Monday, September 13, 2010


The vineyards
Breakfast on the balcony at the Royal Champagne
The Tattinger Caves
The Cathedral of Reims

About 1 and a half hours away by car in the northeastern part of France, you can find yourself in the region of Champagne. The name says it all, this is where all the bottles of Champagne in the world come from. With its capital Reims, a bottle of sparkling white wine can only be called Champagne if its grapes were grown within the borders of the region. If a vineyard sits even one inch away from the borders, its produce will be simply called sparking wine.

We stayed at the Royal Champagne Hotel, not only for its amazing views but also for its small, cozy, chic and totally French 1 star restaurant. Our palettes were seduced non-stop during our 3.5 hour dinner, and in the end we were thrilled by the bill that looked unreal: about a third of what you'd pay in Paris! I tried to savor as long as I can the homemade blackberry macaroon that came with my pot of tea, it was simply FABULOUS.

With a last minute call, we only managed to visit one cave, that of the renowned Tattinger. This actually turned out for the best, since in the end they all look the same. We entered with a little disappointment a very industrial looking building that claims to be the Tattinger caves. We waited in the waiting room with many Americans (since we missed the French tour). Our guide then opened a leather covered door, and down we go on a wounded staircase about 15 meters below ground.

My jaw dropped! Underground, millions and millions of bottles of Champagne are kept until their perspective maturity date. It was like the Ali Baba caves with champagne. Long winded halls ended up only with more stocked bottles in every single size from the demi bottle to the giant Nebuchadnezzar (equals 20 bottles). Many churches have these underground caves, since back in the day it was the monks who fabricated wine and champagne.

It was a beautiful weekend, romantic and idyllic. I recommend staying at least one night, so that you can try a restaurant of the region.

Photos by Me