Weekend in Champagne
Everyone loves a good glass of bubbly and no bubbly can be called Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. Located just a few hours outside of Paris, Champagne makes for an excellent (and delicious!) weekend trip from the city. Not only can you visit the beautiful city of Reims but you can visit Champagne caves all day and learn how the experts have perfected this queen of beverages.
Since there are so many options of champagne houses to visit, we thought we would share some of our favorite spots in the region that give the best tours and bang for your buck!
One of the oldest caves in Reims, dating back to 1729, Ruinart is probably our favorite tour – if you have the budget! Not only will you be touring with a small group of 6-8 people but the guides really take the time to explain the details of the champagne process in a way that feels like a proper conversation and less like they are reciting a script. Our favorite aspect of this tour, however, is that you are asked which bottles you would like to sample at the end of your tour. If you shell out the 38 euro option, they will even open the rare top shelf stuff for you!
Moët & Chandon is probably the most prestigious of the champagne caves. Opened in 1743, it has welcomed visitors from Czar Alexandre I to Queen Elizabeth II. It is located in the quiet city of Epernay just south of Reims and is absolutely worth the visit. The cellars run for an impressive 17 miles and as the famous Don Perignon is made on the same premises you learn not only about Moët but also Don Perignon.
Known worldwide as top-of-the line champagne, the Veuve-Clicquot caves were first carved out back in the 3rd century in Gallo-Roman times. Our favorite perk of this tour is that visitors can see the champagne workers during the tour. You can speak to them and see them carrying out each step of the process. The gift shop is one of the most impressive we have seen so be sure not to miss it!
Pommery is located on the outskirts of Reims and is a must-see for any art and architecture buffs. It is a newer building dating back to the 1800s and guests are lead down to the cellars (located 100 feet underground) via an impressive 116-step staircase. Visitors will taste some fine champagne but also enjoy the collection of art and sculptures throughout.
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