After an eyeopening day spent learning about how crucial tyres are to your safety on the road, I got a good night’s sleep and then joined the team (Mama Van Vijf, Minimenschlein, The Daily Lady, Ma Che Davvero, Les Enjoliveuses) for a 100km drive west through the Luxembourg countryside.
From bumpy country stretches, to smooth winding roads, we made our way across the border into Belgium and stopped in Bouillon, at Hôtel Restaurant La Ferronnière. A beautiful 19th-century manor, with gorgeous gardens and a wellness spa attached, where we treated to a massage and time to relax in the spa.
Pampered and refreshed, we drove into the centre of Bouillon, by the Semois river. Isn’t it pretty? This quiet municipality is situated in the country’s Walloon Region and Luxembourg Province and is home to just 5,500 inhabitants.
We had a comfortable and cosy lunch at Le Table des Sépulcrines, a relatively modern little “brasserie bistronomique”.
Le Table des Sépulcrines offers a set lunch menu on weekdays, although they were kind enough to go off script in order to make me up some vegetable pasta.
Then it was time to get back in our cars and head 120km south west, over the border and into France for the highlight of the day, a visit to Maison Ruinart, Reims.
Met by our guide, we were led down 38 metres into the depths of the cellars of the world’s oldest Maison de Champagne, which has been exclusively producing champagne since 1729.
Hundreds of thousands of bottles line the walls of this chalk-based eight kilometre labyrinth, from newly bottled wines that will be sold as vintage some time in the early-mid 2020s, to ‘heritage’ collections that will never be poured, but serve as a precious relic in this centuries old house.
We learned how the champagne is made, stored, and turned, how every bottle is made with chardonnay, how the sediment is removed and above all, how much every member of Ruinart loves the brand and is true to its ethos of quality and excellence.
Making our way out through the deliciously creepy tunnels, it was time for the tasting.
We were served a non-vintage Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne, a pale yellow with a gentle fizz, warm, mellow tones and a crisp finish.
All too soon, we were back in our cars (those of us driving did not, of course, partake in the fizz) and driving 60km west to our final stop of the trip and our home for the evening, Les Relais Heritage, Chateau Fort de Droizy.
Located in south of the Picardy region, only 1 hour from Paris, this stunning retreat exceeded all expectations.
The owner told us the incredible history of the place, dating back centuries and surviving through historic events such as the hundred years war. He told us how he bought it in ruins 40 years previously, and lovingly restored it to the glorious finish you see today. It’s breathtaking.
Our rooms weren’t just bedrooms, but apartments with their own kitchenettes and lounge areas. Just gorgeous.
I enjoyed waking up, opening the shutters and looking out over the countryside, while those more adventurous among us made use of the 24-hour heated pool and sauna. What a gorgeous place this would be a couple’s retreat!
Breakfast was beautiful too, with a generous array of fruit, homemade pastries, bread, yoghurt and of course, coffee. I wish we could have stayed longer.
I loved spending time with the Goodyear team and my fellow bloggers on this trip. We laughed, we learned, we ate, and while I began the trip wondering how meaningful tyres would be to me and to my blog, I realised as we travelled that I’d acquired a real sense of comfort from knowing that our Vector 4 Seasons tyres were gripping the road whatever the conditions. It’s so much more important than you realise!
This is a commissioned post for Goodyear. Non-watermarked images are courtesy of the Goodyear photographer.