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?