Here is a short guide to help you plan your weekend in the Aube. Located just 1.5 hours from Paris, this destination is perfect for a nature weekend, whether you’re a couple or a family. Discover the activities to do, from canoeing to sleeping in a tree house. The Forêt d’Orient Regional Nature Park, the Côte des Bar… The Aube is a region that will open up to you if you are curious and thirsty for adventure. Follow the guide to plan your next stay.
Story by Clara Ferrand – Wildroad
Things to do during a weekend in Aube en Champagne
The lakes of the Forêt d’Orient: a nature destination to get away from Paris
Practise an unusual activity: canoeing in the Champenois bayou
At a certain time of the year, from early May to mid-August, a part of the Lac d’Orient reveals a hidden beauty. Some trees, still immersed in the water of the lake, give this place a Louisiana bayou look. Maximilien, a nature guide specialised in environmental outings in the Aube, offers a canoe trip accessible to the whole family. During 2h30, you will discover the biosphere of the Lac d’Orient. However, this outing is not recommended for arachnophobes, as some impressive encounters are possible!
Practical information for a canoe trip on the lakes of the Forêt d’Orient:
– Address : Capitainerie de Mesnil Saint Père or plage de Géraudot
– Period: May to mid-August
– Price: from 30 euros
– The outings are in groups and children are accepted from 6 years old.
– Book your kayak trip with Maximilien, nature guide.
A walk to discover the biodiversity of the lakes of the Forêt d’Orient
The Forêt d’Orient Regional Nature Park is the perfect place to recharge your batteries for a weekend. Numerous hiking trails allow you to discover the biodiversity that reigns in the forest. You can choose to be accompanied by a naturist guide who can show you some of the bird species that nest around the lakes. This is a paradise for birdwatchers, as throughout the year you can observe migratory species that are rare in Europe. The Maison du Parc offers regular outings, so don’t hesitate to go there to get information on current activities.
Practical information on the Maison du Parc de la forêt d’Orient
– Address: Maison du Parc, between Mesnil St Père and Géraudot
– Prices: Free, self-guided, with the possibility of reserving free binoculars at the Maison du Parc. Customised tours from 60 euros for 2 hours with a professional ornithologist guide.
– Occasional events are also organised by the Maison du Parc. Book your birdwatching tour.
Cycling around the lakes in slow mode
There are cycle paths which allow you to enjoy a beautiful outing in nature around the lakes of the Forêt d’Orient. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from Ora Aventure at Geraudot beach. Fatbikes are available for hire. On these big electric bikes, which look like mopeds, will look and feel prouder that on a a “classic” bike. During your ride, take the opportunity to have a gourmet break at the Belvedere, a trendy restaurant with a very nice view on the port of Mesnil Saint-Père.
A nature weekend in autumn in search of the Burgundy truffle
Outside the summer season, the Aube is a region that offers a variety of activities to do during a weekend. Some tourism operators, such as Delphine from l’Empreinte des fées, will welcome you to discover other facets of the Champagne countryside. Did you know that the Côte des Bar is an ideal place to rummage for the Burgundy truffle? Knowing this, Delphine, who also owns the Champagne house Domaine de Mondeville with her husband, offers truffle discovery trips accompanied by her dog Pino. The latter is a Lagotto Romagnolo, a dog with an incredible sense of smell, trained to find this irresistible mushroom which matures in autumn.
Practical information for an outing with a truffle-harvester:
– Sector : Côte des Bar, Champignol-lez-Mondeville
– Tour duration: 2h30
– Price: 59,90 euros /person with truffle and Champagne tasting
– Possibility to to book a private nature outing with Delphine
Visit the Champagne houses during a weekend in the Côte des Bar
Discovering the cadoles during a mountain bike ride through the vineyards
Cadoles are small stone shelters found throughout the vineyards. Eugène is an avid mountain biker, and he happens to be the son of the Richardot Champagne house, which is very well known in the region. Since he was a child, he has travelled the Côte des Bar, which he knows like the back of his hand. It is therefore only natural that he has set up an off-road bike circuit through the vineyards to help tourists discover the region’s wine heritage. The cadoles punctuate this outing somewhat like a treasure hunt. As soon as we discover a new one, we want to to continue our search for these small shelters full of charm, witnesses of past times.
Practical information to discover the cadoles by mountain bike with the Richardot house
– Address : Domaine Richardot 38 rue René Quinton 10110 Loches sur Ource – France
– Price: 35€/person
– Book your bike ride through the vineyards on the Maison Richardot website.
