Price is per person based on double occupancy.
Group Size: In order to best experience touring the champagne houses, trekking through forests and exploring the battlefields, this tour will have a maximum of four people.
• Tour Hosts: Judi Janofsky & Rich Steck
• Accommodations: On this special tour, we are staying in a luxury five-star hotel, a charming three-star bed-and-breakfast and a four-star city hotel – each with private bath, modern amenities and noted restaurants.
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Lying in northeast France are three fascinating areas steeped in American history and French tradition.
By the time World War I ended in 1918, 15-20 million soldiers had perished. Two of the most hard-won battles took place in Verdun and Meuse in the Argonne region. Touring the area you can see why. The terrain is rocky, hilly and densely forested. We’ll trek into the forest through German concert trenches and bunkers that included housing, kitchens and ammunition dumps, battlefields that are still strewn with cartridges and the American cemetery that honors the soldiers that help win the war.
Founded in 80 BC by a Gallic tribe called the Remi, its citizens allied themselves with Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul – that association made the town a favored municipality in the Empire. Today Reims enjoys a booming champagne business. Chalk caves, dug out by Romans seeking building material, wind in labyrinthian tunnels beneath the city. It is in these caves that the major champagne houses store millions of bottles of bubbly. In the Champagne region, we’ll explore lots of amazing places together, from small vineyards to a major champagne cellars to Reims famous cathedral and winding roads that afford us incredible views.
Located on the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers, Lorraine’s graceful capital Metz is one of the most talked-about cities in France. Its marvelous Gothic cathedral, incredible art collections and Michelin star–studded restaurants, are just a prelude to Metz’ other charms: sidewalk cafes and riverside park and beautiful old town built from golden Jeumont stone.
Almost everything once you’re there.
• Eight days / seven nights accommodations / 4 nights in a rural bed & breakfast, 2 nights in a five-star hotel and 1 night in a city hotel
• Transfers from and to the Reims train station
• Local ground transportation
• Guided tours and admission to attractions
• Breakfast every day, 2 lunches and 5 dinners
• Local wines
• A personalized packet of information including market buying tips,
restaurant recommendations and information about places we’ll visit.
Airfare to and from Paris, train to and from Reims, trip insurance.
Arrival in the Argonne Region
You’ll be picked up at the Reims Train Station in the afternoon and we’ll drive to our B&B in the Argonne region of France with time to unpack and rest before the evening’s welcome reception and dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Free Morning / Local Exploration
After a leisurely morning at our B&B, we’ll explore the small village where we are staying. Located on the border of Champagne region and on the edge of the Argonne Forest, Sainte-Menehould is a picturesque medieval town with half-timbered houses. The square has a fascinating collection of buildings with alternating brick and stone.
Breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner at the bed & breakfast.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, also known as the Battle of the Argonne Forest, was a part of the final Allied offensive of the War that stretched along the entire Western Front. The battle was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. Today we’ll use a local guide to visit the most important places such as the trench system on Vauquois Hill, the Lost Battalion and of course the Meuse-Argonne American cemetery.
Breakfast at the villa. Lunch on your own. And dinner at Le Chavel.
St Mihiel / Verdun
In the forests of Lorraine lies Bois Brulé, or burnt woods, once a virgin forest that was scorched by years of fighting during WWI. When the Germans came in 1914, they seized the Argonne Forest and built some of the most formidable defenses ever constructed. And no where are they better preserved than in Boix Brulé. With our guide we’ll hike around these woods where the Germans built trenches, blockhouses and a vast networks of tunnels and underground towns.
Breakfast at the B&B. Lunch and dinner are on your own.
In the morning we’ll drive to Reims, the Champagne capital of the world, where we’ll stay in the luxurious five-star Hotel Assiette Champenoise. This afternoon we’ll explore the city: the old-city squares of the Place Royale, the Place Cardinal-Luçon, with its famous equestrian statue of Joan D’Arc and the Place Drouet d’Erlon, adorned with fountains and statuary and ringed by restaurants and bars. One of the highlights of the city is the Notre Dame Cathedral where the kings of France once were coronated.
Breakfast at a nearby cafe. Lunch on your own. Dinner in a nearby bistro.
Champagne Tour & Tasting
We’ll start the morning on a tour with a local guide visiting two authentic small-batch champagne vineyards outside of the city of Reims where we’ll learn the history of the region and the method of making champagne before having a tasting of the bubbly. After lunch, we’ll take a tour of a one of the major champagne houses where the chalky cellars store millions of bottles of champagne.
Breakfast and lunch included. Dinner on your own – perhaps trying the michelin-starred restaurant in our hotel.
This morning we’ll head east to the incredible city of Metz. Located on the convergence of two rivers, Metz has some of the most wonderful architecture including the Centre Pompidou-Metz. Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, with a curved roof resembling a space-age Chinese hat, the architecturally innovative museum is the star of the city’s art scene which draws on Europe’s largest collection of modern art to stage ambitious temporary exhibitions. We’ll also visit the city’s incredible 13th century Gothic cathedral. The nave is the third highest in the France and it has the largest expanse of stained glass windows in the world, including those of Marc Chagall.
Breakfast at the B&B. Lunch on your own and our farewell dinner in one of Metz’ many charming restaurants. Overnight in Metz.
After an early morning breakfast, we’ll depart for the Reims train station and your journey home.