Belmond has revealed plans to introduce a new luxury barge, Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne: as the latest addition to the ultra-luxury hospitality company’s French boat collection.
Launching in May 2023, Coquelicot will operate on the canals of Champagne. Featuring three cabins with ensuite facilities, an indoor salon and lounge for dining and relaxing, with a champagne bar and extensive outdoor deck, “Coquelicot will set a new standard of sophistication for slow-paced sailing in France,” Belmond says.
To elevate the guest journey, Coquelicot will partner with Maison Ruinart – the world’s oldest champagne house, founded in Reims in 1729. Belmond guests will be treated to a private tasting lunch by Maison Ruinart’s Chef In Residence Valérie Radou and Coquelicot Head Chef aboard the new barge – it is the first time Maison Ruinart’s Chef will be cooking a private ‘four hands’ lunch outside of Maison Ruinart.
As part of the collaboration, Coquelicot guests will also discover the brand’s latest sustainability initiatives during private guided tours of the historic Taissy vineyard.
The vessel’s top deck will be the jewel in the crown: two seating lounges, an open kitchen and a shaded dining area will offer a choice of spaces for guests to unwind and laze around as they meander the calm waterways.
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, while the lounge’s sensational skylight is a celebration of Champagne’s water mapping legacy.
Immersion into the world of Maison Ruinart
Through the collaboration between Belmond and Maison Ruinart, Coquelicot’s guests will enjoy unrivalled access to Taissy vineyard, referenced as early as 1733 in the Maison’s archives.
Here guests will learn about Maison Ruinart’s pioneering viti-forestry project in partnership with Reforest’Action and the University of Reims, while they admire the pioneer work of landscape artist Nils Udo, Habitats. A technical tasting of iconic Maison Ruinart cuvées, led by a Maison Ambassador, will conclude the morning experience in the vineyard.
Following the tour, guests will head back to Coquelicot where Maison Ruinart’s Chef, Valérie Radou, and Coquelicot’s Head Chef will prepare a five-course lunch on the boat’s cinematic top deck. A true lesson in French art de Vivre, this dining experience includes five seasonal dishes inspired by regional cuisine and paired with prestigious cuvées such as Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Dom Ruinart Rosé.
Passengers will also be able to tailor their onshore activities with a Belmond Guest Experience Executive. Whether it’s 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 own journey and at their own pace.
Days of discoveries are followed by memorable nights aboard the new barge. After a refreshing aperitivo by the boat’s Champagne bar – stocked by Coquelicot’s crewmembers with a curated selection of the guests’ preferred labels – the private Chef will serve a menu of sophisticated dishes, prepared using the finest seasonal ingredients from trusted local suppliers. Guests can dine to al fresco soirée on the top deck with an offboard Michelin-starred restaurant experience or a less inhibited dinner in one of the quaint villages scattered across the region.
Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne is part of Les Bateaux Belmond, the brand’s unrivalled collection of boats in France. The fleet 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.
Prices for Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat start from €82,000 (approximately AU$131,200). Helicopter transfers from Paris are also available upon request.
Lead image: The Living and Bar area of Belmond Coquelicot