Champagne Tasting in Champagne

April is one of the best times to come to Champagne, before the season really gets going, and if you’re a champagne enthusiast, you’ll definitely want to be at one of four of the best and most dynamic champagne tastings taking place this year.

The first is the Terroirs et Talents de Champagne and  takes place in Epernay on  Sunday 13th and 14th April at the Restaurant Au  Théatre. In no particular order (!) Champagne producers taking part at this tasting will include:

From La Montagne de Reims:

  • Aspasie
  • Maxime Blin
  • Penet Chardonnet

From La Côte des Blancs:

  • de Sousa
  • André Jacquart
  • Vazart Coquart

From La Vallée de la Marne:

  • Janisson Baradon
  • Michel Loriot
  • Sélèque

And Jacques Copinet from Le Sézannais
and  Coessens from further south in La Côte des Bar

To book your place at this event, simply email: terroirs.et.talents@gmail.com

Your next date is on  Monday 14th for the Terres et Vins de Champagne at the
Hotel Castel Jeanson, Ay, and in no particular order,  the champagnes being presented at this tasting will include:

  • Horiot
  • Agrapart
  • Françoise Bedel
  • Bérche
  • Francis Boulard
  • Chartogne-Taillet
  • Couche
  • Doquet
  • René Geoffroy
  • Etienne Goutourbe
  • Jeauneaux-Robin
  • Benoit Lahaye
  • Laherte Fréres
  • Tarlant
  • Leclapart
  • Franck Pascal
  • Hubert Paulet
  • Pouillon & Fils

Go here to book your place at this event (the picture is from last year’s event, sadly)

http://www.terresetvinsdechampagne.com/home/formulaire.php

Go to Formulaire d’Inscription

And third is Les Artisans du Champagne on 15th April at Chateau Les Crayeres, Reims.  You’ll be able to meet and chat with these producers there:

  • Maillard
  • Paillard
  • Savart
  • Huré
  • Hébrard
  • Gerbais
  • Doyard
  • JL Vergon
  • Alfred Gratien
  • Margaine
  • Vilmart
  • Lancleot Pienne
  • Dehours
  • Gonet Médeville

You’ll need to go here to get yourself into this event:

http://www.lesartisansduchampagne.com/

Go to Inscription en Lignes,

And finally, on the 16th April, David Pehu and his group will be presenting their champagnes, venue to be confirmed.

Well, if that’s not a great selection of small producers, I don’t know what is! Looking forward to seeing you in Champagne in April.

Stay Bubbly!

Fete de la St.Vincent in Champagne

The patron saint of the “vigneron” (grape farmers) is St.Vincent and every year on the 22nd January sees each village celebrate with the traditional brioche and champagne.  The day begins with the “vin d’honneur” (reception drink) at one of the local champagne makers’ homes, and then a procession in traditional costume with lots of singing and bands playing, as they make their way to the church for the blessing.

Afterwards, the procession continues to the village hall or “Salle des Fetes” where lunch is served with of course more champagne.  All the champagne producers of each village are invited to contribute some of their champagnes, so there’s definitely no shortage of champagne flowing.

Cheers!

Choosing accommodation for your French vacation

Your destination, France, is decided.  The flights/travel dates are booked.  Now you can turn your attention to where to stay.  How do you decide?

If this is your first visit to La Belle France, then there’s a treat in store.  France is the most visited country in the world.  And no wonder.  With beaches, mountains, unspoilt landscapes, food, drink, culture and heritage to name but a few reasons to choose this fair land, plus a favourite re-location destination for “les anglais”, who can resist?

Choosing a B&B or a hotel.  What’s the difference?

The B&B experience offers a unique opportunity to get an insight into the local way of life.  Many B&B owners are passionate and knowledgeable about their local area, and can direct you to people and places you wouldn’t find on your own.  They will make reservations for you; recommend restaurants based on their own experience (not because they get a commission).

They will spend time talking to you about what you need, and can respond quickly to problems and challenges you may have.  They can be your place of refuge in a foreign land.

You will often become part of their family during the time you stay with them, sometimes meeting other family members and their friends.  Sometimes you’ll have dinner with them and the family, and with the other guests.

Dinner choices are not normally offered, but usually good quality home-cooked food is served in a B&B.  You’ll get to meet other travellers too, and make new friends.  Recipes may be shared, and insights gained.  Childrens’ toys and books may be available for you.  You’ll experience a “home from home” atmosphere, that larger hotels cannot provide.  A truly enriching experience for open-minded travellers.

Hotels on the other hand generally provide higher levels of comfort and amenities.  If you’re looking for 4 or 5 star service, discreet waiting staff to attend to your every whim at all hours of the day and night, then a hotel is probably a better choice for you.

Look for B&Bs (and hotels) with lots of positive reviews from past guests when choosing your place to stay.  Customer reviews are far more reliable than anything the owners, managers or websites say.  Think about your expectations and how you’ll feel if they’re not met.  Know what you need and want, and then choose your accommodation accordingly.

Happy travelling!

Boating in Champagne

On my theme of introducing you to non-champagne activities in Champagne this year, here’s a fun way to pass the time here.

