Here you’ll find travel reports about Marne. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

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  • Day1015


    April 7 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    We're perched on the end spot at Mutigny's quiet, free aire, overlooking rolling vinyards webbed with a network of pale paths worn into the chalky soil. At 240m, Mutigny is the highest wine village in the champagne region and commands impressive, far reaching views of the surrounding countryside. It only has 200 residents, but it provides a 7 place motorhome park for people like us!

    We hadn't planned on visiting, indeed, we didn't know of the existence of this place until we read the placemat advertisement for Le Sentier du Vigneron vineyard tours and tastings, when eating lunch at Le Bistrot in Mareiul-sur-Ay. We'd visited the Lanson and Möet & Chandon champagne houses and really fancied exploring the vinyards themselves and sampling some bubbly produced by the smaller houses. We looked at the options on the webpage and found the start of the trail was just 3.5km away. The discovery of the free aire in the village decided it and we requested a tour via their webpage.

    At 2pm we met Emmanuelle at the Marie (Mayor's office) that doubled as a base of operation for the tour company. Apart from the church, it was the only public building in the village, which had no shops. She greeted us nervously (we later found out we were her first booking of the season) and the three of us ambled up towards the vinyard tracks. Emmanuelle focussed the tour round a series of public information boards, explaining and elaborating on the information they imparted. We covered the soil, different grape varieties, grafting, pruning, pests, cultivation and commercial concerns among other topics. Will made the observation that in other wine growing regions, the growers produce their own wine, whereas in champagne there are a myriad of smallscale growers, who sell their grapes to cooperatives and producers. It was good to be out amongst the vines and the hillside was peaceful, save for the squadrons of quads and scramblers that raced past us at points, their engines growling and their wheels kicking up dust!

    After a few kilometres it was back to base for tastings! As a treat for Vicky's upcoming birthday we'd indulged and chosen the 'Trilogy' tour, with 3 (very generous) glasses of champagne. Booklets provided us with a handy description of the 20 or so bottles they had in stock and we focussed on exploring the different grape varieties, choosing one made from 100% Pinot Meunier grapes, another from with a high proportion of Pinot Noir (Will's with no added sugar), then Vicky ended with a 100% Chardonay Blanc de Blanc and Will with an Egrot 2009 vintage with 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonay and no added sugar. This ended up being his favourite. We got a bottle of this and a few bottles of the fruity Didier Ducos Absolu Meuneir that Vicky really liked. There wasn't any pressure to buy and at €20 a head we thought the tour and tastings were good value.

    We stottered back to the van with wide grins on our faces. It had been really interesting being able to sample the different types side by side and talk with Emmanuelle. It was good to see many of the producers mentioning their move away from weedkillers and pesticides towards mechanical cultivation and confused fertilisation to do the same job.
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  • Day1012


    April 4 in France ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    The aire at Mareuil-sur-Ay sits amongst three rows of tall, bare trees, overlooking a canalside marina with an interesting array of leisure and house boats, little and large. The branches, trunks and much of the time clouds, shade our solar panel, so it isn't as effective as it would be if it were in full sun, but it still replenishes our leisure batteries each day. The aire has bins and toilet emptying facilities, but the fresh water and electricity are turned off.

    It was just a short drive through vine clad countryside from Épernay, but well worth it because it's waterside position means Will can spend his time fishing, so he won't get bored. Like the champagne capital, the village of Mareuil is home to a good number of champagne houses and you don't have to go far to see the chalk hills upon which the grapes are grown. There isn't much here in the way of shops; a small Casino supermarket, a boulangerie and a bar called Le Bistrot. A number of people visit the canalside to walk their dogs (which Vicky enjoys) and a local takes an evening stroll to call his 18 year old cat Mateau, in for its tea. He friendly (the owner, not the cat) and exchanges a few words with us or gives us a wave as he passes.

