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Burgundy & Champagne

Cruising to Gissey-sur-Ouche © SarocheDawn & Jason - Owners © SarocheLiving-room - Saroche © Sonia Jones







Cruise from Escommes to Gissey-sur-Ouche (Burgundy),

or from Vandières to Beaumont-sur-Vesle (Champagne)


Introducing your hosts Dawn Coles and Jason Ashcroft – Barge Saroche. Dawn and Jason are iconic barge owners, having enjoyed a wonderful reputation in the barging industry, focusing on the Champagne and Burgundy regions for many years. Their tasteful renovation and success of their original barge Who Knows has led them to the purchase of a larger vessel, barge Saroche. Together, Dawn and Jason are one of the favourite barging duos, delivering quality and service, highlighting a unique gourmet experience with a French twist, carefully prepared and delivered by Chef Dawn (following in her mother’s footstep as a professional chef).

You will be truly pampered as your crew of 4 members – Captain Jason, Chef Dawn, a hostess and a deckhand – will attend to your every request and will ensure that your experience cruising the Waterways of France aboard is relaxing, comfortable and informative. Their knowledge and passion for the Champagne and Burgundy regions comes to the fore as they will take you on a journey through the Burgundian vineyards (Jason is an experienced sommelier), champagne tasting in family owned Champagne Houses, World War I and II history, market places and many more.

Barge Saroche layout is spacious and offers all modern amenities for up to 6 passengers. Its interior features boast a split level dining lounge room area, well-appointed large cabins with private ensuite. The upper deck comprises of a large wooden sun deck with a six person hot tub, the perfect way to admire the passing countryside.



Dimensions: 39,13 m x 5,09 m
Built in 1926 in Groningen, Holland and converted in 1994 Holland/France
Number of passengers: up to 6
Crew: 4 (Captain, Chef, Hostess and Deckhand)


 Three queen staterooms

Cabin © Saroche
The staterooms are bright, luxurious and spacious (17.65 m2), all with ensuite and large walk-in shower. Beautifully decorated and fully air conditioned, the staterooms reflect the high standard of accommodation to which the whole vessel was designed. Each stateroom can be made up as either a queen size double or twin cabin.


Living-room and dining areaLiving-room © Saroche

The living-room and dining area was designed to reflect the colours of Provence. The living-room boasts subtle burgundy and cream decor, highlighted with accents of terracotta and yellow. The cool mosaic tiled dining area and white oak floored salon are complemented by wrought iron, and hardwood balustrades, with a profusion of leafy indoor plants.

Living-room - Saroche © Sonia JonesEight large opening windows, and a hexagonal skylight flood the room with natural sunshine and fresh air. Rippling reflections from the water dance across the wood timbered ceiling, flashing across brass ceiling fans – all reflecting and absorbing the atmosphere and sunshine of the French countryside.


The deck and hot-tub

Deck © SarocheThe barge has a 44 msun deck, it has an awning covering part of the deck for those who wish for shade, a table and chairs for al fresco dining, sun-beds and arm chairs for relaxing. Bright flowering plants and shrubs including hanging baskets add the finishing touches. As the barge cruises through the countryside of Burgundy or Champagne, you can unwind in the hot tub and savour the beautiful French countryside from a unique perspective.


 Cuisine & Wines

Cuisine © Saroche

France is world renowned for its gourmet cuisine and grand wines and a vacation aboard the Saroche allows you to experience the very best offered by two of its iconic regions, Burgundy and Champagne.


A highlight of each day and part of our great success has been the deliciously prepared meals you will indulge in on board. Dawn will cater to all your culinary needs and you will be delighted by the meals she produces from the Galley. Also as part of your week aboard Saroche you will dine out in one of the areas renowned gastronomic restaurants, allowing you the opportunity to experience France in all its glory.

Drawing on France’s wonderfully varied selection of wines, your cruise will offer you the perfect opportunity to sample, compare and enjoy the excellent wines that represent Burgundy, Champagne and many of France’s other wine producing regions. As a wine enthusiast and trained sommelier, Jason loves to show his guests the vineyards and has met quite a few characters in his time in both regions. He has also tracked down the best vineyards and wine houses for clients to taste and enjoy the finest products of the area.


Transfers and excursions in a private minibus
 6 bikes available for guests use



Floor Plan © Saroche


Location map


Meeting point Champagne itinerary
Burgundy itinerary    



Burgundy sample itinerary: Escommes to Gissey-sur-Ouche

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


Day 1, Sunday – Paris to Escommes


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


Day 2, Monday – Escommes to Châteauneuf-en-Auxois


Today’s cruise takes you down the flight of locks from the summit pound to the foot of beautiful Châteauneuf-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.


