Tasting champagne in Champagne – are you coming?

Artisan_du_Champagne_MKB_34April 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 (unfortunately their website is not up to date for 2014)

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, so let us know if you want more details and we’ll be sure to get them to you when we know more.

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

Stay Bubbly!

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Questions raised about living in Champagne

Hello again,

We’ve had a lot of questions about what it’s like to live in Champagne, so I thought I’d do a blog post to answer them for you.  So here goes…

What are the costs of running the house?

There are three charges to pay that are relatively fixed:

Taxe d’Habitation (residents’ tax) which is approximately €80 per month

Tax Fonciere (property tax) again about €80 per month

Assainissement ( Local water cleaning services ) around €430 per year

 Variable running costs

The house is heated by gas, and including electricity,costs approximately  €330 per month

The water supply is metered and costs approximately  €77 per month

Keep in mind that the approximate costs mentioned above include the costs of running the whole house including the B & B.

I work from home. What’s the Internet access like?

There is broadband service to the house which is reliable and comes in at around €36 per month

There is reasonable coverage for mobile (cell phones) which can vary in different parts of the house, but it is generally reliable.  SFR is the best service provider for the village

I don’t have much experience of driving in France. Is there any public transport?

There is little in the way of local transport. A car is necessary. The huge advantage though, is that there is very little traffic and driving around here is still pretty enjoyable.

What are the neighbours like?

In general people are very family-oriented and tend to keep themselves to themselves. Nevertheless we have never experienced anything but kindness and helpfulness from any of the villagers.  We’ve made some great friends here.

The house itself is one of several in the centre of the village with adjoining walls and/or gardens. As happens the world over they occasionally have parties, but these are once or twice a year and not a problem.   The upside of that is whenever we have a party, no-one complains.  The French really do “live and let live”.

How easy it is to set up a business?

This is an area in which you need to take specialist advice but our own experience is that there are two main options:

a)You can register as an auto-entrepreneur (self-employed sole trader).

This does not require any capital investment however there are certain limits to the turnover you are allowed before you have to register as a company. No bookkeeping is required; you simply report your turnover each month or each quarter and pay a percentage of tax on that amount.  At the moment, the flat rate is 15%.

b)If you register as a business you will need to invest a capital amount. In this case complete bookkeeping is needed to record income and expenditure. Tax is paid on the net profit.

The current upper income limit for a B & B is €81,500 per year

Note that a B & B may have up to 5 bedrooms. More than that and it is classified as a hotel which brings with it a lot more regulations and costs.

Will I have to learn to speak French?

That depends on you, and what you want to get out of your experience in France.  You know when you see foreigners all grouped together in your country, how does it make you feel that they don’t speak your language, and yet they are living in your country?   If you want to get the most enjoyment and the best experience of France, then you’ll need to be able to speak a little French.  And when you try to speak French, they will help you, (except in Paris of course!)

Are there many English speaking people living there?

Yes, in fact there’s a small but growing, supportive ex-pat community in the region, and we get together regularly to do silly anglo-saxon things, like carol singing, bonfire night etc. The French think we’re mad, and we probably are!

Do you have some more questions?  Simply drop us an email at yvonne@lesmolyneux.com and we’ll be happy to answer them :-)

 

Tt le mondeThe dates for the champagne harvest for 2013 have been announced, and it starts in Verzy on the 4th October for Chardonnay grapes and the 6th October for Pinot Noir grapes.

And you can come and get involved if you want to experience the atmosphere and the excitement of the highlight of the year here in Champagne.

Your day starts with a trip out to the vineyards and armed with a pair of secateurs, you’ll be instructed on what to pick, how to pick and where to put the grapes when you’ve picked!

And then, off to the press house to enjoy the process of crushing the grapes and watching the juice being extracted, followed by a tasting of the juice straight from the press.

Lunch follows where you’ll enjoy 3 champagnes and a typical harvesters lunch with the team.  Would you like to come?

