There is so much more to Champagne than a glass of bubbles! There is something to please all members of the family on a trip here; history, architecture, art, countryside, food and of course wine. The fun can start before you even arrive, leaving Paris on the high-speed train.
You will start with some history; a visit to beautiful Hautvillers amongst the vineyards, home to Dom Pérignon to understand his role in the birth of Champagne. Then you will make your way to the beautiful town of Ay. Here at The Cité de Champagne Collet, the museum recounts more recent history. There is old wine making and grape growing equipment but also a more poignant presentation of the difficult years that the Marne region suffered during the two world wars. The exhibition includes a moving tribute to the women of the region and their important role in the vineyards.
Your exploration of the history of the region will continue with a visit of Champagne Philipponnat. This Champagne House is at the very heart of the vineyards and has been in the same family for nearly 500 years. You will discover their spectacular underground cellars and taste the range of wines produced by this family who are happy to share their passion for the region and their wines.
It's not all about ancient history; you will now make your way to your wonderful new luxury hotel, Royal Champagne, where the modern glass and steel building allows you to enjoy spectacular views over the vineyards.
For your first evening, you will dine at the hotel and you can choose from the one star Michelin restaurant Le Royal or the more relaxed Bellevue. Perhaps the family would enjoy a personalised wine and food tasting menu at the Chefs Table in the bustling kitchens? Here you can see the restaurant team busy in action while you discover their specialities.
This morning you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of your hotel. The more energetic among you can discover the vineyards by bicycle, others in the open-air electric car. Or perhaps you would prefer a relaxing morning in the spa and pool, a massage or a personal training session?
Then it's off to discover Epernay. After lunch in a local restaurant, you can take a stroll along the Avenue de Champagne past many great names of Champagne. Admire the elegant architecture that the wealth of the wine trade brought and continues to bring to the city.
This may inspire you to try your hand at creating your own champagne, learning the skill of wine blending at a boutique Champagne producer. Advised by the winemaker you will taste the base wines, blend your own 'family selection' and then put it to bed in the cellars to come back to in a few years - to collect a wonderful souvenir of your Champagne tour.
For your second evening you can choose to sample a different restaurant at your hotel Le Royal Champagne.
Today you will visit the beautiful city of Reims, where you will tour the world famous 13th century Cathedral of Notre Dame. It is here where the French kings were crowned and anointed. Don't miss the Statute of Saint Joan of Arc, riding on horseback to celebrate her leading Charles VII to his coronation.
Underneath the city are hundreds of kilometres of caves where bottles of champagne are aging on their lees. This morning you will visit La Maison Taittinger whose caves, 18 meters underground, where once the cellars of the now destroyed l’Abbaye de Saint-Nicaise. See where the Comtes de Champagne bottles are aged and taste the wines from one of the last great independent Champagne houses owned and actively managed by the family named on the label.
It's not just wine Reims is famous for; a must visit is la Maison Fossier; traditional producers of the pink Champagne de Reims biscuits. You will discover how they are produced (and taste them of course) but also join a cooking class to learn how to make some of the most delicious French patisseries yourself.
You will finish your trip with a visit to Champagne Ruinart, one of the most prestigious houses of the region. Here you will experience the culture of the vine but see how closely they work with leading artists from across the world. Amongst the bottles in the underground cellars and in the beautiful reception rooms you will experience works of art all inspired by the wines of Ruinart and the charm of the region. You too will leave inspired.
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