Last year we had such a great trip on Adrienne Barge on the canals of the Upper Loire Valley in France. There were five of us on that trip who said that we would like to go on the canals and rivers of the Champagne Region on the Nenuphar Barge this year. There is nothing more beautiful and relaxing than a ride as you view fields of canola in full bloom, vineyards on the hillsides, and this year fields of red poppies.
We were all guests of the Hotel Premier Manoir St. Germain in Paris where our bus picked us up on a Sunday afternoon to begin our adventure. After a drive to Chateau-Thierry, where the Nehuphar was moored, we were greeted with a champagne reception as the Captain introduced us to the crew. Delicious appetizers were passed as we enjoyed our champagne. We then adjourned to the dining room for our first dinner on the barge. After dinner we went to our suites for a good nights rest.
The next day, after a short morning cruise, we visited the village of Hautvillers. Then we boarded our bus for a drive to Epernay, the Capital of Champagne. We toured the vast cellars of Moet & Chandon, followed by a champagne tasting and lunch of classic French cuisine on the property. In the afternoon we cruised to Conde-sur-Marne.
Wednesday in the morning, we cruised on the Canal de Lā Aisne a la Marne. That afternoon we had a champagne tasting and tour of the Second and Third Century Roman cellars of the prestigious House of Ruinart. In the evening we moored in Beaumont and went ashore to dine in the two-star Michelin Restaurant, Boyer Les Crayeres.
Thursday after an early morning cruise, we took a walking tour of Reims, the Coronation City of French Kings, including the magnificent Gothic Cathedral. We returned to Nenuphar, now moored in Courcy. We dined on the barge.
Friday, our last day, we took a morning cruise on the Canal Lateral a la Marne to the final mooring in Maizy. After lunch, we drove to the historic Chemin des Dame Road. This 18 mile stretch of road has been the site of many epic battles, from Julius Caesar in 57 B.C. to co-habited by French and German solders in 1917. We returned to Nenuphar for the festive Captain's farewell dinner on board.
Saturday morning we departed the Nenuphar for our return to Paris and our hotel. It was a marvelous trip and we long to take another barge in a different section of Europe next year.
For more information on barge cruises contact: James Berkeley, Destinations & Adventures, (800) 659-4599
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