Gorgeous cruising in style through Alsace and Champagne
Panache is a stylish 12 passenger luxury hotel barge cruising all summer through Alsace and Lorraine, with some cruise in Champagne and Paris early in the season. Storybook castles, rolling vineyards of Alsatian wines as well as Baroque, Gothic and Romanesque architecture will inspire and delight, and the area’s unique blend of French and German influences are reflected on the delicious menus.
Panache has spacious social areas and six comfortable double or twin ensuite cabins. There are panoramic windows in the saloon and the whole barge is fitted out in traditional yacht style with brass and mahogany fittings. A large sun deck and spa pool, plus bicycles for exploring the excellent towpath complete the picture.
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 Panache :: Key Features
- Excellence class (4*)
- Champagne and Alsace / Lorraine regions
- Charter and cabin bookings, 6 nights, 7 days, June to October
- 12 guests / 6 junior suites, each over 150 sq ft
- Ensuite bathrooms, fully tiled with double basins
- Individually controlled air conditioning and heating
- Full board, on-board dining
- Sun deck with loungers and Jucuzzi tub
- 12 all-terrain bikes and cycle helmets
- 2 air-conditioned vehicles for excursions and transfers.
Hotel Barge Panache: Cruise highlights
- Tour the beautiful city of Strasbourg and visit its Gothic cathedral
- Explore the Route des Vins d’Alsace
- Visit the Meteor Brewery, founded in 1640
- Experience an ascent or descent of the unique Arzviller boat elevator
- Visit the spectacular René Lalique Collection
- Tour of Sarrebourg including a visit to the Chagall chapel
- Enjoy a candlelit meal whilst cruising through the two Arzviller tunnels
6 nights accommodation; transfers to and from Strasbourgt; all meals and drinks on board; all excursions, including guide, transport and entrance fees
Air fares to, and transport within, France; travel, cancellation and medical insurance; crew gratuities (5-10% recommended)
Hotel Barge Panache: Cruises in Alsace and Champagne
1. Classic Cruise in Alsace Lorraine
Krafft-Erstein to Niderviller – Canal de la Marne au Rhin
Sunday, Day 1 Krafft-Erstein
Guests are met in Strasbourg and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Panache for a Champagne welcome and the first opportunity to meet the crew. Perhaps there is time for a walk or cycle ride before dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Krafft-Erstein to Strasbourg
A morning cruise across the Gran Ried wetlands, home to an abundance of birdlife, to arrive at the historic city of Strasbourg. Visit the 12th century pink sandstone Gothic cathedral, its astronomical Renaissance clock and soaring spire; the Place Gutenberg; and La Petite France, a pedestrian area brimming with half-timbered houses, boutique shops and cafés. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Strasbourg to Hochfelden
After breakfast, cruise past the impressive European Parliament building on the outskirts of Strasbourg and through the Brumath Forest to our picturesque mooring at Hochfelden. After lunch, a scenic drive into the rolling Vosges hills on the Route des Grands Vins, for a private tasting of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and Riesling wines at a long-established winemaker, such as Domaine Pfister. Dinner ashore this evening at a traditional Alsatian restaurant.
Wednesday, Day 4 Hochfelden to Saverne
A guided tour, with an optional beer tasting, at the Meteor Brewery, founded in 1640 and the last privately-owned brewery in Alsace. Then, cruise further along the canal, with good walking and cycling opportunities, to the enchanting Gallo-Roman town of Saverne, mooring at the foot of the Château de Rohan, also known as the ‘Versailles of Alsace’. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 Saverne to Lutzelbourg
For early risers, there is an optional visit to a local bakery to watch skilled patissiers preparing delicious creations, before cruising to Lutzelbourg. After lunch on board a visit to the mountaintop village of La Petite Pierre with its medieval castle, then a visit to the outstanding René Lalique collection and see over 500 exceptional examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco glassware. Nearby is Wingen-sur-Moder, the WW2 battleground where American infantry fought with distinction. Dinner ashore at a local restaurant.
Friday, Day 6 Lutzelbourg to Niderviller
Cruise through beautiful Alsatian countryside to reach the Lehrer Crystal glassworks and then ascend the unique Arzviller boat elevator that carries Panache 450 feet up the mountainside in minutes. After lunch on board, enjoy a tour of Sarrebourg, including visits to the 13th century chapel containing Marc Chagall’s remarkable stained-glass window, and the impressive museum of Roman and Medieval artefacts. Then, a candlelit cruise through the two Arzviller tunnels to the final mooring at Niderviller. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 Niderviller
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Strasbourg.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.
