Highlights of Champagne
While champagne, the drink, dominates our thinking, there is much more to delight the wine tourist in this region
Big Brand Champagne Houses
With all the world-famous champagne houses based in either Reims or Epernay, champagne enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice, especially when it comes to buying their favourite champagne
France could be termed the floral country of the world, especially in summer when every village, town and street is adorned with flower baskets and town garden plots. Champagne is no exception and gardens flourish by waysides in profusion.
Vintage Wine Presses
While most wineries have modern pneumatic wine presses, a number of champagne producers have retained old hand-operated timber presses as museum pieces. This press is part of the collection of antique champagne equipment at Champagne Blondel
A "must do" experience on every champagne tourist's itinerary is to descend into the chalk caves that are deep in the bowels of the earth below every champagne producer's premises. Here in the still, quiet atmosphere far from vibrations and light, the champagne matures in an even temperature to perfection. Like all good things it takes time!
Canals and Waterways
Champagne has an extensive network of canals and an excursion on a barge or river cruiser is a pleasant experience, especially when it is accompanied by fine champagne and superb cuisine.
You can find almost all types of French cuisine in the area's restaurants, plus a number of Flemish dishes on the menu too. Fine dining restaurants with Michelin starts abound in Reims and even in the villages you can find experienced chefs producing outstanding cuisine. Dining out is one of the real highlights of touring Champagne
Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims
Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Rheims) is the Roman Catholic cathedral of Reims, where the kings of France were once crowned. Unlike a number of other cathedrals, Reims was largely constructed in the 13th century and completed in the 14th century to the original 13th-century designs, hence it has a unity of architectural design. A UNESCO world heritage site, the cathedral attracts over a half a million visitors each year.
Champagne vineyards have an order both in appearance and orientation which makes them exceptional in France. They are always neat and tidy with careful trimming and management. A vineyard walk is a real pleasure.
Walking and cycling
The stunning surrounding countryside is excellent for walking, rambling, cycling and even running! The vineyards are open for all to wander through, and /or cycle through along easy paths. You can take in the countryside, enjoy the fresh outdoor and maybe linger for an hour or two in a village cafe, or picnic on the excellent region foods and wines so readily available from local shops. There are national park forests where you are free to wander so the potential for walking, picnics, horse riding and cycling is endless.