    Despite the days becoming warmer, it's not unusual for us to be showered with hailstones and on our first night here there was a frost. We woke near sunrise to see it sparkling on blades of grass and a mist whisping off the still water. Vicky went for a walk as it lifted, crossing over the canal at a nearby bridge and taking a path along the wooded strip of land that stretches between it and the winding River Marne, after which the town is named. There were some beautiful sights; a swan appearing and disappearing between the misty patches of golden light and shadows, cormorants flying overhead, pale yellow cowslips rising above the green carpet of grass with lilac and white primula creating pockets of colour on the banks.

    Because the aire is free, we chose to give some money back to the town by eating lunch at Le Bistrot, a traditional French bar with mosaic tiled floor, wooden tables, chairs and a red leather bench seat running the length of the wall, backed by large clear windows, giving it a light and airy feel. Glass 'buckets' from two champagne houses displayed bottles on the windowsill and the servers poured red wine from a wooden barrel set up on a table. Being a Friday, it was already busy when we arrived shortly after midday and heads turned towards us with interest as we entered. We were eventually seated at the last available table and chose our mains from the 4 options chalked up on the wall. Vicky asked for the house salad with gizards (only without the gizards) while Will went for the house tartare. Raw beef isn't a big thing in the UK but it was the favourite dish by a mile here and our good humoured server cracked up when they saw Will smiling at the polar opposites we'd ordered.

    The food was good quality and very filling, especially considering that mains, desert and a beer came to under €30 for us both. The server had a bit of banter with us and shared the fact that the people in the corner were pondering over Vicky's dreadlocks, so we had a bit of banter with them too (well, as much as we could with our limited French). There was a really good, light hearted atmosphere in the bar, that we felt privileged to be part of. The sun was shining when we emerged and so we got the canoe down and spent a happy couple of hours paddling up and down the canal, reaching Ay, the next village along. It felt great to be out on the water again.

    On Saturday morning Will walked to the boulangerie and picked up a baguette and some berry tarts. We made a couple of sandwiches and packed them in the tandem panier, having used MapsMe to find a picnic area 11kms along the canal in a little village called Condé-sur-Marne. The cycle track was great quality and Will has been maintaining the bike, so it travelled well over the flat surface. It was a pleasure to cycle along the towpath, past tall trees strung with mistletoe balls and spot Oxslips, Cowslips and delicate purple Cuckooflowers along the verge. The trip was 16 miles in total, so after a cuppa, Vicky curled up to write the blog while Will returned to his nearby fishing spot to make the most of the fresh air and daylight. Mareuil-sur-Ay was a great place to stay; relaxed, friendly and with good access to leisure activities.
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  • Day1009

    Reims & Lanson Champagne House

    April 1 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    The free aire at Reims isn't as tranquil as our previous stopovers, with a constant daytime drone of vehicles on the nearby dual carriageway, which drops to intermittent at night. However, it does give great access to the city centre, with the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral just 1.3km away.

    After a supermarket shop, filling and emptying the van, getting diesel and a drive of 120km, including lunch at motorway services with a huge wild boar statue (see photo), we arrived at Reims. Will had entered a fuel station that sold LPG so we topped up on that before wending our way through city centre streets to find the aire. It is situated behind a utilitarian looking building (apparently a 'digital cultural centre' whatever one of those is), but unusually for France, there was a barrier blocking our entrance with a number to call. Luckily the CamperContact and Park4Night apps had warned us about this, so we were prepared and Will (who has been practicing on the DuoLingo app) made his first phonecall in French, entering the numbers into the keypad as they were read out. We were in! Down a small service road, under a sweep of Weeping Willows, we found 7 side-on-side bays with a low wall dividing them from the small arboretum behind.

    It had turned into a warm day (22°C) and after a short rest, Will headed into the city to explore, leaving Vicky to yet more resting. Frequent trams and buses seem to provide a good transport network and keep cars from clogging up the centre. The jewel in Reims' crown is undeniably its gargantuan Gothic cathedral. With the sunshine and blue skies it looked even more impressive, covered with an unfathomable number of stone carvings, depicting gargoyles, royal and religious effigies, punctuated by intricately presented stained glass, with two large rose windows drawing the eye.