Understanding biodynamics in viticulture
Domaine de Mondeville is a Champagne house on the Côte des Bar that practices biodynamic agriculture. This practice consists of taking into account the environment in which the vines grow in order to provide them with the most natural support in order to favour their growth. Delphine, who organises the truffle discovery outings in the autumn, also proposes an outing to understand biodynamic viticulture and biodiversity. You will be able to observe several species of wild plants and in particular orchids which grow on the limestone hillsides of the Côte des Bar.
Information to discover the practice of biodynamic agriculture in Champagne:
– Address : Champagne Dumont et Fils, 8 rue de champagne 10200 Champignol-lez-Mondeville
– Price of the visit: 25.90 euros
Book your activity on the Empreinte des Fées website
Taste the best champagnes of the Côte des Bar on the Champagne route
The Champagne Tourist Route is a route developed by Aube en Champagne to take you to the best champagne houses in the region. A visit to a cellar is a very interesting activity to understand how an exceptional champagne is made from different grape varieties. Several champagne houses open their doors to the curious, and this is the perfect opportunity to refine your palate during the tastings that follow the cellar visits.
The best accommodations for an unusual weekend around Paris
A perched hut for a weekend in nature
A few kilometres from the lakes, perched huts await those who wish to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few days. These all-wooden constructions are spread out in the Forêt d’Orient in such a way that each couple or family benefits from a privileged little cocoon. At the end of the day, when the light pierces the foliage, a magical atmosphere is conjured. It is accompanied by the singing of the birds giving us a private concert. For breakfast, simply pull a rope to bring up a small basket filled with delicious products. The Cabanes au bois d’Orient are the ideal place for a weekend break in nature.
Practical information for the Cabanes au bois d’Orient :
– Address : Route de Villy en Trodes, 10140 Briel-sur-Barse – Price : from 120 euros per night with breakfast – Book your night at Les Cabanes au bois d’Orient
Living in a romantic bubble in the middle of the vineyards
For of a romantic stay less than 2 hours from Paris, you can bet on the Route des Bulles, which offers unusual accommodation on the Champagne route. Sleeping in a transparent bubble is a completely unusual experience. This accommodation is located on the Gremillet Champagne estate. For the ultimate in romance, book a romantic Champagne tasting at sunset. At night, from your transparent bubble, you can count the stars with your partner.
Practical information for a romantic night in a bubble:
– Address:Champagne Grémillet, 1 rue Envers de Valeine 10110 Balnot-sur-Laignes
– Price : 180 euros for two people
– Book your night in a bubble in the Côte des Bar on the Route des bulles website.
In the footsteps of Renoir for a cultural chapter in a green setting
Espace Renoir, the story of an influential family in the art world
Essoyes is a small country village (labelled “Petites Cités de Caractères”, Small City of Character) where the Renoir family settled in the 19th century. This painter, whose major work is “le déjeuner des canotiers” (the canoeists’ lunch), an oil on canvas that can be seen in many art history books, chose Essoyes as his stronghold. Today, two cultural spaces are entirely dedicated to him. The Renoir Cultural Space, an interpretation centre that explains why the choice of Essoyes with reproductions that illustrate local life and the Renoir family in Essoyes. You can discover the life of the Renoir family and those who were close to the famous Auguste. His son Jean Renoir, who became a great film director, continued to extend the Renoir family’s influence in the artistic world, but you will discover that he is not the only one…
Practical information to visit the Renoir Cultural Space:
– Address: Espace Renoir, 9 Pl. de la Mairie, 10360 Essoyes
– Full price with the Renoir house: 12 euros adult, 7 euros student, 20 euros family
– Go to the Espace Renoir website for more information
Getting lost in the Champagne countryside, like in a poetic painting by Renoir
The small town of Essoyes is crossed by the Ource, a river that flows peacefully in the Aube. By following the paths, you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the artist’s paintings for which he is famous. The Aube offers us the beauty of the French countryside in its raw state. You only have to open your eyes to notice that everything around you contains the poetry that Auguste Renoir tried to capture in his oil paintings two centuries earlier.
Going back in time into the intimacy of the Renoir family
To go further, it is possible to prolong the immersion in the world of the Renoirs by visiting the family home. This large bourgeois building has several rooms with reconstitutions of the 19th century family home. The painter’s studio, left as if Auguste Renoir had just gone out to fetch bread, is very apt. One might think that visiting a heritage home might be too plain, but the setting of this one is just like that of a film. Everything is done so that you are totally immersed and become a member of the family just by walking on the old wooden floor.