Cruising in the Champagne and Burgundy regions of France

Champagne route map
Burgundy route map

Dawn and Jason Ashcroft (formerly of the very pretty ‘Who Knows’ barge) now take the helm of the beautiful Saroche barge, cruising in elegance through Burgundy and Champagne from 2017. Designed with space and total comfort in mind - and although she is one of the larger charter vessels to cruise the French waterways – the Saroche carries only six guests in luxurious accommodation comprising of three large and classically styled twin/double cabins, each with private, smartly tiled en suite bathroom. Inside she has a split-level lounge and dining area with large solid dining table for six with high backed dining chairs and the bar on the higher level, and two large sofas, coffee table and stone fireplace on the lower level.
Huge windows including a hexagonal ceiling window in the lounge allow plenty of natural light to flood in at all times. In addition there is a very large, attractive passenger sun deck for relaxing outside and watching the world float by at your leisure.
A glorious 6 person jacuzzi also awaits you at the front of the sundeck, and there is also a barbecue (optional for lunch or dinner) and a parasol-covered six person dining table for meals taken al fresco or simply taking it easy outside, possibly with your favourite book. She is a truly splendid barge and offers a very high standard of luxury and decadence.


Prices and Dates

The Saroche Barge
  • 129 FEET LONG (39.25 METRES)
  • 6 GUESTS
  • 4 CREW
Burgundy Cruise Highlights may include:
Visits to the Côtes de Nuit Vineyards and Château of Clos de Vougeot
Historic Dijon with its Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, Fine Arts Museum and much more
Beaune (wine capital of Burgundy) plus a visit to its famous Hotel Dieu (Hospice)

Champagne Cruise Highlights may include:
Visit the 16th century hunting lodge of Conde-en-Brie
Learn about chocolate making with chocolatier Thibault
Visit the Eisenhower war rooms in Reims, where Nazi Germany formally surrendered at the end of World War 2
Discover the canal tunnel at Mont-du-Billy
Experience the World War 1 trenches at Mains-de-Massige

  • Luxury minivan transfers to and from Paris
  • All food, drinks and wine served on board
  • Around 4pm, locally, by arrangement.
  • A local train station, airport or hotel, after breakfast on the last day at around 10am.
Individual Cabin Bookings (price per guest sharing a double or twin cabin) $6,000
Single supplement $2,500
Whole Boat Charter for up to 4 guests $26,000
Whole Boat Charter for up to 5 guests $29,000
Whole Boat Charter for up to 6 guests $32,000

Individual Cabin Bookings, if available (price per guest sharing a double or twin cabin) $6,500
Single supplement $3,000
Whole Boat Charter for up to 4 guests $30,000
Whole Boat Charter for up to 5 guests $34,000
Whole Boat Charter for up to 6 guests $38,000

Burgundy & Provence tour $38,000
Quintessential Cotswolds and charming Champagne tour $38,000

2017 Cruise Dates
23 - 29



29 - 4

2018 Cruise Dates
28 - 3






Champagne Cruise Itinerary
Between Vandieres and Beaumont-sur-Vesles or reverse
Cruise route map

Champagne holds a world of mystery. With the mere word "Champagne" images of luxury and wealth spring to mind, let us cruise you through this magical part of France and indulge you in the drink of Kings and Queens and enjoy it at it's best, celebrating with friends!

Sunday : Paris to Vandieres
Pick up in Paris, where your chauffeur driven mini bus will transport you to Vandierers on the Marne river, Champagne reception on deck with introductions to the crew. Plenty of time to settle into your stateroom before Dawn creates your first gourmet dinner on board Saroche.

Monday : Vandieres to Cumieres
After breakfast Jason will take you on a historic visit to the chateau of Conde-en-Brie. This 16th century hunting lodge has hosted Kings and Queens, murderers, Saints and sinners, Jason will guide you on a private visit through this wonderful building and if the owner is in house, he will introduce you and perhaps a glass or two of champagne may be drunk with the Count?
We return to Saroche for a lazy lunch with 360 degree views of the glorious Champagne vineyards before setting sail and heading up stream towards Cummiers. This important river gently meanders through the Marne valley covered on both sides in vineyards, steeped in history and surrounded by wonderful French countryside. All this can be admired from the deck. We moor up in the shadow of the abbey of Hautvillers, time for a gentle stroll along the towpath before Jason introduces you to "bubbles du jour" followed by another of Dawns fabulous meals on board?

