More than a drink, it’s a region! Just an hour from Paris, pop the corks amongst the beautiful vineyards. Gawk at the splendor of Reims or the battle sites of the Marne. Visit the cellars of Moët or Cliquot. Marvel at country lanes where not a car passes, at villages and their Romanesque churches, all commuting distance from the City of Lights.
Day 1: The only one of our trips to cycle out of Paris, this one exits the city following a bike path along the Canal de l’Ourcq, a once-industrial canal that exits the city to the northeast. Past the Cité de la Musique and the Museum of Science at La Villette, and through the suburbs on a poplar-lined tow-path. By afternoon you are passing through provincial towns and farm fields, which is something of a surprise, especially if you are from Los Angeles. Meaux, our first goal, is home to giant wheels of Brie cheese, and to a imposing cathedral. Finish the day with a ride along the Marne to a rural village, our home for two nights. (45-65km)
Day 2: The day is yours to explore town and countryside. An ambitious triangular loop ride is on offer, across a plateau to the Ourcq valley, then downstream along the Ourcq, and home along the Marne. But it can be shortened by cutting off triangle points, or by judicious use of local trains. Stop in at the Romanesque churches that are centerpieces for every village and admire the flowerboxes which decorate the canal locks. World War I memorials are everywhere: life in this part of France is still marked by the “Great War” and its demographic aftermath. (40-80km)
Day 3: Today we reach the vineyards in earnest, and the part of Champagne that everyone associates with the name. Our route along the Marne carries us through Château-Thierry and to Epernay, one of the viticultural region’s twin capitals. The ride is full of the sights and smells of the vineyards, cellar tastings are on offer at every farm, and a coupe can be had for the cost of a beer in any local bar. (60km)
Day 4: Use the morning to recover from yesterday’s exertions, and to explore Epernay. Visit the Moët cellars and walk down “Champagne Avenue,” admiring the wine makers’ mansions. From Epernay, a beautiful cycle carries us through champagne’s most prestigious vineyards, across the Montagne de Reims, and to the city of the same name, Champagne’s other capital. A ride that touches Champagne’s greatest vineyards, as well as an enchanted forest and a lumberjack house. (45km)
Day 5: The stunning Reims cathedral, champagne cellars (and their associated tastings), the vineyards and other curiosities of the Montagne de Reims, and the Holy Roman Empire’s roots compete for your attention today, all accompanied by the omnipresent bubbles. Joan of Arc (was she Noah’s wife?) began a long tradition of crowning French Royalty here. Ride a little, a lot, or just wander around one of France’s most historically important cities. (40, 50 or 90km)
The trip disbands at the end of the afternoon in Reims.
- Trip price includes the bike!
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