Unique and charming cruising in Champagne and Picardy
Aslaug is a handsome purpose-built and comprehensively equipped hotel barge that now offers cruises in two regions – along the river Marne in the Champagne region and the river Somme in Picardy, both peaceful beautiful waterways.
Aslaug provides comfort and value in two delightful twin-bedded cabins, a saloon and open galley, but cleverly combines your cruise with the opportunity to dine out in local restaurants along the way, guaranteeing a taste of the real French atmosphere.
Style: The 'nature' of the hotel barge. Outline subjective guidance as to the quality or comfort level that might be expected on board.
Price Band: Per person. Outline guidance only, on a relative or comparative basis. The bands do not represent accurate low or high season rates.
Hotel Barge Aslaug :: Key Features
- Premier class (3*)
- Two cruise routes in Champagne and Picardy
- Charter only, 6 nights/7 days, and 4 nights/5 days, June to September
- 4 guests / 2 double or twin cabins with en-suite bathrooms
- Well-insulated cabins and heating throughout
- Half-board dine-ashore dining
- Two sun decks with shade and seating
- 4 folding bicycles and helmets available
- Wifi (limited in some places)
Hotel Barge Aslaug: Cruise Highlights in the Champagne region
- Explore the major cities of Chateau-Thierry and Reims
- Stops in delightful villages along the way
- Choose your local restaurants for the authentic dining experience
- Wine tastings at the Champagne houses
- Visits to vineyards, a viticulture museum and a WW1 cemetery
- Excellent opportunities for walking and cycling alongside Aslaug as she cruises gently along the waterway
Hotel Barge Aslaug: Cruise Highlights on the Somme, northern France
- The secret beauty of the Somme countryside
- Visits to Amiens and major towns
- Wildlife and nature reserves
- ‘The Remembrance Trail’ and Australian war cemetery
- A sea mooring: vast tidal area with seal and bird reserves in the bay
- Visits to cathedrals and chateaux
- Excellent opportunities for walking and cycling alongside Aslaug as she cruises gently along the canal
Owners and hosts Kurt Jensen and Bente Arnild (who are Danish) welcome just four fortunate guests on-board, with a relaxed, friendly and professional approach. They live proudly, comfortably and peacefully on-board Aslaug (named for a beautiful Queen from Nordic mythology) all year and they’re both fully-qualified skippers. Prepare for a relaxed and fascinating cruise in their company.
6 nights (or fewer) accommodation; breakfast, buffet lunch and soft drinks, and Captain’s Dinner at the close of the cruise.
Air fares or train fares, to or within, France*
Evening meals: these will be taken in local restaurants, or if not possible, on board at extra cost
Travel, medical or cancellation insurance
Tour and sightseeing fees
Crew gratuities (optional)
*Transport to and from Aslaug
– for Champagne cruise: reach Reims or Chateau Thierry by direct train from Paris
– for Somme cruise:
Amiens and Péronne can be reached by train from Paris via Lille.
Saint-Valery can be reached by train from Paris via Amiens to Noyelles-sur-Mer and then the small narrow-gauge steam train.
Trains are also available from Amiens to Abbeville
“Well, I am so glad our group of four chose to “take a chance on the unusual” and reserve for 3 nights on Barge Aslaug. The hosts, Bente and Kurt, who live on board, were fantastic. They were just the right mix of attentive and inclusive, but never intrusive. They welcomed us with open arms and much appreciated wine and appetisers! They even shared dinner with us one night (when we had some food, they had some food….). Breakfasts were just delicious. The accommodations were terrific, very comfortable twin berths in each cabin, plenty of storage space, private en-suite in each cabin (with
terrific water pressure in the shower). It was lovely to be on the water, away from the craziness of towns or cities, listening to the birds, etc. It was just fabulous. I think we were unanimous in saying we would stay there again, and recommend it highly.”
C. and M. R., Toronto, Canada July 2016
“We spent a wonderful week with Kurt and Bente in late July on the Somme River and the Somme River Canal, beginning in Amiens and cruising downstream to the ancient port city of St. Valery-sur-Somme.
This is beautiful country, with pretty, interesting, historic small towns along the way: Amiens, Abbeville, Picquigny, Long, and St Valery.
