Places to visit in Europe

Champagne wine route from Charly to Epernay

Harvesting in the Champagne vineyards. Champagne Baron Fuenté in Charly sur Marne

The Champagne vineyards start 70 kilometers east of Paris in Saacy sur Marne, along the river Marne. The area of La Ferté sous Jouarre, Saint Cyr sur Morin are a perfect start and base to visit and tour this Marne valley Champagne wine route.
Start your visit of the Marne valley from the little village of Saacy towards Epernay. During the day you will see famous places like Charly sur Marne, Chateau Thierry and Hautvillers. Hautvillers is the cradle of Champagne. In the church of the old abbey you will see the tomb of the famous monk Dom Perignon who first discovered the technique of the sparkling wine.

Vineyards and great wine discoveries around Charly sur Marne

Leaving La Ferté sous Jouarre, you are actually in the Marne valley. Continue to the little willage of Saacy on the north bank of the Marne. On your right hand, the river is never far away. On your left there are vineyards and again vineyards... Charly sur Marne is an interesting village with quite a few good wineries.

From Charly sur Marne on the way to Chateau Thierry

A little further you will find Bonneil nested in a remarquable site. The vineyards are protected by the hill from the cold northern winds in Winter. They are oriented South, getting a maximum of sun. From Charly to Chateau Thierry, the main grape variety is pinot meunier. All those vineyards used to be almost unknown until recently. In the public's mind, a good Champagne could only come from the Epernay or Reims area. But the well informed wine (and Champagne) lover now knows that in this western Champagne area the young generation took over from the parents. Some 20 years ago the children of the local winemakers started studying how to make wine in a more scientific way. And today you will find in this area some of the best opportunities: a great champagne wine with an excellent value for money. At le Clos de la Rose we will be proud to share with you our best addresses.

Chateau Thierry, home to the famous French writer Jean De La Fontaine

Jean de la Fontaine was born on the 8th of July 1621. During more than 20 years he was in charge of the rivers and forestry in this region. The territory he was in charge of was extending as far as St-Cyr sur Morin and La Ferté sous Jouarre. It was probably due to his official activity that he got so well aware of the animals habits and way of life. Jean de la Fontaine was living at the time of the king Louis XIV. At that time it was not easy to critisise the king. The writer found the way: his stories were featuring animals whose personalities facts and sayings could easily be compared to the people of that time. In fact, we could say that Jean de la Fontaine invented Disney 350 years before Walt Disney! :-))
The visit of Chateau Thierry and the house of La Fontaine should be considered only if you have more than one day to tour the Champagne area.

Hautvillers, cradle of the Champagne wine and home of Dom Perignon

Hautvillers is one of the most charming villages in the champagne area. Close to Epernay (5 kilometres only) Hautvillers had a very special destiny. In the old abbey of the village, a monk named Dom Perignon first discovered how to produce a sparkling wine and created the first Champagne wine.
Do not forget to visit the church of the former abbey of Hautvillers. There you will see the grave of Dom Perignon, the monk who discovered first how to make Champagne. If by any chance you are there by mid-day, you may consider having lunch at the restaurant de l'Abbaye just on the opposite of the abbey. It is a good place well known in the area for its cuisine. Especially when weather permits, it is very pleasant to eat out on the terrace.

Visit the famous Champagne cellars in Epernay

After Hautvillers, drive downhill to Epernay, capital city of the champagne wine area. Epernay, it is 28000 inhabitants, 30000 hectares of vineyards and millions of bottles aging in some 110 kilometres of cellars excavated inside the chalky rocks! Take some time to visit one of those famous and prestigious champagne houses (Mercier, Moet et Chandon, De Castellane). Most of them are situated under the avenue de Champagne and the nearby streets. Attention, take a warm sweater with you since the temperature inside the cellars is rather low even during the hot summer days!

Some of the most spectacular cellars

Champagne Mercier.
House founded in 1858 with beautifully decorated cellars. 18 kilometres of galleries you will visit partially aboard a little electric train.

Champagne Moet et Chandon
Some 28 kilometres of galleries where 90 millions of bottles are aging! Moet et Chandon was founded in 1743. It is the biggest wine house in Champagne. The visit last approx. 1 hour (on foot).

Champagne De Castellane
House founded in 1895, remarquable for the famous tower (66 metres high) where from you will discover a wide panorama over Epernay and the vineyards. How the work was conducted in the vineyards as well as the different stages of champagne making are presented in the museum.

To visit the area from Epernay to Reims and the city of Reims, another day is necessary...

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