Celebrate Champagne’s Sparkling Wine and History on Barge Trips in France
Barge trips in Champagne celebrate the only sparkling wine that can officially be called Champagne, as it was here that Champagne was born. The 514 kilometer long River Marne passes right though this wine growing region rich with history and refined culture.
The Village of Hautvillers
The village of Hautvillers is a well loved excursion on Champagne barge cruises. Long considered by many to be the birthplace of Champagne, the village of Hautvillers is a centuries old site perched high on a hill with expansive views of the Marne Valley and vineyards. Many of the houses and buildings have wrought iron signs depicting the profession or activity of its inhabitants. It is a photographer’s dream to wander the streets and alleys to capture artistic photos.
The Abbey d’Hautvillers
The restored Abbey d’ Hautvillers dates back to 650 and includes a church, circa 1600s arcade entrance, gardens and two tombs. The church, affectionately known as Saint Sindulphe, boasts a great deal of handcrafted, artistic detailing and historical items. Among them is a 17th century gallery pipe organ that includes a trio of keyboards and more than 400 pipes. There are also outdoor sculptures onsite too but that’s not what draws foodies to this site.
At one time, it was home to Dom Perignon, the monk who gave the world its first taste of what would go on to be one of the most beloved champagnes. He was born in the 1600s to family with strong ties to Champagne’s viticulture and died during the fall of 1715. Thus, it should come as no surprise that he had so much to contribute towards the perfection of both 18th century wine and champagne making techniques.
The abbey and gardens are private and can be visited by invitation only. The church is always open to the public.
Moet & Chandon Champagne House
The 270 year old house of Moet & Chandon located in Epernay now owns the Abbey d’Hautvillers. It is a perfect place to stop before or after a trip to the famed abbey. Barge passengers are typically invited to sample champagne flights and explore the site’s 28-kilometer long cellars with a guide. During the guided tour, you will learn about the adult beverage’s connection to the infamous Marquise de Pompadour, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the brand’s founders.
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