My favorite part of our trip included lots of champagne. As we were planning activities for our trip to Paris we wanted to visit vineyards or do one of those wine tasting and dinner tours that Paris offers. Then we came across the choice of going to the Champagne region and doing a champagne tour, “holy crap! that would be awesome!”, both my husband and I said at the same time.We booked our tour with Larry Davis from Experience Paris. I believe Larry handles most tours and pretty much anything for visitors in Paris, ranging from dinner and wine to helicopter rides to airport rides in luxury vehicles, you name it. He is very quick to respond to any inquiries and is very professional. His business connects you with other small businesses according to what your plans are.
Larry booked us with Pei (Peggy) Yeng of C-La-Vigne for a semi-private day trip to the Champagne-producing regions of Reims, Epernay and Côte des Blancs. We visited a couple of small family owned champagne wineries as well as bigger champagne houses like Paul Goerg and Dom Perignon & Moët Chandon.
Peggy picked us up at 8am and then another couple, Nathan and Natalie, who were on their honeymoon. We became fast friends and tookd off in a brand new super comfy mini van. The trip to the Champagne region was about 2 hours, it was a beautiful ride with views of the French countryside.
We arrived first at a small family owned property where they showed us how some champagne houses still practice more manual ways of cropping the champagne grapes, like using horses to till the soil because they take up less space between the vines.
After that we visited Paul Goerg and started the tasting. Walking in, it looked like a regular office building and then they took us downstairs to their basement which was colder and looked like an ancient cave. (Notice the ginormous bottles on the bottom of the pic below.)
Next we visited another champagne house (which I cannot for the life of me remember the name), this one was a much modern one that uses high tech machinery for production, turning the bottles and distribution.
After this, Peggy took us to a local restaurant for lunch called Restaurant le Caveau, which means ‘the cave’ in French. It was small, quaint and the food was spectacular. The chef and owner, Jean-Claude Rambach, is a Maitre Sabreur. Sabraging is the art of opening a champagne bottle with a saber sword and he taught my husband and Nathan how to saber. They actually did pretty good for having a couple of bottles of champagne during lunch. They each got a diploma recognized by the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or. I think they both felt like they were graduating college or something.
After lunch (and like I said, a couple of bottles of champagne later) we went on to taste some more. We headed to Möet & Chandon, and wow, was it impressive! They have the largest cellars, spanning for more than 17 miles, creating a subterranean labyrinth that awes at every turn you take.
After walking parts of the cellars we went to the tasting room and were given two full glasses of two different champagnes, Rosé Imperial and Moët Impérial. Both excellent, and surprisingly for me, I liked the Rosé better.
The last champagne house we visited was a very small, family owned one called Fernand Lemaire. This one was literally at a home where they had their own little cellar and a little tasting room across the street with views of their vines.
I think for us, this day trip to the champagne region was a highlight of the whole trip and worth every penny. We made lifetime friends, got to try and buy bottles of the finest brüts and have an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience. Peggy was an amazing guide and extremely knowledgeable, we couldn’t have been happier.