On the River Marne, just on the outskirts of Epernay is the Municipal Camp Site.  If you park your car at the entrance and walk through the campsite, following the signs for Blue Nautic, you’ll reach Christine’s great little boating business, right there on the banks of the river.

Imagine a summer’s day, your picnic in hand, perhaps a bottle of bubbly you picked up the day before when you visited the underground caves of a small champagne producer, and the kids in tow.

Christine will welcome you in English and help you into your life jackets.  You step into your electric boat, take the wheel and you’re off!  Crusing your own little boat down the river.

Over to the right is the famous village of Hautvillers where Dom Perignon the father of champagne, and his monks perfected the art of keeping the bubbles in the bottle by initiating the second fermentation.   You could explore that village tomorrow, and stop by the wonderful Au36, a tasting room and shop dedicated to the smaller, unknown champagnes.  Beyond the hills are more vineyards and pretty villages to discover.  Another “maybe” for the next day, or the next…

You could spot a heron on the river bank, or some swans nesting in the reeds.  Just relaxing on the river, letting the quiet engine sweep you along.

You’re travelling downstream towards Cumieres where they make not only great champagne, but also “Cumiere Rouge”, the red wine used to blend with the white champagne to make rosé.  Maybe you’ll stop off at a small producer there tomorrow and discover another hidden gem.

What could be more relaxing and fun that this?

Champagne is not all about champagne

 

Wondering what to do for a holiday with the children this year ? Finding a holiday that suits everybody can often be a challenge for families with different interests, so here’s some suggestions:

Boating on the river is a great way to involve the whole family. Armed with life jackets there are at least two choices in Champagne.

First there’s Blue Nautic in Epernay, where you can jump into an electric boat without a licence and take yourselves off down the River Marne. You might spot some herons, ducks, swans even, and each family member can take turns at steering the boat. You’ll be able to see the beautiful vineyards from the river, while enjoying your picnic aboard perhaps with a coupe de champagne. Or imagine sitting in the open air restaurant watching the wild life on the river while enjoying a delicious salad or light lunch on the river bank, before or after your trip on the river.
Christine and her team speak excellent English and are waiting to welcome you.

 

If you’re a bit more adventurous, why not try canoeing or kayaking at Tours Sur Marne. You’ll need to don a helmet for this trip as well as the life jackets, but it’s a lot of fun racing each other paddling downstream on the River Marne.
The bus picks you up at Tours Sur Marne and takes you down to Aulnay so you can make your way back down the river to pick up your car again. You can choose how long you want to be out on the river.  The team at Aqua Gliss are waiting to welcome you here too.

Full details of both these fun activities plus loads of other great things to do and see in Champagne are available in our App “Champagne Day” here:  http://champagneday.net/launch

Imagine this…

You’re planning a special weekend getaway in France with your partner.  You’ve no idea what to expect, so you surf the web looking for answers.  There is so much information on the web, that you’re left feeling bereft and uncertain.  You can’t find what you’re looking for.  Where to stay, where to go, what to see, what to do?  Too many questions remain unanswered, and so you just book the ferry/shuttle and hope for the best.

Sound familiar?  Stressful isn’t it?  And you’re supposed to be on holiday, taking a break…

This is what many of our guests describe when visiting us here at Les Molyneux.  When they arrive with us, they are relieved to find that a) we speak English (in fact we are English) and b) we can help them plan their visit, putting them in touch with people and places they’d never find on their own.  Guests feel like part of the family, and that feeling extends when we introduce them to our personal network of contacts, who are simply waiting to welcome them.  An experience like this is so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew about this before you booked your trip?

Well now you can…

“Champagne Day” App is the essential Guide to the Champagne Region, answering questions and providing solutions, not just information.  You can choose your “Day” and know that when you arrive, there’ll be a friendly face just dying to meet you.

We’re launching this App very soon, so to get yours at the special one-day-only price on Launch Day, go here:

http://champagneday.net/launch

See you in Champagne very soon!

 

 

Champagne Day

We’re so excited today, because we’re launching our priority mailing list for anyone who wants to get our App “Champagne Day” for the special one-day-only price when we launch it soon.

Why have we made an App?

Lots of guests who stay with us at Les Molyneux ask the same questions.  These questions are usually, where can we taste champagne, which restaurants do you recommend, where can we walk in the forest, what can we do with the children, how can I meet some small producers, what are the opening times of the large champagne houses?

And so the App “Champagne Day” answers all those questions.  Not only that, inside the App, you’ll actually get to see the places and the people who are just waiting to meet you, sometimes via video, before your next trip to Champagne.

We’ve collected our knowledge together and you can enjoy it in an entertaining and informative way, and I bet you’ll be planning your next trip to Champagne very soon.  Inside, as well as Moet et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Pommery plus a personal collection of our favourite smaller producers, you’ll find activities for the children in Champagne, our favourite restaurants, food and wine festivals, champagne tastings and so much more.

So to get the App at the one-day-only special price when we launch, you need to get yourself on our priority mailing list by clicking here, and we’ll see you in Champagne soon

Yvonne