Arrondissement de Châlons-en-Champagne

Here you’ll find travel reports about Arrondissement de Châlons-en-Champagne. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

12 travelers at this place:

  • Day1016

    Leclère-Massard Champagne House

    April 8 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    It's Vicky's 37th birthday today and continuing with the bubbly theme, we are splashing out and spending 2 nights at an aire belonging to the Leclère-Massard Champagne House, at a cost of €5pn.

    To reach here, we drove along the champagne tourist route, past grape presses, wooden barrels, giant models of bottles, dozens of champagne houses, people doing last minute pruning to the vines, themed murals and metal sculptures of grapes. We even passed a viticulture school! This 'in for a penny in for a pound' approach really helped immerse us in the region, placing it in our minds as somewhere very distinctive. Champagne isn't a poor area but nor is everyone rolling in the euro millions generated by one of the world's most expensive wines. The swathes of vines are broken up into small patches, even rows, owned by individual producers. It is a working region, one devoted to often back breaking physical labour.

    Being used to staying at free, municipal facilities in France, we didn't know quite what to expect when arriving at our aire. The house just looks like any other in the tiny, quiet village of Villeneuve, save for the little blue and white motorhome sign directing visitors up the drive. It did feel odd turning into what, for all intents and purposes looked like a private residence, but sure enough there was a tarmacced back yard with electric hookup, fresh water and emptying facilities. Being the first ones there, we nosed into a corner, bordered by tall hedges. Small notices announced tastings at 6pm and asked guests to say hello, but the house itself displayed no welcome signs and looked so private that we chose not to knock on their door. Instead, we took the tandem and cycled to a supermarket around 5km away in the next town to get some last minute supplies for the big day. There were a few cycle tracks along the way but even when we were on the roads, drivers were considerate and respected our space.

    Three other vans arrived and filled up the little aire, staying for just the one night. Our neighbours emerged from the house shortly after 6pm with a box of champagne, but we'd reserved our tasting for the following day's celebrations.

    Waking early, Vicky had a lovely slow start to the day, listening to a wonderful cacophony of hedgerow birdsong just outside the van and watching as Goldfinches, Linnets and Chaffinches hopped happily from branch to branch. We braved the threat of downpours on a walk, exploring the swathes of farmland behind the aire. Long chalky tracks extended over shallow rises in the flat terrain to disappear over near horizons. Black Redstarts flitted about near a barn, Swallows darted past at lightening speed and high above, male Skylarks hovered, broadcasting their song far and wide. Occasionally we were lucky enough to see them dive to meet a female, who was nestled among the crops. Bright yellow oil seed rape flowers were beginning to bloom and disguised small groups of birds we think might have been Fieldfares, who scarpered from the field to nearby trees when they sensed our presence.

    Back at the van, Will made eggy bread (original for himself, vegan for Vicky) and she spent the afternoon chatting to family and opening pressies, before a lovely salmon and brocolli tagliatelle with some Absolu Meunier champagne that Will had bought her following our vinyard tour in Mutigny a few days ago.

    At 5:56pm we knocked on Leclère-Massard's front door and waited, but nobody answered. Feeling awkward, we returned 5 minutes later and the host opened the door, abruptly asking if we wanted to buy 6 bottles. We didn't want to commit to purchasing that much without knowing what it tasted like and explained this. She ushered us uncomfortably to a table layed with a selection of 6 champagnes in her open plan living and dining room. We had a glass of their regular bubbly and tried to make 'Franglais' small talk. The drink was nice, but nothing special so we decided to buy a bottle of their 2009 Vintage. Our host seemed relieved as we left, we aren't sure if it was her lack of confidence speaking English or something else that made her tense, but it was a shame, as it could have been so much better.

