The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps

Sunday, May 01, 2005

How about some of the Bubbly?

Those of you who know me best know I have a love of Champagne. So naturally I couldn’t leave France without making a trip to the Champagne region to enjoy it from its source. Seeing as how Danielle really does not have much time left and France and our weekends are quickly being booked up we decided this last Saturday would be the perfect day to make the trip out to the Champagne region and indulge in a day of Champagne. Since the region is only 1 ½ hours from Paris we decided to just go for the day. So we woke up earlier than either one of us would have liked on Saturday and hoped on the train and made our way to Epernay. Epernay is the capital of the region and home to Avenue de Champagne which is home to several Champagne houses. We opted to first go the Moët house and take their tour and tasting. The caves were actually quite beautiful as they were dimly lit with a soft lighting giving them a nice glow. We learned all about the process of making Champagne and then at last at the end were able to taste it. Fantastic Champagne. After finishing up there we then headed down the Avenue de Champagne and wondered into the Mercier house where we were just in time for the English tour. This tour was much more disneyized with a little train that took you through the caves and they were not nearly as beautiful as the ones at Moët. The Champagne was good, but I’d have to say Moët was better. We did however get to see the giant cask that Mercier brought his Champagne in to the World’s Fair in 1889 and took second place to the Eiffel Tower. Next since it was now noon and most of the houses would be closed for the next two hours we decided to hop on the train and make our way to Reims.

It was only a 30 min train ride and took us through some really beautiful country and the vineyards. Reims is a much larger city than Epernay and houses a lot more of the Champagne houses. First stop though was lunch. We walked around the town a bit and found the tourism office and viewed the Notre Dame there in town and then found a nice little restaurant in the center of town. It was a very active little town with a great vibe that we really enjoyed. Having attempted to make a reservation to do the Veuve Clicquot tour the night before (can only tour with a reservation) we decided to go ahead and make the trek out there to see if they had actually given us a reservation. Once we made it we talked to the front desk and found out that we had made our reservation too late and the tours were all booked. Apparently it’s necessary to make the reservations about 1-2 weeks in advance. I guess making the reservation the night before at 1 a.m. wasn’t a good idea. So we just decided to go view their boutique where we were able to purchase a tasting. So I opted to purchase a glass since I’ve never actually had Veuve before. I decided this time to go for a vintage since I’d only had the classics before. I opted for the sweet vintage and come to find out the one I chose actually isn’t even sold in the U.S. because Americans apparently aren’t keen on sweet wines. So I was very happy that I had chosen that one, not to mention it was the best tasting Champagne I think I’ve ever had. Definitely well worth the trek.

Feeling confident with our knowledge of the Champagne making process Danielle and I decided not to go on anymore tours but to just walk through the town along the river than through it’s giant park. Eventually we made our way to the train station and hoped on the next train back to Paris. Despite the 40 min delay on the train just 15 mins outside of Paris, I’d say we had a great Saturday and I’m very happy we went. If ever looking for a day trip from Paris, I’d definitely recommend making this one.

Below is a pic of Danielle and me at our first tasting at Moet. Then the next pic is of the countryside from the train and then below that is an open space in Epernay in front of the train station.

No comments: