Best Destination Specialist Tour Operator (winner)
Best Coach Holidays Tour Operator (winner)
Best Short Break Tour Operator (runner-up)
See THE FRENCH TRAVEL AWARDS 2012
Reims it is an attractive, bustling University town and with its elegant shops, tempting delis, panoply of brasseries, cafes and great restaurants, and historical interest, it is an ideal base for our enjoyable champagne weekends. Reims,which is the heart of the Champagne trade, is the base for our champagne weekends and is home to many of the great names in Champagne: Roederer, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Ruinart and Taittinger are a few of the Houses with their offices and main cellars here.
Reims was important in the latter Roman Empire. There remains a Triumphal Arch, Forum and stone quarries (or crayères), which are today used as cellars by Champagne Houses. The 13th century Cathedral has fascinating gargoyles, statues including ‘the Smiling Angel’ which is often described as one of the earliest examples of Rennaissance sculpture; superb stained glass windows, including three beautiful windows by Marc Chagall. The early Frankish Kings were all crowned here and the Kings of France continued this tradition. Reims was badly damaged in the First World War, but thankfully, some of the most beautiful buildings, the Cathedral and the Palais de Vergeur, remain. The rebuilding gave rise to many fine buildings with ‘art nouveau’ touches.
The Champagne vineyards stretch from around Troyes in the south (in the sub-district known as the Aube), to Reims in the north, in the Marne district. The vineyards of the Marne are: the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs (where the white grapes are concentrated) and the Vallée de la Marne.
Reims and the Champagne region are just 280kms (170 miles) by relatively empty motorway from Calais. A journey made all the more comfortable when you travel with the world’s leading wine tours experts at A&C. You can sit back and enjoy the scenery whilst sipping your tea, coffee or a glass of wine and as your UK based wine guide (either a Master of Wine or wine journalist) and our tour manager travels with you, you can start getting to know your on tour team and asking questions as soon as you ike.
You have the great convenience of being able to bring back up to 36 bottles of champagne with you on the coach – all bought direct from our carefully selected range of Champagne Houses. You’ll find champagnes from the leading growers starting at around 13-15 euros for excellent Grand Cru champagnes, which we have selected for you based on our 24 years of wine touring experience to the regions and which you’ll have the opportunity to taste before you buy.
You may also choose to join the tours by Eurostar and T.G.V from London and Paris or you could always drive if you prefer (though don’t forget to count the cost of the motorway tolls and fuel into your holiday budgetting). The TGV from Paris takes just under an hour,so if you are already visiting Paris you can easily add on an Arblaster & Clarke Champagne weekend to your holiday or business trip. You could also choose fly to the nearest airport, which is Paris Charles de Gaulle, from where there are a couple of direct trains a day, or we will be pleased to quote on a transfer for you.
The Original Arblaster & Clarke Champagne Weekends with the leading Champagne Tours specialists
These are our original champagne tours, run by Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours since 1987. The aim of these enjoyable champagne weekends is to taste a wide spectrum of Champagnes, and you start at breakfast!
In the company of a knowledgeable and approachable UK based wine expert, you’ll visit a good cross section of Houses and growers and experience our unique, enjoyable and informative comparative tastings each evening. As you drive through the vineyards your wine guide will introduce you to all aspects of Champagne, from the history, to the grape growing, to interesting insider anecdotes based on the wine guides special knowledge. We offer a series of champagne weekend dates throughout the year until the last weekend of November, which usually co-incides with the Christmas market in Reims. See Champagne Weekends
The Ultimate Champagne Tour with the leading Champagne Tours specialists
… is just that – this superb champagne trip occurs just once, or perhaps twice a year and simply includes the best of everything along with unique invitations from the leading champagne Houses to lunch or dine with them. Our accommodation is a comfortable Manor House in one of the Grand Cru Villages owned by a leading vigneron (with an indoor pool). The wine guide is one of the UK’s most famous wine experts and they host an introductory vertical tasting of vintages of the greatest Champagne. The tour also includes rare visits to the Ultimate top Houses where we are invited to superb tastings, lunches and dinners hosted by the winemakers or owners. See Ultimate Champagne Tour
The Champagne Extra tours
These extra special long weekends include upgrades to all elements of the wine holiday; superior rooms at our central Reims hotel; a selection of prestigious cuvees from leading Champagne Houses in our comparative Champagne tasting; two gourmet meals (either both as private guests in top champagne houses or one of the meals at a Michelin starred restaurant) and the Champagne tastings are high calibre. On the journey we either include Club Class on the ferry, or a picnic meal in each direction when travelling by shuttle. We are never more than just 24 participants and a Master of Wine or company founder, Tim Clarke who is one of the leading experts on Champagne, leads the tour. See Champagne Extra Tours
Private Group Tours
Champagne Tours for your wine club, private party or special celebrations with the leading & original Champagne Tours Specialists!
Let us take the strain out of making the arrangements for your next wine club trip, or let the leading champagne tour specialists at A&C arrange your special family celebration. Champagne for Private Groups
Independent Champagne Trips with the Leading Champagne Tours Specialists
If you can’t make any of our programmed dates or you would prefer to travel on your own or with a group of friends, we can arrange a variety of options for you. Visit our Independent Tours section, where you will see a couple of options and longer as you select one of these exactly, the prices are as shown. See Independent Champagne trips
We don’t encourage self-driving on wine tours. Not only do you then have to worry about getting around and to appointments on time, you need to appoint a driver (who must forego the tastings as drink-drive laws are strictly enforced in France and limits are lower than the UK). Having a guide and a driver for the day takes all the stress out of this, it does not come cheaply but it is very much worth it for the added information you gain and for the peace of mind.
If you would like a bespoke trip, tailored exactly to your requirements and with high level visits, we will be happy to discuss this with you and quote, but this will be more expensive than the offers in our “off the peg” Independent Holidays.
26 - 28 October 2013
Late Autumn Champagne
16 - 18 November 2013
30 November - 2 December 2013
17 - 21 March 2014
Southern Champagne and Chablis Vineyard Walk
2 - 8 June 2013