The interior of the boat was finished by Dutch cabinetmakers, and the woodwork is a work of art in itself.
This trip is an unusual opportunity. Many river/canal barge chartered trips are a completely guided experience, with nearly all meals eaten on board, with guides leading a group through a planned itinerary.”
L and . M and 2 teens, Colorado Springs, USA
Hotel Barge Aslaug: cruises on the river Marne in Champagne and the Canal de la Somme, Picardy
The Champagne cruise
Sunday, Day 1, Château-Thierry
Arrive in the afternoon by train from Paris for transfer to Aslaug. Meet the crew, settle in and then perhaps a stroll to the old part of the town with its beautiful houses and ruins of a medieval castle. Have dinner at a local restaurant of your choice.
Monday, Day 2, Château-Thierry to Dormans
A gentle morning cruise to Dormans, the mooring for the night. Lunch on deck upon arrival and then the possibility of visiting the wine growing villages around the town. Admire the old castle and the Chapel of Reconnaissance which was built in 1920 in commemoration of the two victories of the Marne in WW1. As it is Monday, French restaurants are normally closed, and we therefore serve the special Captain’s Dinner aboard.
Tuesday, Day 3, Dormans to Epernay
After breakfast, head for Epernay, the capital of the Champagne region, taking a delightful lunch on board as we cruise through Damery. Later, we find our mooring for the night just outside Epernay in the heart of the Champagne vineyards. You will have ample time to visit several champagne houses with their kilometres of vaults and tunnels in the chalky terrain. Dinner in a restaurant of your choice.
Wednesday, Day 4, Epernay to Ay
Today, leave the river Marne and enter the Canal Latéral à la Marne. After a short cruise we moor and have lunch on board. Then a treat as we visit some of the 40 smaller producers of champagne in the region, and also the viticulture and tools museum. Choose a restaurant of your choice once more for this evening’s dinner.
Thursday, Day 5, Ay to Condé-sur-Marne
Continue cruising to Condé and stop for lunch at one of the restaurants in Tours-sur-Marne. Today you can walk or use Aslaug’s bicycles to go to Bouzy, 4 km from Condé. Bouzy is a Grand Cru village which grows not only for Champagne wines but also grapes for the famous red wine that was used for coronation banquets in Reims (see Saturday). Another idyllic village to see is Ambonnay, just 3 km from Condé. Dinner-buffet aboard when you return.
Friday, Day 6, Condé to Sept-Saulx
We will go up through a staircase of 8 locks and have lunch aboard at the waiting quay in front of the Mont de Billy tunnel. It’s always an adventure to navigate underground and this tunnel is one of the best. In Sept-Saulx we moor at a silo quay, another delightful experience. From here you can visit the French war cemetery and bike to Verzy, a village renowned for its dwarf beech plantations. Then a wonderful dinner in the Cheval Blanc restaurant in Sept-Saulx.
Saturday, Day 7, Sept-Saulx to Reims
Lunch aboard in Sillery where you can visit another WW1 cemetery if you wish, close to the harbour. Continue cruising into the city of Reims itself and moor not far from the center where it is more picturesque ad peaceful than in the harbour. You’ll have time to go and visit the beautiful Cathedral which has witnessed the coronation of no less than 25 kings of France. Departure by TGV back to Paris in the afternoon.
Please note: this itinerary is subject to change and on alternate weeks runs in the reverse direction.
The Somme Cruise
Aslaug is highly flexible and provides 2 different itineraries in the Somme/Picardy region which can be tailored to guests wishes. Each of the cruises takes one week (7 days, 6 nights), and starts on Sunday 15:00 and ends Saturday at noon. Shorter cruises (4 nights/5 days) may be possible on request.
Amiens to Peronne
During your cruise you will be able to see and include any of the following in the itinerary. Here are some of the highlights:
WW1 Museum in Péronne, the Remembrance Trail’, the narrow-gauge train museum in Froissy, Australian war cemetery and museum in Villers-Bretonneux close to Corbie, the Abbey in Corbie, the amazing Gothic Cathedral in Amiens, the “hortillonnages” (25 ha of small fruit and vegetable gardens in former marshes close to Amiens), and a multitude of museums and interesting architecture.
