Our group wanted a side excursion and who is not a fan of Champagne? The majority of us have at least had a taste of “bubbly” at one time or the other…be it New Year’s Eve or at a Wedding.
Julie and Jeremy were on their first tour of Paris and booked a 4-hour Essential Paris tour with me but wanted something out of the compacted city of Paris…they wanted to breathe fresh air, experience some French education and see more of the beauty of the French countryside and its architectural wonders. I learned they were champagne fans, so I suggested a visit to Reims which is just 80 miles northeast of Paris and an easy day or one-night trip via train or car. I commissioned a driver to take the three of us and off we went. You see…Reims not only has the famous Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims, Saint Remi Basilica, and the infamous story of Clovis but in neighboring Epernay and Ay there exists the very soul of celebration.
Epernay alone has dozens of Champagne cellars where a visitor can see the cellars and experience how Champagne is created. Among the producers are Moët , Mercier, Chandan, Mumms, Veuve Clicquot, and Champagne Louis De Sacy. I arranged for Julie and Jeremy to tour the depth of Moet as it is a cellar that also produces Chandon and Dom Perignon. We arrived an hour early to walk the quaint town and the Avenue de Champagne where this unique cellar sat and enjoy a quiche and coffee at the PAUL in the town square.
As we entered Moet we were captured by the store that sold numerous bottles and Magnums of champagne which we were sure to return after the tour concluded. The tour took us through the cellars with eloquent stories of the secrets, trials and tribulations of the families that began their champagne mastery.
I am longing to reveal the secrets of how Champagne was discovered and perfected to achieve the taste it is today …but I highly recommend learning for yourself with a visit to the beautiful region of Reims and Epernay. Once the day was finished we escaped back to our hotel in Reims to enjoy a bottle of Moet along with its best sweet companion that is a champagne tradition: the hard and crunchy “Biscuit Rose de Reims” which was created to pair (actually be dipped in) perfectly with champagne or red wine.