No visit to Champagne would be complete without the ubiquitous tasting of the exquisite local wine. In and around [Epernay](https://en.ot-epernay.com) , the capital of Champagne, visits of Champagne houses and local producers abound. Touring the underground cellars of the big names along the famous "Avenue de Champagne", such as Moët & Chandon and Mercier, can be easily reserved online. But for discerning visitors who wish to explore the region in more depth, new tasting experiences are being developed in order to make a stay in Champagne unique, special and unforgettable. Here are a few suggestions:
A unique experience in the heart of the Champagne Capital
A giant helium-filled balloon , tethered near the bottom of the Avenue de Champagne, will float passengers up 150 m for far reaching views over the town and the surrounding world heritage vineyards. The circular platform under the balloon holds up to 29 people. From this bird’s-eye perch, champagne corks are popped and you can enjoy sipping the precious nectar while you peep down into the hidden gardens of the beautiful Belle Epoque mansions below, the UNESCO listed heart of Champagne real estate. Reservations are not necessary – flights are subject to weather conditions.
The Bottle at Romery
On the hillsides behind Hautvillers, a giant champagne bottle standing 12 metres high has been forged out of iron by local producers Vincent Gobert in the village of Romery. A spiral staircase within leads to two floors decked with armchairs and tables, the perfect spot for enjoying a glass of Vincent Gobet champagne whilst admiring an unparalleled panorama over the vineyard.
Climb aboard a vintage Dutch cruiser , first developed in Holland in 1927 to a daring new design that allowed the boat to cut through the waves like a bullet. Lovingly restored by local boat enthusiast, Jérome, visitors in small groups of up to 6, can enjoy a gentle cruise down the river Marne from the mooring station in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. And what better finishing touch than adding a delicious flute of champagne to sip as you glide along the water. Jérome can also organise tastings of local specialities and picnics to complete the experience.
Marie-Antoinette’s Imperial Bus
A classic double-decker bus has been converted by local champenoise Marie-Antoinette Denois into an original, mobile champagne tasting venue for either private rental or for semi-private excursions around the vineyards. Fully equipped with a fridge, ice buckets, audiovisual equipment and comfortable lounge-style seating with part of the bus open top, a variety of champagne experiences are on offer: relaxing with a glass of champagne, sabering the cork out a bottle, a meal on board or an unusual meeting venue.
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