    The following day, Will showed Vicky a few places he had scouted out for lunch and we chose a hotel bar on a corner just 500m from the cathedral. It was called Le Bon Moine (The Good Monk) and displayed a menu that included veggie cous cous - Vicky's first vegetarian sit down meal in France that wasn't a salad - yey! As you often see in this country, the menu was focused; offering cous cous and a range of burger based meals. The chef concentrated on doing a few dishes well and our food was very tasty as a result. Will chose the lamb cous cous which was the same as Vicky's, but with a huge hunk of meat falling off the bone. There was so much, that he couldn't fit in dessert, but Vicky had delicious tart tatin topped with a scoop creamy vanilla ice cream.

    Reims, together with Epernay, a town south of here, are the two centres of Champagne production. We thought it only polite to wash our food down with a glass each. As we did so, we perused the paper maps used as placemats (a nice idea!). Our eyes were drawn to the Champagne bottle icons scattered around the streets, each depicting a Champagne House. Will began to get excited when he saw the Lanson House. His favourite bubbly is produced just 500m from where we'd left Martha Motorhome! A quick check of their website and we found they did cellar tours! With Vicky's birthday approaching, we made the decision to treat ourselves. The aire limited us to a 48 hour stay, so we applied online for a tour that afternoon and heard back shortly via email that there was an English one beginning at 2:30pm - just 50 minute's time. We confirmed and hot footed it over town, arriving with 10 minutes to spare.

    The place was like a posh hotel; wrought iron gates, painted black with the golden Lanson script announcing in no uncertain terms the pedigree of the establishment! Entering a high ceilinged white marble hallway, we checked in at the dark wood welcome desk. After payment, we were invited to rest on the rich green Chesterfield suite in the reception area, the centrepiece of which was the end of a mammoth wooden barrel.

    Our guide took us and another 3 couples (2 American and one Finnish) to start the tour. After a little history we were shown a map of the company's vinyards, their quality (premier cru, grand cru, cru) and talked about the different types of grapes; chardonay, pinot noir, pinot meunier. The latter two are both black grapes, which is where the 'Lanson Black Label' name was born. These are juiced at stations close to the point of harvest, before being transported to this Champagne House.

    Next we went to see Clos Lanson; this 1 hectare, on-site vinyard is planted with chardonay grapes and produces only 8000 bottles a year, approximately one per vine. Back inside, we viewed the fermenting vats and barrels before descending to the cellars, which are kept at a constant 11°C. A special non-UV light emitted an orange glow and dark grey penicillin hung in whisps from the arched tunnel walls.

    The tour ended in a comfortable bar, where we were served a flute of Lanson Black Label Brut and left to digest our experience. Others had paid for further glasses of Rosé and Vintage but we'd already had some with lunch, so were happy to trundle our way back to Martha Motorhome.

    Before leaving the following morning, we trekked accross the centre of town to the Halles du Boulingrin; Reims' art deco market hall. Even at 10am the shops and cafés were only just coming to life, smells of lunch being prepared wafted through the air, while floors were mopped and terrace tables arranged. We understood from our guide book that the food market was open on Wednesdays, but all we found was a fish stall and one selling vegetables in the entrance. The rest of the space was cordoned off. Peaking past the sellers, then walking round the outside of the aerodrome sized building, we saw it was lit by high, arched windows with orange /yellow glass. The colour of the panes made them look as if they had a serious problem with nicotine stains. All in all the hall was a disappointment, but we enjoyed stretching our legs and taking in the sights, smells and sounds of early morning Reims, which overall was a great city to visit.
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  • Day1011

    Épernay, inc Möet & Chandon Champagne

    April 3 in France ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    We are parked off Rue Dom Pérignon. Sound familiar? It is a brand of vintage champagne produced by Möet & Chandon, whose house, at just over 1km away on Rue de Champagne, we are due to visit this morning! With these street names, we could be nowhere else in the world but Épernay, a town surrounded by vinyards and widely reputed to be the centre of Champagne production. There is even a free aire here; we really do enjoy motorhome travel in France!

