Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Gremillet Champagne Vineyard We continued to travel south and found ourselves in the Champagne region with a plethora of France Passion site to stay on. These are sites like vineyards, organic farms or agriculture locations that allow you to stay for free in a safe place. You can buy some of the goods in return but there is no obligation to do so. We tend to buy something though as it feels like the right thing to do in return for using their land. This particular winery was described as being a small family run vineyard batting above their weight with the quality of their champagne. They make 500,000 bottles per season and the place was huge. I have a vineyard customer through my business in England and I think they would see this place as significant indeed. We found the vineyard fairly comfortably and then I went in to introduce myself and ask if we could stay the night, I think they had forgotten they signed up for this scheme but were still very open and let us have a free run of the place. This was a huge vineyard making it’s own wine and champagne, they said they were leaving but would leave the gate to the estate open so we could come and go. Well they were very trusting as they left the whole site open including the main building and swimming pool along with various cars all with their windows open. I guess crime is very low in the champagne region, we found this quite refreshing. We took a bike ride down the hill then the heat was too much so we took a ride back up the hill to the estate to relax. Charlie zoomed ahead, Toni took a steady pace and I was pulling up the rear pushing Hollie on her bike whilst riding myself. The sweat was dripping off my at the top of the hill. We were just making dinner and settling down for the night when a load of Harley Davidson bikes turned up with loads of Hells Angel type looking folk. We thought here we go, so much for a quiet night’s sleep. The vineyard owner then turned up and invited us to join the tour of the vineyard and winery along with the bikers. We jumped at the opportunity and had an interesting guided tour of the estate. It was in French as you would expect and we got the general gist of things. So far we have found the hospitality of the French to be very good indeed. We finished the tour with some champagne tasting and decided to purchase a couple of bottles as a thank you for the stay and the free tour and tasting. Hollie was again poured glasses of alcohol as if it is normal to give it to underage girls. She wasn’t complaining and seemed to take a liking to the bubbly stuff. We are all sleeping very well and settling into van life.