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Champagne Overview

Everybody's heard of Champagne.

Of course we're goiung to be exploring Champagne wines on this tour. We'll separate the myths from the facts, we'll find out what's good, and what's not. We'll learn that much of the Champagne we see is very ordinary, but we'll also find out that some of it really isnt ordinary at all!
But what about the region, and the cycling?
The Marne runs through Champagne, and the Battle of the Marne, in September 1914, while nominally a victory for the French and British, was the battle that led to four years of horrible trench warfare. We'll cycle through the area of the battle, particularly along the Chemin des Dames, where we'll find lots of fascinating information about this terrible chapter.
But then we're into the vineyards, the largest AOP vineyard in France.
The vineyards of Champagne are divided into three main areas - the Massif de St Thierry to the North of Reims; the Montagne de Reims, between Reims and Épernay, and the Cotes des Blancs to the South of Épernay. There are hints in those areas - Champagne has hills!
They're not terrible - the 'massif' of St Thierry really is stretching poetic licence to breaking point - but the hills, particularly the East-facing hills are the reason Champagne is famous.
We'll cycle on dedicated cycle paths and tiny roads to explore some beautiful countryside, visiting some fascinating Champagne producers, exploring Reims and Épernay, and taking in other sites like the Faux de Verzy (my favourite) and the Abbey de Vauclair.


Trip details

The story around the wines of Champagne is much more interesting than you think. Lots of stories and myths, but also beautiful countryside, World War 1 memorials and the magnificent cathedral and Basilica of St Rémy.

Tour dates

Our guide led us expertly on each day's ride of 30 miles or so, selecting quiet roads and tasty lunch stops and, at the end of every afternoon, a comfortable hotel with a menu to do justice to the region's rich gastronomy. He carried a repair outfit, a first aid kit and a sense of humour, which coped with almost every eventuality.

Michael J Woods, The Financial Times

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