Gliding through the beautiful French countryside aboard Belmond’s new luxury barges

Belmond launches two new luxury barges in France in 2017 via Belmond Afloat in France. Launching in 2017, Belmond Pivoine and Belmond Lilas explore the regions of Champagne and Alsace.

luxury barges in France in 2017 - Belmond Afloat in France

Two new luxury boats are joining the fleet of Belmond Afloat in France’s luxury barges. Family-owned vineyards and French Châteaux are included in the new itineraries of Belmond Lilas and Belmond Pivoine boats. Scheduled to launch in summer 2017, the new river boats will glide smoothly through the beautiful French countryside.

The travelers will soak up the scenery of Alsace aboard Belmond Lilas, or uncover the delights of the Champagne region aboard Belmond Pivoine.

Belmond Lilas’ four generous cabins offer king or twin beds, hosting up to eight guests. Travelers will experience the unique Arzviller boat lift, a marvel of engineering which lifts and lowers boats an impressive 148 feet. The Classic Alsace Cruise’s map includes Krafft – Strasbourg – Hochfelden – Saverne-the medieval ruin of Lutzelbourg Castle – Arzviller. The itinerary takes you to Meteor Brewery, the oldest brewing site in France, which has been family-owned for seven generations. A guided tour gives you an insight into the brewing process, after which you are invited to try some of the 12 beers crafted on site, including the Médaille d’Or-winning Pils.

Once on board, the journey begins in effervescent style with a welcome reception and a chance to get to know the Captain and crew. This is followed by a sumptuous dinner prepared by your private chef.

luxury barges in France in 2017 - Belmond Afloat in France-interior -

From the trompe l’oeil wall mural and embroidered Parisian bed covers to the marble bathrooms, Belmond Pivoine boat is “a stylish haven.” The soft, romantic yellows and whites echo the colour of peonies and champagne, creating a space perfect for relaxation.

Up to eight guests can be accommodated in the four contemporary en-suite cabins. Much like its sister barge, Belmond Pivoine also boasts an expansive deck with a heated swimming pool, inviting lounge, and sumptuous dining room. On the 4th day we cruise upstream to Cumières, mooring place for Hautvillers, “the birthplace of champagne”. It was at Hautvillers Abbey that the monk Dom Pérignon perfected the winemaking process leading to the effervescent drink we know and love today. Following lunch you visit the Champagne house of Billecart Salmon, where we enjoy a visit the vineyard and learn about the vinification process which is followed by a tasting of the house’s finest champagnes. Proceed to Hautvillers Abbey to visit Dom Pérignon’s tomb before enjoying a champagne picnic overlooking thepicturesque town and river. In the evening a sumptuous dinner has been arranged at Hostellerie La Briqueterie, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of the vineyards, just a short drive from the barge.

The classic Champagne cruise visits Meaux-Courtaron and the magnificent baroque Château de Vaux-le- Vicomte – Château-Thierry on the River Marne – Cumières, mooringplace for Hautvillers, “the birthplace of champagne.” Leaving the River Marne and joining the Canal Latéral à la Marne, the barge cruises east to Tours-surMarne. During this part of the journey you have the chance to stretch your legs along the scenic towpath, either on foot or by using one of the barge bicycles. Following lunch on board alight for an afternoon visit to the family vineyard of Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart in Ludes, visiting cellars that were used to hide members of the Royal Air Force during World War II. A morning cruise towards Châlons-en-Champagne offers another chance to alight and walk or cycle along the canal path.

luxury barges in France in 2017 - Belmond Afloat in France-- luxury barges in France in 2017 - Belmond Afloat in France-