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Published: October 8th 2013
Reims, Epernay in Champagne Region France
We said goodbye to Paris at around 11.00am, saying goodbye to the owners of our apartment by taxi. We went to the Invalides train station to catch the RER Train to Versailles to pick up our motor home.
At the station, Tom and Kerrie walked to the Camping Park where we had left our camping car. Gemma & I stayed at the train station, with the suitcases. Gemma was soooo excited to see the motor home and she kept on asking why “Papa and Mummy were taking so long”.. At last we saw the motor home come around the corner. It is such a delight to see a little person’s absolute excitement over something.
We loaded up the suitcases, then headed for Reims, the centre of the Champagne Region. We drove through hectares and hectares of vineyards (35,000 ha to be exact). The French trim all their vines with machinery so all of the vines were neat and ‘box-like’.
We had a look around Reims then drove due south, to Eperney, known as the capital of Champagne, where there was a very famous Avenue called Avenue de Champagne where
all the famous Champagne houses are. The buildings are magnificently stately and were mostly built during the 18th
centuries. The Avenue is going through the process of being registered as a UNESCO site due to the age of many of the buildings.
We wanted to do the Veuve Clicquot Champagne tour but all the morning tours were booked out. We knew they were popular, that is why Kerrie tried to book on line 4 days previous to our arrival but she got no reply from the web site. So we decided to go to the Moet & Chandon outlet and was successful in booking a tour. Before leaving, we had a look around the outlet and bought some Veuve Clicquot Champagne from them. While waiting for the Moet & Chandon tour to start, we went for a walk down the beautiful Avenue. The round-about even had a massive Champagne bottle cork as part of their hardscape.
During the tour we learned about the long history of the Moet & Chandon company. Don Perignon (1638-1715) started blending for Champagne in the late 1600s. This then evolved into the Moet company and then after a marriage, it became
Moet & Chandon.
We went down into the massive network of underground caves where the wine is stored. Most of the blends use 7-year old wine which goes through 3 stages of fermentation.
The Champagne Region has very ‘chalky’ soil and produces excellent quality grapes. At the end of the tour we of course had a tasting and could not help but buy some 2004 vintage Moet & Chandon.
With both hands loaded with our purchases, we were happy to drive further south to Troyes (pronounced Twa in French).
We stopped here to have a look around this beautiful town. The centre of the town had a large square, lined with outside dining. From the square, 5 or 6 streets for pedestrians only, radiated out from it. These malls were full of Tudor-style buildings - so unique but seen in parts of France. We sat for a coffee with Gemma enjoying an icecream.
We then drove a further 40km south to an almost deserted camp site at Marcenay (Camping la Grebes). Gemma found a wigwam shaped tent full of bikes and toys so she had a wonderful time. We are certainly noticing that campsites are
starting to close up with the approach of autumn. Tomorrow we are going to head further south.
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