My Travel Blog

Exploring the Chateau’s of Champagne

After a wonderful week with our friends we needed to take the champagne tasting down a notch.  Rather than succumbing to a life of decadence and debauchery we decided to seek out the chateau’s hidden throughout the Champagne Region.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I never said we would eliminate the consumption of champagne only reduce it slightly.

Our next stop was Dormans where we parked Rabelo in the same spot we had parked Tigrerose nine years earlier.  Not far from the center of town is the beautiful Chateau de Dormans situated in a lovely park with a small museum. Other than the Tourist Information office you can’t go inside the chateau so we headed for the little museum.  It was a bit funky with most of the displays donated by the local towns folk, but the docent was delightful and they did have a few interesting antiquities.

“Rabelo moored in Dormans, France.”

“Champagne bottling equipment.”

“An old butter churn.”

The chateau is beautiful but the gardens that surrounded it are spectacular. The gently sloping grounds are filled with mature trees, manicured lawns, peaceful ponds and graceful bridges.  Lisa and I strolled the gravel footpaths stopping to absorb the scenery every few steps.  Even the grey skies and light mist didn’t dampen our spirits.  When we visited nine years ago it was during a terrible heat wave and everything was brown.  Now the park was a lush green filled with photo opportunities and few tourists.

”Chateau de Dormans.”

“The beautiful grounds of Chateau de Dormans.”

Set on a small hill at the top of the park is a WWI war memorial.   It is an impressive structure yet inviting at the same time.  In one small room there is a slab of granite that marks the remains of 1,500 unknown soldiers.  The walls of this fitting memorial are covered with the names of another 2,000 men whose lives were lost in battle.  You can’t help but stare at this beautiful yet stark edifice and ask, why?

“WWI memorial.”

From Dormans we drove to Chateau Boursault.  Madame Veuve Cliquot of the famous champagne house built the chateau.  Construction was started in 1842 and lasted five years.  It is now owned by an Armenian family, and closed to the public. Unfortunately you can’t even walk the amazing grounds.  In one of the out buildings there is a champagne tasting room, though surprisingly they do not serve Veuve Cliquot.  While enjoying more champagne Lisa and I started chatting with three couples that were visiting from Bruges, Belgium.  One of the men was a sailor so we had plenty to talk about.  It was his dream to live in California so he could sail year round.

“Chateau Boursault.”

“Tom buying more champagne at Chateau Boursault.”

-Tom Miller

Author of “The Wave” – a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.