I love road trips in Europe. The freedom to drive between all the different countries without all the hassles of border restrictions and immigration checks is a dream. That is something I really do love about living here. My husband and I had been driving from Stockholm to Champagne and Burgundy with a brief stop in Luxembourg to see good friends. We also stopped at Verdun, at the First World War Memorial.
A must do once in Epernay of course, is the walk down Avenue de Champagne with champagne houses lining both sides of the Avenue and some tasting. A drive out to Hautvillers, a picturesque champagne village with a first stop at Au 36, on Rue Dom Perignon. A Champagne Bar and Boutique where it is possible to buy a case of 6 bottles at the same price as it would cost from the winemaker. We tried three different champagnes, one of which was the pink champagne from Rémy Massin & Fils which came home with us. With a combination of the chardonnay and pinot noir grapes it was fruity and fresh without having the slight bitterness that some pink champagnes can have. Next the Abbey which houses the tomb of Benedictine monk Dom Perignon, the father of champagne who discovered the fermentation process to give us champagne as we know it today.
Around the corner from Dom Perignon’s grave we stopped by the family owned Champagne House Pierre Gobillard. Premier Cru Champagne from grapes grown in Hautvillers, fresh, elegant and fruity. We had tasted it the previous evening at dinner at Le Banque in Epernay, a bank converted into a restaurant with a nice terrace during the summer.
Leaving the village we stopped for lunch at Bistrot La Madelon, 7 Grande Rue, Mancy. A no frills rural restaurant with a hearty lunch menu at a very reasonable price. Continuing our drive around the beautiful hills overlooking the valleys and vineyards we pass the fairytale Disneysque castle that was built for Madame Veuve Cliquot, Chateau Boursault. On the way back to Epernay we made a stop at the little village of Montmort-Lucy to see the Chateau de Montmort. A 16th century Chateau built on the site of a Medieval Castle.We ended our last night in Epernay at one star Michelin chef Patrick Michelon’s Les Berceaux delving into specialities of the Champagne region.