As any red-nosed soul will expound between hiccups, France has a somewhat well-deserved reputation for its wine. It produces some of the most esteemed inebriants in the world, rendering a certain dedicated exploration into the subject essential. A pilgrimage of gratitude could begin with the most famous region, producing the most famous wine – Champagne. Of all the tipples in existence, none other comes close for sparking the imagination or exuding sheer glamour.
The Perron family have spent 110 years and five generations of history in the pursuit of champagne, working their business through biblical upheavals of war and pestilence. Marilyn Perron recently had the idea of evolving oenological tourism for the Aube area and opened the gloriously intimate and ecologically clean Sauleraie – a campsite with a dual purpose.
In the first instance it is a convenient retreat for those wishing to explore the Aube area’s forests, lakes, plains, and rolling hills by bicycle or on foot. A short walk brings you to Meurville – a beautiful village nestled between vineyard-topped slopes, where more than a dozen families make champagne. In the main square by the church a tourist map provides a label-by-label guide around the village producers, each virtually within staggering distance of each other. A little way out of town it’s possible to walk in the vineyards themselves, or take the Champagne Tourist Route that winds between them. Workers harvest the grapes from late August onwards, making this a good time to visit. The second purpose of La Sauleraie is as an approved bird sanctuary with a small wild lake and nesting boxes for every winged creature, from predators to prey. Wild ducks and geese frequent the lake, and the introduction of pollinating prairie plants and shrubs is under way in order to attract a wider pool of species.
Settled around the lake, the campsite has a rural feel without being disconnected. Vineyards and fields creep up the slopes and there are mature weeping willows, pines, and hedges softening the space. Nature-lovers have been well catered for and a limit of six tents on one side of the lake ensures that it feels spacious even when full.
If the weather is appalling, or a little more luxury is desired after sipping bubbly, the Perrons have built three themed log cabins. These fustes sleep up to four people and are sympathetic to the environment, with sheepskin insulation and vegetal roofs. Small and perfectly formed, each has its own features and comfortable decoration. The Tsukiyo cabin has a basin and a small fountain outside; Salama has mature pine trees and hammocks; while Kalyani enjoys a terrace. Although these cabins share the camping loo block and lack a kitchen sink, breakfast can be provided and a stay of five nights or more will find you rewarded with a bottle of champagne.
Everyone who visits the site is invited into the rather grand family cellar and tasting-room in Meurville. Here you will find out more about the Champagne Tourist Route, be introduced to their own brands of fine wine, discover how the drink is made and why so much struggle surrounds its production. The variables that affect a vineyard during a year are genuinely staggering. Understanding this undoubtedly aids appreciation and enjoyment of the different vintages.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of staying with the Perrons is the opportunity to be guided through the region by such a dedicated, respected champagne producer. The Perron passion for the business shines through. Chin-chin.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Idyllic, picturesque, perfect
Great champagne tasting and hamper
Thoughtful and well kept.
Like camping in a secret garden
Idyllic spot in rural France
Great start to holidays
This was the first time we had stayed in a cool camping recommended site and couldn't have been more impressed. I was travelling with my boyfriend in our vw camper and used the campsite to break up our journey to the Alps.
We were warmly welcomed by the owners who were really helpful in recommending places to visit and providing us with really useful maps (we were especially interested in biking and this area is perfect with a large number of marked routes).
Once at the campsite we were treated to being all on our own for the first night which was a nice surprise as I was expecting it to be busy having been in the book. The site is only small but the pitch sizes are ample and the setting is very pretty surrounded by vineyards.
I was surprised to see the review below commenting about the road yes the campsite is next to a road but it is quiet and did not impact at all on our stay. There are no shops within walking distance but it is only a short drive to the nearest town which has a number of chain stores.
As a cherry on the top for this site we were given a complimentary tasting and education on the owners champagne business in his cellar at his house -how many campsites offer this! I have to say we were both naive when it came to champagne but Fabrice talked us through all the different types and what to look for we even walked away with a bottle for the journey (we would have had lost more to take home had it not been the first few days of holiday) though there was no pressure nor obligation to buy; Fabrice was fantastic.
In summary I cannot recommend this location enough-Great biking roads, and lakes 20 minutes away which are great for swimming (Lac d'orient). Yes there are no bars and restaurants within walking distance but get yourself some bbq food and relax in this tranquil setting sipping on some of Fabrice's families lovely Champagne.
Camping Les Perron-Beauvineau - Aug 2014
We stayed for the first 2 nights of our 2 week camping holiday in France and found this site to be friendly and relaxed. Once we had worked out that the actual site was a few minutes drive away from the reception, we were greeted by the family owners and shown to the site. The facilities are basic (only 1 shower and 2 toilets) but they clean look relatively new.
We didn't find that there was lots to do in the area which is the only reason we wouldn't rush back, not because of the site.
Beautifu,l clean and quiet
I read the reviews left by other visitors and wondered what they had been expecting and if they had even bothered to look at what this campsite offered before booking. This site was exactly what we were after a beautiful quiet spot to break up our journey from Northern France to the Alps. The site has an excellent clean shower block, picnic tables a BBQ, and grass not gravel plots. The surrounding area is beautiful and the owners helpful and friendly.....not sure what they previous reviews were after but if it was a pool and all night entertainment they should have done their homework.
First a caveat to say that The Real Champagne Company stocks Perron-Beauvineau champagne, so we could be construed as being biased as we have a professional relationship with the family.
However as we have just stayed at the campsite over this bank holiday weekend, we feel we should say our bit.
The campsite is right beneath the vines very close to the village of Meurville. There aren't any shops in the village but Bar-sur-Aube is a 10-minute car drive away and there are all the amenities you could wish for in Bar-sur-Aube. There are at least a dozen champagne houses in this one village of Meurville, so you could quite easily spend a day idly champagne tasting in the village without having to drive anywhere. Many other beautiful little villages are very accessible for other tastings if you'd like to branch further afield.
The road running past the site is the equivalent of a B-road in the UK. It is close to the site and some drivers go past pretty fast, and you also have to bear in mind that it is an agricultural area, so you will have tracters going past. However the road is not that busy and after about 9 in the evening we hardly heard anything - certainly not during the night. The area is generally very peaceful.
There are 3 very nicely done-out lodges (we had a tent but peered through the windows, as they were unoccupied) with beds, sofas, chairs, tables, microwaves, electricity etc. The rest of the site is taken up by perhaps 6-10 good-sized pitches, perhaps with a very slight slope towards the road, a central car-parking area and a very nice pond. It is not a ditch at all - the water is crystal clear and you can see fish swimming around in the reeds. You can hear the sound of running water from the stream running through the pond, which is what keeps it so clear.
There are plenty of trees and lots of interesting bird life. There are the usual flies and midges but the birds and bats seem to keep them at bay!
The toilet/shower block and dish- and clothes-washing facility was spotlessly clean when we got there. Nice hot showers and water to do the dishes - what more do you want when you're camping?
In summary, the site is fine. The only downside might be the proximity to the road but for us the beauty of the spot, the nature, the facilities, the proximity to the ammenities etc etc more than made up for that. The Perron-Beauvineau champagnes are also excellent champagnes and Fabrice the son of the family - an interesting guy, being a Doctor of Philosophy and an expert wine-maker - will be more than happy to take you through them at leisure. This is what we feel sums up the real Champagne experience.