Tuesday : Cumieres to Tour-sur-Marne
After breakfast Jason will drive you through Epernay to visit chocolatier Thibault where you will spend the morning making artisanal chocolate with the master chocolatier, famous as the last chocolatier to make the alcohol filled chocolate champagne cork, this is a rare and exciting chance to get up close to one of the worlds favourite foods!
Return to the Saroche where Dawn will present another fabulous lunch.
After lunch we set sail for Tour sur Marne on the canal lateral a la Marne, we pass by hill covered vineyards owned by many famous Champagne houses like Mumm, Philiponat, Moët & Chandon and Heidesek to name but a few, with plenty of opportunity to walk and cycle along the well paved towpath, we slowly ascend the valley toward our mooring in the centre of the village of Tour, in time for "bubbles du jour" before dinner on board.

Wednesday : Reims
We leave the Saroche this morning to head into the historic city of Reims, our first stop is to the Eisenhower war rooms, an important yet undiscovered museum where the end of the Second World War was signed. From here Jason will take you to the world famous cathedral of Reims, having survived the revolution and two world wars it is a SAROCHEament to the resilience of the people of Reims, with its amazing nave and wonderful architecture it deserves the world heritage status it has gained. Time to wander the the shopping district of Reims before meeting up to go to lunch. Jason will take you to Lunch at Les Crayers bistro for a lazy yet tantalising Michelin dinning experience. Followed by time to enjoy the garden at this most magnificent Relais and Chateau, once home to the Pommery family and now one of the best small hotels in the world.
Leaving Reims behind we drive back to Saroche. On the way stop off in Bouzy for a small private tour and tasting before returning to the barge in time for a dip in the jacuzzi before Dawn serves a light dinner on deck.

Thursday: Tour-sur-Marne to Mont-du-Billy
After a lazy breakfast we take the mini bus to Meruil-sur-Ay, home to many famous champagne houses but non more so than Billecart Salmon, enjoy a private tour of the last remaining independent large Champagne house followed by a delectable tasting.
Returning to Saroche for more of Dawns creations will leave you well suited to a relaxing afternoon on the deck or walking by the barge as we climb the 8 locks to the summit pound, where we moor in the shade of the trees in the middle of the French countryside, as we cruise those who are interested can join Dawn in the kitchen and watch her prepare her famous pates and terrines, whilst quizzing her about her menus and creations.
After Bubbles du Jour another delightful meal awaits for dinner.

Friday : Mont-du-Billy to Beaumont
This morning we set sail and head along the canal to the tunnel at Mont-du-Billy, Jason will prepare the barge to go through the tunnel, a marvel of French engineering this tunnel allowed commercial traffic to enter the heart of Reims and thus connected Paris and Reims in the 18th century. Having passed the tunnel we continue our lazy cruise down the canal to Beaumont sur Vesels.
After lunch Jason will drive you to the World War 1 trenches at the Mains-de-Messige. An archeological dig that is as authentic and sobering as it is mysterious. These trenches were discovered by a Parisian archeological student doing a summer dig, today they are the newest discovery of this grizzly episode in Champagnes torrid history. A walking tour of real trenches is a reminder of the other reason Champagne is world famous.
Return to the barge in time to get freshened up before captains dinner. Tonight the Captain, Jason, will host your dinner, starting with Bubbles du jour and cocktails on the deck before Dawn wows you with more delights from her kitchen.

After breakfast your chauffeur driven minibus will take you back to Paris with time on the journey to reflect on a truly unique vacation

PLEASE NOTE— This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change without notice. The cruise runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.

Burgundy Cruise Itinerary
Between Escommes and Gissey-sur-Ouche or reverse
Cruise route map

This very special itinerary captures the essence of France, starting near Dijon, visit the magical vineyards of the world famous Côte d'Or, cruise through unspoilt canals mooring up in quaint hamlets and villages.

Sunday: Paris to Escommes
Meet your chauffeur in a chosen place for your journey down to the Saroche at Escommes on the canal du Bourgogne. You will be welcomed with a champagne reception and have plenty of time to settle in before Dawn, your personal chef, presents you with the first of many gourmet meals.

Monday: Escommes - Chateauneuf
Today's cruise takes you down the flight of locks from the summit pound to the foot of beautiful Chateauneuf en Auxois. After lunch Jason will take you to visit a chocolatier for a delightful tasting and talk on this wonderful product.
With both lunch and dinner aboard today, relax and enjoy burgundy and canal life at its best.

Tuesday: Chateauneuf-en-Auxois - Pont D'Ouche
After breakfast Jason will drive you up the hill to the village of Chateauneuf en Auxois. This 11th century chateau is a famous landmark in the area and hides a quaint hamlet behind it. After a tour of the chateau there is plenty of time to enjoy exploring the village before returning to the barge for lunch.
In the afternoon we set sail and head down stream to Pont d'Ouche, our mooring for the night. There is a tow path all the way, and you can walk or cycle or perhaps enjoy the pace of life from the deck. Once moored up, Dawn will once again regale you with another gourmet feast.