    We finished the evening with a film, cheese and biscuits, lemon meringue pie and of course some more champagne! Despite the stilted tasting, it had been a great birthday and a very memorable week leading up to it - we've never drunk so much champagne!
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  • Day1018

    Pogny, La Marne

    April 10 in France ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    After an over indulgent stay in the champagne region for Vicky's birthday, we have begun making our way eastwards and have stopped at Pogny's free, canalside aire. It sits off the side of a quiet road with a good mix of houses and open land. Many of these waterside parking areas are twinned with boat moorings and Pogny is no exception, although only one vessel is stationed here on the Canal Latéral à la Marne. By coincidence, this is the same waterway we stayed beside last week at Mareiul-sur-Ay that runs alongside the River Marne.

    Upon arriving, Vicky got her teeth stuck into editing a video, while Will enjoyed a fish, despite the chilly weather. He is improving his technique and did quite well at this spot, even catching a colourful little one that neither of us recognised. However, Vicky has also discovered a new technique of bringing him cups of tea to ensure he needs to return to the van to use the facilities, where she can remind him to cook her dinner; its a win-win situation!

    We liked Pogny well enough, but we hadn't got many miles under our wheels lately so decided to move on after just one night. In the morning we'd begun walking to the boulangerie at the small shopping centre when Will spotted some fishers. We made a small detour to ask them what the strange fish he'd caught yesterday was. They were in their late teens and seemed quite pleased to be asked. Through the wonders of Google Translate we found out it was a Sun Perch; an invasive species but good to eat. After picking up a rather interesting looking baguette from the wide range of breads in the little shop, we serviced the van and got underway.
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  • Day24

    Where wine is cheaper than water

    June 7, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    220 miles further north we earned our complementary champers on arrival in Vertus at the Clos Margot.
    This is the land of bubbly and good not surprised when, at the local pizza restaurant, the bottled water cost an euro more than the wine!
    My kinda place.
    We have had a good evening and this little town is quite pretty AND it didn't rain!Read more

  • Day33


    June 12, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Perhaps it is wrong of me to generalise about the standards of driving in different countries but several people have asked who is good who is bad so I'll give my impression. We are driving slow compared to most so the speed of the cars on the German autobahn was often at least double my speed but it was safe when compared to Italy where the driving was erratic and rules where often ignored. As you go south in Italy it gets worse and I found the city of Naples to be hard with drivers just pulling out from side roads and stopping you as you drive so they can cross your road. My worst experience was the city of Palermo in Sicily where pedestrians would just walk out and stop the traffic to cross the road. There are many pedestrian crossings in the wide main roads but the people were just ignoring those and crossing anywhere. It happened to many times for it to be unlucky to have it happen to me.
    The most scary driving was the drive from Genoa West into France, it was nothing to do with poor driving it was because I was driving towards the setting sun which was also reflecting off my bonnet so it was in my eyes then suddenly we enter a tunnel and everything goes black until your eyes adjust then you exit the tunnel and the sun is in your eyes again. There are over twenty of those tunnels on that road.

    The suspension of the car is rather stiff with leaf springs and poor damping so I feel the bumps more than most. Belgium was about the same as England, not brilliant but not bad. Germany has good roads as has Austria. Italy has poor roads and I found that they had often resurfaced the fast lane but not the slow lane that we were using so we swapped to toll roads until we got beyond Rome where the roads got better. Sicily was in places good but more often not so good. Malta is the same. France is like Germany very good.

    The cheapest petrol is in Malta and the most expensive was near the French border in Italy. At any tourist resort it cost more than inland.

    People wave and beep at our car everywhere with Italy doing it most then Germany and Austria then France and England.

    Nothing that has happened during this trip would have me saying never again however I feel I have learned quite a lot and will know what to expect next time.
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  • Day34

    Now in champagne country

    June 13, 2017 in France ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

    Evidently it's not a good year so far for the grapes...too hot and a frost earlier in the year probably means don't rush out to buy 2017 vintage Chalons en Champagne is a good stop though.. Staying at the hotel l'angletttere (well someone has to !) Lovely old church and some characteristic timber houses.Read more

  • Day9

    Champagne route

    August 4, 2016 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Wineyards everywhere! We were amazed as how much wineyards there are in the valley. And all of the grapes are in the Champagne. Some of what we saw even in those really expensive ones. Let the pictures do the talking.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement de Châlons-en-Champagne, Arrondissement de Chalons-en-Champagne

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