The Champagne region has gained international renown for its outstanding wines. Yet, the territory surrounding the famous vineyards remains widely unknown. The wine region bearing the prestigious AOC Champagne designation since 1927 lies between Château-Thierry, Reims and Epernay. Its harsh climate, the characteristics of its soil and its sunny hills make for very distinctive and exquisite wines.
Join us on this extraordinary wine trip to discover the three Champagne varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay while exploring the three winelands by bike. Conquer some of the steeper stretches of the region's hilly landscape and reward yourself with well-earned visits to organic wineries where you will get to taste some of the best and healthiest wines in the area. Some winegrowers even subscribe to biodynamic principles. The tours are rounded off by little detours to scenic lookouts, an exceptional garden and historic castles. Longer legs will be covered by train. Two different types of accommodation categories are available to ensure just the comfort level you are looking for.
Day 1: Arrival in Château-Thierry
Upon arrival in the early afternoon, you will be expected at your accommodation in Château-Thierry. Collect your rental bikes and, depending on your time of arrival, set out on a short or longer bike tour:
Discover the historic city centre of Château-Thierry, its ancient buildings, its castle keep and its fortification walls. Afterwards head out towards Brasles for a wine tasting at an organic winery and enjoy its delicious Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
Distance: approx. 10 km (6 miles)
Set out towards Condé-en-Brie for a visit of Château de Condé, a listed and privately owned castle serving as a permanent family residence. Its grand interior was decorated by renowned 17th and 18th century artists with paintings of important historical figures such as the Princes of Condé and Savoie, Jean de La Fontaine and Cardinal de Richelieu guiding you through parts of France's history. The castle's magnificent garden holds several surprises, hidden under tercentennial trees. On your way back to Château-Thierry, enjoy a refreshing glass of wine at our organic winery in Brasles.
Distance: approx. 32 km (19 miles)
Day 2: Tour around Château Thierry (Pinot Meunier)
Start out your day by visiting the market in Château-Thierry and explore the city if you haven't had time to do so yesterday. Afterwards, take the train to Nogent l’Artaud (approx. 9 min.), arriving at a biodynamic winery just in time for today's apéritif. Following the wine tasting, head on to Chézy sur Marne to enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice. Depending on the season, visit an organic saffron farm to admire its gorgeous flowers and colours (bloom: October)
Continue on towards the picturesque wine village Azy sur Marne and the Mont de Bonneil vineyard. The amphitheatre-shaped vineyard overlooking the Marne Valley is among three designated beacons of landscaping, viticulture, biodiversity and sustainable development representing the Champagne region in its endeavour to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meet with one of the region's pioneers in organic wine-growing and savour his outstanding wines before returning to Château-Thierry for another relaxing night.
Distance: approx. 35 km (21 miles)
Day 3: Dormans – Epernay: Through the Marne valley (Pinot Noir)
Following a short train ride to Dormans (approx. 15 min.) discover the southern part of the Marne Valley. Follow the scenic route from one charming French village to the next, taking in the beautiful landscape dominated by Pinot Noir vineyards. Take a break to visit the 1914-1918 WWI memorial in Dormans and the eco-museum in Oeuilly and don't miss Boursault Castle as you ride past it. Just outside Epernay take a left turn to visit one of the Marne Valley's few biodynamic wineries and taste their excellent Pinot Noir. From here it is only a few more kilometres before you reach Eperany where you will spend the last night of this trip.
Distance: approx. 35 km (21 miles)
Day 4: Reims Mountains (Chardonnay)
Depending on your time of departure, round off your Champagne trip with a short or longer bike tour:
Short route: Hautvilliers:
From Mareuil, just east of Epernay, head out for a ride towards the birthplace of champagne, the world famous wine village Hautvillers, where Dom Pérignon spent the better part of his life as a monk and winegrower. Round off your trip with another organic wine tasting in Hautvilliers.
