Ever since I moved back to Australia, it has been a dream to organise a tour for like minded people to the Champagne region. All I needed was a catalyst, and little did I know that the catalyst would be so fabulous!
After visiting Champagne last May with Jane from The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society, added to the contacts I now have as a result of the Vin de Champagne awards, I realised it would finally become possible!
One of the things I find so exciting about having contacts in Champagne is that I am able to organise things that can’t be visited by the average tourist. A lot of the places I have access to don’t even open their door for anyone outside of the industry – Bollinger being one such house.
With Jane’s enthusiasm to spur me on, I have been busy over the last couple of months planning a dream itinerary. It still needs a bit of fine tuning, but we are very happy with what we’ve come up with!
Here is what we are working on wrapping our pink scarves around – it includes costumed chauffeurs and nights sleeping in real chateaus – what more could a girl want? Apart from champagne. And there’ll be plenty of that!
The Fabulous Itinerary
Day 1: Sunday 18 October – Meet in Paris
Check-in to the sumptuous Sofitel Arc de Triomphe in Paris and meet your fabulous hosts Jane and Amanda at 6pm for a welcome cocktail in the Sofitel Bar. After a getting to know you drink, you will be taken to a typical Parisian Bistro for a delightful Parisian dinner.
Day 2: Monday 19 October
Enjoy a morning of Paris sightseeing at your leisure. Meet up with your hosts at 2pm to be chauffeured to the beautiful Champagne Region. After checking in at the altogether too fabulous Chateau de Rilly (a converted 19th Century champagne house), you will be chauffeured to Les Crayeres in Reims for an exclusive lesson on how to taste champagne correctly in the correct champagne glassware. (This might sound a bit techy, but it’s actually loads of fun and really educational!)
Day 3: Tuesday 20 October
After a morning of tasting at Veuve Clicquot, we will lunch at Jacquard champagne with the extremely effervescent Floriane Eznack – chef de cave of Jacquard. Floriane will take us through a champagne and food tasting exercise as well as a visit through the Jacquard cellars.
We will finish the day with a very special visit of Canard Duchene, including a demonstration of the noble art of sabrage, a visit of their cellars and a wonderful cocktail style dinner tasting a selection of their beautiful champagnes.
Day 4: Wednesday 21 October
We will start the day visiting the beautiful maison of Perrier Jouet for a tasting of a selection of their champagnes and a tour. This will be followed by a decadent lunch at Veuve Fourny in the famous Cote de Blancs where you will discover the secrets of Blanc de Blanc champagnes in the company of Charles Fourny.
The afternoon will be spent visiting another little Cote de Blanc treasure – Olivier Bonville – and we will taste his famous single vineyard champagne in the vineyards (weather permitting).
There is a very special surprise in store for the evening, and we promise you it will be so fabulous, you won’t forget it in a hurry!
Day 5: Thursday 22 October
We will leave our beautiful chateau in Rilly and head towards Epernay where you will be taken to the hallowed grounds of the CIVC (the bosses and overseers of the Champagne region) for a pedagogique tasting with one of their head sommeliers. This will be followed by a very special lunch at Bistro le 7, one of Epernay’s best bistros where we will organise a lunch menu with matching champagne.
The afternoon will be spent strolling along the famous Avenue de Champagne with time for a couple of visits to some of the larger houses situated there. We will then head towards the wonderful 17th Century Chateau d’Etoge. Complete with moat, this chateau was once the playground of French kings and their court. After checking in, we will enjoy a gastronomique dinner at the chateau’s award winning restaurant.
Day 6: Friday 23 October
A completely unforgettable day has been planned, starting off with a brunch with the wonderful Caroline Brun, daughter of champagne maker Roger Brun and independent champagne ambassador. Caroline will welcome us into her 18th century stately home for a champagne brunch with tasting of smaller grower champagnes.
Afterwards, we will be taken to the wonderful House of Bollinger for a private guided tour, and an exclusive lunch with a selection of Bollinger cuvees. After Bollinger, we will head to Pol Roger for a tasting a tour of their private cellars.
Our last night in champagne will be spent in the marvellous grounds of the chateau d’Etoge with a decadent final night dinner at their restaurant.
Day 7: Saturday 24 October
After a champagne breakfast at Chateau d’Etoge, our chauffeur will take us back to Paris. You will have some more free time to explore the city before meeting up again at 6.30pm for a cocktail ‘au revoir’ at Sofitel Arc de Triomphe.
Day 8: Sunday 25 October
Check out and final goodbyes will be after breakfast, when you are free to go your own fabulous ways back home or onwards on more adventures!
Tempted? We would love to have you join us!
Bookings are now being taken through the Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society website. Click on the logo below for more information.
You do realise that men love Champagne as well? Well some of us at least. My wife and I have been to Champagne region twice and going back in the next year or two and there’s no way she is going back without me!
We love Les Crayeres and have eaten in both their bistro and restaurant so you will have a great time there.
Hope you get the numbers – just sorry men are ruled out.
Thanks for your input. I must say that men are not at all ruled out, but being partnered with the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society, we are trying to fill a specific hole in the market. My husband says the same thing – he’s love to come with us, but we’ve got young kids, so someone has to stay at home and work! But seriously, if you are interested in coming, you would be most welcome. It’s first and foremost about the champagne!