Published: September 1st 2009
August 26th 2009
After nearly seven weeks of travelling we were a bit undecided as where to go next. The small town of Montherme somehow ended up on our itinerary - while the cycling was great (all flat cycle paths for miles along the Meuse River - we rode all afternoon) and the camping was cheap, it wasn’t the most exciting place and we were pretty keen to leave after only one night!
What to do when you’re feeling a bit lost? Get back on the wine trail we say!
The drink in question this time was champagne. Everyone loves it and luckily we were only a few hours drive from the birthplace of champagne: CHAMPAGNE REGION, where else?
Our little trip took us to the town of Eperney. A pretty town where loads of the famous champagne houses are. No parking problems here, we found a great free Aire, parked up for the day and spent the day looking about.
In the afternoon we did a tour of the Moet and Chandon champagne house. I wasn’t expecting much out of this but we were really impressed. Underneath the town streets, there are hundreds of kilometres of tunnels and cellars
where THOUSANDS of bottles of champagne are slowly maturing. The tour took us down into the tunnels were the guide taught us about the whole process. I had never given any thought to how the bubbles get inside a bottle - but I know now and will consider this each time we open a bottle of wine!
Of course the tour ended with a tasting followed by a trip into the champagne boutique. We decided to make a purchase. A lovely big magnum of Moet & Chandon - to be opened in the future sometime. Guess when!
Our ‘French Passion’ book came in handy. We stayed the night in the yard of an old vineyard in the tiny floral village of Oger. We felt a bit crusty, parking our big blue Brian on the beautiful driveway of the mansion, but the owner was lovely and didn’t look disapproving - even as he climbed out of his classic Ferrari! The great thing about this type of camping, is that you can buy product from the farmer instead of paying camp fees. We went away with a few bottles of champagne that cost less than a night in a campground.
A good deal for us!
The rest of our time in Champagne was spent exploring the vineyards and villages along the ‘Route Touristique du Champagne’. Jeez, you would be as drunk as a skunk if you had a tasting even at a fraction of the vineyards along this route. There are hundreds - from the big ones like Taittinger to little independent vineyards that have been passed down through generations. The champagne route was definitely a good way to spend time before heading north for the final days of our trip.
Our only disappointment? We had great plans to visit the snail museum during our stay in Champagne but we spent too long in the swimming pool at our campground and of course, it was closed after 4pm! Perhaps another time then…
There are more photos below