For a truly atmospheric visit to the Champagne region of France, plan your stay when the harvest is in full swing and sample some bubbly whilst enjoying the gorgeous landscapes of this picturesque region of France.
This autumn visit the ancient city of Reims, home of the 13th century UNESCO World Heritage Notre-Dame cathedral and a vast network of underground limestone cellars, some of which were carved out in the Gallo Roman era. Today they are used by the champagne houses to store their reserves of bubbly and many of them are open to visitors. Champagne aficionados should head to the cellars at Taittinger, located 17 metres below ground, which link 4th century chalk mines to the remains of a 13th century abbey.
After a hard day of sipping champagne, dine at La Cave à Champagne. This family-run restaurant is located in Epernay, in the heart of the vineyards, and prides itself on offering local cuisine at affordable prices. Dining options include the €19 menu sympa, offering scrummy dishes such as assiette de moules au beurre blanc and tarte au chocolate noire et caramel au beurre salé to the L’Assiette et Le Verre menu which matches champagne to the different courses and includes chicken breast with foie gras in a champagne sauce.
Enjoy champagne with a view, at the Perching Bar. Located in the woods just outside the village of Verzy, the Perching Bar is a stylish eco bar in the treetops reached by a footbridge. For a touch of magic, visit in the evening when sparkling lights add to its rustic charm.
Walk round the village of Hautvillers with its sweeping views of the vineyard covered slopes below. Tradition has it that a Benedictine monk called Dom Pérignon was the first person to ‘discover’ champagne. He is buried in the local churchyard, but before you pay homage at his grave, it’s worth a stroll around the village with its cute wrought iron ornamental signs and winding streets.
Stay at the fairytale Chateau de Fère, located at the gateway to champagne. This 5* luxury hotel, built in the 16th century, boasts not only a gourmet restaurant, spa, swimming pool, 29 beautiful rooms and suites and 70 hectares of grounds, it also stands next to the imposing ruins of a 13th century castle.
MyFerryLink operates 16 daily crossings on the Dover-Calais route. Fares for a car and up to nine passengers start from £30 each way any duration and from £30 for a day return.
To find the best fares, visit www.myferrylink.com or call 0844 2482 100.