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Girls weekend in the Champagne region

Champagne cellar Vertus

Sipping Champagne for the weekend

October took me to the Ardennes, November to la douce France. Bonjour!

Mother daughter weekend

Every year my mother, sister and I go on a weekend with just the three of us. That’s how our previous trips took us to The Netherlands: Zeeland and The Hague. This time, my mother came up with the idea to go to the Champagne region. We took our trip to Reims and booked the Mercur Hotel. I was hoping for some Champagne tasting but unfortunately I got ill just a day before so my meds didn’t allow me drinking any Champagne. But hey, in between sleeping I tried to enjoy our visits to the Champagne houses. We even got a tour in one of the cellars! And on our way back to Belgium we also discovered a beautiful medieval city on the top of a hill: Laon.

Saturday: discovering Champagne region

Road trip tip: highways in France are mostly toll roads. Search for alternative roads: it saves you money and is ideal for sightseeing in local villages.

Champagne Saint Sauveur F. Thomas

Champagne Saint Sauveur cellar
Champagne Saint Sauveur cellar

Our first stop took us just outsideĀ Vertus, south of Reims and Epernay (the Champagne region capital). This Champagne house is beautifully located on top of a hill, overlooking the village of Vertus. The owner has been a friend of my family for a long time and every year my parents travel to Vertus to buy their Champagne. We were welcomed in his reception area and he immediately offered us some Champagne to taste.

The owner told us about how they had build an extra cellar to produce their Champagne and offered us a tour around the house and cellars. The old cellars where already impressive, with hundreds of bottles everywhere you could look, but the new one was even more spectacular. It was completely made out of concrete and the descending ceiling runs even with one of the hills of the vineyard. It took them two years to complete.

Champagne Saint Sauveur F. Thomas
56 rue du Mont Chenil
51130 Vernis

Champagne M. Ferat & Fils

The next Champagne house on the list was located in the city center of Vertus. Their vineyards were located outside Vertus so there was not much to see – but a lot to taste! Worth mentioning: this place has some of the best Brut Nature Champagne in the area. So if you like or want Champagne without any added sugars: this place is definitely worth a visit.

Champagne M. Ferat & Fils
23 rue de L’Hotel Dieu
51130 Vertus

Afterwards we drove to Reims to check in to the hotel. We stayed in the ‘Parc des Expositions Mercure Hotel’. It’s a 10 minute drive outside the city center but there are quite a few places of interest in the surrounding area. There is the Champagne Park just down the road and this area houses some of the biggest Champagne brands in the world: Pommery, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, etc.

Sunday: discovering Reims and Laon

Reims

Cathedral of Reims
Cathedral of Reims

On Sunday we took it slow and decided to expore the city center of Reims. We parked near the train station and made our way into the city.

We passed several impressive buildings like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Courthouse and the Cathedral. Nice to know: this Notre-Dame is bigger than the one in Paris and has the highest amount of sculptures in the world as well. We were lucky while visiting the Cathedral: there was a mass on the occasion of the 11th of November (Armistice Day). So we were able to enjoy some organ music while we were there.

Our walk took us back to the train station and along the Town Hall, where we had a hot drink before heading off to Laon.

Laon

Laon has a really beautiful medieval city center: most of the buildings date back from the 12th century. I even thought the Notre-Dame-style cathedral was prettier than the one in Reims. The streets and market place around the cathedral are very charming: cobbled stone streets and typical French houses. The views from the hill are also beautiful: everything around Laon is flat, so you can see for kilometers.

Did you know?

  • The Champagne region belongs to UNESCO World Heritage since 2015.
  • Grapes for Champagne are picked manually. The 120 000 pickers have about a three week-window in September-October to pick grapes. After that, the grapes are past their best.
  • Champagne is made mainly by three grape varieties: Pinot Noir (red), Pinot Meunier (red) and Chardonnay (white).
  • Champagne Kratom Blend – You can prepare a fascinating beverage by adding Kratom powder fromĀ Kratom Masters to your champagne.
  • Moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to improve your memory.
  • Sparkling wine contained high levels of polyphenols that can lower blood pressure and prevent heart problems.

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