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(4-6 Guests, Charming Class)
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Barging in Champagne
|Passengers: 12||Your Host: Captain Chris Bennett|
|Size: 128 feet long||English Speaking Crew of: 6|
|Last Visited: 2012||Bicycles: 12|
|Rating: Deluxe||Air Conditioned: Yes|
Cruise Rate Does NOT Include: Airfare to and from France, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)
2013 rates in ChampagneWhole-Boat Charter for 10 or less: $47,000
Whole-Boat Charter for 11: $49,500
Whole Boat Charter for 12: $54,000
Individuals: $4,800 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $2,000
2013 Dates in champagne
| September 1 - 7 Paris to Epernay||September 22 - 28 Epernay to Paris|
| September 8- 14 Epernay to Paris|| September 29 - Oct 5 Paris to Epernay|
|September 15 - 21 Paris to Epernay||October 6 - 12 Epernay to Paris|
Captain Chris Bennett says: "This is the absolute best time to cruise in Champagne! The harvest is usually in full swing. We visit both larger and family-run champagne houses - and enjoy a picnic in the vineyards."
Other sights include the chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte; World War I battlefields; and the great cathedral at Reims where French Kings were crowned. Of course, you'll either begin or end in Paris, where Captain Bennett treats his guests to a private "Paris by Night" cruise!
Savoir Faire is the former Etoile de Champagne, purchased in 2004 by Chris Bennett. He had operated an informal vessel on the Nivernais, but moved quickly to reclaim and continue Etoile de Champagne's reputation for elegance and quality. The most welcome changes were made in the cabins: totally gutted and rebuilt, they are now spacious and pretty havens, overflowing with books and art, which includes Chris' own delicate pencil drawings. The elegant public areas have been redecorated, too; these areas are especially spacious on this larger 3-story vessel.
Everybody's favorite is the back-of-the-barge bar, scene of a convivial cocktail hour. SAVOIR FAIRE operates with a crew of six. Cuisine is outstanding and served in the mahogany-paneled dining room on a table gleaming with Wedgewood china and Christolfe silverware.
Savoir Faire Itinerary
Champagne Barge Cruise
Epernay to Paris on the River Marne
Sunday: Paris to Cumieres
You are met at 2:30pm in the lobby of your Paris hotel and chauffeured to Savoir Faire anchored in Cumieres, a tiny village right outside Epernay. There will be time to stroll through the village before coming back on board where your master chef will delight you with the first of many delicious meals.
Monday: Cumieres to Damray
Cathedral where the French Kings were Crowned
This morning, after breakfast, we visit Reims and its magnificent cathedral where the Kings of France were crowned, pictured at left. We then join the Savoir Faire for lunch and a short cruise to the delightful little town of Damray. Later this afternoon we visit the Abbey of Hautvilliers where the monk Dom Perignon first made champagne. Dinner aboard.
Tuesday: Damray to Chateau Thierry
World War I Monuments
You are now entering the true Champagne region. Enjoy a pre-lunch visit to the world famous cellars of Moet and Chandon, pictured at right, for a tour and tasting. We then continue to cruise to Chateau Thierry. This whole area was the scene of American battles in World War I. Nearby is the American Monument, built in 1929, at an altitude of 660 feet, to keep alive the memory of the American troops . We can visit Belleau Wood battlefield and the American cemetery. Dinner aboard.
Wednesday: Chateau Thierry to La Ferte
Insider Champagne Tasting
Your cruise today will take you through picturesque landscapes loved by both the French and visitors abroad. Today we have arranged a tour of some of our favorite local villages and a selection of visits to small family-run vineyards so that you can enjoy the area as an insider. Our mooring for the night is at La Ferte, which offers beautiful, refreshing promenades along the river. Dinner aboard.
Thursday: La Ferte to Meaux
Taste the Cheese, too - Yummy Brie!
Today we cruise to Meaux, in the very heart of Brie, famous for its wonderful cheeses of the same name. We tour Coulomniers, one of the centers of Brie cheese. Your personalized visit to a master cheese maker will enable you to see the cheese-making process first hand and to sample a variety of the world famous Brie cheese, along with wines from his excellent cellar. Dinner aboard.