2. Champagne region
Chalons en Champagne to La Ferte sur Jouarre
Sunday, Day 1 Paris
Guests are met in Paris and transferred to the hotel barge moored in Châlons-en-Champagne. Enjoy a Champagne welcome while your Captain introduces you to the crew. Dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Châlons-en-Champagne to Tours-sur-Marne
Cruise from Châlons-en-Champagne along the Canal Lateral à la Marne to the night’s mooring at Tours-sur-Marne. After lunch on board, visit the magnificent 800-year-old Reims cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece where the Kings of France were crowned; also, a visit to one of the city’s ‘fromagiers’ to taste some of the region’s wonderful cheeses.
Tuesday, Day 3 Tours-sur Marne to Cumières
Continue cruising along the canal, before joining the River Marne to moor at the delightful village of Cumières, where there is the opportunity to explore on foot or by bicycle. After lunch, visit the hilltop village of Hautvillers. Known as the ‘cradle of Champagne’, this is where the monk Dom Perignon discovered the ‘méthode champenoise’. Then, a visit one of the most select champagne makers, Domaine Ployez-Jacquemart, for a private tour and a tasting. Dinner ashore.
Wednesday, Day 4 Cumières to Courcelles
After breakfast, an excursion into the nearby town of Epernay, home to many of the major champagne houses for a cellar tour and tasting. There is time afterwards to explore the town and to do some shopping. After lunch on board, cruise west along the beautiful River Marne, passing through the champagne vineyards to the night’s mooring at Courcelles. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 Courcelles to Château-Thierry
Continue along the meandering Marne to moor at Château-Thierry, an historic, strategically-situated town overlooking the river, surrounded by vineyards that produce some of the region’s famous sparkling wine. The town is also the site of an iconic battle for American Marines in World War One. We visit the battlefield itself and the impressive monument, before paying our respects to the fallen at the magnificent American cemetery at Belleau Wood. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Château-Thierry to La Ferté-sur-Jouarre
After breakfast, visit La Maison Pannier, a select champagne house with a labyrinth of medieval underground cellars, for a tour and a private tasting. After lunch on board, cruise to the final mooring of La Ferté-sur-Jouarre. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board
Saturday, Day 7 La Ferté-sur-Jouarre
After breakfast, disembark Panache and transfer to the designated drop off point.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change; on alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction.
Note: Panache also cruises in Picardy on certain dates. Enquire (rn©french-waterways,com?subject=Please tell me more about a cruise on Panache) for more details.
Hotel Barge Panache cruises through Alsace and Champagne
Barge Cruising – Alsace
Canal Marne au Rhin – Canal Rhone au Rhin (N)
The waterways of North-East France are set against striking scenic backdrops – the forests of the Ardennes, the Vosges mountains, the beautiful Doubs valley – with the River Rhine marking its eastern-most edge. Being so close to Germany and Switzerland, these influences and references are strong – castles, steeply pitched roofs, decorative timberwork, hearty cuisine, ham, Riesling wine – and a big selection of beers.
The culturally rich city of Strasbourg is the region’s capital and principal city. The 12th century Gothic pink sandstone cathedral is considered one of the three grandest Gothic style buildings in the world, described by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo as a “gigantic and delicate marvel.” At Saverne the Lalique Museum is home to more than 500 exceptional pieces of glassware by French designer René Lalique, considered a genius of the craft. The Arzviller boat lift is a marvel of engineering that carries boats, barges and passengers 450 feet up the Vosges Mountains. For the perfect end to a day’s strenuous sightseeing, try sipping a glass of fine Riesling wine in Place Stanislas, the gilded, UNESCO listed central square in the Art Nouveau city of Nancy.
Hotel barges often collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Strasbourg hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and there is a European-flight airport at Strasbourg. There are also TGV express train stations at Strasbourg and Nancy; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Strasbourg, Nancy, Lalique Glass, Arzviller, Riesling, Obernai –
Barge Cruising – Champagne and Marne
River Marne – Marne Lateral Canal
Cruising up the river Marne from Paris then along the Aisne à la Marne to Reims follows a route whose rural simplicity belies the elegance of its associations. Starting in France’s glamorous capital where the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre are among the irresistible magnets that attract the visitor, the hustle and bustle of the City of Light is quickly left behind.
The drowsy beauty of the landscape fringing the Marne has inspired artists from Cezanne to Corot and from Dufy to Pissaro. The river is the longest in France and meanders through golden fields of grain before it reaches the undulating vineyards of the most famous wine growing region in the world – Champagne, and part of the pleasure of the journey is to spot the names of famous producers on marker posts at the end of every row of vines. Epernay is certainly the place to learn about the world’s favourite drink and well-known brands from Moet to Mercier offer cellar tours and tastings. Reims is also a byword for champagne and for more than a thousand years French monarchs were crowned in its ancient cathedral.
