Our Champagne Tour and Paris

Dear Champagne Tour Rider:

This is where we can pool our information as we plan our upcoming trip.

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My travel philosophy is that preparing is part of the fun AND enhanced fun while on the trip.

-Fulton

What’s your preference about pickup for Épernay?

Our tour company has asked us where we want to be picked up by the bus that will take us to the barge in Épernay.  (That question and other excellent info we need is in the PDF file that you can get here.)

We have three basic options (presented in more detail on our little website here).  They are:
1) Pickup at the Reims train station;
2) Pickup at the TGV station about 8km outside Reims (called Champagne-Ardennes), which is on the main line from Paris; or
3) Find our own way to Épernay.  (The barge’s location is in the PDF file.)

This needn’t make this a group decision; we can each make individual choices and notify the tour company of them.  But …

IF YOU’D LIKE YOUR PREFERENCE TO BE FORWARDED WITH OTHERS’, PLEASE CLICK ON THE “COMMENT” LINK ACCOMPANYING THIS POST, AND LET US KNOW YOUR PREFERENCE.

QUESTION #1:  Where do you want to be picked up?  At the Reims train station?  At the Champagne-Ardennes station?  Or will you find your own way to Épernay?

A second question is for those of us spending Friday night in Paris, and it involves getting to Reims or Champagne-Ardennes on Saturday.  This, too, need not be a decision for the whole group, but many of us would be happy going together.  There are two basic options:
1) Depart Paris on the 8am train, which arrives in Reims at 8:45am, and get the bus pickup at the Reims train station at 3:30pm.  (We would leave our luggage at the train station.)  That would give us a nice chunk of time in Reims, have lunch there, and perhaps even a sip of champagne; or
2) Depart Paris on the 2:30pm train (time to be confirmed), which arrives in Champagne-Ardennes at about 3:15 — and get the bus pickup at 4pm.  That would give us an extra half day in Paris, where there are (duh) also good lunches, wine and champagne.

QUESTION #2:  Are you currently thinking along the lines of spending Saturday morning in Reims or staying in Paris that morning?

Again, we don’t have to do this stuff as a group, but those who want to move as a group should feel totally free doing so!

To contribute to this thread, click on the “comment” link under the date in the left-hand margin; type your text; and it will be added.

Sights to see in Paris

In our e-mails, we’ve reported that the Tour Guide will accompany us for a half of the day (probably the morning) designated for our “full-day excursion” in Paris.  The second half of the day (probably the afternoon) is for us to spend as we wish — as a big group, little groups, or individuals.  That will be Friday, July 29.

What sights would you prefer to see as a group with the Tour Guide?

To contribute to this thread, click on the “comment” link under the date in the left-hand margin; type your text; and it will be added.

Cell phones

What experience or advice can you offer regarding use of our U.S. cellphones while in France?

What roaming service does your U.S. cell provider have, and how much does it cost for calls and/or data?  Does your phone operate with Europe’s different technology?  Can you use your phone without “un-locking” it and without installing a European SIM card?

Please share what you know and learn.

To contribute to this thread, click on the “comment” link under the date in the left-hand margin; type your text; and it will be added.

Bike tools and supplies

Bike tour companies are generally happy to allow us to swap our own pedals and saddles for those on their bicycles.  Some prefer that they do the installation, and some prefer that we do it.  Some have good tools; some don’t.

Fulton will bring a Park pedal tool (with the two standard sizes) and a small collection of Allen wrenches to change out pedals and saddles.

The tour operators also have tubes, lubricants and other basics.

What else might you need, or might you bring to share with others?

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Preparations: Documents

It’s always wise to have quick access to copies of key documents you might need in case the originals get lost or stolen while you’re traveling.  Because hardcopies can get lost, dirty, wet or compromised in a cycling environment, perhaps you may want to scan your documents and put them somewhere secure — on a thumbdrive or in an e-mail to yourself.

Such documents might include:  passport; credit cards (front and back); copies of flight reservations; emergency contact numbers for the tour and back home.

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Miscellaneous

Here we can post quick information of importance.

ELECTRICITY, for example, is 240 volts and requires the following a “Type C” Europlug or “Type E or F” Schuko plug.  They look like this:

frenchplugs

To contribute to this thread, click on the “comment” link under the date in the left-hand margin; type your text; and it will be added.