Friday: Meaux to the Heart of Paris
This morning we leave Meaux and head towards the mighty Seine which will take us into the very heart of Paris. Today we visit the magnificent Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, pictured at left. Built between 1656 and 1661 for finance minister Nicolas Fouquet, the chateau’s construction was monstrous even for those days. Entire villages were razed, 18,000 workmen toiled! Famous architects, painters and landscapers were called in to reflect Fouquet’s refined tastes. So lavish was the housewarming party, that Louis XIV threw a fit of jealousy and hurled Fouquet in jail. Just to prove who was boss, Louis XIV then began to build Versailles!
We finish our journey with an exclusive evening cruise through Paris. As the Savoir Faire glides past the magnificent church of Notre Dame, the resplendent Louvre art gallery and the symbolic Eiffel Tower, you will be joined by your captain for cocktails followed by the farewell “Captains Dinner”. Our final berth for the night is in the Arsenal, a stone’s throw from the lively district of the Bastille.
Saturday: A Sad Farewell
We Hope to See you Again!
After a last breakfast, depart at 9:30 am. Our chauffeurs will drive you onward either to your hotel right in Paris or to charles de Gaulle. Please do not book a flight out of Paris before noon. We hope to see you again on Savoir Faire!
Please note: these are sample itineraries which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks. Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Barging the canals and waterways of France Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.
Savoir Faire Guest Book
"It was a fabulous trip. The captain and crew were spectacular. Our
cabin was comfortable and better than some cabins we have taken on river
cruises throughout Europe. The cuisine was excellent; the crew
friendly, accommodating and always helpful. It was truly ‘the trip of a
- Gordon Male Family, cruised April, 2012
"All was outstanding... especially the crew! Excursions were all fantastic -
-Phyllis Thompson, September 2011
"We had a wonderful time and appreciate the efficiency and caring all of you provided. Ellen's original recommendation of the Savoir Faire for our 70th birthday celebratory trip was perfect. We had lots of time to enjoy each other and have LOTS of laughs, etc in such an amazing setting. And, OH....the food! Sophie's meals were the best I've ever eaten. She is truly an artist. Captain Chris and his crew were friendly & fun, making for a great trip. Traveling on the Burgundy Canal through all of the locks is a wonderful memory. Thanks to all who made our experience so enjoyable."
-Donna Wheeler, cruised August 2011
"My wife and I had a wonderful time, loved Chris and his crew, and are very pleased with The Barge Lady's recommendations."
-Stephen Wheeler, cruised August 2011
"Ellen, thank you for your assistance in planning our family vacation. The barge and staff were very nice and the food was exceptional. Our tour guide made some adjustments after spending some time with us. Neal felt we would enjoy some activities other then what was planned. He was very perceptive and took action, which was impressive."
- Katherine and Jack Hiler Family, cruised July, 2011
"Our cruise was excellent. Every need was catered for and all we had to do was ask and we received. We had a great time!"
-Ian Bruce Andrews and Jane Elizabeth Hall, 2009
"At our post-barge dinner party, we asked our guests for feedback. No one could just sum up our experience in a word or two - it started from AWESOME and expanded from there. Most felt that the SAVOIR FAIRE was the trip of a lifetime, one that could not be improved upon. We are still basking in the afterglow and working off the pounds put on!"
-The Kenney Family, 2009
"Our barge voyage along the canals and through the locks provided us with a unique, comfortable, and delightful way of experiencing charming villages and beautiful countryside."
-Robert Reed and Karen Saunders, 2009
"Excellent: staff, quality of service, supreme lunches and dinners, views of the countryside."
-Dr. Leona Zastrow, 2009
"Our first barge trip on the Savoir Faire through the Burgundy and Upper Loire Valley of France was unique and lovely! The crew was greatly responsible with their delightful creativity and humor. And, the food, wine and cheese for lunches and dinners on board were quite delicious and well-presented (even a sushi-making lesson one day!) Day excursions to Vaux-de-Vicomte, Fountainbleu, Sens and Provins were great for history, architecture, culture and shopping. A real highlight was a picnic in the Chablis region with a gorgeous vista of vineyards. Bicycling countryside with its sunflowers, cornfields, churches and manor homes also was quite memorable. We enjoyed the barge journey itself through locks, canals and rivers with lush scenery and pretty country surrounding route to read, converse, write postcards or in travel diaries and the like in the cozy parlor room. The barge certainly was compact but well-designed within cabins and with front, back and topdecks, sitting and dining rooms and bar. In all, August 2009 will be well-remembered for the most distinctive voyage! Merci beaucoup!"
