Saturday 18 July 2020
From 07h00 until 23h30
Champagne region, France
Private 4* luxury coach with reclining comfort seats
UPDATE: 1 July 2020
Due to ongoing limitations of people who are allowed to visit the Champagne cellars
at the same time, this trip will be moved to 24 October. If you were on the list
for this date, your reservation will be automatically moved and receive an email.
Who doesn’t love Champagne? Any occasion instantly becomes a party whenever a nice bottle of bubbly is opened. The entire world simply adores this exclusive wine. And if you like it too, but have no idea how Champagne is made and would like to visit the famous cellars and taste various bubblies, then this day is definitely something you don’t want to miss! Expat Club has traveled to the Champagne region in Northern France over 15 times already since 2014. Today we visit the lovely house of De Castellane in the morning. And in the afternoon you have the opportunity to visit various smaller houses in the #1 Champagne village of Hautvillers. Later in the afternoon, we’ll spend time in the capital Reims with its impressive Basilique and its stunning Cathedral where the French Kings used to be crowned, and where you can see a unique stained glass window pane by Marc Chagall. Bring back (many) Champagne bottles at reduced prices from the original houses! This is a great trip for newcomers, always happy faces!
What's included in the trip fee?
- Trip by 4* luxury coach
- Bottled water during the ride
- Entrance fees De Castellane Champagne
- One glass of Brut De Castellane Champagne
- Visit to Hautvillers, #1 Champagne village
- Guided tour in Hautvillers
- Visit to Reims, with guided bus tour along Champagne houses
- Visit to Basilique Saint-Remi in Reims
- Visit to Cathedral of Reims, with Marc Chagall stained glass
- Great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
What items are optional for this trip?
– Visits to various Champagne houses in Hautvillers
– Lunch in Hautvillers
– Opportunities to bring back bottles or boxes
What are the bus pick-up points?
– Place Schuman (bus stop next to KBC bank on roundabout)
– Louise (Blv de Waterloo, parking next to Tiffany’s)
– Gare du Midi (parking Charleroi Airport bus, Rue du France)
Who can join us?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable.
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please first add the regular adult tickets to the cart and then go to the cart page. On the cart page there is a child ticket available for €75, which already includes lunch and the guided tour (no Champagne tasting included).
Trip in pictures
As with all Expat Club trips, our program has been carefully designed. We normally don’t deviate from our schedule, but all times below are still tentative and may change if required by circumstances, such as traffic conditions. In the rare case we have to adapt our program, rest assured that your host, the driver and welcoming Champagne house and restaurant, will do their best to give you the optimal experience.
07h00 – Departure
11h15 – Visit to De Castellane Champagne
12h45 – Departure to Hautvillers
13h00 – Lunch at Restaurant de l’Abbeye
14h00 – Guided tour Hautvillers (included)
15h00 – Free time, visit to Champagne houses
16h30 – Departure to Reims
17h00 – Guided bus tour along Champagne houses
17h15 – Visit to Basilique Saint-Remi
17h45 – Visit to Cathedral de Reims
18h00 – Free time in Reims
20h15 – Departure to Brussels
23h30 – Estimated arrival
The Viscount Florens de Castellane, heir of one of the oldest families in France, established his Champagne house in Epernay. Visionary and resolute to promote his brand to the eyes of the world, he chose as his logo the red “Saint-Andrews” cross as a tribute to the standard of the oldest regiment in the Champagne region. Boni de Castellane, cousin of the Visount, is in charge of the distribution in Paris and rapidly makes it the champagne of choice for the Parisian “Smart-Set” during the Belle-Epoque period. In theaters, upper restaurants, de Castellane is poured in the most trendy places…
In 1902, the House de Castellane asked the famous Italian painter Leonetto Cappiello to design its first “advertising poster”. Since then de Castellane has developed a real patronage of poster art with an incredible collection of paintings and posters. Directed by Fernand Mérand, the “Union Champenoise” acquired de Castellane and integrate it in its imposing buildings located on the famous “Avenue de Champagne”. The brand de Castellane is preserved.
Thanks to its prestige and great notoriety, the “Union Champenoise” company is finally renamed to “Champagne de Castellane“. Alexandre Mérand, son of Fernand, who owned his champagne house, bought de Castellane in 1927. Not only focused on the French market but also the world, he started to export de Castellane all around: London, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, New-York, Alexandria, Sydney… de Castellane was now in the biggest cities in the world.
The early death of Alexandre Mérand obliged his family to take-over the company, under the direction of his daugther Claude Mérand, married to Bernard de Nonancourt, owner and Director of Champagne Laurent-Perrier. De Castellane entered the Laurent-Perrier group and is still owned and managed by the Nonancourt’s family. (source: De Castellane website)
The village of Hautvillers can be regarded as the “cradle of the Champagne” with its many Champagne houses and its famous former resident Dom Perignon, the “inventor” of the Champagne wine. We spend several hours here. First we have a very nice lunch in the village’s best restaurant. We’ve been coming there for years for a lovely meal and some time discuss our experience in Épernay.
After lunch you will have the possibility of joining a 1-hour guided tour through the village. A local expert guide will tell us much more about the cultivation of the grapes used for Champagne and how the wine is made. S/he will also take us to the famous Abbey of St Peter where Dom Perignon is buried and tell us more about the history of the village and the vineyards of many famous Champagne houses, such as Taittinger, Moët et Chandon and many others.
The City of Reims is the administrate capital of the Champagne-Ardennes Arrodissement. At the same time it is a cultural hotspots, a historic place and another centre for the Champagne industry.
After arriving in the city we will first make a short bus tour along some of the other famous Champagne houses, such as Veuve Clicquot, Pommery and Ruinart. Our first stop is at the St Remy Basilica, which has been standing here for almost 1000 years. Every time we go there our participants come back totally amazed with what you see inside. We keep that a little secret for you until we are there…
Our next stop is the large Cathedral, which has been used for the coronation of many French kings. In the back you can see the stunning stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. After this visit you have some free time to see the rest of the city or to have dinner in a local restaurant. We depart again at 20h15.
We will be travelling with a comfortable 4* luxury coach from Lauwers Reizen. The seats are configured in Princess Class, which means you will have extra leg space and can recline your seat. This way you can get some extra rest. All seats have footrests as well. There is a (small) toilet on-board and a DVD system with three flat screens. The bus picks up at Place Schuman, Louise and Midi Station, and drop-off is at the same spots and Merode and Montgomery.