Click here to find out more and we’re looking forward to seeing you in Champagne for the 2013 harvest ;-)

 

 

Champagne Harvest 2012 is coming soon


How would you like to join us here in Champagne and experience the highlight of the year – The Harvest?  We’ve put together a programme so you can do just that!

Between the 20th and 30th September, you have the opportunity of becoming part of the harvesting team for one day,  picking the grapes, following them to the “pressoir”, tasting the juice as it comes directly from the crushed grapes, and experiencing the atmosphere and excitement of this special time.

Your day will begin at one of our favourite champagne maker’s “vendangeoir” where you’ll pick up your secateurs and be taken into the vineyards with the team, where you’ll begin picking.  You’ll then follow the process back at the “pressoir” and witness first hand how it’s all done champagne-style.

A traditional harvester’s lunch and some serious champagne tasting is included, and all you need to do now is to book yourself a place by clicking here.

The package includes:

  • Two nights’ B&B accommodation at Les Molyneux
  • Dinner on your arrival night with champagne and wine
  • A full day out with one of our favourite champagne makers

Prices are 355 euros for one person and 520 euros for two people sharing a room.

Here’s what you need to do now:

  1. Simply Click Here to book your accommodation at Les Molyneux
  2. Choose two nights’ between the 20th and 30th September
  3. Put a note for us in the Comments Box of the reservation form that you want to come on the Harvest Special

That’s it!  We’ll then organise your day’s harvesting, and be in touch with you again very soon.

Places are limited, so hurry and book now and we’ll see you soon in Champagne!

Yvonne

x

Rent a Renault Twizy 45 in Champagne

Have you ever wanted to try out an electric car ?  How about drinking champagne in the region where it’s made?  Well now the Tourist Office in Epernay is combining these two dreams into one.  Discover the vineyards and the champagne houses of the champagne region by hiring Twizy, an electric car directly from the Tourist Office and… grab a free bottle of bubbly to drink for yourself!

You can hire Twizy for an hour, a half day or a whole day.

Where can you go with an electric car in Epernay?

Start off by driving up the Avenue de Champagne, calling in at Moet et Chandon for a swanky, stylish guided tour of their cellars and a glass or two of bubbly afterwards.  Did you know that there are approx. 21 kilometres of cellars just under Moet’s building and 110 kms of cellars under the whole town of Epernay!  Incredible, but true.

After your visit to Moet why not drop into Champagne Andre Bergére, just a short drive in your little car further on up the Avenue.  Maxime or Stephanie will be happy to welcome you and introduce you to their smaller but good quality champagnes, made at their production facility in the Cotes des Blancs but on sale here on the Avenue.

And then further on up the Avenue, drop into Champagne Mercier where an elevator experience will descend you down into their cellars and then onto their cellar train for a guided tour.

Aftwards, Champagne de Castellane will introduce you to the mechanics of champagne making where you’ll get to see the bottling and labelling room – fascinating.  And for the best view in Epernay, climb the steps up to the top of the de Castellane tower.

You’ll probably be hungry after all that, so try La Banque on the Place de la Republique for a well-earned bite to eat.  Or La Table Kobus, behind the church, where you can take your own free bottle of bubbly to drink there.

Whatever you do, you’ll have a lot of fun.

Bunjee jumping in Verzy!

With the torrential April showers hopefully behind us now, we can turn our attention to what’s happening in May in Champagne.

May is the month of the brocantes – those street markets which sell cast offs and collectors items, featuring everything from used tyres (?) to champagne caps.  Verzy’s brocante was last weekend, and needless to say I didn’t buy anything.

There’s a brocante every weekend now in several villages in the region, and if you like milling around bric-a-brac and looking for a bargain, then don’t miss, come on down.

The highlight of events in Verzy (not to mention the Summer Dance Gala on the 16th June, where yours truly will be dancing!) is the Fete Patronale which is happening on the last weekend of May.