    The 30km drive from Reims didn't take long. Until this point we hadn't seen many vinyards, but after climbing up wooded hillsides we crested the ridge and the south facing, champagne making slopes were revealed, their linear vine trellises appearing almost like contours on a map. The plants themselves are only knarled woody sticks this time of year, but we saw a group of people tending to some, pruning and training them along the wires. Small champagne houses began to appear at the roadside, advertising tastings as one might advertise a farm shop in the UK.

    Once in Épernay, a deviation led us around the houses, but we eventually reached the aire; a wide stretch of tarmac between a quiet road and a petanque pitch, with room for around 7 vans. To the front sits a strip of grass where people exercise their dogs, backed by beige houses and a fitness centre. To the rear stands a grand looking, dark grey stone church.

    After a spot of lunch and a hailstorm, Will bravely set off to explore while Vicky settled in to some video editing. The sun shone intermittently and the solar panel gave off enough power to plug in the laptop! Vicky's computer is picky about input voltages and we've previously needed to have the engine running or be hooked up to mains for it to charge, so she was stoked at being able to use the new panel!

    We'd planned ahead for Thursday morning, booking a tour of the Möet & Chandon champagne house, the largest in the world, at 10:30am. In contrast to Tuesday's tour of the Lanson house, we had time to look forward to this, so it was with great excitement that we made our way in. Épernay is a smaller town than Reims and far more devoted to everything gold and bubbly! It was quite a thrill to pass by richly painted wooden doors set in sandstone walls and read the small plaques announcing which champagne house lay behind them. Plenty of bars advertised tastings of the revered drink and shops sold paraphernalia such as special swords with which to cut the bottle necks.

    Nearing Avenue de Champagne, a huge balloon came into view, with the street and town name printed on it; just another way in which Épernay celebrates its raison d'être. The Möet & Chandon Maison, like Lanson, sat behind black painted iron railings with its name displayed in gold lettering. It was larger than Lanson and the first obvious place to go upon entering was towards the sparkling lights of the gift shop. From here we were directed to an airy reception area with pale marble floors and columns, richly decorated with a tasteful gold theme and a huge vase of fresh flowers on an antique table.

    Our guide, Benoit began by telling us a history of the house and showing us a dvd of the champagne making process, before taking us down to the cellars. The tour wasn't as comprehensive as that of Lanson (it didn't include a vinyard or fermenting vats) but Benoit was passionate, funny and very knowledgeable, which made a huge amount of difference. He had a style of delivery which made you feel as if the tour wasn't an 'off the shelf' rerun of every tour that had gone before and gave the impression that he attached great importance to passing on what he knew.

    He talked of the hundred or more crus (villages that grow grapes) and when Will asked, he knew that the yeast used for secondary fermentation was one selected from the skin of the grape many years ago and which was now cultivated in their laboratories. Möet & Chandon's cellars are hewn out of chalk and stretch 28 kilometres; part of a network of cellars that exist underneath Épernay, totalling 110km and containing 200 million bottles! Owing to these subterranean stores, Avenue de Champagne is thought of as the most expensive street in the world.

    Still underground, we were led to a smart and modern, mirrored bunker, with hidden strip lighting, a small bar with resplendent golden backdrop and an arrangement of large hanging lighbulbs displaying glowing golden filaments. We had chosen the 'Impérial tour' and a sommelier talked us through the Möet Impérial and Möet Rosé Impérial that we'd be tasting as well as the 2012 vintage bottles that remained sealed on the bar for those who chose to splash a bit more cash! Finally, feeling tipsy and very happy, we were taken to the gift shop (no doubt a ploy that has earned the house more than a few sales).

