“If I have just one day for a driving tour in Champagne, what should I do?”
I receive a lot of emails and DMs from people who are travelling to Champagne and ask my questions like this. So I have started writing a series of blog posts with ALL my tips.
I will probably be finished just in time for my next trip and I can update them with all the hot new places to go!
So make sure you check out my other posts to help you nail your trip to Champagne – see the links at the end of this post.
But my number one tip of all is… get out of the big towns!
Epernay and Reims are amazing, beautiful, historic and chock full of champagne options, but my heart didn’t truly love Champagne until I was on the road.
To really appreciate the beauty and diversity, and the heart and soul of Champagne, you need to get amongst the villages and the vineyards. You can hire a local tour guide for this – I write more about that here, but you can also take a self-guided driving tour in Champagne. (Make sure you take a designated driver of course!)
Everything in Champagne is relatively close (when you come from a big country like Australia anyway!) but realistically you can’t tour the entire region in one day. Or even three days. But if one day is all you have to get out of the two big towns, I would focus on enjoying the region around Reims and Epernay.
While you can drive the main road from Reims to Epernay in about 30 minutes, this is what I would do with just one day dedicated to cruising around the region.
My itinerary for a one-day self-guided driving tour in Champagne
Hot tip – pack a picnic basket!
You are in France so there are many places you can stock up on cheese and baguettes and pastries and champagne. Travel ready to indulge on your day out!
Part One – Reims to Rilly-la-Montagne
Let’s assume you are starting in Reims. On your first leg drive from Reims to Rilly-la-Montagne and stop in at Château de Rilly for a decadent breakfast and a sneak peek in one of the region’s most luxurious hotels (pic of the terrace below). Treat yourself to a late start and you can time your adventure so that after you have your breakfast and coffee at the Château, while you are still in Rilly-la-Montagne, you can stop in for a champagne tasting at one of my fave tasting bars in the region, Prise de mousse. They open at 10.30am in high season, and it’s a short walk from Château de Rilly to Prise de mousse (and it’s totally OK on holidays to have your first champagne at 10.30am!)
Part Two – Rilly-la-Montagne to Verzenay
From Rilly-la-Montagne, cruise via Chigney-Les-Roses (tasting options in the village if you want to stop) and Ludes (more tasting options if you want to stop) before stopping at Veerzy and Verzenay to visit Phare de Verzenay.
Phare de Verzenay is an historic lighthouse with amazing views around the region and you can learn a lot about the region’s history. Verzy and Verzenay are the perfect spots for your picnic lunch and the local forest (Faux de Verzy) offers walks and picnics spots, all easy access from Verzy and Verzenay. If you aren’t hungry just yet, drive on – more view points are to come! (There is also a great champagne bar in Verzy called the Perching Bar but it won’t be open in the morning – it’s a visit for another day!)
Part Three – a scenic drive
The next part of my driving tour in Champagne would take me on a scenic drive through the forest via Louvois and make your stop at the edge of Mutigny at the church and enjoy the beautiful views.
Part four – On to Hautvillers
Then continue on your driving tour in Champagne through Ay (a larger town on the edge of the Marne which has a lot to offer if you have more time) and on through Cumières and Damery (pretty villages also along the banks of the Marne River).
From Damery, you want to take the scenic route up to Hautvillers, where you should find a park on the street behind the Abbey and wander through the town.
There are three great view points… one on the main road back to Reims (la Briqueterie called Point de vue de Hautvillers), one on the road to Cumières (rue de Cumières) and one behind the abbey (a great picnic spot) on Rue de L’Abrois.
You get the idea of the views you will see from my gallery below.
You can visit the view points and the tomb of Dom Perignon in the Abbey before stopping in at Champagne Fedyk for a glass of champagne in their courtyard and take in the views (lovely staff and the best value for money champagne I tried on my whole trip, while still being fab quality). Then drop in at Au 36, another from my list of fave champagne bars in the region that is well worth a tasting if you have time. And they offer great food if you didn’t pack a picnic (or you’ve run low and have the munchies tasting all that champagne!).
Final Part – a special treat!
From Hautvillers, there is one more stop I would make. Take a short drive to Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa in Champillon where you can shake off the day of driving with a luxury treatment and massage, champagne on the terrace, or even dinner before you drive home.
The newest luxury option in the area, it opened the week after I left on my last trip, but I am 100% staying here next time. Those views, that bar, the massages! It’s like a mini-heaven when you are already in heaven… because you are in Champagne!
This still only takes in one small corner of the region but it is a very beautiful corner and will make for a day you won’t forget!
Final word about driving safely!
Please be smart if you are self-driving! Drinking and driving is never, ever, ever OK.
I have never driven a car in Champagne – I know what I am there for and while I have paid a fortune for taxis, I don’t for one minute regret it. Support the locals and the tourism industry and book a driver, guide or a cab. And if you do have a driver please make sure they don’t drink. You can buy them bottles at all your stops, and they can enjoy them at night back at your hotel room so they don’t miss out.
See who I recommend for tours in My top five tips for booking tastings and tours in Champagne.
I would LOVE for you to email me and let me be your personal Champagne Travel Concierge! I will work with my network of local Champagne spies to plan a personalised itinerary to match the time of year, the occasion, your group size, and any of your personal preferences!
Email email@example.com so I can start planning the Champagne trip of your dreams now!
Have you been on a driving tour in Champagne? Tell me about your visit and if you go in the future, make sure you post a pic and tag @bubbleandflute #bubbleandflute #happychamper #champagnefan
Bubble & Flute promotes the responsible consumption of alcohol for individuals of legal drinking age in their country.