It’s just a 45-minute train ride from Paris to Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region, and where I spent the weekend, sans Andrew, indulging in French cuisine and sipping the bubbly stuff straight from the source.
Taking Friday off work I set off to Paris on the Eurostar with L&A. After locking our bags away we managed to fit in a quick hour walking the Parisian streets and grabbing the most delicious pastry treats from the boulangerie Du Pain et des Idées – note to self: I must go back!
We arrived in Reims in the early afternoon and managed a quick explore of the Notre Dame Cathedral and surrounding streets before parking up in a sunny square to enjoy a bit of people (and dog) watching and popped our first bot of the weekend.
Later that evening we stumbled upon the Le Clos restaurant, which had an awesome outdoor courtyard with colourful seats made from oil drums, festoon lights, umbrellas and street art – definitely had a hipster, Shoreditch feel about it. Even though we were searching for dinner we thought it would be rude not to have another bottle of wine here before moving on to find our steak frites.
The next day, T&D joined us and after a catch up over coffee and croissants, we checked out the flea markets along Rue de Mars and the famous Boulingrin covered market. It was here that we discovered the most sickly, but amazingly drool-worthy treat – a pastry which had layers upon layers of ham and béchamel sauce. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo, so you’ll have to just take my word for it.
In the afternoon we met Valentin from Sparkling Tour Reims who whisked us away on a half-day tour into the countryside to visit two small, family-run champagne houses – Bertrand Devavry and Waris Hubert. Valentin is a young entrepreneur with a passion for Champagne (the region and wine) and has only recently started his own business. He expertly explained the champagne making process, the different grapes and flavours and also his thoughts on some of the big champagne houses which were very interesting! We got to try three different champagnes at each house, each with their own distinct intricacies. It was a lot of fun and very insightful – would recommend Valentin to anyone visiting the region! He even offered to take our sweet panoramic band photos 🙂
The following day it was time to hit a couple of the big champagne houses – we choose Pommery and Tattinger, doing a tour and two glass tasting at each. Pommery set the bar extremely high with its quirky, Instagram-worthy, modern art exhibitions throughout its cellars. Now I’m sure this wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste but we found it so much fun!
At Tattinger, we were a bit let down as we were given a pretty lack-lustre tour. Especially so after our amazing experiences at the boutique houses and then the fun and craziness at Pommery! Perhaps if we had visited Tattinger first it may have got a better review from me, but nevertheless, I still enjoyed the tastings at the end.
Reims was an absolute treat – I could definitely see myself coming back here again, though for the time being I have a few bottles, waiting for a special occasion, here at home.