There’s more to the region than its sparkling wine: both a succulent brie and a zesty mustard can be found in Meaux and further upstream La Ferte-sous-Jouarre is associated with the production of millstones – there is a different kind of grit to be found here too, at the imposing memorial to British soldiers who died during the Battle of Mons in the First World War.
Hotel barges usually collect and return guests to a pre-agreed Paris hotel. The primary French international airport is at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. There are also TGV express train stations at Champagne-Ardenne (near Reims) and Chalons; and many other towns in the region have railway connections.
– [below] In the region: Paris, Reims, Epernay, La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, Meaux, the Marne –
Hotel Barge Panache: Details and Facilities
- Dimensions: 129ft (39.3m) x 16ft (4.85m)
- Each junior suite is similar in size measuring 9ft (2.75m) x 11ft 6” (3.5m), and 6ft 8” (2.03m) in height
- All ensuite bathrooms are 11ft 6” (3.5m) x 3ft 2” (1m) and are included in the cabin sizes detailed above. All are fitted with two wash-basins and the showers have massage jets.
- All cabins have fitted wardrobes, 2 bedside tables with reading lamps, a writing desk & chair and a TV screen for playing DVD’s mounted on the wall. 1 large window measuring 3ft 8” (1.1m) x 1ft 6” (45cm).
Bed sizes: As a double bed 5ft 5” (1.65m) x 6ft (1.85m).
As single beds, each measures 2ft 8” (80cm) x 6ft (1.85m).
- All cabins have individual heating and air conditioning
Professional English-speaking crew of 6 – captain, chef, hostess, housekeeper, tour guide and deckhand. All speak fluent English as well as other languages
Other items on board:
- Spa pool (hot tub) for 6 passengers on the sundeck
- Hi-fi stereo system with integrated CD player, radio and iPod dock
- 12 bicycles
- A small library of books & maps
- A collection of board games
- Electronic piano
- Nordic walking sticks (on request)
- TV with built-in DVD in each suite
- Vehicles: 9-seater long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter and 7-seater Mercedes Vito
Hotel Barge Panache: Cuisine
All meals on board are freshly prepared by your chef and most meals are a set-menu (there is no choice available). However, vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan dishes, and non-allergenic dishes, can be served given at least 8 weeks notice prior to your departure date.
Breakfast: Continental breakfast with fresh breads & pastries, cereals, freshly-squeezed orange juice and hot beverages.
Lunch is usually buffet style with colourful salads, pates and cold meats accompanied by hot soup or entrée, delicious deserts and a selection of regional cheeses accompanied by quality wines selected by the chef.
Dinner is a candlelit four-course gourmet experience where chef showcases his repertoire of dining delights. Harmonising food and wine is essential to the dining experience and locally produced wines are served to compliment the chef’s cuisine.
Charter and Cabin bookings
Sunday to Saturday
Value rate weeks:
(March 25 April 1, 8, 15 May 20 – Cruising in Holland and Belgium)
May 27 Cruising Belgium to Picardy
July 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19
October 7, 14, 21
8 guest charter: 52,400 USD / 35,200 GBP / 44,000 EUR
9 guest charter: 54,100 USD / 36,300 GBP / 45,400 EUR
10 guest charter: 55,400 USD / 37,200 GBP / 46,500 EUR
11 guest charter: 56,700 USD / 38,100 GBP / 47,600 EUR
12 guest charter: 58,000 USD / 39,000 GBP / 48,700 EUR
Per Cabin bookings
Double Cabin: 5,350 USD / 3,590 GBP / 4,490 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 1,900 USD / 1,300 GBP / 1,600 EUR
Regular rate weeks:
(April 22, 29 May 6, 13 – Cruising in Holland and Belgium)
June 17, 24
July 1, 8
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
8 guest charter: 59,800 USD / 39,800 GBP / 50,900 EUR
9 guest charter: 61,900 USD / 41,200 GBP / 52,600 EUR
10 guest charter: 63,600 USD / 42,300 GBP / 53,900 EUR
11 guest charter: 65,300 USD / 43,400 GBP / 55,200 EUR
12 guest charter: 67,000 USD / 44,500 GBP / 56,500 EUR
Per Cabin bookings
Double Cabin: 6,190 USD / 4,050 GBP / 5,190 EUR per person
Single Occupancy Supplement: 2,150 USD / 1,450 GBP / 1,850 EUR
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 red 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.
– we also have expert colleagues in North America and Australia –