Champagne in Champagne

Today Amber and I had booked a tour to Champagne to do some champagne tasting. We had prepared our outfits the night before, so to not wake everyone else in the room, while we got ready. Unfortunately, the weather forecast changed drastically overnight, but by the time we figured it out, there wasn’t enough time to change. In fact, we probably should have left even more time… we ended up going to the wrong train station and missed our train. The tour was prepaid, and we had been looking forward to it so much, so ended up quickly booking a taxi to Reims. It would take 2 hours versus 1 hour by train. We showed up late but the tour group came and picked us up. It was a mother/daughter duo from Maryland and a couple from New Jersey. Luckily, we didn’t miss much, just a tour of a church in the town.

The first stop on the tour was Taittinger. Already cold, we found out we were about to get colder because it was a tour of the chalk cellars (this would have been good info to put in the “what to bring” section of the tickets). I enjoyed the tour because how the rich history. The Champagne house was built where an old Abbey used to be, one that was destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Although the Abbey was destroyed, all of the chalk cellars (used to store prisoners during the war..dang they must have been cold down there!) were still in tact. In fact, you could even see drawings from the prisoners carved into the walls. We learned all about the champagne making process and then went back up stairs for a tasting. They champagne was very good and very welcome after a chilly tour. We had the option of doing a second tasting of a vintage champagne, which we did. I actually think I liked the first one better, the vintage was very strong though! It was a 2006 bottle.

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We then drove to a popular area for people to have drink champagne and picnics. The views were beautiful, but the tour should really consider actually bringing champagne to enjoy while we stop. Down the road we stopped at another church, this time one that housed the tombstone of Dom Perignon. I always knew of the brand, but had no idea that he was a monk who perfected the champagne making process. I find this statue hilarious because I’ve only ever seen religious statues with crosses and whatnot.

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The next champagne house was Moët and Chandon in Eperney. This house was very standard from the outside, but very fancy inside. The interesting story here was the family lineage. At some point a Moët daughter married a Chandon man and they combined the names for the Champagne house. I thought our tour wasn’t very well planned since they had us do another tour of the cellars and walk us through the champagne making process again. It was less interesting this time because we had just heard it all a few hours before. Some things were different, but not much. I liked this second tasting room better because it was very Gatsby or James Bond-esque.

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Finally, they took us back to the train station and we headed back to Paris. I had another unbelievable dinner tonight, at this place called L’autre Côte. The staff was SO friendly. Side note– for people who say Parisians are rude, I’ve never experienced that, but I’m always super friendly first and always start with a Bonjour. Perhaps you get what you give? 😉

I ordered ‘onion soup’ and felt pretty dumb when they brought out ‘French Onion Soup’. Of course they drop the ‘French’. It was fantastic and was followed by an equally good Spinach and truffle cheese ravioli. The owner came over and helped us select a good bottle of wine from Bordeaux. Upon leaving, he also poured us two shooters, which neither of us wanted, but politely took down. If anything, I actually think it worked well as a post dinner digestive.

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Being that it was Friday night, the music went until 3:30am tonight, no, I’m not used to it yet.

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