Champagne and the Vosges
After our blitz-visit to Paris (see Zigzag through France 1) we travel along the Marne towards the east. We drive on the local roads – no motorways and toll roads on the GPS – where more and more vineyards appear. Our first night is in a car park along the Marne in Sammeron.
The next day we drive on and realize that the vineyards on either side of our route carry champagne grapes. Village after village has one or more champagne houses and here and there we see old wine barrels and grape presses.
We drive the Champagne route around Chateau-Thierry, more and more in the direction of Epernay, the city of the largest champagne house Moët-et-Chandon. The champagne yards increasingly color in the fall colors, beautiful to see.
What strikes us is that there are still grapes hanging on many grape bushes, later we learn that only a certain amount of grapes can be picked from each hectare, the rest lingers for the birds or for a hungry tourist ;-).
The weather is nice, so we enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the vineyards. In the evening we find a camper place in Villers-sous-Châtillon. As a reward for the beautiful trip through the Champagne we take one:
After a great night with the sound of a stream in the background, our standard breakfast of muesli and yogurt, we go for a walk through the area.
We walk back through Villers-sous-Châtillon and see the Champagne house R.C. Lemaire is open. We walk in to see if we can find out more about the champagne. We are approached in French and it soon becomes apparent that the person who appeals to us, Marin, turns out to be a Dutchman. So he can tell his story in Dutch and we have a nice few hours while Marin tells us about the Lemaire champagne and we tell about our trip and travel plans.
We walk out of show room again with two bottles of delicious champagne and some more knowledge.
In the course of the afternoon we notice that we are increasingly coming to the Moët-et-Chandon area, many vineyards are marked.
In the village of Hautvillers, the place where Father (Dom) Pierre Pérignon lived and is buried, we picnic with a view of the champagne groves.
In the afternoon we continue to Val d’Ornain, again a beautiful spot, now on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin.
In the morning it is still nice and I have a walk along the canal, where as a civil engineer I am amazed at the level of the canal, the canal level appears to be above the upper lock door. Intriguing …
To get rid of the champagne, we drive past Bar le Duc …
where we come to the conclusion that this city has nothing to do with the bubble water we know in the Netherlands.
The city of Nancy turns out to be surprisingly beautiful, unexpected.
From Nancy we drive through the Vosges to Germany where the next family visit is waiting. Beautiful, the Route des Crêtes, autumn is also clear here.
to be continued…