I’m really excited about this because last year it was an absolute hoot on the Sunday afternoon.  We were drawn into the music and entertainment of the drag artists singing and dancing in their luminous outfits and unbelievable wigs.  Sipping champagne in the sunshine with friends and enjoying the ambience of the real France was incredible, and this year promises to be even more fun with the opportunity to participate in bunjee jumping.  Needless to say again, I won’t be jumping, but you can!

Join us if you can, we’re looking forward to meeting you in Champagne!

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!

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

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

 

Reasons to come to Champagne in 2012

If you’re wondering about when is a good time to come to Champagne in 2012, then let me help you.  Anytime is a great time, but there are some special events happening this year that you won’t want to miss, especially if you love the bubbly as much as we do.

If you’re a real champagne aficionado, you won’t want to miss these two special tasting events in April, dedicated to smaller champagne makers:

Terres et Vins (actual date to be confirmed, but will be early April) and the other is Les Artisans du Champagne, Reims on the 17th April 2012 at Régates Rémois (Reims Rowing Club)

At each event, some 15-25 selected champagne makers present their champagnes and often the still wines from which champagne is blended.  This is a truly fascinating experience, and whichever event you choose, you’ll come away with a brilliant insight into the skill of making champagne, making your next champagne moment amazing!

On the last weekend in May,  there’s La Foire de la Gastronomie et du Vin in the village of Mailly Champagne.  This is a fabulously French,  informal and rustic fair and on a warm day,  it’s magical. The roads in the village are closed off, and the champagne producers open their doors, set up stalls outside and welcome you to taste and discover.  Just stroll around the village tasting food, wines  from around France and of course champagne, and soak up the atmosphere.

The Fete Henri IV in Ay, only happens every two years, and it’s happening this July 2012. So don’t miss it or you’ll have to wait another 2 years.   Come on down on the first weekend of July to sample the delights of the champagnes of the former capital town of champagne.  There’s “open house” at  many of the champagne makers, including Bollinger, street barbeques, open-air music, all sorts of food stalls and a great atmosphere.

The Harvest normally happens in September, but it really depends on the kind of weather we’ll be having, so I’ll keep you updated if you want to come and experience the grape picking .  Last year it was all over by the end of August and I was lucky enough to be part of the team at Champagne Henriet Bazin for just one memorable day.  We began the day with an Oenovasion Vineyard Tour in Nicolas’ Landrover Discovery where we literally went off the edge of a cliff into the vineyards!  After a simple lunch of traditional grape-pickers’ fare, with champagne of course, we were whisked off into the vineyards again but this time to pick and harvest the grapes.  If you want to know what it feels like to be part of the fabric of this region, then you won’t want to miss this experience.  Watch this space!

With summer behind us, and the harvest  taken care of, we can turn our attention to one of the best wine fairs I’ve ever seen.  It’s the “Foire des Vignerons Indépendents” (Reims Wine Festival) and it’s at the Parc des Expositions  in Reims from the 9-11th November.  Another great place to experience the atmosphere of Champagne, with not only champagne makers, but wine makers from all over France who gather here to meet with wine lovers like you.  If you want to stock up on your wines and champagnes for Christmas, at prices you’d never see outside of France, then you won’t want to miss this event.

 

And to round off the year in true Champagne-style,  the annual Habits de Lumières Festival in Epernay  in December is  a spectacular experience.  It’s happening in 2012 on the 7th – 9th and it’s another great opportunity to be part of the fun of Champagne life.  Many of the big Champagne Houses on the famous Avenue de Champagne open their doors to welcome us.  There’s food, music, street entertainment and fireworks, and of course, champagne!

And we haven’t even mentioned all the champagne houses to visit and good restaurants to try, village festivals to enjoy and the culture and heritage to experience, at any time of the year!

Les Molyneux is your home from home in the heart of Champagne.  We welcome guests from all over the world, helping you to discover the hidden gems through advice, tours, tastings and luxury accommodation.  Visit our website to book your next trip

http://bedandbreakfastinchampagne.com