Bike & Barge Champagne Country, France

Since this is Ski Club of Sarasota's first endeavor to sponsor a bike and barge trip, we've solicited help from our good friends in Tampa who have experience at successfully leading travelers on similar excursions.  It has proven to be a very popular destination so contact Lynda ASAP to get on the wait-list.

Included Features:
*Air Transportation between Tampa and Paris via Delta Airlines.
*Transfer between Paris Airport and Hotel via private coach with English speaking assistant.
*2 nights accommodations in Paris at the Novotel Tour Eiffel.
*Breakfast daily in Paris.
*Transfer between Hotel and Barge via private coach.
*7 nights on the MS Zwaantje including the following:
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).
Brie cheese tasting, half day guided tour of Epernay incl. Champagne tasting.
Printed instructions and maps for daily bike tours, 1 set per cabin.
Complimentary daily coffee and tea till 4 PM.
Bike rental for 7 days.
*Transfer between Epernay and Reims via private coach.
*2 nights accommodations in Reims at the Novotel Suites City Center.
*Breakfast daily in Reims.
*City tour of Reims with local guide.
*Transfer between Reims and Paris Airport via private coach with English speaking assistant.
*Return airfare on Delta to Tampa.
*All local taxes.
*All Air taxes.

Day 1 (Wed): Depart US for Paris
Day 2 (Thur): Arrive Paris:
Meet bus and transfer to Paris Hotel. – Free day to visit the sights of Paris
Overnight Paris
Day 3 (Fri): Paris:
Full day to enjoy Paris on your own. Optional day tour to Versailles TBA
Overnight Paris
Day 4 (Sat): Depart for Ship Embarkation: Paris
Embarkation and check-in between 05:00 and 06:00 PM at the Quai de Bercy on the Seine in Paris. Welcome by the captain,
crew and tour leader. Dinner on board. First briefing about the barge, bicycles and tour program.
Day 5 (Sun): Paris: full day excursion
After breakfast you will leave the ship and enjoy a full day guided excursion to a choice of the various highlights of Paris. Visit
some of the highlights that the “City of Light” has to offer. To mention just a few: 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. Your tour guide will take you by public transportation (day ticket, not included) from the barge to the center of Paris
and on some walking tours. For safety reasons, no cycling tour in Paris is planned. Return in 30 min. by regional train to the
barge in Lagny-sur-Marne.
Day 6 (Mon): Lagny-sur-Marne – Meaux (Approx. 35 km/21 miles)
In Lagny-sur-Marne, you can take your bicycle for a first ride, mainly along the Marne river and its parallel canal. First challenge
is the hill near Chalifert. The barge will take the tunnel through the hill but cyclists can test their fitness and muscles for the first
time by climbing and crossing the hill by bicycle. Today’s destination is the city of Meaux, famous for its “Brie de Meaux”
cheeses and the magnificent Cathedral St.-Etienne. Night in Meaux.
Day 7(Tue): Meaux – La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (Approx. 35-40 km/22 or 25 miles)
After breakfast you will start your cycling tour through the city center of Meaux. Today’s 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
we may visit the Château de Montceau, the building of which was started by Catherine de Médicis in the 16th century. During the
day you will enjoy a presentation and tasting of the famous Brie de Meaux and Brie noir cheeses (included). Dinner on board and
night in La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre or a village nearby.
Day 8 (Wed): La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre – Château-Thierry (Approx. 50 km/32 miles)
Enjoy a somewhat challenging bike tour from La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre to Château-Thierry. The first part of the cycling track leads
you along the Marne river. After a few miles you will take a side valley and follow country roads along the small river Ru de
Bouillons through various small villages and hamlets. Continue riding uphill until you finally reach the plateau above the
northern part of the Marne valley. The side valleys are mainly covered with forest, on the plateau agriculture is predominant.
Follow the valley of the small river Clignon. Enroute you can visit the large WW1 American War Cemetery and Monument near
Belleau on the D82. Start your descent to reach Château-Thierry. Easier and shorter cycling option along the river through the
valley. Dinner on board and night in Château-Thierry.
