I just submitted the last essay of my MBA Fashion Business program wooohooooo!!! I am officially no longer an MBA student. Bye Microsoft Word, bye Power Point, bye Keynote (hard to say goodbye to this one as I got addicted to making presentation slides using this software)!! I know I'll see you some time in the future but for now, byeee, you guys are free to go on vacation as I will be taking mine soon. Anyways, to celebrate this milestone, I thought it would be appropriate to post about my day trip to Reims in the Champagne-Ardenne region in France. A region that is well-known for its bubbly pleasure otherwise known as champagne. Yes, I'm in the mood for massive celebration! I'm heading out to buy a bottle (or two) of champagne first thing tomorrow. I don't care if it's 9AM in the morning, I need those bubbles!!!
I don't know if you've heard but only sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region in France can call themselves champagne. Merci my cross-cultural perspectives teacher for straightening this out in one of our classes. And yes, Champagne is a region name.
So I went to Reims about a month ago for a day trip on one fine Saturday from Paris. It was my friend's idea and I decided to tag along with her. We took the train from Paris Gare de L'est and the journey only took around 45 minutes. Find the train schedules and online tickets here. We didn't plan much for the trip, in fact, I just started Googling what to do in Reims when I was on the train. Since we weren't going to have that much time anyway, we narrowed down our destinations to the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims and the visit to Pommery champagne cellar.
When we reached the train station in Reims, we walked to the cathedral (only around 1 km). You can read more about the cathedral here.
Yes, it was quite impressive. How does this compare to Notre Dame in Paris? Good question, truth be told, I have never been inside of the Notre Dame in Paris. I know I know, one of these days...
Afterwards, we walked to Pommery champagne cellar from the cathedral. It was quite a walk, around 2 km, but we thought we wanted to see the town too. Honestly though, the walk there was nothing to write home about. However, as soon as we reached Vranken Pommery, we were so excited to care about anything else.
Once inside, the woman at the reception asked if we had any reservations. We didn't, but luckily we could buy our tickets on the spot. I think it's advisable to reserve online just to be safe. Book and find more information from their website here. They have several types of tours and they are both in French and English, thank goodness. As much as I want to believe that my French has improved, I don't think I can comprehend a champagne cellar tour in French.
We opted for The Art du Champagne tour that lasted for 1 hour that also included a champagne tasting at the end for €20 per person. We chose the Visite Rosé option; it was tasting of the Brut Rosé Pommery Champagne.
There were about 20 to 25 other people, if my memory serves me right, in our tour group. It was my first time visiting a cellar so I really did not know what to expect. The tour guide told us that the cellar is 18 km long. And also thanks to her I now know that champagne is mostly derived from these grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier.
The cellar is all the way in the basement. It's also cold and dark down there. Additionally, the cellar also displays several art works, both contemporary and more traditional ones.
At the end of the tour, they served us champagne in the lobby, according to what we opted for. It tasted unbelievably good and refreshing and also unusually strong. My friend and I started giggling halfway through our brut rosé. My alcohol tolerance is usually way better than half a glass of champagne but I don't know what happened that day. Maybe we were hungry or something. But we really liked it.
By the way, please make sure you are of a legal drinking age, which is 18 in France. However, Pommery also offers the cellar tour for minors under 18, without champagne tasting at the end.
Let's pop that champagne, shall we? Cheers!