Champagne region was for a long time on my list, but like any accessible location (just 1h30min drive from Paris), it got every year postponed. But not this year, and I’m very happy that we’ve finally made it. Especially at harvest, to feel the buzz and the energy of the place.
Where to stay?
For me there’s no place to stay in France than in a Chateau. Built in 1850 by one of Reim’s greatest architects, initially for cloth merchants, Chateau de Sacy is one of the very few still standing pre WWI summer houses. After a year of refurbishment, this beautiful Chateau opened its doors in 2017.
Located in the middle of the vineyards, it offers a breathtaking view and a beautiful sunrise over Reims. We stayed in ‘Le Salon d’Eugénie’ superior room, one of the 12 unique rooms of the Chateau. We specifically asked for this room when booking, as I fell in love with all the images presented on their webpage. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and it’s served in the restaurant on their first floor, with view on the vineyards.
If you fancy, there is a small gym and an outdoor jacuzzi that you can use, but I’d highly recommend a walk through the vineyards in the morning, when the air is still fresh and crisp.
What to do?
Spend an afternoon in Reims.
Make sure you don’t miss the Cathedral of Reims. It’s not only probably one of the most beautiful cathedral in France (in my opinion it’s probably the best you can get), but it also has an impressive past. It was destroyed by a fire in early 1900s, and then damaged by bombing in the WWI. Both its interior and exterior are spectacular, and I guarantee you, you won’t be able to stop staring at its statues, arches and beautiful stained-glass.
Also, like every local in Reims, go and buy your baguette at Frederic et Isabelle Hardy boulangerie (bakery) and I promise, you won’t stop until it’s over 😀 😀
Take a cellar tour and champagne tasting at one of the numerous well-known champagne houses in the region. You’ll find out everything about the champagne process, the region history and you’ll also get to taste some bubbly. We went to Ruinart, and we couldn’t be happier as we were a small group and we could make the most of the tour.
Most of the champagne houses are in Reims or Epernay, and since they’re always busy, I recommend you book a tour in advance.
Drive around, stop & stare.
There’s no other way to explore the region, than by car. The best is to hire a car, as you’ll be able to make the most of your trip – explore every little corner, stop wherever and whenever to admire the majestic vineyards and why not, to take a photo, wander around the small towns in the region.
Stop in random towns. Little towns I would recommend for a stroll and for a quick bite: Ay (another beautiful cathedral) and Hautevillers, where almost every family is champagne producer 🙂