Day 3, Tuesday – Châteauneuf-en-Auxois to Pont d’Ouche


After breakfast, Jason will drive you up the hill to the village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. This 11th century Château is a famous landmark in the area and hides a quaint hamlet behind it. After a tour of the Château, 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.


Day 4, Wednesday – Pont d’Ouche to Veuvey-sur-Ouche


Today we leave the Saroche and head over the hills to Beaune. In the morning, Jason will do a guided tour of the Hospices de Beaune, as famous for its wines as it is for its tiled roof! For lunch, you will dine out in a gourmet restaurant in Beaune.

Later in the afternoon, Jason will take you into the Côte de Beaune area, 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 sun-downer cruise before a light dinner on board.


Day 5, Thursday – Veuvey-sur-Ouche to La Bussière-sur-Ouche


After breakfast, we set sail and cruise down to La Bussière-sur-Ouche, 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 Côte de Nuits area, where first you will visit the Clos de 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 Côte de Nuits is famous for its red wines and Jason will show you why the world raves about the Pinot Noir from this area.


Day 6, Friday – La Bussière-sur-Ouche to Gissey-sur-Ouche


Dijon is the capital of Burgundy, once home to the Dukes of Burgundy and home to Gustave 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-sur-Ouche, our destination for the last night of 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.


Day 7, Saturday – Gissey-sur-Ouche to 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.


Champagne sample itinerary: Vandières to Beaumont-sur-Vesle

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 its best, celebrating with friends!


Day 1, Sunday – Paris to Vandières


Meet your chauffeur in Paris for your journey down to the Saroche, moored at Vandières on the Marne River. You will be welcomed with a champagne reception and introduced to the crew. Settle into your stateroom before Dawn creates your first gourmet dinner on-board Saroche.


Day 2, Monday – Vandières to Cumières


After breakfast, Jason will take you on a historic visit to the Château of Condé-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 360º views of the glorious Champagne vineyards before setting sail and heading up stream towards Cumières. 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.


Day 3, Tuesday – Cumières to Tours-sur-Marne


After breakfast, Jason will drive you through Epernay to visit chocolatier Thibaut 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 world’s favourite foods! Return to the Saroche where Dawn will present another fabulous lunch.

After lunch, we set sail for Tours-sur-Marne on the Canal Latéral à la Marne and we pass by hill covered vineyards owned by many famous Champagne houses like Mumm, Philipponnat, Moët & Chandon and Heidsieck to name 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 Tours-sur-Marne, in time for “Bubbles du Jour” before dinner on board.


Day 4, 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 testament to the resilience of the people of Reims. With its amazing nave and wonderful architecture, it deserves the World Heritage status it has gained.

Enjoy free time to wander the shopping district of Reims before meeting up to go to lunch. Jason will take you to lunch at Les Crayères bistro for a lazy yet tantalising Michelin dining experience. This will be followed by time to enjoy the garden at this most magnificent Relais & Châteaux, 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, we 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.


Day 5, Thursday – Tours-sur-Marne to Mont de Billy


After a lazy breakfast, we take the mini bus to Mareuil-sur-Ay, home to many famous champagne houses but none 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.


Day 6, Friday – Mont de Billy to Beaumont-sur-Vesle


This morning, we set sail and head along the canal to the tunnel at Mont de 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-Vesle.

After lunch, Jason will drive you to the World War 1 trenches at the Main de Massiges, an archaeological dig that is as authentic and sobering as it is mysterious. These trenches were discovered by a Parisian archaeological student doing a summer dig. Today, they are the newest discovery of this grizzly episode in Champagne’s 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 Captain’s 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.


Day 7, Saturday – Beaumont-sur-Vesle to Paris


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


Photo Gallery

Cruise Fares

Saroche cruise fares for 2018:


  • Private charter – Full board: from US $6,335 per person based on 6 passengers
  • Open week – Full board – Twin/double cabin: from USD $6,500 per person
  • Single supplement: from + US $3,000


Included in the fare:

– Six nights accommodation
– All gourmet meals prepared by your private chef
– All wines, bar, and refreshment drinks aboard
– Transfers to and from the barge from the designated meeting point
– Daily excursions with your tour guide in private vehicle
– Use of on-board bicycles, library and sound system




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