Everything You Need to Know About a Day Trip to Champagne France

We have finally come to our last day in Paris.  We planned a nice relaxing excursion for our last day and this was one of the best days we had!  In all fairness all of our Paris trip was wonderful but tasting champagne IN champagne is extra special.

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I knew I wanted to do a day trip to a wine region when I originally decided on Paris for our trip but didn’t know what locations were close to Paris.  Luckily I work for an international company and during a training met someone from Paris!  She highly recommended Champagne since it was only an hour from Paris and its a quaint town to spend some time in.

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After a little research I found that Viator had the best tour options for the best price.  We landed on a semi-private tour (only 6 other people) with hotel pick-up.  On the morning of the tour the van picked us up right on time and we were off to Reims a city right outside Champagne.  We took a quick tour of the chapel there (which is very similar to Notre Dam) since we had a few minutes before our scheduled tour of Tattinger.  Once we got to Tattinger we watched a short video then began our tour of the cellars.

The cellars here are in old chalk mines and date back pre AD.  There were so many carvings in the walls with dates and it was just so surreal to be walking where people from other centuries have been.  Walking through the cellars we got a brief history on how champagne is made and the special process it takes to cork a bottle.  It was quite interesting to learn about actually, but I do love wine!  There is a guy who’s job is to rotate the champagne bottles to slowly bring sediment to the bottom.  I want that guys job!  I mean, tedious yes, but fun!

After we went through the cellars we came back up to the tasting room and had 1 glass of Tattinger’s signature champagne.  Fun fact, the best way to drink champagne is not in a flute but in a champagne glass similar to the one below.  These glasses are specifically designed to work air through the glass and bring up bubbles.  I was surprised because in the USA we drink out of flutes.  Who knew right?!

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Leaving Tattinger it was time to head to the countryside and visit some smaller champagne houses (thats what our guide called them).  Before we went to the second location we actually drove out to their vineyard and got to taste some grapes.  The white grapes are chardonnay grapes, I don’t remember what variety the red grapes were.  I don’t know why but I was expecting a very bitter inedible grape.  Boy was I wrong!  These grapes were sweet and delicious, and these were the rejects from the harvest.  Super bummer note right now, we missed seeing the harvest by a week!  Its not anything special but I’ve always wanted to see the harvest in action.  Its ok though the experience was great no matter what.

After visiting the vineyard we went to the champagne house and had lunch.  The food wasn’t anything amazing but it was warm and paired very well with the 3 different champagnes we had.  Now I hope I’m not the only one but I had no idea there were so many variations of Champagne!  We had by now 4 different glasses and each one had a unique flavor.  In my very limited champagne experience most of what I’ve had has tasted pretty similar to each other.  These we had in France each had their own distinct flavor just like wine does.  I shouldn’t have been surprised by that knowing what I do about wine but I was.  You learn something new every day!

After lunch we headed on to the 3rd and final house which is totally organic.  Personally I don’t really know what that means but apparently not many champagne houses do this nowadays so its more of a specialty champagne.  This house was my favorite mostly because they had an adorable border collie that sat by me and Joe almost the whole tour.  She must have know we missed our puppies back home.  With this champagne house we got to tour their vineyard as well and taste some of their grape “rejects”.  We then got to tour where they actually make the champagne.  Since the process had just started the day before the scent of fermenting grapes was very strong.  It was pretty cool actually.  I’ve never been to an in-process wine making cellar, so to see everything in action was fascinating.  My bad on not taking pictures but they had formulas written on the barrels and I didn’t want to look like I was stealing trade secrets.

Once the tour was over we got to taste 4 of this house’s champagnes.  By the end of the tour we had 8 champagnes and I’m still not a big fan.  Yup you read that right, I took a tour of champagne without really liking the drink.  Why?  Because, if you didn’t know, Champagne is a class of sparkling wine all of its own.  If you get a “champagne” from California (or anywhere else besides the champagne region) its actually a sparkling wine and cannot be called Champagne.  They take their grapes and distilling process very seriously.  So while sparkling wine is not my go to wine of choice, I still appreciate the history behind it.  I absolutely loved spending a full day out in the country soaking up some wine culture.  Bonus points that Joe loved it too!

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After the last champagne house, sadly it was time to head back to Paris.  I mean, sadly back to Paris, that’s a sentence I never thought I would write!  It was a beautiful day both in terms of weather and overall experience.  The best part was our tour guide was actually a certified sommelier so he had some really great insights to share about the whole champagne making process.  During our hour ride to and from Champagne he had a ton of interesting information and bonus gave us a great dinner recommendation!  I loved this tour and was so happy we decided to end our trip to Paris this way.  This tour I would recommend over Versailles as a day trip from Paris in a heartbeat.

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CHIME IN!!!  Do you like champagne?  Have you ever toured a wine region before?  What’s your favorite adult beverage?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol bourbeau says:

    We are going next September, what are the names of the 2nd and 3rd champagne houses you went to??

    Like

    1. La maison penet and champagne lelarge-pugeot

      Like

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