France Just For You is constantly looking to offer the best experience to our travelers. One element of this includes adding new regions to our tours. To that end, Emilie and I hit the roads in October to visit two areas of France that we will shortly be including in our tours: the Champagne region and Verdun.

Emilie went to university in Reims, the capital of Champagne, and I visited both areas some years ago. But we both felt we needed to update and expand our knowledge of the history, architecture, gastronomy, etc. of these regions. Plus, it is important to us to know all the B&B and boutique hotel owners we work with and to see each room. We also spend time with the guides we work with, visit the places we suggest to our travelers, and eat in the restaurants we recommend.


Reims & The Champagne Region


The City of Reims

The journey began early Monday morning as we headed across France. Our destination was Reims and the surrounding vineyards for two days of intense prospecting. We visited and slept in several B&Bs and boutique hotels.

We like to give our travelers the experience of staying in charming and quaint old-stone buildings. However, this is a challenge in this region, as much was destroyed during the fighting in the successive world wars. Thus, the old-world atmosphere we find in other parts of France does not exist here. Most importantly though, the warm welcomes we received at the accommodations we stayed in more than made up for the lack of aged stones, and we picked some great places that we are excited to share with our travelers.


Hautvillers churche dom perignon


Which famous person associated with Champagne is buried here?
Hint: it starts with Dom. - 
© Laura Crotet


Champagne Wine Tasting

We also tested some wine guides and brushed up on our Champagne knowledge. From the famous houses that line the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, to the small family-run winery, we allowed ourselves to indulge in the bubbly and tour the installations. And now we have a nice list of addresses that we can recommend to our travelers that have an interest in champagne. And like, who doesn’t have an interest in champagne, am I right?!


Emilie tasting Champagne


Emilie hard at work in Champagne - © Laura Crotet


We also scouted out some lesser-known and unique sites, some even related to when the whole Champagne area was under the sea! But we will keep these under wraps for our travelers.


The Verdun Area - World War I

On Wednesday, we pushed further east to the Verdun region, in the department of the Meuse. This area is the site of some major WWI battles, especially the American sites of the Argonne offensive at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon and the Saint Mihiel Salient south of Verdun, and of course the devastating Battle of Verdun for the French.


douaumont ossuary


The Ossuaire at Douaumont, near Verdun - ©Emilie Thyebaut

Guided Tour to the World War 1 Sites near Verdun

We had a great guide that took us to the sites and explained how everything happened, bringing this part of history alive for us. We were even lucky enough to meet the current superintendent of the Argonne sites, Bruce Malone. The day was a moving and humbling experience, and it has inspired us to develop a new Memory Tour that will cover the WWI and WWII sites in this area, as well as the North of France and of course Normandy. You will be able to discover this new tour soon on our website.


Laura at Romagne Sous Montfaucon


Bruce Malone, Laura and our guide at Montfaucon - © Emilie Thyebaut

 Vedun town deserves a visit

The town of Verdun itself is a lively town, with a beautiful cathedral and the people there were so kind and sharing – a nice balance to the heavy historical context of the area.

wine tasting


Who knew about wine from the Meuse valley? - © Emilie Thyebaut

Lots of history in Verdun-Meuse-Lorraine region

Because I am a history buff, I was also very excited to see the places where the royal family, a.k.a Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, tried to flee from France in 1791 during the Revolution, but were stopped and bought back to Paris to face their sorry destiny.

Joan of Arc also came from these parts and was fully armored by the town of Vaucouleurs before heading to Chinon to meet her future king.

This stuff is like geeky history Comicon to me! So of course I will soon be writing a blog piece, tracing Joan of Arc from her start in the Lorraine region, to the Loire Valley, and then *spoiler alert* her demise in Rouen.


Back to the Loire Valley

On Friday afternoon, we headed back home, pleased with our week of prospecting and very excited to begin planning great trips for our travelers in these two rich and interesting areas.

So check back soon - we will be happy to plan a self-drive itinerary that includes Champagne and Verdun. Contact us to start planning!

France Just For You

Experts in self-drive tours in France

Travelers Reviews

My wife and I and two friends decided we would like to visit France and by chance I found Emilie's website and initiated an online conversation with her over a year ago. We really did not know what we wanted to do, nor where we wanted to go and so our planning became a moving feast, most ably supported by Emilie. How she ever put up with our …
My husband and I had a full week to spend in southern France before an event we were attending in Cahor. We found France Just for You and got the best care and the best itinerary for those days. We arrived on the day of a strike and Emilie took care of us. She found alternate means of transportation and stayed with us by phone and email throughout …
We had a truly remarkable adventure across France. France Just For You created an amazing itinerary that captured the essence of France. Their planning and support made the trip effortless and enjoyable. Each B&B offered a home like atmosphere and allowed us to meet people across the many different regions of France. We were able to experience so …
Kate & Sister
My sister and I wanted to plan a vacation together with our husbands to Normandy and the Loire Valley so I started online only to find it was a difficult process. We found "France Just for You" and our problems were solved, Emilie planned every detail! Our hosts in all accommodations spoke English and made us feel most welcome, our stay in each …
This was a perfect holiday put together so personally for us by Emilie of France Just For You. Every B&B was exceptional with charming hosts. Our personalised tour book was excellent and everywhere that was suggested we visit never disappointed. We travelled through Burgundy, Loire Valley and Normandy over 17 days. So many highlights,two in …
Howard & Darlene
What a wonderful trip with personal guides Emilie planned for us! I would recommend her without reservation on your trip through Normandy, Mt St. Michel and the Loire Valley. The guidebook, which was chock full of important information (be sure to read it all!) was invaluable to us and became our bible.

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