Day 9 (Thu): Château-Thierry – Dormans – Epernay (Approx. 30-50 km/19-35 miles)
Château-Thierrry owes its name to the castle that once was situated on the slopes above the Marne. You can still see some
remnants. The town was the site of two important battles: the Battle of 1814 in the Napoleonic Wars between France and Prussia
and the Battle of 1918 at the end of World War I. Château-Thierry is also known as the native town of the world-famous writer of
fables Jean de la Fontaine. Choose between a longer and a short bike ride. Today we will enter the official Champagne area.
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. During World War I this area was the scene of close battles. We will see the Château de Boursault, a large castle
built in 1848 by the widow of Mr. Cliquot, who gave her name (Veuve Cliquot) to a famous Champagne wine. A ride up the
northern valley slope to the village of Châtillon-sur-Marne rewards the cyclist with a stunning panoramic view over the Marne
valley and the Champagne vineyards. Dinner on board and night in Epernay.
Day 10 (Fri): Epernay round tour (Approx. 25 km/16 miles) | Afternoon: visit Epernay and Champagne houses
The last half day’s 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 ascent you will reach this picturesque village of Champagne wine
growers on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims. Highlight is a visit of the chapel with the tomb of the monk Dom
Pérignon. According to 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. Double fermentation,
characteristic for the making of champagne, was introduced also by him. Return cycling to Epernay. After lunch, visit the center
of Epernay. Together with Reims, Epernay is the major wine center of the Champagne region, where three extensive wine
regions meet: the Montagne the Reims, the Côte des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Epernay has many town houses dating in
neo-renaissance style or classical style dating from the 19th century, especially around the beautiful Avenue the Champagne
where prestigious champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon are situated. Champagne tasting and tour in one of the major
Champagne houses.
Day 11 (Sat): Disembarkation: Epernay
After breakfast at 09:00 AM: end of tour and disembarkation in Epernay near the train station
Meet bus and transfer to Reims with City tour prior to check-in
Overnight Reims
Day 12 (Sun): Reims
Full day on your own to Reims. Option Champagne Tasting tour TBA
Overnight Reims
Day 13 (Mon): Reims to Charles Du Gaulle
Depart Reims after breakfast to Charles Du Gaulle Airport for flight home to Tampa
LAND ONLY PASSENGERS: As indicated above, there is a reduction for anyone purchasing Land Only packages
and making their own land arrangements. Such passengers are considered “Participants Pursuing Personal
Itineraries” or PPPI.
PPPI: It is imperative that any and all people falling under this category be fully aware of the following facts pertaining
to the tour program:
1. Transfers between airports and hotels are always arranged for the main group and are coordinated with the main
group’s flight itineraries.
2. The transfers also pick up and drop off only at airport terminals that are in the main group’s itineraries. Transfers do
not stop at alternate terminals for pick-ups or drop offs.
3. It is the responsibility of such PPPI passengers to coordinate their flights with the group and for them to be at the
appointed place and time has bene arranged for the group.
4. There can be no special arrangements made for PPPI passengers for alternate pickups or drop offs by the transfer
companies involved.
5. All of the above is equally applicable to any luggage that such PPPI passengers are bringing

Cost: All prices are subject to change due to fuel surcharges and taxes.
$3150 per person, double occupancy

Payment Schedule:
Club membership is required. Checks payable to Ski Club of Sarasota should be mailed to leader.
Deposit: $1000 per person is due with trip reservation form, membership application, dues, and photocopy of passport used during travel. 
Final Payment:  ​Due 90 days prior to departure  Trip Leader will send a reminder with any adjustments necessary.

To get on this trip:  Please download a trip reservation form, print it out, and mail it to the group leader at the address below. Include your deposit payable to "Ski Club of Sarasota" based on the payment schedule above. Also, please sign-up for membership.

Group Leader:
Lynda Weaver
6 Idlewilde Drive
Safety Harbor, FL 34695

Cell: 727-421-0845