Highlights: WW1 Battlefield and cemetery of Belleau-wood, American monument, Chemin des Dames (Ladies Way). Trench warfare of WW1, Gothic Cathedral of Reims, Moet & Chandon Champagne house in Epernay. Restaurant : Les Crayères in Reims (2 Michelin stars).
Sunday: Welcome to C'est la Vie! Paris to the C'Est la Vie moored in Chateau -Thierry
Your party will be met in Paris at 3pm by our driver and driven to the C'est la Vie which is moored in the town of Chateau - Thierry. A traditional champagne welcome and introduction to the crew awaits you, before your first gourmet dinner aboard.
Monday: Sightseeing WW1 Battlefield and cemetery of Belleau-Wood. Cruise to Cumières.
From Chateau -Thierry drive to the impressive American monument on hill 204 that dominates the hillside above the town and which commemorates the actions of American divisions that fought here in 1918, then follow the line of defensive positions taken up by the US 2nd division during the German spring offensive. Arrive at Belleau Wood where the US Marines fought their first offensive engagement of the conflict, before paying our respects at the beautifully maintained cemetery and chapel. Return to the C'est la Vie for lunch and afternoon cruise on the picturesque River Marne passing charming villages and in the distance the great statue of pope Urban II and the chateau of La Veuve Clicquot. Dinner aboard the C'est la Vie.
Tuesday: Sightseeing, Epernay, Champagne tasting. Cruise to Condé sur Marne
Morning cruise leaving the River Marne for the Marne canal, a perfect moment to put on your walking shoes and explore the towpath and small villages along the way. Afternoon visit to the famous Champagne town of Epernay with a private tour and tasting at the headquarters of Moet & Chandon with its 18 miles of cellars where it is said that 30 million bottles are stored! This elite company was founded in 1793 and was characterized from the beginning by international markets with such high-level contacts as Madame Pompadour and Napoleon. Learn about the monk Dom Perrignon and visit his church perched high above the Marne valley at Hautvillers. Dinner aboard the C'est La Vie.
Wednesday: Sightseeing, Museum of the Surrender. Cruise to Silery. Dinner at les Crayères.
Morning visit to the museum of the surrender situated in the suburbs of Reims, the building served as General Eisenhower's S.H.A.E.F headquarters and war room, it was here that the German surrender was accepted from General Jodl on the 7th May 1945. A pleasant afternoon cruise through a flight of locks with a good opportunity to walk or cycle. In the evening take the short drive into Reims and the Michelin rated restaurant "Les Crayeres" situated in the Grand mansion built by Madame Pommery.
Thursday: Sightseeing, Reims, Gothic Cathedral & Museum. Cruise to Courcy.
We take a morning cruise and pass through the city of Reims to the village of Courcy. Return by mini bus to Reims, the capital of Champagne. The city with its Gallo-Roman origins was severely damaged by German bombardment from the heights to the north and become a symbol for the martyrdom of France during WW 1, its reconstruction, especially of its Gothic Cathedral, which was the site of coronation for many of France's kings, would come to represent recovery and reconciliation. The city now offers a wonderful blend of history and culture with sidewalk cafés and sophisticated shops, as well as a fine arts museum. Also tour the museum situated in the old arch-bishop's residence, the Palais de Tau. Then back to the C'est la Vie for cocktails and dinner.
Friday: Sightseeing, The Chemin des Dames. Cruise to Maizy.
This morning's cruise takes us to the town of Maizy. Plenty of time to enjoy the sun deck or put on your walking shoes to discover the sights from the towpath. After lunch take a drive along the picturesque Picardy countryside and the infamous Chemin des Dames (ladies way) paved during the reign of Louis XV in order to ease the journey of his daughters, but now recognised as being the site of some of France’s fiercest battles of WWI. It was here that trench warfare began 100 years ago and from which a stalemate ensued from 1914 -1917. Return to the C'est La Vie for the Captain's dinner which ends your cruise in style.
Saturday: Return to Paris.
After breakfast, you'll be chauffeured back to Paris for the end of the morning. We hope to see you again on the C'est la Vie!
Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. It runs in reverse on alternate weeks.