Wednesday: Pont d'Ouche - Velar
Today we leave the Saroche and head over the hills to Beaune. In the morning Jason will do a guided tour of the Hospice du Beaune, as famous for its wines as it is for its tiled roof!
Today for lunch you will dine out in a gourmet restaurant in Beaune.
After lunch Jason will take you into the cote du Beaune, known for its soft reds and complex delectable white wines. You will walk in the vines and be given an explanation as to why Burgundy wines are so well renowned, before going for a comprehensive tasting in a private winery.
Returning to Saroche for a sundowner cruise before a light dinner on board.

Thursday: Velar - La Bussiere
After breakfast we set sail and cruise down to La Bussiere, with another gentle tow path for those who wish to walk or cycle. Lunch is on board the Saroche. In the afternoon Jason will drive you into the Cote du Nuits where first you will visit the Clos du Vougeot, the 11th century Cistercian monastic winery, now home to the Knights of the round table of wine tasting, before heading into one of the villages for a tasting. The cote du Nuits is famous for its red wines, and Jason will show you why the world raves about the Pinot Noir from this area.

Friday: La Bussiere - Gissey
Market Day. Dijon is the capital of Burgundy, once home to the Dukes of Burgundy and home to Gustaf Eiffel, who designed the market square. After a walking tour of the old town, you will have plenty of time to enjoy and explore the market and enjoy the classic French shops of Dijon.
We return to the Saroche for lunch before setting sail for Gissey our destination for the week. This beautiful village nestled in the heart of the Ouche valley is classically French and no trip would be complete without exploring the village.
Tonight Jason will be your host for Captains dinner where Dawn will round of your culinary experience with another gourmet delight.

Saturday: Gissey - Paris
Your chauffeur driven minibus will pick you up after breakfast and take you back to Paris with time to reflect on the fabulous week aboard the Saroche.

PLEASE NOTE— This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change without notice. The cruise runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.

‘Through Route’ Itinerary - First week
Cruising from Champagne towards Burgundy, from Dommarien to Maxilly-sur-Saône
Cruise route map

Minibus transfer from Paris to the Saroche moored on the Canal de la Saône à la Marne.
Champagne welcome and time to settle in before dinner on board.

This morning we set sail and gently cruise down to Cusey. After lunch Jason will take you to the citadel of Langre, famous for its cheese. The ancient ramparts and cobbled streets are a joy to explore. Return to Saroche for evening apéritifs before Dawn regales you with another sumptuous meal.

This morning we set sail for Saint Seine Sur Vingeanne passing many locks. There is plenty of opportunity to walk or cycle along the paved towpath. Then, after lunch, Jason will take you to an artisan cassis maker. This majestic blackcurrant liqueur is best known added to white wine or champagne to make the well-loved Kir or Kir Royal. Learn how it's made and how luscious it tastes Dinner on Saroche, with perhaps a Kir or two before, during and after?

Today we drive to Beaune where we visit the fascinating and historical Hospice de Beaune. Following this Jason will take you to lunch in Beaune before a diverse wine tasting to show you the best Burgundy has to offer. We drive back to Saroche via the vineyards in time to freshen up before a light meal on deck.

This morning we visit the Château of Fontaine Française, a wonderful Renaissance château. Our guide, the owner, will describe the lavish history of this beautiful building. Returning to Saroche for lunch we set sail in the afternoon and gently meander down to Oissily. This hamlet is well worth exploring before dinner on board.

Market day in Dijon. Jason will drive you to Dijon market (one of the best in France), where you can wander among the stalls and be delighted by the fresh produce in abundance. Return to the boat for lunch on deck before setting sail and our last gentle cruise down the Canal to Maxilly Sur Saône, our destination for the week. This evening is Captain’s Dinner so Jason will host your last dinner on board the Saroche.

After breakfast we will say our sad farewells and transfer you by barge minivan back to Paris for your onward travel.

Please note, this is a sample itinerary and is subject to change without notice.

‘Through Route’ Itinerary - Second week
Cruising in Burgundy, from Maxilly-sur-Saône to Gissey-sur-Ouche
Cruise route map

Pick up in Paris, transfer to the Saroche moored in Maxilly Sur Saône, enjoy a champagne welcome and then time to settle in before your first lavish dinner on the barge.

