The Champagne tourist route
An essential step to discovering the secrets of the most unique wines!
6 MARNE TOURS TO EXPLORE THE WINE REGION'S RICHES AT YOUR LEISURE!
CHAMPAGNE: ONE WORD SAYS IT ALL. THE BEAUTY OF THE HILLSIDES HERE, THE RICHNESS OF THE HERITAGE, AND THE WINEMAKERS’ HOSPITALITY HAVE CREATED A JOYOUS GEOGRAPHY.
To discover it, you just have to take the Route Touristique du Champagne (Champagne Tourist Route). Completely marked out, this route winds among the vineyards and terraced hillsides where Champagne villages, châteaux, and churches are nestled. This year it celebrates its 70th birthday!
The winemakers’ welcome, who open their doors to you, promises friendly chats over tastings and tours of the cellars. They will passionately explain their profession and their know-how while showing you around their property.
On the road, you’ll fall in love with panoramic viewpoints overlooking the vineyards and picturesque villages.
MASSIF DE SAINT-THIERRY
VALLÉE DE L'ARDRE
The vineyards and forests in the Massif de St-Thierry form a magnificent stretch of greenery, cradling the villages intimately connected to the coronations of the Kings of France. Leaving from Reins, via Tinqueux, the route takes you along picturesque roads.
- The circuit begins with a visit to Reims cathedral with the nearby Palais du Tau housing the cathedral’s treasure and a part of the original statuary.
- Explore Saint-Thierry, where you can admire the local chapel (12th century), the former capitular hall with beautiful sculpted capitals.
- Once the route is finished and you're back in Reims, don’t forget to visit the magnificent Abbey of Saint-Remi and its museum, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site
ITS ROLLING HILLSIDES MAKE UP ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FRENCH WINE-GROWING LANDSCAPES.
Leaving from Reims or from Épernay, there are 70 kilometres along which to dive into history, heritage, and the landscape.
- In Reims, you can explore underground tunnels, the museum, or even the Hôtel le Vergeur.
- Walk through the heart of 300-year-old vines towards Gueux then, on top of a mound, discover the Saint-Lié chapel
- Marvel at the ancient village of Verzy, where you’ll be hard pressed not to see some “Faux” (turtle beeches), these strange trees all over the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park.
- In Épernay, the capital of the Champagne region, you will be surprised by the tranquillity of the 100 kilometres of cellars, that contrast with the activity “up top”.
HILL OF VITRY
This route through the hills in and around Vitry is a great new way for visitors to discover the vineyards in the region of Vitry and the Lake Der.
Zigzagging along small roads amidst hills, mountains and fields, the circuit is around 37 miles long and runs through 15 villages typical of the region's hedged farmland.
It starts from Vitry-le-François, the “rose” city, which owes its name to François I. In Vitry,don’t forget to visit the Notre-Dame Collegiate Church, then you will by the Porte du Pont (18th century) toward Châlons-en-Champagne. The first vineyards appear around Couvrot and the coast at Gravelines.
YOU WILL ALSO DISCOVER:
- The Romanesque church and the museum of horse-drawn vehicles in Saint-Amand-sur-Fion
- Vavray-le-Grand and its retaining wall embellished with imposing arches
- Bassuet and its winemakers on the village's main street
- The Mont de Fourche in Vitry-en-Perthois
VALLÉE DE LA MARNE
OFTEN OVERLOOKING THE VALLEY, THIS ROUTE OFFERS SPLENDID VIEWPOINTS AND OPENS THE DOORS TO ITS RICH HERITAGE.
The Pinot Meunier vineyards extend as far as the eye can see and there are villages, châteaux, and churches along the Marne tourist routes. Leaving Épernay in the direction of Reims, you go uphill towards Champillon and its unobstructed view over the landscape of the Côte des Blancs.
Your journey will end at Pierry, which retains a lovely collection of properties and private residences from the 18th century, before returning to Épernay.
YOU WILL ALSO DISCOVER:
- The Benedictine abbey and the wrought iron signs in Hautvillers.
- The vantage point overlooking the château de Boursault at Venteuil
- The Louis XIII Castle and its Marne War Memorial in Dormans
- Oeuilly, the village “lost in time” and immersed in a peculiar atmosphere
LA CÔTE DES BLANCS
This trail, starting from Epernay or Bergères-les-Vertus, offers plenty of fascinating reminders of the past along the way.
The Côte des Blancs, the cradle of Chardonnay: its villages with famous names are built like amphitheatres into the hillsides. From Épernay to Vertus, the Côte des Blancs presses against the edges of the Brie plateau with a north-south orientation.
Your journey will start at Épernay by going up the famous Avenue de Champagne, where prestigious names come one after the other. Skirting around the Mont Bernon by way of Chouilly, you will come down into Pierry (château, cellars, and wine cellars from the 18th century) to find the 12th century Chavot-Courcourt church, a little island in an ocean of vineyards.
YOU WILL ALSO DISCOVER:
- Your journey begins in Epernay as you ascend the famous Avenue de Champagne where you will spot in succession many of the industry’s most prestigious names.
- Bypassing Mont Bernon via Chouilly, descend towards Pierry – where you can visit its 18th century castle, storeroom and cellars - and also Chavot-Courcourt church (12th century), a solitary island of stone in an ocean of vines.
COTEAUX DU SÉZANNAIS AND COTEAUX DU PETIT MORIN
LEAVING FROM BERGÈRES-LES-VERTUS OR FROM VILLENAUXE-LA-GRANCE, THE ROUTE IS PUNCTUATED BY INTERESTING HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS.
Winding through bocage, swamp, and vineyards, the route reveals an arrangement of vineyard plots interspersed with copses and fields in a rugged landscape. Lovers of beautiful stone buildings can discover the châteaux (Montmort-Lucy, Etoges), churches (Allemant, Barbonne-Fayel, Vert-Toulon…), abbeys (Cistercian Abbey of Notre-Dame du Reclus at Talus-Saint-Prix, Baye, Oyes), but also menhirs and dolmens!
This territory also bore witness to confrontations during the First World War. For this reason, an imposing national commemorative monument, in remembrance of the soldiers at the First Battle of the Marne, as well as a museum, were built at Mondement.
- Discover the charming city of Sézanne, admire the châteaux at Sézanne and Etoges
- Wander as far as Chantemerle, then Villenauxe-la-Grande, renowned for its ceramics and earthenware. The period houses in the old town and the Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul church, with a majestic choir, provide an enjoyable end to the circuit.
DID YOU KNOW?
Patron saint of winegrowers, Saint Vincent is honored each year on the Sunday after 22 January.
Each village in Champagne has its own fellowship, in which one member has the honor of holding Saint Vincent’s stick.
This popular celebration is an opportunity to gather in traditional costumes during a formal mass, followed by a banquet and the presentation of a certificate.