The first time I visited Champagne was on a cold, dreary fall day just after harvest. It wasn’t the best time to visit, but we had the BEST time! Today is a dreary fall day in Virginia, and for some reason, I thought back to that weekend in Champagne.
Driving around tasting Champagne can make one light-headed pretty quickly… that’s when a chauffeur comes in handy! Reims-based “Routair” has chauffeured cars available for just this type of thing. Tel: 03.26.40.38.28. Fax: 03.26.97.70.78.
And for the easiest way to get to Champagne, just take the (relatively) new TGV from the Gare de l’Est. This has cut the Paris/Reims commute down to 45 minutes… and just 30 minutes from the TGV terminal at CDG airport. A first class roundtrip ticket costs roughly 110€. However, the “slow” TER train from Paris to Epernay (one hour and ten minutes) is only 39€ round-trip in second class… and the seats are roomier than those on the stream-lined TGV. Frequent rail connections between Reims and Epernay take 30 minutes and cost 6€.
Dreaming of a fabulous summer vacation drifting quietly along the canals of Burgundy on a delightful barge trip? So were we. Check out our latest issue of La Belle France to read more about this, and:
-Les Enfants Terribles
-Bread & Roses: the perfect shopping break
-Paris’s Ecole Ferrandi cooking school
-The Ritz & the Crillon: renovations coming soon (some have already started)
-The Provinces Museum Calendar Summer 2012 (don’t go to France this summer without our cultural calendar on-hand!)
This month, we head to some out-of-the-way areas of Paris to bring you a round-up of the latest and greatest Parisian Wine Bars. Venture out of the center of Paris to these new spots and you’ll be rewarded by a new crop of enthusiastic restaurant/bar owners who are passionate about what they do. With good, and often great, food, interesting wines at great prices, and a super hip clientelle, what more could you want?
Au Passage, Albion, Le Diable Verre, Le Verjus, Frenchie Bar à Vins, & La Cantine de Quentin will all have you coming back for a second (or third) glass!
photo: ©B. Lomont
The Champagne house celebrated it’s 200th birthday on March 20th with an intimate dinner for 200 in the beautiful glass courtyard of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. For the occasion, American artist Daniel Arsham created a special sculpture to house a bottle of the champagne. Just 200 sculptures have been created, available for purchase at the tasting room in Epernay (and by appointment only!), for 10,000 Euros each.
“It was this spirit of Perrier-Jouët continuity that I wanted to illustrate by creating a diptych that combined both the essence of Perrier-Jouët and my universe. My initial inspiration came from Perrier-Jouët’s vines and its cellars, the detail of Emile Gallé’s anemone flower,” commented Daniel Arsham.
In our February issue, we explored three mythic wine villages of Burgundy. Login to access full reviews.
Despite its hulky castle, Gevrey-Chambertin lacks the “photo op” charm of Nuits-Saint-Georges. However, this patch of ground has been creating super wines since the 7th century and accounts for nearly a third of the 33 Burgundian grand crus. Can you go wrong?
In this neck of the woods, the celebrity story is linked to Empire rather than Royalty. Napoleon Bonaparte adored the wines grown on Bertin’s field (“les champs de Bertin”) and Chambertin became his wine-of-choice on all his military campaigns. During his hasty Russian retreat, enormous quantities “fell off the truck”. Much more wine than was ever produced in Burgundy was later sold on French sidewalks as miraculously-recovered, “authentic” imperial Chambertin.
Wine has been cultivated in France for almost as long as people have been thirsty. Nuits-Saint-Georges earned its place on the oenological A-List when Louis XIV’s doctor insisted that he partake of the wine for medicinal reasons. In the blink of an eye, the fashion-forward population of Versailles simply had to share the same cure! Santé!
Why start with this Burgundian burg? Quite simply, Nuits-Saint-Georges is one of the area’s prettiest wine villages. (Gorgeous Beaune, just 17 kilometers down the road, counts as a city.) There’s a 1610 watchtower, a picturesque Romanesque church and – adding to the visual pleasure – the center of Nuits-Saint-Georges has been turned into a pedestrian zone chock-a-block with inviting boutiques.
For people who really want to get in touch with origins of wine in France, there’s an archeological dig outside city limits with the remains of a temple dedicated to Mithra. (Early Phoenician traders spread their culture – as well as their bar culture – wherever they went.) Check in with the tourist office to see if (and when) tours can be arranged. Tel: 03.80.62.11.17.
Love the golden nectar of sweet Bordeaux? Head to Sainte-Croix-du-Mont the first weekend in April for a convivial party where you will meet winemakers and visit the chateaux.