I’ve recently been invited to visit the Domain Laurent-Perrier in Champagne, France, and I’m excited to share the experience with you! If you’re planning a trip to Champagne, you can easily recreate some of our experiences too or be inspired to arrange something similar in the place where you live – and of course don’t forget to accompany your activity with Laurent-Perrier, one of the world best selling champagne brands.
Unfortunately you cannot reproduce our visit to the Domain Laurent-Perrier and the Château de Louvois as they’re the private property of Laurent-Perrier closed to the public and accessible only by invitation.
Our French part of the voyage started in Paris from where we went to Reims, the main city of Champagne region where many French monarchs were crowned back in the days. I really admire Reims, it’s been my third time there – and you can check my blog about it as well as my trip to Champagne with Comité Champagne a few years ago.
Visit the vineyards
Visiting the vineyards in Champagne is a must, isn’t it? Depending on the season, you can find it blooming, or with young grapes, or with the grapes collected during the harvest, but they will be beautiful anyway. There are three varieties of grapes that are grown here in Champagne: Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay.
The vineyards belong to different owners who usually sell their produce to the big champagne houses, and every step in growing, collecting and selling grapes (not to mention the further stages in producing champagne) is regulated by the Committee de Champagne. We visited the vineyards that belong to Laurent-Perrier directly: they make 10 percent of the grapes the Maison uses for the champagne. It was a very picturesque and calm location where the grapes were waiting to be collected in late August or in early autumn.
The Domain Laurent-Perrier has a very nice territory with a garden, an old fashioned pressing machine put there as a piece of art, the vineyards and of course the working cellars that occupy around 12km. We were lucky to be guided through all the steps of champagne production, starting from the pressing machines through the fermentation process till the bottled champagne matured and waiting for the right time to be opened.
Also we had a tasting of the best selection of Laurent-Perrier champagne in the courtyard: Ultra Brut, La Cuvée, and Cuvée Rosé .
Laurent-Perrier is a very well known brand of champagne, but do you know how it became so famous? We learnt a bit of its history during our visit to Domain Laurent-Perrier in Tours-Sur-Marne. The maison was founded in 1812 when Alphonse Pierlot acquired some land here and started producing champagne. After his death his cellar master Eugene Laurent with his wife Mathilde Emilie Perrier continued to run the company. Sadly, Eugene died leaving his wife a widow, and she successfully transformed the small company into a very well selling one, and it received the name of Veuve Laurent-Perrier.
WWI had a negative impact on the house, and a decision was taken to sell it to the de Nonancourt family in 1939, right before WWII started. Both sons of Marie-Louise de Nonancourt (Lanson by birth) joined the French Resistance. Her older son who was intended to inherit the Maison died during the war, and her second son, Bernard had to learn everything to run such a big company. He inherited it in 1949 and under his guidance Laurent-Perrier became one of the largest champagne houses. He has been an inventor and a visionary who created Grand Siècle and Brut Rosé and introduced the use of milk vats in the champagne making.
Bernard de Nonancourt cared about the quality of relationship between people working for his company the most, and his legacy lives till today: only three cellar masters worked for the company since 1949, there are many grape growers who has been working for it for 3-4 generations and the company is still run mainly by the de Nonancourts (now those are Alexandra and Stéphanie de Nonancourt)
Picnic in Champagne
Picnicking with champagne is always a good idea but imagine not one but two pink-styled picnics in Chateau de Louvois, privately owned by Laurent-Perrier, at the very heart of Champagne region, France! The chateau was acquired in 1989 by Bernard de Nonancourt who wanted a setting dedicated to Grand Siècle to embody the “art de vivre à la Française”.
We started with some amuse-bouches and Grand Siècle 25 near the Chateau.
First picnic was set near the chateau itself, decorated with flowers and consisted of delicious savoury dishes. It looked well enough to be used as a setting for Sofia Coppola’s Marie-Antoinette movie and of course both were accompanied with Magnum Cuvée Rosé.
Then after a short walk around the chateau we moved to another table set with Couronne de Saison with raspberries and grapefruit and Entremet with peaches and light cream desserts. Both were created exclusively for the Laurent-Perrier by pastry chef Nina Metayer to pair with Cuvée Rosé.
Boat trip on the Marne
If you’d like to see the beautiful Champagne landscapes from the water, follow our steps and ride a boat in the Marne, the main river of the region with Champagne Vallée i in the village of Cumières. It parts from Marne, goes all the way to Epernay. We also had a chance to see the famous Tour de Castellane, a signature tower of another famous champagne brand! You can spot various nature sights including fish and birds, watch the locals fishing or go canoeing or simply relax and listen to a guide giving you a tour of what’s around you.
We had the whole boat from Croisière on la Marne for ourselves, and of course had some rosé from Laurent-Perrier too accompanied by fresh red berries (the strawberries were so good I could’ve eaten tons of them!) and a special pink cake with almonds called Massepain.
The rooftop restaurant Gabrielle
If you’re looking for a stunning but yet unusual view of the Reims Cathedral and want to combine it with a lovely lunch, try Gabrielle rooftop restaurant. It’s located just a few steps away from the Cathedral and overlooks it. We had the best time there around sunset with a fresh breeze coming from the terrace and the sky going from blue to pink as well as our champagne from Laurent-Perrier went from blanc de blanc to rosé.
We had raw scallops with yuzu cream and mango paired with Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, then beef medallions with potatoes with Brut Millésime 2012 and finished our meal with Gabrielle’s delight with red berries and Cuvée Rosé . Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, Vintage 2012, Cuvée Rosé
Vintage car tour
Try to explore the Champagne region differently! Why not rent a vintage car and get the best views and shots with it? We had a chance to ride Renault Quatrelle and Renault Estafette Alouette from My Vintage Tour company, both in beautiful blue shades perfect for pictures, and drives by friendly Maëva and Romain Garza.
La Caserne de Chanzy
We stayed in a brand new Autograph collection hotel and spa ‘La Caserne de Chanzy’ which is located on the site where a central fire station once stood – and it inherited the name from it. The main gem of the hotel is the windows’ views: looking right onto the Cathedral Notre Dame de Reims! Just imagine waking up and seeing this magnificent building over 12 centuries old! The Hotel has a nice restaurant called La Grande Georgette as well.
All the activities above were provided by Laurent-Perrier within their press-tour.
Check my other blogs about France:
- 15 facts about champagne
- Photoshoot in Paris: the basics
- Remembering Notre-Dame de Paris
- Paris: festive edition 2021/2022
- Christmas in Nice
- Loire Valley
- Trip to Champagne region
Hope you enjoyed my new blog!