Sunday, Day 1 – Arrival
Meet at Amiens station for an accompanied walk to Aslaug’s
mooring, a nice stroll along the pedestrian street, for a welcome aperatif and settle in. Then, a sightseeing tour of this interesting university town including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the largest in France (the Notre-Dame of Paris fits in twice), the hortillonnages, the beautiful botanical garden, Jules Verne’s house and observatory, and the old part of town, Saint-Leu. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Monday, Day 2, Amiens to Lamotte-Brebière (2hrs cruising)
More sightseeing and then lunch aboard. In the afternoon, cruise gently towards Lamotte-Brebiére and stop at the renovated lock-keeper house. Plenty of time to walk or cycle the towpath. Dinner on board
Tuesday, Day 3, Lamotte-Brebière to Corbie (2 hrs cruising)
After breakfast, continue cruising the canal with the river Somme flowing in from time to time, adding current to the canal (we’re going upstream). Lunch on board at Corbie, the mooring for the night, and then a visit to the Australian memorial and cemetery close to Villers-Bretonneux, site of the ANZAC Day commemoration, and then a visit to the Australian museum gives additional information on the Battle of the Somme. Dinner at the La Caroline, a local restaurant serving traditional French food.
Wednesday, Day 4, Corbie – Froissy. (4.5 h. cruising)
From Corbie, continue to Froissy, passing the château in Méricourt. Lunch on board.The narrow-gauge train museum in Froissy is open July and August offering train rides in the old wagons used to carry ammunition and soldiers to the front (and wounded soldiers back). Take a visit to the town of Albert and the impressive underground WW1 museum. Dinner in Albert.
Thursday, Day 5, Froissy – Eclusier-Vaux (1.5 hrs cruising)
A morning walk from Froissy to the Bray-sur-Somme, where the (in)famous Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, was shot down in 1918 and visit the small museum. Then, cruise on to Eclusier-Vaux for lunch at the Auberge de Suzanne. Afterwards you can walk up to the Belvédère for a breathtaking view of the entire Somme Valley.On the way back, a visit to the eel ponds close to the mooring. Buffet dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6, Eclusier-Vaux – Péronne. (3 hrs cruising)
Leave the Canal de la Somme and enter the Canal du Nord with its busy commercial traffic. Moor at the commercial quay and have lunch aboard. Then a walk to Péronne center, the mooring for the night, to admire the old fortifications and visit the WW1 museum. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Saturday, Day 7, Departure
Depart at 11:00 by taxi to the TGV station Haute-Picardie.
Amiens to St Valery
A fabulous cruise for nature lovers.
Sunday, Day 1 – Arrival
Meet at Amiens station for an accompanied walk to Aslaug’s
mooring, a nice stroll along the pedestrian street, for a welcome aperitif and settle in. Then, a sightseeing tour of this interesting university town including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the largest in France (the Notre-Dame of Paris fits in twice), the hortillonnages, the beautiful botanical garden, Jules Verne’s house and observatory, and the old part of town, Saint-Leu. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Monday, Day 2, Amiens
Enjoy more sightseeing in Amiens with lunch on board and dinner in a restaurant of your choice.
Tuesday, Day 3, Amiens to Picquigny. (2.5 hrs cruising)
Cruise towards Picquigny and stop at Samara for lunch on board. Then, a visit to a pre-historic theme park. At Picquigny, admire the church and medieval castle ruins. Dinner at the Les Oliviers restaurant.
Wednesday, Day 4, Picquigny to Long (3 hrs cruising)
Cruise during the morning and lunch aboard in Long. In the afternoon, a visit to the Château de Long and its huge, well-kept park. Another unique sight not to miss is the museum of the old Hydroelectric Power Plant. The village of Long became rich from the extraction of peat and was one of the first towns in France to install electricity and drinking water in each house – an unheard-of luxury at the time. Dinner at the Le Comptoir Bleu restaurant.
