We’re staying put another day, so that we can coincide our arrival in Epernay with our friends’. It’s not terribly hard to take, another day, another day amongst the vines and champagne houses.
Thunderstorms hit overnight but we rise to a clear morning, so it’s bikes out to ride along the Marne to the adjacent village.
Our way is paved by green on both sides, vines on one side, the river the other.
First stop is the heart of Verneuil – the steep hill up from the river ensures we’re fully awake!
A little further along, we see where the fish are hiding…
Further down river is Dormans, home of the Memorial de la batille de la Marne, but first lunch is calling.
Chris has the duck and pronounces it fabulous – there’s enough mash to feed a family of three.. but he looks quite happy about it..
I have my usual goat’s cheese salad, this time with a twist of two cheeses. Also delicious.
The memorial is only a short ride away, then a steep walk uphill. These hills is how the people must deal with the endless lunches and cheese, me thinks.
The memorial is a pretty spot, set high above the village offering views across the valley. A tributary of the river runs through it.
The memorial is devoted to the first world West and honours the 164,000 French soldiers who lost their lives in battle here. It’s a heartbreaking large number.
We can’t access the interior – it’s locked, but apparently there is a rather terrifying spiral staircase that leads to the to of the tower, with fabulous views. Just as well – I’ll take my views from this level thanks!
The walk around the memorial is very peaceful, and like all the the memorials, it’s beautifully maintained. Fighting commences here in 1914. It and 1915 were particularly bloody with appalling loss of life.
It’s hard to imagine in this now peaceful setting.
We ride home to arrive just as the late afternoon rains hit. Another bottle of champagne deals with that quite nicely.