Long Weekend in Champagne

 

Celebrations both big and small happen every single day. Maybe you were recently promoted, the offer on your dream house was accepted, it’s your birthday or your child is leaving the nest, anything should be celebrated. And how do you celebrate? With a champagne toast, of course.

I love champagne and Prosecco, basically anything with bubbles. It’s my go-to drink order at a bar or restaurant. I love it. So when two of our really good friends were talking about planning a European trip and asked what cities were still on our bucket list, I was quick to say let’s go to the Champagne district. I figured we could celebrate being with dear friends and, let’s face it, there would be lots of champagne consumption.

This past weekend, this trip that we’ve been planning for months finally happened!

We spent four days in Reims, France (the unofficial capital of the Champagne district) visiting several larger Champagne houses, seeing sights, laughing, eating and drinking lots of bubbles. I thought I would break up our trip into two posts: a more photo dense post (this one) and then a more detailed post with information on where we stayed, tips and details about our tours.

Vinn and I drove to Reims from Germany, which only took 4.5 hours and arrived just in time to pick up our friends from the train station. We headed to the apartment we rented (more on that in my next post) and set out to discover the town.

 

reims_france

 

The Reims Cathedral is absolutely stunning, minus the scaffolding, and looks a lot like the Notre Dame in Paris. It is in the center of the small town and even has a light show at night during the summer.

Our plans were fairly flexible. We didn’t have too many expectations or set plans. We did book tours in advance to Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot and Pommery on Friday and then to Moët and Chandon on Saturday. The tours went through the champagne making process, which is fascinating but repetitive once you’ve been to several and then the history of the house. Each of our tours ended with a tasting and great photo ops! It was a great combination of set plans and flexibility because we were able to stop into places that looked good to us and try some smaller houses’ champagne.

Did you know that sparkling wine is only considered champagne if it comes from the Champagne district in France? Fun fact.

 

 

champagne_france

 

Friday was go, go, go since we had the three tours planned and I definitely would have spaced them out more. But it was so fun to see how different the houses are from each other, what they do to separate themselves and just how different the champagnes do taste. More detail will be coming soon because I want to write more of a travel guide and that’s just too much information in this post.

On Saturday, we drove 30 minutes outside of Reims to Epernay, which is more vineyard like and less city-like. We actually also met my friend, Megan, and her dad there because they happened to be in Paris at the same time for the Paris Air Show. What are the odds?

 

champagne_tasting

 

I want to point out how special these two ladies are to me. Megan (on the left) and I have been inseparable since the first day of college when we lived next to each other. We just went to her wedding in Chicago. And Caitlin (on the right) and I have been super close since like 5th grade! We were in each other’s weddings and talk all the time. It is rare to have such close friendships and we are so lucky to be able to pick up right where we left off no matter how much time has passed. I am blessed to have them in my life.

 

vineyards

 

The same can be said for having “couple” friends. You definitely learn about people when you travel with them and when you end up being closer friends at the end of the trip, then you’ll be friends for life. These two are definitely in that category.

After our time in Epernay, we drove the scenic route back to Reims for dinner and to pick up Copley. Yes, despite what these pictures show, Copley was in Reims with us. She wasn’t allowed in the houses, so she stayed back at the apartment.

 

champagne_france

 

It was absolutely gorgeous to see the vineyards and the grapes that will eventually be champagne. Stopping for pictures on the side of the road has started to become our thing! We grabbed Copley and dinner for our final night in Reims. We woke up on Sunday, had breakfast and bought a few more bottles to bring home.

Our trip was exactly what we wanted: relaxing, full of laughs and delicious drinks. Check back on Wednesday to see exactly what a tour is like at a champagne house, tips for planning a trip here and my favorite champagne!

 

champagne_district

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Ara Lawrence | 27th Jun 17

    Wow! What a trip and to especially do so with friends. Reminds me of my longtime friendships with Barbara since age 11 (who is now deceased) and Carol (Al’s first wife who is also now deceased). I think of them often and the times we spent together over so many years.

    • Jessica | 27th Jun 17

      Great friendships are rare. You were lucky to have years with your friends.

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