Belmond partners Ruinart to launch a barge, which will set sail in Champagne this May 2023

Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne

On Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne, guests will enjoy bespoke itineraries of bubbly and picturesque canals

A Champagne bar is all well and good, but a Champagne barge—well, that’s on a whole other level.

And we don’t have long to wait to get on one. Belmond has just announced the launch of Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne. Slated to start sailing in May 2023, the luxury barge, which is the result of a unique partnership with Champagne house Maison Ruinart, will take guests on bespoke itineraries along the picturesque canals of France’s Champagne region.

Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne
The master bedroom of a guest cabin

Offering the ultimate in exclusivity, the Coquelicot has just three double cabins. Each cabin comes with its own ensuite marble bathroom. The top deck is the jewel of the vessel. Boasting two seating lounges, an open kitchen and a shaded dining area, it’s a convivial social space where guests may unwind with unblocked views of the waterways as a backdrop. Indoor social spaces include a lounge and Champagne bar, which will be stocked beforehand with a selection of the guests’ preferred labels.

French duo Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet of architectural studio Humbert & Poyet has created a space that epitomises the spirit and natural beauty of the region the barge will traverse. Local fabrics and raw materials in earthy tones pay tribute to Champagne’s agricultural heritage while the stained glass of the skylight in the lounge details its water mapping legacy. Subtle references to the red poppy, Coquelicot’s namesake, have been worked into the interior design in the form of hand-cut red marble side tables and hand-painted red petals in the hallway.

Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne
Each cabin comes with its own marble ensuite bathroom

A highlight of the sailing is definitely the immersive Ruinart experience. Guests will enjoy access to the Champagne house’s Taissy vineyard where they will learn about the brand’s collaboration with forest specialist Reforest’Action and University of Reims in its pioneering viti-forestry project. Then, admire the surreal environmental sculptures of German landscape artist Nils Udo in the vineyard before heading to a technical tasting of Maison Ruinart cuvées led by a Maison ambassador.

After a morning exploring the vineyard, refuel back on the barge with a five-course, four-hands lunch prepared by Maison Ruinart’s chef, Valérie Radou and Coquelicot’s head chef. This will mark the first time Radou is cooking a collaborative meal outside of the Maison’s premises. Seasonal dishes inspired by the regional cuisine will feature heavily in the menu, paired with some of Maison Ruinart’s most prestigious cuvées—of course.

Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne
The stained glass in the skylight over the lounge depicts the Champagne region’s legacy in water mapping

The rest of the itinerary is bespoke for every guest, specially created by a dedicated guest experience executive to suit individual interests and preferences. Art tours, historic walks through ancient castles, and epicurean experiences at under-the-radar wine producers are just some of the possibilities.

Close the day with a sumptuous dinner prepared by Coquelicot’s head chef and enjoyed on the top deck, or venture off the barge to a pre-booked meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the locality. For an authentic experience, get the guest experience executive to suggest an off-the-beaten-track eatery in one of the many quaint villages that dot the region.

Itineraries start from €82,000.

Coquelicot, a Belmond Boat, Champagne