Champagne- the name conjures images of effervescent golden liquid, sparkling in an elegant flute, toasting a celebration – and also the rolling countryside in France where this fabulous drink is produced.
This leisurely exploration of the Champagne region will reward you with beautiful, charming villages, chalk hillsides covered in pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay vines; and of course the opportunity to meet the families who create the world’s most famous wine. Champagne also holds some surprises: medieval churches, the Gothic cathedral od Reims, and a lighthouse hundreds of kilometers from the sea, built as a publicity stunt in 1909.
Day 1 : Arrival in Reims
Arrive at your leisure in Reims. You may like to take some time to explore the “coronation city” which is renowned for its historical architecture, especially the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, where many French monarchs were crowned. Or perhaps book a tour at one of the many maisons de Champagne in Reims. Afternoon briefing with route manager. Tonight stay in a charming 3-star hotel in the heart of Reims.
Day 2: Reims – Epernay 32 miles/50 kms
Today’s route takes you through the Montagne de Reims. Cycle surrounded by picturesque hillsides and valleys covered in vines, through many pretty villages, including Chigny-les-Roses, home of Louise Pommery and over 40 wine cellars. If your legs are up to the challenge, visit the Museum of the Vine in the lighthouse at Verzenay (entry fee approx. 7€, not included) and climb up the 101 steps to the top for the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Follow up by a very leisury ride of around 12 kilometers along the Marne canal.
Arrive in Epernay, France’s champagne capital and home to some of its most famous champagne houses. Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, Mercier, Pol Roger, De Castellane, … to name but a few. Take a leisurely walk along the Champs Elysées of Epernay, the Avenue de Champagne, with its 110 kms of underground cellars. Tonight’s accommodation is either in a small, family run 3-star hotel or a guesthouse, in a converted townhouse, both centrally located.
Day 3: Epernay – Epernay roundtrip, 22 miles/35 kms
Start cycling early today, as the climb to the pretty village of Hautvillers will certainly get your heart racing! Don’t worry though as you can free wheel all the way down on the return trip. The panoramic views overlooking Epernay and the Marne River are stunning with vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Hautvillers is said to be the cradle of champagne, the home of Dom Perignon, the master-blender of champagne. You can cycle along the cobbled streets and up to the church to visit his tombstone. Appreciate the quite unique and colorful wrought-iron signage above shops and houses. One of our favorites here is to pop into the very interesting antique shop, Entre Cave et Jardin, a place where you’ll find everything related to champagne. While you browse around you can also enjoy a fine class champagne! Or you could spoil yourself with a glass of bubbly at the Bistrot right in the centre of the village just before you head downhill. Take direction Damery, with its pretty 12th century St. George’s church, and then on back to Epernay for your last evening.
Day 4: Epernay – Reims 22 miles/35 kms
It is time to cycle back to Reims for your last evening. Today’s route takes you through the Montagne de Reims, a regional nature park on a plateau some 300 meters above sea level. A lovely route through the forest, past small, quaint villages, Roman churches – if you are lucky, perhaps spotting wild boar or deer. Finish your day with a hearty dinner in Reims (booked for you if ½ board option subscribed), staying again in a 3-star hotel.
Day 5 End of your cycling trip after breakfast.
This is a trip for those who have a reasonable level of fitness. To make the best champagnes, the grapes have to be grown on slopes, so be prepared for some hills along the way!
Fly to Paris then take the train from Paris Est directly to Reims.
Bike rental: 110 € / bike
E-bike rental: 180 €
Single room supplement: 260 €
Half-board supplement: 190 €
Extra night in Epernay: 80 €
Extra night in Reims: 90 €
Visit of Moët et Chandon: 25€/pers
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