Paris to Champagne via the Marne

Paris to Chateau-Thierry (Cruise runs Saturday to Friday)

Highlights: All Paris has to offer - City centre cruise - The Bastille Market - Canal Saint-Martin - Champagne at Chateau-Thierry

Barge Nilaya moored under the Eiffel Tower in ParisYou'll be joining Barge Nilaya at her mooring in the Basin de Villette on the Canal Saint-Martin right in the heart of Paris. Our mooring is a short walk from a Metro station from where the whole of Paris can be accessed. Exploring and enjoying this beautiful city and dining in its chic bistros is your best bet and why not really splash out and enjoy dinner at the Jules Verne restaurant atop the Eiffel tower. It's not as expensive as you might think but will provide memories that last a lifetime. Its also wonderful to go see the tower 'on one of the hours' after dark. The lightshow is stunning!

On Sunday morning we will walk down to the famous Bastille Sunday market. The bustle, colour and scents of this market make it for me one of my favourite experiences in France and a must do while in Paris. We'll pick up fresh produce for use in the galley later today before rejoining Barge Nilaya for our afternoons cruise. After a light lunch we'll drop down through a series of locks from Villette to the Paris Port de l'Arsenal which is a harbour located one canal lock above the mighty River Seine. It'll take several hours to descend and you can be sure of hoards of Parisians watching our every move though the locks. A highlight of today's cruising is the two kilometre tunnel which runs right under the Bastille and the very market we shopped in this morning. Light filters down through the air shafts and Japanese rainbow light sculptures grace the darkened space. It's a great experience. Tonight we'll moor in the Arsenal giving you the chance to walk to Notre-Dame Cathedral and maybe enjoy dinner or a beer in the lively Latin Quarter area.

Bastille Sunday MarketOn Monday morning, after a hearty continental breakfast, Barge Nilaya descends through the final lock of the Canal Saint-Martin and emerges onto the Seine proper. We'll then enjoy a quick circuit of Paris's main river landmarks going downstream and turning at the Pont de Grenelle with its Statue of Liberty, which incidentally faces West towards the bigger one in New York! We'll cruise past the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Invalides, Jardin des Tuileries, Musee d'Orsay, 'Ile de la Cite' and Notre-Dame plus pass under the cities many beautiful bridges as we head upstream, out of town and within a few kilometres, onto the River Marne. We will quickly leave Paris's sprawling suburbs behind, pass though the short 'Tunnel de Saint-Maur' before cruising through to Lagny-sur-Marne which I plan as tonight's mooring. It's a nice little place and you might choose to dine ashore at either 'Chigny Cottage' or 'La Chapelle des Gourmets'. 

Metro station in ParisBreaking out into relative countryside after Paris, on Tuesday we cruise from Lagny and on to the small 'Tunnel de Chalifert'. We are less than a couple of kilometres from the huge Disneyland Paris complex but amazingly you can't see a thing! With luck and currents permitting, we'll be mooring in the small town of Meaux tonight. It's worth walking into the centre of town to visit the Saint-Etienne cathedral which has some interesting gargoyles. There is a Freycinet (barge) containing a pleasant eatery just minutes our pontoon.

On Wednesday we cruise on from Meaux to a lunch stop at the tiny hamlet of Mary-sur-Marne. It's quite a pretty little mooring if free. In the afternoon we cruise through small villages and rolling countryside to tonight's destination, 'La Ferte-sous-Jouarre'. Tonight I will cook you dinner aboard.

MeauxOn Thursday we'll enjoy a full day cruising through to Chateau-Thierry, maybe stopping for our light lunch in the village of Charly. We might even be lucky enough to moor up and catch the end of the villages morning market. You can walk around this pretty village while I prepare the lunch which with weather permitting, we'll enjoy out on deck. In the afternoon, we cruise past champagne vineyards to our final destination, Chateau-Thierry, which is a pleasant small town on the banks of the River Marne. Fierce first world war battles were fought in the countryside nearby and an imposing American memorial to Cote 204 lies ten kilometres away, above the town and terrific views of the surrounding countryside can be gained from up here. Chateau-Thierry is best known as the birth place in 1621 of the poet, Jean de La Fontaine and a small museum in the house of his birth can be visited. The surrounding villages all have small wine makers offering tasting opportunities and the nearby village of Brasles has a museum of wine labels. The Caves de Champagne Pannier offer a one hour audiovisual presentation and tour of its cellars in a 13th century stone quarry. There are a number of restaurants in town and I suggest that tonight you choose to dine ashore. 

You'll be leaving Barge Nilaya after breakfast on Friday morning. It is also market day in town, so if you'd like to look around, you are welcome to pick up your bags later on. Trains from Chateau-Thierry back to Paris take a little over an hour.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Unforeseen circumstances sometimes affect our cruising schedule. These can include, but are not limited to: illness, floods, weather, canal closures, canal maintenance, lack of moorings, bureaucracy, strikes, civil disturbance, acts of god, the engine, and whims and fancies of both skipper, guests and crew. All of these things might cause last minute changes to the above and cruise routes. Although rare, we reserve the right to alter any and all routes accordingly. Flexibility is the name of the game and any such changes cannot be considered grounds for cancellation of the cruise.