Getting There: The best way to reach the vineyards of Northern France from the north
of England if you are driving, is to take the overnight P&O Ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge. Book an outside cabin with attached shower & toilet and arrange pre-paid dinner and breakfast in the restaurant. A supplement takes you to the a la carte restaurant where a table needs to be reserved as soon as you board the ferry. Upgrade your cabin(£40) if you want a double bed, sofa, TV and complimentary champagne. If the service in the restaurant is too slow, make a fuss and speak to the manager. You may be offered free wine with your meal! (My most recent sailing 26 November 2011). The drive from Zeebrugge to Reims takes about 4 hrs.
Where to stay in Reims: Hotel de la Paix is my favourite base with a good restaurant and smart bar, free wi-fi and located within walking distance of shops, restaurants, cathedral and market. Upgrade to a ‘Privilege Class’ room if you want space. (9 rue Buirette – 51100 Reims. http://www.bestwestern-lapaix-reims.com Most recent stay 23-26 November 2011)
Eating Out: Try Brasserie du Bulangrin (48 rue de Mars 51100. Tel:03 2640 9622) for great atmosphere and good regional cooking at a reasonable price (23 November 2011) Le Grand Cafe (24 November 2011) is good for mussels, chips and beer. Le Foch has one Michelin star and the price reflects it. Le Grand Cerf (25 November 2011) outside Reims is classy and great for a celebration.
- Top 12 Rosé Champagnes (sorrynowine.wordpress.com)