I really have to thank Gui for pulling me away from my laptop a couple of weeks ago and insisting I take a break and disconnect. It turns out a weekend in lovely Champagne was exactly the rejuvenation I needed to return to my work and schoolwork with new energy the following Monday. But maybe rosé champagne has that effect on everyone…
We set off early Saturday morning in a rented Peugot station wagon and stopped at two PAUL bakeries for cappuccinos and baguette sandwiches before arriving in Reims just after lunchtime. Gosh, do I love PAUL — It’s by far the best tomato-mozarella sandwich I’ve had outside of Italy. But to be honest, I was not that enamored with Reims. While I was expecting a cute, vineyard-framed city, damage during both world wars meant a lot of the town has been rebuilt and there were no vines to be seen during our commute in. The highlight was undoubtedly Reims’ cathedral, where French kings were crowned for a thousand years, sending Guillaume into historical ecstasy 🙂 I loved the Chagall stained glass windows, which you can see in the second photo below.
After wandering the town and the random medieval festival that was taking place during our visit, we drove out to Épernay for dinner where we had an absolutely wonderful meal at the restaurant la Cave à Champagne. I ordered the egg cocotte for my appetizer, the veggie quiche for my main dish and crème brulée for dessert, accompanied by rosé champagne. Gui ordered two different fish dishes with an apple tart and adored his meal too. If you’re interested, I would reserve ahead — We saw several people get turned away from our breezy table near the door.
The next morning we headed back to Épernay for a tour of Moët & Chandon. Pro tip: You actually pronounce the “t” in Moët because it’s a Dutch name. Our enthusiastic guide did a nice job of showing us around the giant cellar — by far the biggest I had ever been in — before taking us to our tasting (absolutely lovely bubbly). Afterward, Gui and I spent the early afternoon on one of the scenic roads that weaves through Champagne, which has some of the prettiest vineyards we have seen yet. We enjoyed a late crèpe lunch in Troyes to explore the medieval wooden quarter and took one final pitstop in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises to visit Charles de Gaulle’s grave (guarded by FOUR police officers!) before hitting the road for good to return to Geneva.
Thanks again, Gui, for the fabulous last-minute adventure!