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Why not hop over to Champagne-Ardenne for a champagne lifestyle on a budget staying at charming chambres d’hôtes and tasting and buying at small local producers?

It is closer than you think. Take the car across to Epernay, less than three hours’ drive from Calais, and check in at Parva Domus Chambres d’hôtes www.parvadomusrimaire.com on the  world-famous Avenue de Champagne. This small manor house is exquisitely furnished with five en-suite double rooms from €90 including breakfast. Or take along some friends and stay in their 12-person gîte from €720 per night. 

Next head up to nearby Hautvillers on the Champagne Tourist Route. Pick up a local map and some information at the little tourist office on the square and enjoy the meandering streets which lead to Dom Perignon’s Abbey and gravestone.

Champagne tasting

In need of some refreshments? Head back to the main square and drop in at Champagne Tribaut. In warm weather sit on a bench in their garden sipping champagne from the vines grown metres from your feet! The prices and the views of the vineyard slopes are equally amazing – starting from less than €15 Euros for champagne that has been favourably compared by top sommeliers to some of the Grandes Maisons luxury brands (Cuvée de Réserve - Sélection Guide Hachette des VINS 2012.La Revue du Vin de France Guide des Meilleurs Vins à petits prix 2010.+Le Point Spécial Champagne du 2 décembre 2010) www.champagne.g.tribaut.com

Drive back to Epernay and dine out where the locals eat at www.la-cave-a-champagne.com for a delicious experience - sampling hearty regional dishes cooked with the nectar of the Gods  and delicate desserts such as Raspberry Champagne sorbets,

For exploring the Côte des Blancs to the south of Epernay, you can't go wrong with the Hotel Thibault IV at Vertus. It is fairly simple but value for money and great food. www.hotelthibault.com

Enjoy! C.H.

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