There are lots of quick train connections from both Paris centre and the Charles de Gaulle airport making your arrival to Champagne easy. Upon your arrival, settle in to your hotel, and then take some time to explore Reims itself, including its cathedral. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the 13th century Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral is one of Europe’s largest Gothic structures. You’ll be captivated by the unique stained glass windows (including three drawn by Marc Chagall) and the exceptionally rich statuary – over 2300 statues including the famous “Smiling Angel”. It is here that King Clovis was baptized around year 498 giving birth to the “Kingdom of the Franks”; except two, every single King of France afterwards was crowned here. Enjoy the lively streets, shops and cafes surrounding the cathedral in the historic centre of town.
Your guide will pick you up from the hotel after breakfast, and you’ll start your tour with a bang, with a tour and tasting at Veuve Cliquot. The heroine of this morning’s tale, Barbe Ponsardin was born in Reims in 1777. When she was 21 years old, she married François Clicquot. His premature death disrupted her commonplace destiny and revealed a woman of exception as she took over the family Champagne business. You’ll discover the exceptional life of Madame Clicquot, nicknamed “The Great Lady of Champagne”. Visit the magnificent “Crayères”: the UNESCO-listed chalk cellars. And of course enjoy a tasting of Veuve Clicquot’s flagship Champagne – The Yellow Label – and the prestigious Grande Dame vintage.
From Reims, head into the nearby vineyards. Your guide will explain the vineyard work, the Champagne “terroir”, and the grape varieties, as well as the strict standards that all Champagne-makers must stick to and that make Champagne wines so unique… The charming village of Hautvillers is your next stop (UNESCO-listed village). There, trace the origins of Champagne and visit the church where the famous monk Dom Pierre Pérignon is buried. This monk – who gave his name to a famous brand long after his death – is also known as the inventor of the Champagne blending process. With your appetite ready, lunch takes place in the charming centre of Hautvillers. Enjoy tasting the gamut of several regional specialties served as tapas, paired with three single-varietal cuvées of Champagne.
After lunch, back into the surrounding vineyards, heading to Premier Cru village, Ludes. Here a visit to a boutique Champagne House awaits. The House’s cellar master pays particular attention to the elaboration of her top-range Extra Brut Champagnes. Before tasting their Champagne, a tour of their old press and their impressive cellars. Afterwards we return you to the hotel in Reims, around 5:30pm.
Your first stop after your guide picks you up at the hotel this morning is to the domain of a boutique Champagne producer in the Côte des Blancs area. Meet the young couple who has recently taken over this family-owned Champagne House. After a tour of the cellars, your host will offer you to taste some Champagnes from the range. Given its location, this House focuses of course on Blanc de Blancs Champagnes !
Afterwards, head to Epernay, for a Blanc de Blancs & Vintage Champagne tasting on the renowned Avenue de Champagne itself. Originally from the Côte des Blancs area, our visit at this top-range independent Champagne House is at the beautiful mansion on the famous Avenue de Champagne which they acquired in 2011.
Wander afterwards in the centre of Epernay to find lunch at your leisure. Once you’ve recharged your energy, your guide will take you away from Epernay, into the Marne Valley, for a private tour and tasting at the magnificent domain of an independent producer, whose vines stretch around an outstanding castle, overlooking the Marne River. This domain once also belonged to Madame Clicquot, who used to spend time with her family in this peaceful setting. After a commented walk through the vineyards and the cellars, you will taste three different Champagnes from the House. At their domain, Hervé and Charlotte take care of every step of the process, from the grapes to the bottle… Drop-off at your hotel at the end of the day again around 5:30pm.
Reims has both its central and a high-speed TGV train station, making your further travels easy – Bon Voyage!
- 3 nights in charming hotels of the comfort level of your choice * CLASSIC, CLASSIC+ or DELUXE
- All hotel taxes
- All breakfasts, 1 lunch (drinks included) and 1 dinner (drinks not included)
- 2 fully guided days with a private English speaking, fun and professional chauffeur/guide
- All described wine tastings and visits
- Transportation in a comfortable vehicle to explore the vineyards