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Vineyards of Champagne

Overview

The region of Champagne is known across the world for its sparkling wine, a drink which has become synonymous with celebration, romance and the best of France. This exciting trail ride takes you on a horseback journey through Champagne's vineyards - with its sparkling name the region promises inter…

Highlights

  • Taste Champagne... in Champagne!
  • Visit Hautvillers, the home of Dom Pérignon
  • Canter through the forest of Verzy
  • Spend nights in 'wine villages'
  • Magnificent views of sloping vineyards

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 3 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10 lbs

Description

The region of Champagne is known across the world for its sparkling wine, a drink which has become synonymous with celebration, romance and the best of France. This exciting trail ride takes you on a horseback journey through Champagne's vineyards - with its sparkling name the region promises interesting terrain, excellent canters, prestigious wine cellars and beautiful landscapes. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its breathtaking setting and its production of the true king of wines.

The trail includes many of Champagne's highlights such as riding around 'Montagne de Reims', a wooded plateau with slopes known as "the Pinot Noir kingdom". The ride also explores the Marne Valley where the Pinot Noir grape grows side by side with the Meunier variety and you will discover the 'Côte des Blancs' where some of the most famous Champagne wines, named 'Blanc des Blancs', are produced using the Chardonnay grape. Along the way there are famous and historical properties to be visited too, including Reims cathedral which stands witness to the crowning of several French kings.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Comfortable trail saddles. Horses are ridden in "Myler" bits, similar to a snaffle. Saddlebags with water and rain ponchos are provided.

Horses

The horses are pure or crossbred Paints, Arabians, Thoroughbreds or warmbloods. They live in a 70 acre field with the herd and most are homebred. They are well-behaved and there are options for all types of rider.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • The Sparkling Trail Ride is a trail ride

Ages

16+ for trails.

Health

None specific.

Weight

100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Continental breakfasts are served at your accommodation. Lunches are buffets with plenty of choice (and can be suited to different diets) and wine, coffee and water are included. Dinners are in the accommodation but wine and other extras with dinner at at your own cost.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in comfortable hotels and B&Bs in either double or twin rooms. These include (subject to change): Gite des Écuries in Chamery, Les Barbotines in Bouzy, Hotel de Champagne in Epernay and Gite Patis-Paille.

There is the possibility of single rooms with payment of a supplement - if you are travelling alone and prefer to share then your hosts will do their best to match you with a roommate, otherwise you will be placed in a single room with the supplement to be paid.

Itineraries

The Sparkling Trail Ride Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

During the ride you will enjoy cultural visits and wine tastings.

Travel

Guests are collected from Reims TGV train station at 6.30pm on arrival day (additional fee to be paid). Alternatively you are welcome to meet at the guest house in Chamery if you have your own transport - please ask us for directions.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Pick-up from the TGV train station in Reims at 6.30pm, dinner and overnight.

Day 2

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

Today you ride only in the morning. Breakfast is served around 8am and your ride will start at around 10am. This morning brings beautiful perspectives over the vineyards and a route through the forest of Sermiers, also called 'La forêt du Chêne à la Vierge' which means "the woods of Virgin Mary's oak". The name comes from a medieval legend which tells that loggers found a figure of the Virgin Mary in the heart of a tree. Every year, on the third Sunday of September, a pilgrimage takes place to celebrate this miracle. After your ride you will return to your guesthouse for lunch.

In the afternoon you will visit the city of Reims, also known as "the city of coronations" and "the city of kings". On 25th December 496 the first French Christian king, Clovis, was baptised here by Bishop Saint Rémi at the place where Reims Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Reims, would later be built and where all further French kings would be crowned.

As for Champagne wines, they date back to the 17th century and have been one of the main pillars of the local economy for a long time now.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

This morning some relaxed canters will lead you through the woods to the heart of the Verzy forest, 'Les Faux de Verzy', where you will enjoy your picnic. A 'Fau de Verzy' is a dwarf Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica 'Tortuosa'), "fau" meaning "beech" in Old French. Les Faux de Verzy is the world's largest concentration of dwarf beeches and is home to around a thousand trees.

In the afternoon you will ride south to Trepail, a typical wine village of the Champagne region, where the white Chardonnay grape is very much at home. Dinner and overnight in the village of Bouzy.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you will ride through vineyards to the village of Mutigny, taking in a panoramic view of the Marne Valley, the Côte des Noirs (located on the south-east of Montagne de Reims) and the Côte des Blancs, the vineyards located to the south of Epernay.

Your picnic lunch today is in the village of Hautvillers, birthplace of the Champagne wines. The monk Dom Pérignon is said to have created the method which gave Champagne its sparkle. You will head down through the vineyards, crossing the Marne River at the village of Cumières, enjoying some nice canters along the river.

Dinner and overnight in the town of Epernay.

Day 5

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

Today includes riding only in the morning. You will alternate between forests and vineyards, enjoying panoramic views of Epernay. You will enter the 'Blanc de Blancs' vineyards, after stopping for your picnic in the village of Cramant, and will enjoy a wine-tasting there.

This afternoon you will visit Epernay on foot. This town, surrounded by vineyards, is the heart of the Champagne economy and also the starting point for several scenic roads. It lies at the region's epicentre and every famous Champagne brand has a headquarters there, most of them located on the famous Champagne Avenue where 110km of wine cellars lie under your feet! You will be able to admire the eclectic architecture of many buildings which date from the 19th century.

Dinner and overnight in the town of Epernay.

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

This morning you will leave Cramant and head for the Mountain of Avize and its chalk cliffs, arriving in the Darcy valley where you have a beautiful view of the village Monthelon. By crossing Epernay forest you will make your way back to the Marne Valley. After your picnic you'll cross the Marne River at the village of Damery before continuing your ride on vineyard slopes. With yet more amazing valley views, you will leave your horses overnight in the village of Montigny.

Dinner and overnight in the village of La Neuville aux Larris with a wine-tasting of Champagne.

Day 7

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast your trail continues across sloping vineyards. You will have a magnificent view over the village of Chatillon sur Marne, at the top of which stands a gigantic statue of Pope Urban II (33m tall), otherwise known as 'Odo of Chatillon', who supervises the Champagne vineyards. Your final picnic lunch will be at the Natural Regional Parc House of the Reims Mountains, located in Pourcy, before riding through the forest back to your finishing point.

Dinner and overnight in the village of La Neuville aux Larris.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast your hosts will drop you off at Reims TGV station for your journey home.

Experience Experienced

Riders should be experienced at walk, rising trot, canter and gallop in a forward/light seat and accustomed to riding in open spaces over varied terrain. Participants should be riding fit with soft hands and confidence, able to control the speed and direction of the horse in all circumstances. Canters can be several minutes, good fitness is essential. Those who are assessed to not have the required level for the ride may be asked to stop riding and no refunds will be given in this case.

Minimum group size 5
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

Aug. 14, 2021 - Aug. 21, 2021

Aug. 6, 2022 - Aug. 13, 2022

Aug. 14, 2022 - Aug. 21, 2022

Pricing

2021 £1660 $2305 €1945
2022 £1700 $2365 €1990
Included Accommodation, meals, drinks with lunches (wine, tea and coffee), horse riding and transportation of luggage.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, train station transfers, drinks with dinners and outside of meals, wine-tasting, entry fees to tourist sites, tips.

Extras

2022 - Single Supplement £345 $480 €405
Paid to Far and Ride
2022 - Train Station Transfer €20
Paid locally
Reims TGV train station transfer at set-times.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.