Saturday 18 September 2021 (confirmed)
06h45 (Schuman) / 07h00 (Midi) until 23h30
Champagne region, France
Private 4* luxury coach with reclining comfort seats
THIS TRIP IS UNFORTUNATELY POSTPONED TO SPRING 2022. EVERYONE ON THE LIST WILL BE CONTACTED BY EMAIL. WE TOTALLY REGRET THIS SITUATION, BUT THE CORONA MEASURES ARE MAKING TRAVEL VERY HARD NOW.
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, or you can opt for going to Mercier or Boizel. 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!
- Trip + De Castellane tour + 1 glass of Brut + museum & tower + 2-course lunch incl drink = €149,95
- Trip + Mercier tour + 1 glass of Brut + 2-course lunch incl drink = €159,95
- Trip Boizel tour + 1 glass of Brut Reservé & 1 glass of Blanc de Blancs + 2-course lunch incl drink = € 169,95
You are requested to transfer the amount to our bank account or to request a payment link for a (credit) card payment, which we will send to you later.
NOTE: For this visit you are personally responsible for ensuring your covid passport is in order (i.e. proof of vaccination, proof of previous infection, proof of a negative corona test max 72hours old). It is not Expat Club’s choice to adhere to these conditions, we are forced to do so, because otherwise you will not have access to the Champagne houses and restaurants. Expat Club is not responsible for any changes in this policy by the French government.
What is the trip fee?
Due to the exceptional circumstances of limited group sizes in the cellars, we are offering 3 different houses for our visit. You have to choose which one in advance. Be aware that there are limited spots for each house and that many spots are already gone. Also, we include the lunch in the final price (normally 90% joins us for lunch anyway). If you do not want to have lunch included, please contact us for a discount. Finally, since we are replacing our website, it is not possible to pay immediately online. You can fill out the form and transfer the indicated amount to our bank account (BE89 3630 8012 6585, Xross Global Group, with CHAMPAGNE in comments). You can also request a payment link for a Bancontact or credit card payment.
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 De Castellane Brut
- Alternative visit to Mercier (1 glass) or Boizel (2 glasses)
- 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 alternative Champagne houses in Hautvillers
– Lunch in Hautvillers (it’s included, but we can take this out)
– 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 indicate this in the final comment. A ticket costs €80 including lunch and a visit to De Castellane. You can add this amount to your own ticket price.
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.
06h45 – Departure from Place Schuman (meeting time 06h35)
06h50 – Departure from Louise (meeting time 06h45)
07h00 – Departure from Gare du Midi (meeting time 06h55)
09h15 – Highway stop
11h15 – Visits to Champagne House(s) Épernay
13h00 – Departure to Hautvillers
13h30 – Lunch at Restaurant de l’Abbeye
14h30 – Guided tour Hautvillers
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
For this trip you can choose between four Champagne house to visit (the visits run paralel). Each of them is located along the prestigious Avenue de la Champagne, the most famous Champagne street. Our standard tour is the one at De Castellane, a beautiful traditional house that boasts a nice Champagne museum and a panoramic tower. You can also opt for Mercier Champagne (one glass of brut included), France’s most popular Champagne brand. And finally you can opt for Boizel (one glass of Brut Reservé included + one glass of Blanc de Blancs). The Boizel tour is therefore I most expensive tour, especially because of the quality of the champagne.
Each visit will introduce you to the art of Champagne making, the house itself and take you through the extensive cellar network. Each cellar is different and we can guarantee that you cannot make a wrong decision about which cellar you choose.
Our first tour is anything but basic. Part of the Laurent Perrier group, De Castellane is our favorite house simply because of its authenticity. Coming in to the building, you immediately smell the wine. The cellars are old, dark and have a lot of character. Especially the “Champagne vault”, with a selection of bottles from the best year, is great to see. De Castellane is the only house where you can also see the bottling machines. At the end of the tour you will be offered a glas of brut. For an additional payment you can try their rosé or other champagnes, and of course you can buy your favorite bottle.
Mercier is another one of the houses that we always visit. Located at just 150 meters from De Castellane, their cellars are completely different compared to the ones at De Castellane. Starting with their size, Mercier boast the largest cellar complex of over 18km! The corridors are much lighter and you will have the chance to explore them with a laser-guided train. The tour starts with a short movie about the Champagne process and a bit of marketing for the house itself, after which you explore the art-filled cellars. Afterwards you enjoy a glass of brut and can buy a wide selection in the outstanding shop.
Our last house is new for Expat Club, but of course needs no further introduction. The know-how of the Boizel House is transmitted from generation to generation since 1834. The Cellars, which have been dug in the mid-19th century are located at the same place as the technical installations of the champagne house (like De Castellane). These century-old cellars provide optimal conditions that bring out the unique character of each of vintage, combining delicacy and balance. After an excellent tour you will have the chance to taste 2 different champagnes, the Brut Reservé and the Blanc de Blancs. Therefore this tour is for the champagne aficionados.
Remember, don’t worry about picking a wrong house. They are all great and right choices. Don’t suffer from FOMO either, the Fear Of Missing Out because your house is already full. Just JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out, because the alternative is just as great! At each house you will be offered a glass of delicious Brut champagne. At Boizel, however, you will be offered the Brut Reservé and also a Blanc de Blancs. There is a shop in each house, so you can take home one bottle or a full box if you enjoyed it. After the tours and tastings we will get back on the bus and make a short drive towards Hautvillers, the birthplace of Champagne.
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.