    Wandering back towards Martha, the weather had turned overcast and lent a chill to the air. Most shops were shut for lunch, but we did a bit of window shopping and picked up a couple of made-to-order baguettes, a custard slice and raisen pastry from a stall outside a café and ate them on benches in a little square by the town hall, just happy to be there!
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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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  • Day1188

    Port de Nuisement, Lac du Der-Chantecoq

    September 27 in France ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    The sound of halyards clanking against yacht masts reaches our ears from over the line of shrubby autumnal trees dividing us from the boatyard, adjacent to tonight's 6 place aire.

    Progress towards Switzerland has been reasonable today. We spent many hours on the road, but were slowed by a trip to a boulangerie (we needed bread and could no longer resist the call of the patisserie counter), a stop off at Carrefour (to stock up on wine and food while still in an affordable country) and about a thousand roundabouts (because we avoid toll roads wherever possible and France makes you pay one way or the other).

    We were therefore relieved to pull up next to the other motorhomes at Port de Nuisement, on the northern shore of Lac du Der-Chantecoq; the largest artificial lake in Western Europe. Created in 1974 to prevent the River Seine flooding Paris, it is now somewhat of a recreational hub, with a perimeter hugging walking and cycle track, not to mention the opportunities for fishing and other water sports.

    Will wasn't feeling his usual energetic self, so just went for a quick explore, taking in the array of impressive sailing craft, almost all of them on trailers in the yard, having been hauled out of the water with a tractor. Paths criss crossed neat greens, leading to a petanque pitch and small volleyball court. A kitesurfing clubhouse was the closest building to the stony lake shore, with a few dedicated enthusiasts riding the small waves, some on hydrofoils.

    After tea Will really began to feel the effects of a cold he'd been fighting, so went to bed early. Thankfully the rest seemed to do the trick.

    Come morning, Vicky made it out for a walk, choosing to cross the low dam wall joining one side of the bay with a headland on the other. Slick grey silt gave a claggy smell to the air. The water level within the bay was several metres higher than in the main body of the lake and it looked like it had recently spilled over the top of the dam, leaving sediment as it receded. The site is brilliant for birds, with Cranes and White Tailed Eagles known to visit. Despite not spotting any of these Vicky was happy to see Swans, Egrets (Great White and Little), Grey Herons, gulls, Lapwings, Swifts and several flocks of small birds she thinks were probably Water Pipits. The individuals hopped from rock to rock before flying they all flew off as one body. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to immerse yourself in the outdoors!

    Before leaving we tried to fill with fresh water, but the person selling tokens for the service machine was busy hauling the last few boats out of the marina, so we left them to their work and programmed a stopover with a tap into the sat nav.
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  • Day51


    July 1 in France ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    Right now I'm on the outskirts of Chalons en Champagne which was a convenient stop on the way north. Tomorrow will be Saint Omer.
    What a difference today's ride was. I came out of the heat wave which is affecting most of Southern Europe and the temperature dropped by 15c over yesterday so for the first time in weeks I arrived at the end of my day not needing to jump in a shower or a pool or a river to cool down.
    I told the sat nav to avoid the toll roads as I'm not in a hurry and it brought me via long straight empty roads through forests and little villages so I'm going to do the same tomorrow which will be 5 hours riding.
    I'm a couple of miles out of town in one of those budget hotels business men use conveniently near the main road. It's surrounded by discount stores and there is a gypsy camp across the road. They have very nice and very clean caravans and I notice they are connecting into the street lamp supply for electric and down a man hole for water.
    I went for a walk to find a restaurant and decided on the one which had an acronym for a name which I presume means King French Cuisine. I chose chicken.
    As I was riding today I thought about the differences I've experienced in the adventure. The lowest temperature was at home on the first day when the screen of the bike froze as I took it out the garage next coldest was in Montenegro in the mountains when I started the day at 5c. The highest I've seen was 42c in Sardinia. I rode on a road which had snow 3 metres high each side in Austria and I had so much rain coming down the Balkan coast I abandoned my plan to go to Greece and caught a boat to Italy from Albania.
    I described today's accommodation. I've also stayed in four star hotels, three and two star. This is a two star. I've used Airbnb staying at people's houses. I stayed at a family house who invited me in when my hostel was closed. I've used four or five hostels and enjoyed them all. I slept in a chair on a ferry and in the restaurant of another ferry. I slept on Andrews settee for two nights.
    So it'll be nice to get back to a familiar bed and not have to pack and move on in the morning and not spend the evening planning the next days ride and finding somewhere to stay.
    I'm taking a night off from sight seeing as I'm out of town. Saint Omer will be nice, I remember it from staying there when Mandy and I traveled in the MG.
    Not brilliant photos today. I took one to try to show the straight and empty road. Just as I took it a car appeared on the horizon. I took another in a bar I stopped at for a coffee at lunch time. It had a 1930s BSA on a plinth in the restaurant area. It belongs to a friend of the bar owner. I also took a photo of the view from last night's hotel in Dijon just as the sun set over the railway station.
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  • 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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  • Day2