Thursday, Day 5, Long to Abbeville. (3 hrs cruising)
Cruise on to Abbeville, passing quaint angler huts and beautiful manor houses. Lunch on board. In Abbeville, visit the old Belfry for the archeological Boucher de Perthes museum. Also interesting are the Saint-Vulfran Collegiate and the Saint-Sepulcre church. Dinner at the Etoile du Jour, or another restaurant of your choice.
Friday, Day 6, Abbeville to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (2.5 hrs cruising)
Cruise through four mobile bridges and the big sea-lock out into the tidal sea-port. Lunch aboard. The Baie de Somme is one of the most beautiful bays in the world, with vast tidal waters, dunes, rich bird life, seals and the famous prés-salés (salty marshes). It was from Saint-Valery that William the Conqueror sailed to conquer England in 1066, and Jeanne d’Arc was kept prisoner in 1431. Dinner at one of the many restaurants in this seaside resort.
Saturday, Day 7, Departure
Leave Aslaug before noon for a narrow-gauge steam-train ride to Noyelles-sur-Mer; then take the ordinary train back to Amiens.
Hotel Barge Aslaug: Roundtrip Cruise (4 nights/5 days)
Sunday Day 1 Amiens:
Pick-up at the train station for transfer to Aslaug at her mooring in time for a French buffet lunch aboard. In the afternoon a sightseeing tour of Amiens: Notre-Dame Cathedral (the largest Gothic church in France and UNESCO World Heritage site; the Notre-Dame of Paris can fit in twice), the ‘hortillonnages’ (unique vegetable plots), the beautiful botanical garden, Jules Verne’s house with its observatory, and various art museums. Dinner is taken in a local restaurant.
Monday Day 2 Amiens to Corbie:
A special day with an expert guide to tour the Remembrance Trail – visiting many towns to discover the history of the Somme, its role in international conflict and remembering the thousands of soldiers from all corners of the globe that gave their lives in this region. Lunch included. Aslaug cruises from Amiens to Corbie where guests re-join it after the Tour for a dinner buffet on board.
Tuesday Day 3 Corbie to Froissy:
From Hamelet, close to Corbie, take a horse-carriage ride, or go by bike, to the memorial of Le Hamel. View the landscape and the conditions experienced by WW1 soldiers (you can still make out the trenches). Lunch on board in Sailly-Laurette and continue to Froissy, passing the château at Méricourt. The comprehensive narrow-gauge train museum in Froissy is open July and August (and some special days in Spring), offering short train-rides in the old wagons that were used to carry ammunition and soldiers to the front (and wounded soldiers back). Dinner at a local restaurant in Bray, 3 km away, or on Aslaug.
Wednesday, Day 4, Froissy – Corbie
After lunch on board in Corbie, you can visit the the memorial of Le Hamel with its very comprehensive explanatory tablets.There is a good view across the Somme river valley and the hills the soldiers had to climb. You can put our folding bicycles in a taxi and cycle back downhill to the canal. Dinner at the ‘La Caroline’, a local restaurant serving traditional French food.
Thursday Day 5 Corbie to Amiens
Full day return cruise with lunch on the way at Lamotte-Brebière, arriving in Amiens late afternoon. Departure on foot or by taxi to the station.
Hotel Barge Aslaug cruises along the Champagne route in June & July and through the Somme Picardy region in August & September
Barge Cruising – The Somme and Picardy
Canal de la Somme
Picardy lies in northern France, skirting Paris to the south and the Champagne region to the east. It is forever associated with the First World War, as many of the conflict’s bloodiest battles were fought across its sweeping landscape. A voyage along the river Somme will take you through cornfields scattered with iconic red poppies and a number of the most evocative sights in the area hark back to those dark days – striking amongst them is Sir Edwyn Lutyens’ magnificent memorial to the seventy three thousand soldiers missing on the Somme, which towers high over the plain at Theipval.
The reach of history goes far beyond the early twentieth century, stretching back to medieval times and the flowering of ecclesiastical architecture. In Amiens, the capital of Picardy, marvel at the thirteenth century cathedral that has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, as well as the former residence of science fiction writer Jules Verne (Around the World in Eighty Days) which has been converted to a fascinating museum. A particular treat for waterway enthusiasts is to sail through the Hortillonages, a network of small canals bordered by fertile market gardens that have been cultivated on reclaimed land since the middle ages. Stretching further back in time, the nearby city of Beauvais was founded by the Romans and claims links with Julius Caesar.
