– Tour and accommodation on board in the booked category 8 days / 7 nights (Sat.-Sat.)
– Full board; 7 x breakfast, 6 x picnic lunch during bike tours, 7x three course dinner;
– Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels daily possible); daily cleaning service of the cabin;
– Welcome drink, presentation of barge + crew and briefing on the first evening;
– Tour leader (multilingual) for fully guided cycling tours, daily briefings of the bike tours,1 full day guided tour of Paris (walking / public transportation);
– Printed instructions and maps for daily bike tours, 1 set per cabin;
– Daily coffee and tea till 4 PM.
– Transfers to/from the docking places
– Rental bicycle, other transfers
– Parking fee, entrance fees & excursions
– Drinks on board
– Personal insurances
– Gratuities (at your discretion)
In the low season the barge sails in the Netherlands from Amsterdam.
In high season the barge Zwaantje sails in the Champagne region between Paris and Epernay.
Example for eight-day tour from Paris to Épernay
Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Paris
Embarkation and check-in where the captain, tour leader and crew will welcome you on board is between 5pm and 6pm at the Quai de Bercy on the Seine in Paris. After settling into your cabin you will enjoy your first dinner on board. After dinner the tour leader will brief you about the barge, your bicycles and the tour program.
Day 2 (Sun): Paris: full day excursion
Today is all about discovering Paris, the ‘City of Light’. After breakfast your guide will lead the way on a full day guided excursion to some of Paris’ most famous highlights. These include: the Eifel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d’Orsay. You will travel by public transport (day ticket not included) from the barge to the centre of Paris and will also do some walking tours. For safety reasons, no cycle tour in Paris is planned.
Day 3 (Mon): Paris – Lagny-sur-Marne | Lagny-sur-Marne – Meaux (Approx. 35 km/21 miles)
While you are enjoying breakfast the MS Zwaantje will sail along the Marne River through the suburbs of Paris to Lagny-sur-Marne where, following the distribution of bicycles, you will start cycling towards Meaux along the Marne River and a nearby parallel canal. While the barge will take the tunnel through the hill near Chalifert, this will be your first opportunity of the tour to test your fitness by climbing the hill on your bicycle. The City of Meaux, your destination for the day, is famous for its “Brie de Meaux” cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.Etienne.
Day 4 (Tue): Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (Approx. 35-40 km/22 or 25 miles)
After breakfast you will cycle through the centre of Meaux on your way to the hills of the Marne valley. Along the way you will cycle through a number of small villages and forested areas on both the southern and northern banks of the river. A highlight is Château de Montceau, built by Catherine de Médicis in the 16th century. You will also enjoy a tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie Noir cheeses. In the evening after dinner you can explore La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or one of a number of nearby villages.
Day 5 (Wed): La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry (Approx. 50 km/32 miles)
Get ready for some challenging cycling from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry today. After warming up on the cycle track next to the Marne River you will pass through a number of small villages and hamlets as you steadily climb towards the plateau on the northern side of the Marne valley. Enjoy the views from the top before cycling to the large WWI American War Cemetery and Monument near Belleau on the D82. After paying your respects at the cemetery start your descent to Château-Thierry, your destination for the night.
Day 6 (Thu): Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay (Approx. 30-50 km/19-35 miles)
For lovers of Champagne sparkling wine you finally reach the official Champagne area today. You will have the opportunity to choose between a longer 50km ride to Epernay, your destination for the day, or a shorter 35km route. As you cycle along the Marne River to Dormans, a quiet village on the Marne complete with a castle and chapel in memory of the battle of the Marne, you will be spellbound by the beauty of the region. You will also pass Château de Boursault, a large castle built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot, who gave her name to the famous Champagne wine Veuve Cliquot. Late in the day a ride up the northern side of the Marne valley to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne will reward you with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne valley and the almost endless Champagne vineyards. You will enjoy dinner tonight on board the MS Zwaantje in Epernay.
Day 7 (Fri): Epernay round tour (Approx. 25 km/16 miles) | Afternoon: Visit Epernay and Champagne houses
Your final day of cycling will take you from Epernay along a quiet canal parallel to the Marne River to Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay and return via Dizy and Hautvillers. After a challenging ascent you will finally reach the famous Champagne wine growing region on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. The highlight of the day is a visit to the chapel and tomb of the monk Dom Pérignon (1638-1715) who, according to tradition, discovered how to blend various varieties of grapes to make a sparkling wine of superb quality. After cycling back to Epernay discover the centre of the city on foot after lunch. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine centre of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine regions meet: the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many town houses dating back to neo-renaissance times and in the classical 19th century style, especially around the beautiful Avenue de Champagne where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon are situated. Enjoy a champagne tasting and tour in one of the major Champagne houses.
Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Epernay
Disembarkation and bid the crew farewell after breakfast: End of your trip. Around 10am bus transfer via Montagne de Reims to the TGV train station Champagne-Ardennes near Reims to the centre of Reims.
Details: In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.
You can book this tour also individual through Boat Bike Tours – Zwaantje
You can rent bicycles with 7 gear, hand- and/or pedal brakes and a pannier bag.
Prices for 7 days € 70,00 per bike / €165,00 per E-bike
Canal barge as ‘boatel’ on a location of your choice
Our canal barges are also available as “boatels”. Are you organizing an event, are you participating in a fair, does your company need sleeping accommodation for a group of people on a location where no hotels are available? If this location can be reached, renting a “boatel” (also in winter) may be the perfect solution to your problem. Arrangements with full board, half board or Bed & Breakfast can be offered.
Travel and cancellation insurance
We advise you to look into our casualty, baggage or cancellation insurance (if you have not already got continuing travel insurance, of course). Please note that most insurance companies demand that cancellation insurance is arranged at the same time or shortly after you book your holiday.
We are pleased to inform and advise you. Just ask for an offer without any obligations, for renting a barge.
We can also inform you about the availability.