Champagne…! The same word designates the region and the wine which is produced here. A unique wine with bubbles’ secret revealed to us during the different visits included in our program.
A region with an exceptional heritage, landscapes fading into the vineyard and a flagship: the city of Reims; During a few days, this dynamic and easily accessible area will deliver us its beauties.
Epernay • Chalons • Marne River • Verzenay • Reims
Epernay – Prosperous Épernay, the self-proclaimed capitale du champagne and home to many of the world’s most celebrated Champagne houses, is the best place for touring cellars and sampling bubbly.
Chalons – Châlons-en-Champagne is the capital of both the department of Marne and the region of Champagne-Ardenne, despite being only a quarter the size of the city of Reims. Formerly called Châlons-sur-Marne, the city was officially renamed in 1998.
Marne River – The Marne is a river in France, a right tributary of the Seine in the area east and southeast of Paris. It is 514 kilometres (319 mi) long.
Verzenay – For the region’s best introduction to the art of growing grapes and the cycles of the seasons, head to the Phare de Verzenay, on a hilltop at the eastern edge of the village.
Reims – Along with Épernay, it is the most important centre of Champagne production and a fine base for exploring the Montagne de Reims Champagne Route.
Day 1: Epernay
Upon arrival at Paris airport, welcome and departure by coach to the Champagne. After 1h30 drive, we reach Epernay along the prestigious Avenue de Champagne, district of the main production and trading houses of Champagne. With more than 100 kilometres of tunnels dug into the chalk where millions of bottles are stored, Avenue de Champagne is truly the capital of Champagne.
We visit a great Champagne house: Mercier, 18 km of cellars which we discover aboard a small train. Then we continue to the Champagne countryside, where we check-in in a 4 stars hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Châlons, Hautvilliers, cruise on the Marne river and Champagne evening
Morning tour to Chalons en Champagne where you discover the half-timbered houses, the mansions and the Notre Dame en Vaux church listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. By late morning, you return to the hotel for lunch.
Then, you depart for Hautvilliers, a typical Champagne village which has retained its wrought iron signs. In the heart of the Montagne de Reims this village is the birthplace of Dom Perignon who developed the technique of Champagne.
After visiting the village, enjoy a boat cruise on the Marne river which offers a unique view on the vineyards. By late afternoon, you visit a winery – wine press, the wine vats and the cellars – where you are greeted by a family winemakers who will show you the automatic and the manual riddling.
Day 3: Verzenay, Reims, dinner with truffles
Morning departure to the Verzenay lighthouse, visit of the Museum of Vine and Wine which overlooks the vineyards of one of the most prestigious hills of the Montagne de Reims.
In Reims, visit the Cathedral where the kings of France were crowned. A masterpiece of French Gothic art, decorated with more than 2,300 sculptures, including the famous Smiling Angel.
In the afternoon, visit the Pommery Champagne House or the Villa Demoiselle: opposite the Pommery cellars. The Villa owned by Mr. Vranken, a symbol of mixed Art Nouveau and Art Deco, became his great project. It was the private home of Pommery’s Directors and has been beautifully restored.
The visit is followed by a tasting and a demonstration of champagne sabrage to which a member of the group participates. Back to the hotel, you are expected by the owner for a discovery of the Champagne truffle, his specialty: presentation and initiation around a Champagne flute, and demonstration of truffle cavage with truffle dogs. After some free time, gourmet truffle dinner in the hotel: truffled appetizer, truffled main course with vegetables, salad and cheese, dessert. Champagne: 1 flute of non-dosed, 1 flute of vintage, 1 flute of rose by maceration.
Day 4: Visit to a cooperative and departure
Morning departure to the west, after an hour’s drive, last “Champagne” stop to discover another aspect of the production in a cooperative created in 1929 at the initiative of a priest to help the village growers to enhance their production. In harvest season, traditional techniques are staged. After this last visit, you join the airport in 1h30 for departure.