C’est la Vie is owned and operated by the remarkable Olivier and Deb Megret, barge industry veterans since 1985 and 1986, respectively. Their reservoir of talent is apparent upon boarding the C’est la Vie, as every detail has been thoughtfully addressed.
Now managing the barge from land, the Megrets expertly oversee everything from the crew to the cuisine to the excursions. The C’est la Vie is a family affair, with Olivier’s son Tom now operating and piloting the barge. Hailing from a family who has been active in the industry since its inception, Captain Tom boasts an outstanding barging pedigree, having grown up on the French canals and working on luxury hotel barges since he was a teenager.
This handsome barge welcomes guests to four of the most spacious and luxuriously-appointed cabins on the canals, a wonderful amenity for those to whom personal space is paramount. While relaxing on the expansive teak deck, guests are pampered by the attentive crew, perhaps while savoring a glass of wine from the well-stocked cellar. Active pursuits such as bicycling and strolling along the canal’s towpath are the perfect way to explore the region’s natural beauty, or guests can socialize in the window-lined salon and dining room and admire the pastoral scenery as it floats by.
What is included in the tour
- 6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath
- transfers via First Class TGV train from Paris to the barge and return (Train tickets are booked for the specific first and last dates of your barge cruise and are non-changeable or refundable.)
- all meals – from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning
- all wines with lunch & dinner
- open bar
- daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycles.
What is NOT included in the tour
- Airfare to and from France
- cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)
- Welcome Aboardsunday image
- Welcome Aboard
- Travel: Arrival to MeauxMeals: Dinner onboard
- In the afternoon, you will be met by a crew member of the C'est la Vie at the designated meeting point. From here, relax as you are chauffeured to the barge, moored in the city of Meaux. A traditional champagne welcome and introduction to the crew awaits you, before your first of many gourmet dinners onboard.
- A Grand Chateau, a King’s Jealousymonday image
- A Grand Chateau, a King’s Jealousy
- Travel: Meaux to St. Jean-les-Deux-JumeauxMeals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner onboard
- A morning cruise begins the day. Relax on deck, or explore the towpath with a gentle pedal or leisurely stroll. This afternoon, a visit to the Chateau of Vaux le Vicomte reveals an enormous privately-owned property, festooned with grand gardens and harboring an intriguing history. Built by Nicholas Fouquet, finance minister to Louis XIV, the chateau's grandeur enraged the jealous King. Fouquet was jailed for the rest of his life, and the King built Versailles in retaliation! Return to the C’est la Vie for drinks and dinner.
- Military History Comes Alivetuesday image
- Military History Comes Alive
- Travel: St. Jean-les-Deux-Jumeaux to Chateau ThierryMeals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner onboard
- This morning's lazy cruise drifts through a gorgeous landscape of villages, vineyards, pastures, and forests. Enjoy a cup of coffee on deck and watch the scenery slip by. This afternoon's excursion is to the nearby Belleau Wood, the scene of the second battle of the Marne in spring 1918, which ended the last German offensive of WWI. Overlooking Chateau Thierry is the massive French-American Friendship Monument and the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Return to the C'est la Vie where Chef is crafting another gourmet dinner.
- Bottoms Up!wednesday image
- Bottoms Up!
- Travel: Chateau Thierry to DameryMeals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner onboard
- A morning cruise begins the day's many epicurean adventures. Bottoms up this afternoon! Your Tour Guide escorts you to the famed champagne producer Moet et Chandon in Epernay. Enjoy a tour and tasting at this iconic champagne house. Next, visit Hautvillers, a charming village perched high over the expansive vineyards. Explore the unassuming church of monk Dom Perignon, who is credited for having "discovered" champagne. Cheers to Dom Perignon! Tonight's dinner is very special, as it is taken ashore at Les Crayeres, a 2-star Michelin restaurant.
- Wine and Dine Your Way through Champagnethursday image
- Wine and Dine Your Way through Champagne
- Travel: Damery to Tours sur MarneMeals: Breakfast & lunch onboard, dinner ashore
- This morning, the C'est la Vie floats off the Marne River to continue her journey on the Canal Lateral a la Marne. This is the perfect time to explore the towpath's flora and fauna with a gentle pedal or leisurely stroll. This afternoon, meet and greet the local "champagnois" as your Tour Guide accompanies you to a local family-owned vineyard. A private tour of the property precedes a special tasting of their champagnes. Return to the barge and socialize in the salon or on deck while Chef puts the final touches on tonight's dinner.
- Where French Royalty Was Crownedfriday image
- Where French Royalty Was Crowned
- Travel: Tours sur Marne to Chalons en ChampagneMeals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner onboard
- This morning's cruise through a flight of locks offers the final opportunity to enjoy a brisk walk or bicycle ride along the towpath. This afternoon, your Tour Guide escorts you to the Reims Cathedral. Explore the magnificent church where the Kings of France were crowned; Marc Chagall designed the stained glass installed in 1974 in the axis of the apse. Afterwards, stroll the streets of the pedestrian area, or enjoy a coffee in the town square. Tonight, canapes and cocktails precede the Captain’s Gala Dinner, ending your cruise in style!
- A Sad Farewellsaturday image
- A Sad Farewell
- Travel: Transfer from Chalons en ChampagneMeals: Breakfast onboard
- After breakfast, you will be chauffeured back to the designated drop off point.
- Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions.