Epernay. Duration of the journey: about 2h35.


    - From the airport Beauvais:

    Take the bus line 6 to reach the centre of Beauvais. Here take a train RER to Paris Nord, then reach by a 12 minutes walk Paris Est, where you take a direct train to Epernay. Duration of the journey: about 3h35.


    By train

    You can take a direct train from Paris Est to Epernay. For further informations visit:, and


    By car

    You can park you car for the whole week at:

    - parking Gare d’Epernay, address Cour de la Gare (near the station). Price for 7 days ca. 30 €.

    - parking Rempart Perrier, 10 Place Léon Bourgeois, Epernay (near the station). Price for 7 days ca. 25 €.


  • Accommodation and meals


    The barge Zwaantje is equipped with:

    - 10 Standard Twin cabins (7m2)

    - 2 Standard Double cabins (6m2)


    Each cabin has a private shower, toilet and basin. All cabins have ventilation, central heating, air-conditioning and a window. Furthermore, in each cabin you will find a mini safe and hair dryer. The windows in the double cabins can be opened, while the windows in the twin cabins are fixed for safety reasons.


    Common areas

    On the upper deck you will find the nice and cozy salon with heating, air conditioning, large panoramic windows, a restaurant area, lounge corner and a small bar. Wi-Fi is available. The Zwaantje also has a very spacious sun deck with chairs and tables where you can relax, enjoy the scenery while sailing or join the skipper in the wheel house.



    Watch Zwaantje photo gallery.



  • Bikes and accessories

    In this tour you can rent:

    • unisex touring bikes with 21 gears and hand brakes
    • unisex e-bikes with hand brakes


    It is not possible to bring own bikes on board.


    The bikes are equipped with:

    1 pannier bag

    1 lock.


    In France bike helmets are mandatory for children till 12 yrs.

  • Accompanying material

    Before your arrival, you will receive an email from us with the digital information material. It contains the link to download the tour information material in Pdf:

    • Tour Notes
    • Final Tour Details


    On the spot you will find the maps (one for each cabin) and the GPS tracks




  • By your side

    Our tour leaders are multi-lingual, and speak at least English and German. Smart, entertaining, caring and endlessly enthusiastic, they have a true passion for sharing their love of the outdoors, people, culture and local food. Thanks to a deep knowledge of the territory, they can give you useful hints and help you appreciate the place you are visiting. Of course they love cycling and will be happy to give you some advice about how to correctly use the bicycle gears and whenever necessary they can fix your flat tyre.

    Staff support
    In the Final Tour Details you will find the contact phone numbers you can call during the tour in case of emergency.

Tour details


from 1,389 €

8 days / 7 nights

Tour type




SA 4.06 and 18.06.2022


departures from Paris on this link


Price per person

1,389 € in standard twin cabin

2,084 € in single cabin



  • 7 overnights
  • Full board (breakfast, packed lunch and 6 dinners - excluding drinks)
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Bed linen and towels
  • English speaking tour leader
  • Brie cheese and champagne tasting
  • Champagne cellar visit in Epernay
  • Maps
  • GPS tracks
  • Bike helmet
  • Hotline service


Not included

  • Beverages on board
  • 1 dinner in Epernay
  • Transfers to/from the docking place
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the section “Included”


Supplements per person

Rental bikes 

€ 95 Touring bike

€ 210 E-bike

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