Travelling from the UK?
When you think about going on a european river cruise taking a flight or hopping on the Eurostar probably spring to mind.
But as Champagne is in northern France we are just 2.5 hours drive from Calais. Driving your own car means you’re in your own bubble on the journey and you don’t need to organise separate travel bookings.
In this article we run down your options to travelling to meet the barge from the UK.
Drive your own car
The meeting point (and drop off point) for all our cruises is Reims, which is just 2.5 hours drive from Calais. Parking is no problem with a secure multi-storey car park (equipped with CCTV) costing €39 for your cruise duration – and we’ll pick you up at the car park.
Getting to Reims from Calais (ferry or Eurotunnel)
The fastest route to Reims is taking the A26. You’ll hop on the motorway straight away in Calais and it’s easy 3 lane motorway driving all the way to Reims (and compared with the UK there is much less traffic making the journey more pleasant).
There are plenty of service areas to stop for a coffee or snack but be aware that the A26 is a toll road. The total journey will cost around €25 each way and you can pay with a credit card, or cash, at the toll booths.
Dover not convenient? Try these other options
These ports with connections to the UK are also within a few hours of Reims:
- Dunkirk (from Dover) – 2 hours 45 minutes
- Dieppe (from Newhaven) – 3 hours
- Zeebrugge (from Hull) – 3 hours
- Le Havre (from Portsmouth) – 3 hours 45 minutes
- Cherbourg (from Poole) – 5 hours
Hop on the Eurostar
Getting to Paris is easy on the Eurostar – it’s just 2.5hrs from London’s St Pancras International station.
Once you arrive at Paris Gare du Nord station it’s easy to transfer to a train to Reims, either;
- take a 3 minute taxi ride to the nearby Gare de L’Est (make sure you use the official taxi rank outside the station rather than a tout)
- or if you’re travelling light and fancy stretching your legs do the simple 10 minute walk between the two stations.
You could take the metro but honestly I don’t recommend it here – by the time you’ve walked through the station, got down to the platform, and back up you’ll have walked almost as far as if you walk at street level!
Getting to Reims to meet the barge
We’ll help you buy your train ticket to Reims online in advance and the Gare de L’Est is a large, well signposted station that is easy to navigate.
Once you’re on the train is about 45 mins to Reims and it’s often the only and final stop making it super easy. But even if you are on a stopping train the stops are displayed on a scrolling LED screen in each carriage so you’ll know when to get off. We’ll be waiting for you at the exit of the station.
You’ll be taking a late afternoon train to Reims (we’ll help you book your tickets) so if you live relatively close to London, or don’t mind an early morning start, the whole journey to the barge can be done in one day. Or take the opportunity to add a night or two in Paris onto your trip.
Or we can meet you straight off your Eurostar
If you prefer you can choose to be picked up by us (and dropped off at the end of your cruise) at the Gare du Nord. If you’re travelling as a charter group the price is €500 return.
Or if you’re booking a cabin the return transfer is an additional €100 per person – we can only offer one pick-up location so the first people to book on a departure choose if it’s Reims or Paris. If a Paris transfer is important to you get in touch and I’ll be happy to let you know which dates this is currently available for.a
Fly to Paris
Many regional airports have regular flights to Paris so this can be a good option for travelling to your cruise.
When planning your trip bear in mind that there are three airports that serve Paris:
- Paris Charles De Gaulle – the biggest airport this handles most long-haul arrivals. A private shuttle transfer to the Gare de L’Est costs from €55 for two people. Alternatively take the RER train (metro/undergound train) from the airport and get off the ‘Gare du Nord’, around €12 each way. From here take a taxi for 3 minute trip or short walk to the Gare de l’Est where your train to Reims departs.
- Paris Orly – on the southside of Paris this airport is popular for european regional flights. A private shuttle transfer to the Gare de L’Est costs from €55 for two people. If you prefer the public transport option you can take the OrlyVal and RER B and get off the ‘Gare du Nord’, around €12 each way. From here take a taxi for 3 minute trip or short walk to the Gare de l’Est where your train to Reims departs.
- Paris Beauvais – used by the low-cost airlines this airport is 90km outside the city centre and has much more limited transport options. You’ll need to take the shuttle bus from the airport (around 1hr 15 travel time) and then get on 2 metro trains to reach the Gare de L’ Est (or Gare du Nord if we are picking you up in Paris for an individual cabin booking)