    May 25 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Nach einer ruhigen Nacht und Bäckerbesuch (nur 200m entfernt) gab es ein leckeres Frühstück. Es folgte ein Basilika-Besuch im Stadtkern von Prüm. Die Routenplanung für den heutigen Tag ergab eine Vollsperrung der A10 bei Dasburg, so dass wir gegen 10Uhr Richtung Bitburg (die mit der Brauerei) starteten. Die A60 ließ sich gut fahren und führte weiter über die B51, fast unbemerkt über die Grenze nach Luxemburg. Wir fuhren noch in Richtung der Hauptstadt Luxembourg, um vielleicht die Promenade der Bockfelsen zu besichtigen. Aber .. Touristenschwärme und fehlende Parkmöglichkeit, gepaart mit überwiegender Bautätigkeit in der Stadt ließen uns weiterfahren, nicht ohne zuvor noch vollgetankt zu haben (Dieselpreis 1,13€ pro Liter)! Den Bockfelsen haben wir aber beim Vorbeirollen noch sehen können. Ist definitv noch einen Extrabesuch wert. Weiter ging die Fahrt über recht gut ausgebaute Department- oder Nationalstrassen nach Verdun. Vorbei an den Denkmälern der gleichnamigen Schlacht im 2.Weltkrieg, beklemmend. Nach einem kurzen Stadtbesuch fuhren wir nach Chalons-en-Champagne weiter, über die Marne, dann Richtung Meaux. Mittlerweile waren wir heute schon über 300km gefahren, also wurde es Zeit, nach einem Übernachtungsplatz zu suchen. Die Wahl fiel auf einen privaten Platz bei einem Champagner-Bauern, wo wir (mit France-Passion-Ausweis) für eine Nacht kostenlos stehen dürfen! Dazu gehört, dass man sich dort freundlich anmeldet, ein paar Brocken französisch oder wenigstens etwas Englisch spricht, hat geklappt! Das Wetter war heute überwiegend sonnig mit bis zu 23°C, von wenigen Regenschauern unterbrochen!Read more

  • Day17


    August 28 in France ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

    Reimes är ju ’champagnens huvudstad’. Här är allt präglat av champagne. Man behöver inte åka ut på vingårdarna, alla kända märken är representerade med eleganta byggnader i stan. Enorma källare där champagnen får sin andra jäsning innan den går till försäljning, en vanlig champagne 3 år, en riktigt fin 10-12 år. Vi var på Taittinger, som är det äldsta champagnemärket och tittade på deras enorma källare 18 meter under jord med en temperatur på 10-12 grader. Svalt och mörkt ska det vara! Vi fick en utförlig lektion i champagneframställning. Efter den förstår man att en flaska kostar några hundra. Fick vi smaka champagne? Såklart!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Département de la Marne, Departement de la Marne, Marne, Marna

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