- Dara Hensley and Jack Smith, 2009
"One of the nicest cruises we have had - with wonderful staff!"
-Carl and Karen Brasee, 2009
"Dean's history lessons were superb - loved his commentary on the towns, cathedrals and chateaux. The cuisine and crew were excellent - plus. The entire experience was splendid - the Captain and entire crew bent over backward to give us the time of our lives!"
-Robert and Eve Eckhardt, 2008
"The first barge trip we have ever taken but it certainly won't be our last. We are already thinking of next year on the Savoir Faire."
-Dr. and Mrs. James Brawner, 2008
"For a family of 23 people, our double charter proved to be an exceptional trip. There were activities for guests age 14 to 83 to enjoy! The Captains and crew did so much to make the cruise memorable. The 4th of July celebration was spectacular! Thanks so much!"
-Doug and Kitty Quarles, Jr.
Marjorie II - Savoir Faire
Double Charter, 2008
"Ellen, thank you for all the help with the trip. Everyone loved it. Chris and his entire crew were perfect. I told Chris that his service was better than the Hotel Plaza Athenee! They went out of their way to make us feel at home."
-Very Satisfied 2008 Guest
"Our trip went off without a hitch. The captains and crews on the Savior Faire and Marjorie II were terrific...very friendly and seemed to go out of their way to make the side trips worthwhile."
Marjorie II - Savior Faire
Double Charter, 2008
"This was quite simply the trip of a lifetime. The barge was like a home and the staff was most accomodating. The cruising itself was most interesting especially the system of locks we passed through. Visiting the towns and sights on the canal was fascinating and we enjoyed each and every stop."
-Sally and Gregory Connell, 2007
"We loved seeing a new part of France and making new friends - what an enjoyable trip!"
-Warren and Nancy Butler, 2007
"Just with one word!! Wonderful!"
-Fred Vines and Cheryl Berry, 2007
"Ken and I have to say it was one of the best vacations we have ever had. Chris and Fran could not have been more welcoming and their staff, OUTSTANDING!!! I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to relax, be treated like royality and eat the most wonderful meals. Evan, their chef is 5-star, Robert their butler, most enjoyable, Kerry so sweet and quietly efficient and of course Chris and Fran, most gracious hosts."
- Pat and Ken Neal, 2007
"We had a wonderful time on Savoir Faire and have told numerous people about you and The Barge Lady web site. The other three couples on the cruise were just fabulous company. They all joined the crew in making a huge deal out of our anniversary. It was really fun! The crew were all outstanding too!"
- Linda Quarberg, 2007
"An absolutely delightful, delicious and relaxing way to see France in a different way. Thanks to Ellen, The Barge Lady - she's the best!"
- Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Aronzon, 2006
"It was better than we had hoped for. Our last night cruising through Paris was pure magic. We cannot praise our Captain and crew enough. Kevin, our tour guide,anticipated all our needs and was a true gem. We are already planning our 2007 barge cruise!"
- Mr. and Mrs. Gary Albrecht, 2006
"Everything was new (deck furniture, bikes) and well-cared-for. The table settings were always different and lovely and featured French crystal and silvrware. This attention to detail was very appreciated!"
- William and Geri Muse, 2006
Cremant de LoireRose
Montagny Premier Cru
Givry Premier Cru
Savoir Faire Floor Plan
128 Feet long
Bow cabin 142 square feet
-One queen or two twin beds
-Ensuite bathroom with shower
Five cabins 116 square feet
-One Queen or two twin beds
-Ensuite bathroom with shower
Also in cabins
-Individual DVD player in each cabin, large selection of movies
-New towels and upgraded toiletries in each bathroom
-All-new bed linens
-Both 110 volt (United States) and 220 volt (continental European) electrical outlets.
In the Public Areas
-Internet access available on the barge laptop
-Elegant lounge with mahogany paneling
-Piano in lounge
-Separate mahogany paneled dining room
-‘Back of the Barge Bar'
-Three sun decks
Dahon foldable bikes with seven gears