We parked the camper at the B&B and Liz drove us all into Reims where we had arranged a champagne tour and tasting at Maison G.H. Mumm.
The tour was really good, you find out the history of G.H. Mumm, how champagne is made, it takes you down to the cellars where the champagne is stored and you exit out through a museum to come to the best part of the tour, tasting the champagne! We opted for the En Noir et Blanc experience at €39 per head and got to try 2 fairly expensive champagnes at €60 a bottle. Liz, Miriam and I liked the Blanc de Blancs so much that we bought a bottle between us to open for a special occasion when we are all together, possibly Miriam’s 60th in 2020!
After our visit we walked to Reims Cathedral passing by more Champagne houses on our way and taking a look inside the Cathedral. After lunch we walked back to Mumm and picked up the car and drove around Reims to find Maison Pommery just to see the blue buildings!
The following day we drove through the countryside following a part of the champagne route along the D3 and came across a vineyard where they were working amongst the vines. We stopped to take a look at what they were doing and to ask about the use of the tall tractors we had seen. A very nice guy, named Patrick was able to tell us (with the help of Liz our interpreter) that they were thinning the vines for equal exposure to sunlight and air flow and he let Tony have a go! He also explained that the tractors were used for spraying against fungus and insects.
He then directed us to his premises where they make the champagne and you can take a tour, taste and buy if you so wish. The champagne producer is called Le Rédempteur, the tour was really good and we had a better understanding of the process having already been informed about this the day before at Mumm. At the end of the tour we tried some champagne and naturally purchased a bottle or two! I would really recommend visiting the independent champagne producers if you are planning to visit this region, the tour is much more personal and you get a lot closer to the vines themselves and can recommend Le Rédempteur, the Blanc de Blancs is wonderful.
On our final day, Liz, Miriam and I went into the centre as we had heard it was market day, however it was a small market but as we walked around we came across the Avenue du Champagne where at the end of the road was a horse and carriage offering rides along the Avenue in the carriage to see all the champagne houses then return back to the start with a glass of champagne and a plastic champagne glass to keep as a souvenir, all for €10 per person.
We took a look inside Moët & Chandon, their boutique all glamour and glitz, very impressive. We witnessed a couple of American tourists purchasing very large bottles of Dom Perignon at €800 plus per bottle, we were only to afford a glass each at €20 a glass. They are beautiful though.
We walked back along the Avenue and stopped off at an outside bar for a glass of champagne before heading back to our B&B.
One of the reasons for visiting this area was just another excuse to celebrate my 60th Birthday so prior to our visit I had booked a restaurant in Epernay called Le Banque, located in an old bank building. The meal was wonderful and the champagne really good, we asked for a second bottle of the champagne and they had run out of that particular one. How ridiculous, how could they, we were in Champagne! Liz, Miriam and Tony had arranged for a birthday cake and a bottle of champagne for me which was lovely so all in all I had a great celebration.
The B&B we have been staying at is called Le Corrigot and we loved it here. We booked three separate rooms that were independent from the rest of the accommodation and had a shared open plan kitchen lounge. The Spa room is located downstairs but has its own private garden and Jacuzzi which was great for us so we spent the evenings and afternoons having a BBQ and enjoying the tranquility and privacy of the garden and Jacuzzi. The breakfast was very good too, always bacon and eggs and pancakes as well as croissants, yogurts, bread, cereals, ham and cheese.
It’s been a fabulous end to an amazing Birthday trip, celebrating with family and friends in all locations, enjoying their company, the scenery, the food, the wine, the champagne the accommodation and would do it all again tomorrow!