The best of the Champagne Tourist Trail

Champagne is probably the most widely known drink from France, and synonym to luxury, style and elegance. You can drink wine every day, but champagne is a drink for lavish celebrations, and unless you’re filthy rich, you probably don’t drink it every day. Genuine champagne has to be produced in the region where it was invented, in the historic province of Champagne. If you travel about a hundred miles east of Paris, you will enter Champagne, and while this doesn’t mean that you’ll be greeted by rivers of champagne, you will still instantly know that you’ve arrived to the source of this wonderful drink. Following the Champagne Tourist Trail is a great opportunity to not only taste some exquisite types of champagne, but also learning about its story. Here’s the best of the Champagne Tourist Trail, for the curious drink appreciator.

Côte des Bars

Côte des Bars is one of the five marked routes of the Champagne Tourist Trail, leading from Bar-sur-Seine to Baur-sur-Aube. This portion of the trail is quite long (220 km), but rich in natural beauty and the perfect breeding ground for Pinot Noir grapes. Pass through the village of Essoyes where Renoir lived, the scenic commune of Les Riceys and other picturesque villages.

Côte des Blancs

Côte des Blancs, the cradle of Chardonnay, is peppered with hillside villages and the whole area exudes rural and vineyard-y charm. The trails starts in the commune of Épernay, but the best of this section of the Champagne Tourist Trail are the vineyard covered hills of Sézannais  and the historical attractions around Épernay.

Massif de Saint Thierry

Vineyards and lush forests form a delightful mix in Massif de Saint Thierry, encasing scores of small villages that are intimately linked to the old kings of France. The route starts in Reims and ends in Tinqueux, winding its way through picturesque areas. The fifteen villages in the Massif de Saint Thierry are surrounded by great vineyards where you can stop and taste the champagne.

Montagne de Reims

The gentle slopes pf the Montagne de Reims are some of the most picturesque wine producing areas in France. The 70 kilometer route passes through a regional park, on the way from Reims to Epernay. Although this small mountain has extensive forests, there is still enough space left for top quality vineyards.

Vallée de la Marne

The Vallée de la Marne itinerary has some of the most beautiful views of all the other Champagne Trail routes, all you have to do is follow the right bank of the Marne starting at Epernay. There are several interesting stops on the route (notwithstanding the scenic little villages surrounded by vineyards), as well as some stunning show caves.

 

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