Champagne wine tours

“Come quick, I am drinking the stars!” – with these words, the monk Dom Pérignon is said to have announced his invention of Champagne in the late 17th century. And he certainly wouldn’t be the first to be driven to poetic paroxysms by the scintillating wines of the Champagne region.

Alas, like so many great stories, this is probably something of a myth. The romantic quote was actually first used in an advertising campaign in the 1880s. And there’s strong evidence to suggest that sparkling wine was first produced intentionally around 1662 by Christopher Merret, a scientist from Gloucester. So perhaps it’s closer to West Country scrumpy than we might think.

But still, Champagne is one of our favourite wine tour destinations. And not just for its fizzy delights. As well as the vineyards and châteaux along the scenic Route du Champagne, it’s also home to stunning sights, rich and rustic culinary specialities and relaxing river and canal cruises.



Popular places to visit

Of course, on a SmoothRed Champagne tour you’ll have plenty of chances to taste the region’s favourite export. But beyond the châteaux you’ll also want to visit some of its most popular attractions too.

Like the 13th century cathedral in the heart of romantic Reims. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the greatest gothic cathedrals in all of northern France. And, if you’re that way inclined, you might like to try counting all its 2,303 statues. Although you will end up with a sore neck.

Further south, in the heart of Champagne country, the small town of Epernay is home to many of the most famous producers of fizz. From Moët & Chandon to Perrier-Jouët, it’s a delightful place to spend an easy afternoon wandering on foot between Champagne houses and cellars.

Then head a few miles southeast to the scenic Lac du Der, the largest reservoir in Europe and a great place to relax or indulge in a spot of bird-watching. Or maybe visit the historic old town of Troyes to marvel at its gorgeous half-timbered houses.

And let’s not forget Hautvilliers, the lively vignerons village famous for its abbey where Dom Pérignon plied his trade as cellar-master. Not to mention other famous Champagne villages like Rilly-la-Montagne and Verzy.

Wine and cuisine in Champagne

The Champagne region’s terroir is unique. Its Northern location, rugged climate, chalky soil and rolling countryside make it the ideal place to grow the Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes that are predominantly used to make Champagne.

The grapes of Champagne

The first, Pinot Noir, is most widely planted in the Aube region, while the second, Pinot Meunier takes up much of the Vallée de la Marne. The Côte des Blancs is dedicated almost exclusively to Chardonnay.

And, of course, they take their regional boundaries seriously in Champagne. Since 1942 the region has been overseen by the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), which rates vintages based on the quality of their grapes and vineyards. Nice work if you can get it.

Champagne cuisine

Now, some would say you shouldn’t really eat while drinking Champagne, but we think those people can fizz off. From refined dining like oysters and snails in Champagne sauce, to the region’s rustic pleasures of venison, boar, rabbit and pheasant, you can be sure to dine every bit as well and you drink.


Hotel de La Paix

Description The Best Western Premier Hotel de La Paix 4-star is located in the heart of Reims,…

France, Champagne Region
L'Assiette Champenoise

Description The luxury hotel L’Assiette Champenoise is a delightful residence, admist the calm of a 4…

France, Champagne Region
Domaine Les Crayères

Description Domaine Les Crayères is a stunning luxury Hotel in Champagne.  Located in the heart…

France, Champagne Region

“Thanks for taking the time and trouble to call. You really have set the standard by which we compare all other companies!! Thank you so much for organising a fantastic itinerary with such an interesting and varied range of stop-overs. We are already starting to think about next year’s trip to France so would welcome any suggestions.”

Hilary Alder

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