Maxilly Sur Soane to St Jean de Losne
After a relaxed breakfast we set sail into the Saône river, gently cruising down one of the prettiest stretches of river in Europe. Lunch on board, then in the afternoon we continue down the river to St Jean de Losne, our mooring for the night. We will arrive mid-afternoon so there is plenty of time to cycle locally or explore the town before dinner on board.

St Jean de Losne to Longecourt-en-Plaine
This morning we enter the Canal de Bourgogne and gently cruise up many locks to the village of Longecourt-en-Plaine. After a lazy lunch on board Jason will take you to the very historic 11th century Abbey of the Clos du Vougeot followed by a wine tasting in a family run domaine. Return to Saroche to freshen up before another fabulous dinner is served.

Today we go to Beaune, capital of wine in Burgundy and home to the world famous ‘Hospice de Beaune’. Jason will guide you through the fascinating hospice and then leave you with ample time to explore the town. We then meet up for lunch in a carefully chosen restaurant before heading to the cellars of Patriarch Père et fils for a comprehensive wine-tasting. A gentle drive takes us back to the Saroche in time for a light dinner and a relaxing evening.

Longecourt-en-Plaine to Dijon
We set sail this morning and head into Dijon town where we moor close to the town centre. After lunch Jason will take you on a tour of this lovely city. Founded in Roman times its ancient buildings have many stories to tell. Enjoy the shops, cafés and bars before returning to the Saroche for dinner.

Dijon to Gissey
Today is all about canal cruising as we leave Dijon and head out past Lac Kir and into the countryside which just keeps becoming more rural and lovely as we venture on. Our destination is Gissey Sur Ouche which is quaint, peaceful and typically French. There is plenty of opportunity to walk and cycle whilst at this mooring, as we are in the middle of the most beautiful Burgundy countryside.

After breakfast we will say our sad farewells and transfer you by barge minivan back to Paris for your onward travel.

PLEASE NOTE— This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change without notice. The cruise runs in the reverse direction on alternate weeks.

Client Quotes

Here are just a few of the wonderful things that past clients have had to say about their cruise on the SAROCHE...

"This was truly the trip of a lifetime for us, and it was perfect in every way "

" Our second trip with Saroche and now we can look forward to the third. There are lots of barges in French waters but Saroche is Queen of them all"

"What was once a fantasy is now a reality... what was only a dream is now a memory Saroche was the experience of the century!"

"Thank you for allowing us seven days of total self indulgence—Nero would have been proud"

"Beyond our expectations!! A wonderful crew, fabulous food, a wonderful country. What could be better?"

"The most gracious hospitality in the loveliest of settings - Saroche is a star!"

"Ecouté Michelin! Saroche is the best restaurant in town"


Food and Wine


Every cruise on board Saroche is a gourmet experience. Here is a sample of the delights that await you on board…

Sample Lunch Menu 1
Gazpacho with a Crayfish and Mozzarella Timbale
Cheeses: Luperac (a goats milk cheese), Cantal (a cows milk cheese) Roquefort Papillon (a sheeps milk cheese)
Baked Peach with Honey Cream and Raspberry Coulis

Chorey Le Beaune Domaine Toillot 2014

Sample Lunch Menu 2
Quiche Lorraine
Watercress, Pistachio and Orange Blossom Salad
Crayfish, Avocado, Quinoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad
Red Fruits of the Forest marinated in Crème de Cassis and Served with Crème Fraîche

Sancerre Domaine Masson-Blondelet 2014

* * * * *

Sample Dinner Menu 1
Canapé of Scallop, Pea and Mint Crisp
Amuse bouche of Foie Gras Crème Brulée
Herb crusted loin of cod sat on a bed of puy lentils, curried shallots, beetroot shoots and beetroot chips served with whole grain mustard ice cream

Délice de Pommard (a cows milk cheese), Époisse (a cows milk cheese)
Grand Marnier Soufflé
Coffee, Digestives and Chocolates

2012 Paul Kubler Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle Pinot Gris
2009 Santany 1er Cru, Domaine Bachey Legros

Sample Dinner Menu 2
Canapé of Smoked Salmon and Goats Cheese Macaroons
Lobster Soufflé
Palet cleanser - Red Wine and Pear Granita
Charolais Beef Fillet Wellington served with Pommes Anna and Madeira jus

Brie de Meaux (a cows milk cheese), L'Ami de Chambertaine (a cows milk cheese), St Maure (a goats milk cheese)
Rhubarb compote with a Kirsch Sabayon and Pepper Tuiles

Pouilligny Montrachet 1er Cru La Folatier 2010
Hospice de Beaune Cuve Nicolas Rolin 2000