THE CHAMPAGNE ROUTE TOUR
Whether you have an interest in wine and viticulture, or you simply love a glass of champagne, this tour is the ultimate idea for a romantic break or celebration, or just a lovely way to spend a few days away.
Depending on the time of year you could watch the grapes being harvested and pressed or the champagne being blended, as you sip and savour your way through four days of beautiful scenery, fabulous French food and some of the finest champagnes in the world.
Day 1. Uk - Reims
After your chosen crossing you drive south to the fabulous city of Reims, jewel in the crown of the Champagne region.
Home to some of France’s most famous producers including Pommery and Taittinger, there are also lots of small boutique wineries as well as Michelin-starred restaurants, art deco cafes and elegant bistros - a testament to Reims’ glorious gastronomic pedigree.You can walk off any indulgences with a visit to the monumental Gothic cathedral, the setting for 25 coronations between 1223 and 1825, most notably that of Charles VII. The young king was crowned here in 1429, with Joan of Arc by his side.
Day 2. Reims – Epernay Via Verzenay
Today you drive through the rolling, vineyard-clad hills of Champagne to Epernay, a distance of 18 miles. Epernay is home to G.H. Mumm, one of the most recognisable champagne brands in the world. The town also showcases the prestigious wine cellars of Mercier while Champagne Domi is a relatively small producer that opens its doors for friendly informative tours and tastings.
For an entirely different – and quirky – perspective, drive to Epernay via Verzenay and look out for a lighthouse in a sea of vineyards. Built in 1909 by Joseph Goulet to promote his own brand of champagne, the lighthouse is now a fun, educational, interactive museum devoted to the production of the world’s most famous sparkling wine.
Day 3. Epernay – Troyes Via Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger
From Epernay you drive 69 miles to Troyes, pausing at Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger en route. This small town is home to the producers of two of the most exclusive and critically-acclaimed of all French champagnes - Salon and Clos du Mesnil.
A single bottle of either could set you back £100s, but even a taste of these exquisite and rare vintages is well worth the trip. Troyes itself is a medieval treasure trove. Its half-timbered houses, Gothic churches and narrow twisting streets give you a vivid sense of life in 15th century France, as does the Gothic cathedral where, in 1429, Charles VII and Joan of Arc stopped on their way to his coronation.
Day 4: Troyes-Uk (optional via Paris)
Drive to Dieppe, (228 miles) Calais (246 miles), Dunkirk (251 miles) or IJmuiden (374 miles) today for your return crossing to the UK. Alternatively, you could drive 110 miles to Paris and break your journey with a stay in the French capital.
Admire the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower, splash out on an evening dinner cruise on the Seine, take a stroll along the Champs Elysee… surely it’s only fitting to end your Champagne tour with a night in the world’s most famously romantic city?