Other highlights include the narrow gauge railway that follows the canal between Cappy and Froissy and as with all French regions, Picardy has its own culinary speciality – delicious macaroons made from almond paste.
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also TGV express train stations at Paris and Lille; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Amiens, Thiepval, Beauvais, Cappy, the Hortillonages, Froissy –
Hotel Barge Aslaug: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 24m x 4.85m
- 2 x twin bedded (80cm wide) cabins with en-suite bathrooms
- Cabins have: opening brass portholes and ventilation hatch
Plenty of storage for clothes and luggage
Solid hardwood jatoba parquet flooring
- Generous 2m ceilings throughout
- 6 conventional (not steep) steps from wheelhouse to salon
- 4 steps from salon to cabins
- Large wheelhouse with panoramic views
- 2 sun-deck areas; one in the bow with small tables and ‘wrap around’ seating, the other aft (behind the wheelhouse) with teak table and chairs
Other items on board
- Superb varnished cherry wood fittings – very much Scandinavian ‘good design’
- Healthy, anti-allergic interior climate for those that are especially sensitive
- Only natural materials have been used for Aslaug interiors: solid wood (jatoba, oak and cherry-wood), pierre bleue, steel and Rockwool. No chipboard, synthetic fabrics or insulation materials emitting gases.
Hotel Barge Aslaug: Cuisine
Half-board dining allows guests to experience dining out at local restaurants along the route. All restaurants will be recommended and can be booked as required. If the mooring location does not lend itself to this, the dinner will be provided on board at extra cost
- Generous and healthy continental breakfast
- Buffet lunch prepared with fresh local ingredients, reflecting the region’s cuisine
- Coffee, tea, wine, beer or soft drinks accompany every meal.
- Vegetarian guests very welcome
Hotel Barge Aslaug – 2018 Rates ➤ 2019 Rates
Sunday to Saturday
Regular rate weeks (6-nights):
April 15, 22, 29
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
October 7, 14, 21, 28
2 guest charter: 3,800 EUR
4 guest charter: 5,000 EUR
2 guest per cabin: 3,000 EUR (i.e shared boat)
5-night ANZAC cruises:
2 guest charter: 3,000 EUR
4 guest charter: 4,500 EUR
2 guest per cabin: 2,500 EUR (i.e shared boat)
4-night ’round trip’ cruises:
2 guest charter: 2,500 EUR
4 guest charter: 3,300 EUR
2 guest per cabin: 2,000 EUR (i.e shared boat)
Sunday to Saturday
Regular rate weeks (6-nights):
June 2, 9, 16, 23, 29
July 7, 14, 21
August 4, 11, 18, 25
September 1, 8, 15
1 or 2 guest charter (in one cabin): 4,000 EUR
3 or 4 guest charter: 6,000 EUR
1 or 2 guest per cabin: 3,000 EUR per cabin (i.e shared boat)
4-night ’round trip’ cruise:
1 or 2 guest charter (in one cabin): 2,500 EUR
3 or 4 guest charter: 4,000 EUR
1 or 2 guest per cabin: 2,000 EUR per cabin (i.e shared boat)
All rates and prices will be confirmed at time of booking. Special Offers are available from time to time – contact us
We feature information about 50 wonderful hotel barges, of various sizes and price/style levels, more than 100 individual cruises to choose from every week of the season, in 8 regions across France. Some book flexibly by the cabin, others exclusively charter the entire hotel barge. Quite a choice!
Every one of our hotel barge information pages has been carefully crafted and written by us, from our own unique first hand-hand experience – but we also understand that there’s nothing like speaking to a friendly expert to help see the wood for the trees and make the best possible decision about the vacation cruise of a lifetime.
So please, send us a Booking Enquiry form (click on the orange tab above) or just pick up the phone and give us a call.
We love France, we love the rivers and canals of France, we love hotel barging – and we love talking about all three!
+33 609 740 064 -or- +44 7590 287 178
We have been cruising and exploring France
aboard our own river boat since 2003.