Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget


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Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay
September 8th 2015
Published: September 19th 2015
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Champagne tastes on a Lemonade Budget



Some Aussies we met reckoned that Epinay is the place to be seen in the Champagne region.



It’s not cheap though.



Central France has so many towns and villages that are overflowing with character. The first thing I look at as we drive through a village is the width of the streets. We are blessed with a GPS that has a register of all the pot holes, speed bumps, and undersized roundabouts in all of Europe. James the GPS loves to take a short cut – which will invariably be down a street that has a height limit of less than 3M ( we need 3.2M) or a width limit of under 2.5M ( we need at least 2.6M). When I don’t take the suggested route, James gets sh11tey. To get square he picks all the roundabouts and pot holes and sends me spinning around and over pot holes and speed bumps. But I guess we do save as much as half a kilometre sometimes when compared to going along a smooth straight main road.



But Epinay was a challenge for James the GPS. Epinay has great big wide streets – some so wide that 2 cars can meet and pass each other without having to stop and pull to one side.



Must be money in Epinay. Rather generously proportioned houses and public buildings . Big wide streets with footpaths to boot.



Municipalities in France provide Aires de Services. These are small unmanned parking places for camping cars ( RVs to North Americans and Motorhomes to the rest of the world ). An Aire is a park. An Aire de Services has places to get water. Dump waste water and empty a Chemical Toilet. Some are free. Some cost E2 or something similar. One of the best things about the French Aires is that they are usually located right next to the downtown action. So once you are parked then its usually easy walking to the town’s sights and attractions.



In Epernay the Aire is at Square Raoul Chandon in Rue Dom Perignon. Nice Address - but it comes at a hefty E2 a night price.



Its vintage time in this part of the world and picking grapes is by hand. All around the region we have seen numerous camps of a dozen to say 50 or so ageing delivery type vans – nearly always with tug along caravans ( so out of vogue in la belle francais - a real last century collectors curiosity here ) . The van towing a caravan is usually a sign of gypsies and we keep away from those camps. Many thousands of itinerant grape pickers come to the region and set up these camps on public land.



Anyhow the rest of the Epinay story is all about bubbles and fermented grapes.


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