Discover Les Bateaux Belmond
Story and renderings courtesy of Belmond
Belmond is delighted to announce the launch of a luxury barge, part of its unmatched French collection: Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne. Debuting in May 2023, Coquelicot will take guests on a cinematic journey of Champagne in partnership with Maison Ruinart, the world’s oldest champagne house. Designed by successful French duo Humbert & Poyet, the boat, formerly the Hirondelle barge, will set a new standard of sophistication for slow-paced sailing in France.
Coquelicot features three spacious cabins with marble ensuite bathrooms, an extensive outdoor deck, and an indoor salon and champagne bar stocked with a curated selection of the guests’ preferred labels. The vessel’s top deck will be the social center for guests to unwind as they meander the calm waterways. Framed by potted local herbs and indigenous wildflowers that root the space in the locale, the deck features two seating lounges, an open kitchen, and a shaded dining area to enjoy a menu inspired by seasonal ingredients from trusted local suppliers.
To complement the ever-changing views and create an intimate sanctuary on the water, the barge’s interiors and exteriors will capture the essence of Champagne, with nods to the region’s hues and character. Local fabrics in earthy tones and raw materials will honor Champagne’s agricultural heritage, while fluted walls, decadent interiors, and pieces of art will pay homage to the land’s glorious gifts. Coquelicot’s namesake, the red poppy, will be found in subtle references such as the hand-cut red marble side tables and the tone-on-tone hand-painted petals that line the hallway. At the same time, the lounge’s skylight is a celebration of Champagne’s water-mapping legacy.
Elevating the river barge journey, Belmond has partnered with Maison Ruinart to offer exclusive access to the first established House of Champagne with a private tasting lunch by chef-in-residence Valérie Radou and guided tours of the historic Taissy vineyard to discover the brand’s latest sustainability initiatives. Guests will disembark Coquelicot for unrivaled access to Taissy, which has been referenced as early as 1733 in the Maison’s archives. Immersed in the hillsides of the Champagne region, Maison Ruinart, in partnership with Reforest’Action and the University of Reims, launched a pioneering viti-forestry project in 2021 to preserve and regenerate forests to restore biodiversity. Also dotting the grounds is a new art installation by German visual artist Nils-Udo, a pioneer of land art. A technical tasting of iconic Maison Ruinart cuvées, led by a Maison ambassador, will conclude the morning experience in the vineyard.
Back on board, Belmond guests will be treated to a private five-course tasting lunch by Radou and the Coquelicot head chef. It will be the first time Maison Ruinart’s chef will cook a private “four hands” lunch outside the Maison. A true lesson in French art de vivre, this dining experience includes five seasonal dishes inspired by regional cuisine paired with prestigious cuvées such as Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Dom Ruinart Rosé. Framed by the idyllic landscape and in the comfort and privacy of their luxury boat, guests will delve deep into the world of Maison Ruinart as their ambassador reveals the story, characteristics, and technical aspects of each bottle.
Personal guest experience executives will help craft customized itineraries depending on guest preferences. Whether an art-focused tour of Champagne, a historic voyage through the mighty castles, an active adventure on two wheels, or a series of epicurean visits to Europe’s most celebrated and most secret wine producers, guests will have the liberty to design their journeys and marvel at the region’s treasures at their own pace. Alternate an al fresco soirée on the top deck with an off-board Michelin-starred restaurant experience or a less inhibited dinner in one of the quaint villages scattered across the region. The all-inclusive journeys include table d’hôte meals, complimentary beverages, all planned excursions escorted by a private guide, and a transfer from Paris to the barge. Helicopter transfers from Paris are also available upon request. Bon voyage!
Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne, is part of Les Bateaux Belmond, the luxury travel brand’s unrivaled collection of boats in France. It is available for week-long private charters starting from €82,000 (approximately $79,500). The fleet also includes Alouette, A Belmond Boat, Canal Du Midi; Pivoine, A Belmond Boat, Camargue; Napoléon, A Belmond Boat, Provence; Amaryllis, A Belmond Boat, Burgundy; Fleur de Lys, A Belmond Boat, Burgundy; and Lilas, A Belmond Boat, Burgundy. Visit Belmond.com/boats to learn more or book a voyage.