Visitors' guide - Step 8 Example of a weekend in the Champagne

Discover the vicinity of Reims and Epernay (north of the Champagne region), starting from Brussels

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Day 1

6:15 am leave Groot-Bijgaarden and follow the E19 miles 0
7:00 am crossing the French border miles 56
7:30 am cloverleaf in Cambrai,
take the A26 towards Reims
miles 87
8:00 am take a 30 minutes break to enjoy breakfast at the ‘Aire d’Urvillers’
(Total petrol station, toilets, restaurant with children’s corner)
miles 118
9:15 am Reims, take “sortie 25” towards Epernay
If you take the N51, which runs straight through the ‘Parc Régional de la Montagne de Reims’, you’ll arrive in Hautvillers in less than half an hour.
miles 168
10:00 am Hautvillers

No better place to start a champagne-trip than in the heart of the Champagne region.
Walk through the alleys of this romantic wine village, adorned with numerous typical wrought-iron signs.
Stroll past the abbey and the burial place of Dom Pérignon and take time to admire the impressive panorama of the valley of the Marne.
See also Places of interest
miles 191
10:30 am Visit a champagne producer in Hautvillers or in the neighbouring wine villages alongside the Marne: Cumières (1 mile), Damery( 3.7 miles), Venteuil (5.5 miles) or drive to Villers-sous-Châtillon.(8 miles)
See also Producers
12:00 noon Epernay 4.3 miles from Hautvillers
After a successful visit to the first producer, cross the Marne to eat something in one of the many restaurants in Epernay. Park your car not too far away: at the station or at the ‘Place de la République’.

See also Eating out
Alternative : if the weather is fine, you can enjoy your picnic in the vineyards.
South of Epernay, just before entering Pierry, there’s a Leclerc Hypermarché.
Buy some bread, cheese, rillettes de canard or even foie gras and look for a lovely spot on the hills of the vineyards. A nicely cooled bottle of champagne turns this into a picnic you won’t easily forget.
One of our favourite spots is the church of Chavot, in the middle of the vineyards.
You can easily park there and enjoy the phenomenal view, sitting on a bench. It’s the most idyllic picnic place we know.
Chavot-Courcourt op 1.4miles van Pierry
See also Places of interest
2:00 pm Visit a champagne producer south of Epernay. max +/- 3.7 miles
In Pierry, Moussy, Chavot-Courcourt, Monthelon or Cuis there are lots of champagne producers whose cuvees will delight you.
4:00 pm Visit a champagne producer in the Côte des Blancs. max +/- 5miles
It’s a sacrilege to stay a weekend in the Champagne region without visiting a cellar in the Côte d’ Or of the Champagne region. Be sure to visit a champagne producer in Cramant, Avize, Oger or Mesnil-sur-Oger.
See alsoProducers
Places of interest
When leaving Avize in the direction of Grauves, you’ll discover a gigantic champagne bottle on a steep slope. From this bottle the champagne (proved to be water) pours into a champagne flute. This spectacle and the splendid view over the town and its vineyards are worth this little detour.
See also Places of interest
6:00 pm Time to drive to your hotel or chambres d’hôtes.
Spend the night in or in the neighbourhood of Epernay. There are lots of hotels and guestrooms, even in the home of champagne producers.
Word of advice : don’t forget to unload the champagne you bought and store it in a safe place in the chambres d’hôtes.
You wouldn’t be the first to discover the next morning that your champagne is no longer in your boot.
See also Where to sleep

Day 2

9:00 am After a nutritious breakfast (with champagne) don’t forget to load the champagne back into your trunk.
Keep in mind that loading and paying your bill may take some time. If you spend the night at the producer’s house, you can visit his domain in the morning, look around his cellar, taste the rest of his brands (if you haven’t done that already the evening before)

10:30 am
Option 1
For some champagne producers Sunday is their day of rest. They may not prefer to welcome visitors on their day off.
If you really want to visit smaller producers, call beforehand and explicitly mention the fact that it’s a Sunday. Find a producer east of the Montagne de Reims: Bouzy, Ambonnay, Louvois, Verzy or Verzenay.
This way you’ll have a quite complete image of the Champagne region round Reims and Epernay.
+/- 12.4 miles from Epernay
See also Producers
10:30 am Option 2
Do you want to see the difference with a large champagne house? Visit a well-known house, a “Grande Marque”, on your second day. They are open on Sunday, except at noon.
After a hearty breakfast, you can visit a famous champagne house in Reims or Epernay.
Reims: Mumm, Pommery, Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin,...
Epernay: Mercier, Moët & Chandon, De Castellane, Perrier Jouët, ...
See also Visit large champagne houses
12:00 noon Dine in a restaurant in Reims or Epernay Epernay - Reims : +/- 18.6 miles
See also Eating out
2:00 pm Places of interest
Visit the impressive cathedral in Reims and search, amidst the statues in the portal, for the angel with the Mona Lisa smile, the symbol of the town.
3:00 pm Pay a visit to the champagne shop across from the cathedral. They have an overwhelming collection of bubbles. The prices of the Grandes Marques are correct and you can find some bargains.
You can pay for a champagne tasting, so have a last drink and hit the road.
7:00 pm Back in Brussels