Distance: approx. 25 km (16 miles)
Long route: Reims – Epernay:
After breakfast, take the regional train to Reims (approx. 20 min.) and start your last tour by exploring the beautiful city of Reims with its three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Palais du Tau, Saint-Remi Abbey and the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. Afterwards, follow the “green trail” along the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne towards Sillery. Continue on through the Reims Mountains passing Puisieulx, the mill and lighthouse of Verzenay and finally Verzy. If time allows, take a short detour to admire the Faux de Verzy – strangely twisted beech trees, born of a genetic aberration, whose peculiar shape has inspired many a legend. Before returning to Epernay, visit our winegrower Benoît in Bouzy to taste his delicious organic Chardonnay.
Distance: approx. 35 km (21 miles)
This self-guided wine & bike tour can be booked between mid-April and late October, starting Thursday in Château-Thierry and ending Sunday in Epernay.
Indication of price per person in double room occupancy, 3-star category
Single bedrooms available at an additional charge
Guided tour in english on request !
Prices: from 899,- € with 5 paxe in double room occupancy – from 770,- € with 6 paxe in double room occupancy – from 720,- € with 8 paxe in double room occupancy
Guided tours can be arranged for groups of 5 or more.
Please send us an enquiry indicating your preferred date of depature and the number of travellers.
3 nights in twin rooms, all breakfasts & dinners, luggage transfer service, 4 wine tastings, audio-guided tour at Château de Condé-en-Brie, road book.
Train/plane fare to/from Château-Thierry/Epernay, rental bikes, lunches, drinks, entrance fee to the saffron garden, visitor's tax, travel cancellation expenses insurance
Touring bike : from € 60 for 4 days/ person
E-bike : from € 150 for 4 days/ person
Minimum number of participants: 2
Not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
The tour operator reserves the right to cancel this trip up until 21 days prior to departure.
During this trip, you will spend three nights in twin rooms with private bathrooms in family-owned 3 or 4-star hotels or B&Bs as per the chosen accommodiation category. Your hosts will be happy to welcome you and share their knowledge of the region, bike routes and their local cuisine. Enjoy luxurious breakfasts with fresh products and homemade jam as well as traditional regional meals for dinner.
On day 1 and 2, you will visit a total of 4 organic wineries, two of which grow their grapes according to biodynamic criteria (Demeter / Biodyvin certified). On the last day, depending on the time of your departure, you will have the opportunity to visit another organic winegrower. Of course, all wines are available for purchase and can be shipped to your home address for your convenience.
This wine & bike tour through the Champagne hill land includes several steep ascents, thus requiring general bike skills and a good physical condition. The day legs are about 35 km (21 miles) long and will take you on secondary roads, bike trails along the Marne river and parts of the “Green Trail” along the Reims Mountains. To be more comfortable you can ask for E-Bike.
Rental bikes are available on site:
Price: from € 170 per e-bike for 4 days included delivery at the first accommodation.
Your luggage will be transferred from one hotel to the next (except during the train ride on day 3), allowing you to enjoy your bike rides without your bags weighing you down. Simply pack a few personal things for the day (ID, money, camera, etc.) and head out!
Some 2 hours east of Paris lies the famous Champagne AOC wine region (Appellation d’origine contrôlée), made up of four wine areas: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs and Côte des Bar. Many of the well over 15,000 winegrowers have been producing their very own wines for many centuries. Several different varieties are being cultivated in the region whose characteristics vary with different soils and micro-climates. Champagne wines thus feature an extraordinary variety of textures and flavours while bearing one similarity – their excellent quality.
Despite its outstanding reputation as a wine region, when it comes to organic wines, the Champagne has a long way to go. This is partly due to its challenging climate, with high precipitation making mildew very difficult to combat with biological means. Nevertheless, some winegrowers have ventured the transition to natural cultivation methods without the use of chemical insecticides and pesticides. Many others are following in their footsteps looking to reduce their use in order to produce natural, high quality and tasty wines. The share of genuine organic wineries, however, is almost negligible, amounting to no more than 1 % of all Champagne wines. During this wine & bike trip, you will have the opportunity to visit some of these pioneers in organic winegrowing and taste their excellent wines. Some of them are cultivating their grapes according to stringent biodynamic criteria – with view to the environment and your health.
We recommend a low-carbon train ride to Château-Thierry (direct connection from Paris).
Nearest airport: Paris