Destinations

Champagne tour? Yes please!

new-year-s-eve-ceremony-champagne-sparkling-wine

On my recent trip through France, we found ourselves with a rental car rather than taking the trains as we had originally planned (thanks, SNCF strikes). Although it was a bit of an inconvenience to have a car, it did afford us some experiences we wouldn’t have had otherwise, so in the end I’m thankful for our little Citroen that drove us around the country.

One of these such experiences was touring the Pommery Champagne House in Reims, which is in the heart of France’s Champagne region. Since the final leg of our journey would see us driving from Strasbourg back to Paris to turn in our rental car and catch our flight home, we wanted to find a good place to stop along the way (it being a 5 hour drive and all). As I studied the route we would be taking, I was delighted to learn that we would pass right through Reims, so it was settled. We researched which champagne house we should tour, since we figured we would only have the time for one. Originally, we thought about going to Veuve-Cliquot, since I love that champagne and buy it at home all the time, but the times they had tours available didn’t really work with our schedule. My husband read some reviews and people said Pommery was the best tour to take. They had a tour in English that worked well with our schedule, so it was settled…we were off to see the Pommery Champagne House.

We arrived slightly early due to light traffic so we wandered around the big main room at Pommery and checked out some of the unusual art they had on display. When it was time for our tour, we were greeted by the guide and led down a large number of stairs into what was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been in all my life. The champagne caves, as we learned in the tour, were chalk quarries that dated back to the Roman times and had been purchased by Madame Pommery to house their champagne production. The caves had also been used to hide people during World War 2. Wandering these ancient caves full of dusty bottles of champagne felt like I was Indiana Jones wandering through the Temple of Doom. This place was seriously, seriously cool. The tour was delightful and I actually learned a lot abot how champagne is made, which was interesting as well.

When the tour concluded we were led back upstairs into the main room where were given some champagne to taste. We had bought the option that included two glasses of champagne per person, which was delicious, but I do warn you…left us a little drunk. We had to sit in the lobby and wait for quite a while before we were ok to drive the rest of the way back to Paris, hahaha.

I definitely recommend this tour when you’re in France if you’ll find yourself in the Champagne region. Even if you’re just staying in Paris, it would be feasible to take the train for the day over to Reims to do this tour, so definitely look into it next time you’re in the area. This was one of the highlights of my entire trip!

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