I know that some of you visit Paris regularly and are sometimes looking for ideas for a day out. In the past I told you about driving up to Chantilly, but today I want to give you a little schedule for an easy day trip to Champagne.
The Champagne region lies to the east of Paris, and is best reached by car to allow visiting several different towns. Of course while you are here you need to take in a champagne house and cellars, but there are some other ideas too to make it an interesting day.
There is a huge choice of champagne houses that open their doors to visitors, allowing you to understand the production methods and also tour a champagne cellar which is an amazing thing to do. The cellars at the bigger houses are fascinating, but I admit to having a preference for a smaller champagne producer who will give me a more personal experience.
These pictures are from my visit to Maison Boizel in the town of Epernay. I know the owner Evelyne and featured her in my girlfriend book. Boizel is a sixth generation champagne producer and a beautiful story of tradition and family pride, with their house founded in 1834. They offer grouped visits, or if you prefer you can privatise the walk around the cellars and enjoy a private tasting afterwards.
After the tour of the champagne cellars and of course the tastings, I like to stop at the pretty village of Hautvilliers to take in the views and shoot a couple of photos of the architecture.
By this time I’m looking forward to lunch and for this I love to head over to Les Crayeres, for the outstanding setting, food and service. As youwould expect their wine list is remarkable, and you can either eat in the main chateau or in the garden brasserie.
If this kind of excursion from Paris tempts you but you don’t know how to organise the transport, then I am very happy to share the contact details to the chauffeurs that I use for my tours. Teddy and his time are absolutely perfect in their kindness and professionalism. I trust them implicitly and frankly would be hard pushed to run the tours without their precious help.
Teddy has a small team of drivers, and if you contact him by email HERE, to let him know where you want to go, when and with whom, then he will get back to you with a price, and will supply you with a driver and vehicle. Happy planning!
And last of all, you may like to know that here at MFCH we now have a dedicated page for travel tips when visiting France. Where to stay, where to eat and ideas for things to do. Just click HERE and take a look around.
Maison Boizel, 46 ave de Champagne, Epernay
Dear Sharon, I have so enjoyed your blog today, having looked at all,of it, from the lovely houses fir sale, to gorgeous pictures of fruits and vegetables for sale, to cooking with Patricia Wells. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will look at it all again, but after I get some housework done, lol. Thank you for all the beauty you bring to our lives, and the flowers were gorgeous. Marianne
When I saw Champagne in the title, I thought of Reims, and I thought, oh, I like Épernay even better. The Avenue de Champagne with all the champagne houses on the high ridge, their caves carved into the hill below them. Definitely a good side trip from Paris!
Thank you for the predictably informed and lovely posting. All I would add (and it’s been a long time since I composed “Required Reading” lists) is that anyone thinking of visiting Champagne MUST read Tilar Mazzeo’s “The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It”. It’s one of my favorite “France” books (and, yes, it’s written in English). I was given it as a gift ten or so years ago and initially assumed it would be another lightweight, “Girls Can Do It, Too!”, pseudo-feminist books. It’s not. It’s a truly fascinating and utterly well-researched (although fairly slim) book. The book does, of course, address the difficulties facing a French businesswoman in the 19th century, but (and more fascinatingly to me) it also addresses the issue of “If it hadn’t happened during that time of turmoil, when WOULD it have happened?”. The book is just fascinating…….giving a fairly comprehensive account of the historical context of Cliquot’s rise. Who knew that transporting champagne to Russia, during the Napoleonic era, was such a tricky and arduous enterprise? The Russian court had just developed an unquenchable thirst for Mme. Clicquot’s product, just as Napoleon happened to be invading the country? The one thing the book makes very clear is that champagne (of any brand) was not at all fore-destined to become the world’s luxury drink-of-choice. In many ways, the book is similar to the movie “Coco Before Chanel” (or, I’ve gathered, the upcoming “Colette”, with Keira Knightley)…..the one thing that’s made clear is that this woman did her homework and worked her tail off LONG before her product became a household name. In any case, “The widow Clicquot” is a must-read for anyone planning to visit the region. I should add that I’ve been amused that most of the widow’s money was inherited by her great-granddaughter (google Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart)…..who later became the Duchess of Uzes (thereby saving that former ruin of a town and palace), the first woman in France to fly an aeroplane, AND the first person (male or female) to get a speeding ticket……
thanks again for the obviously evocative posting……
Quail Roost Farm,
The make the thought of travel in France sensual and inviting. It is like feeling the tiny bubbles of champagne explode against you. Hurray!
An American not in Paris
We are not sure what time we will be arriving in Reims. Do you have to have reservations or can you just pop in and drink only?
Hi Kelly! You can just stop by their tasting room called “Atelier 1834”. There are details on the Boizel website if you click “Contact” in the upper righthand corner. Have a wonderful time!
It’s really amazing to take a look at. The make planning a trip to France feel tantalizing and exciting. It’s like having champagne bubbles slam into you. Hurray!