Sunday, April 17, 2011


Rheims Cathedral.... from inside

We had breakfast on the station..... Paris Est - coffee and pain de chocolate

The three days in Champagne - in a small town called Verzeney seemed to rush by in a flash..... my friend has a lifetime friend who married a French husband and lives there and I went with her to stay with them for 3 is about 20 minutes from Rheims.

The brand new tram system in Rheims and the Cathedral from the front

It was amazing. The combination of French and Afrikaans hospitality really works amazingly well. I think it is a very brave thing to come and live in a new country with a new language - but love conquers all and in this case, it is inspiringly so.

From the bedroom window - at sunrise and the bathroom window after sunrise

Don't worry guys I won't mention your names..... just thought I had to say this.

The Champagne region is an amazing one....coming from the wine region in South Africa, it made me feel very welcome, but the tradition, history and wealth is something we could not imagine.....and everybody out there, I think our bubbly wine is lovely, but it is definitely not Champagne..... not the real McKoy......

On Monday we arrived with the TGV in Rheims, and we walked around the town....saw the new (brand new it opened on the Saturday) tram system and thought to ride on that to see the town...because the town tour we wanted to go on was not running at the moment....

So we asked somebody at the ticket machine and he said for the day it was we rode up and down....but then had to get off to see the Cathedral and meet our friend as we agreed to do.

The Cathedral was much smaller than the Notre Dame, but more intimate and somehow, I liked it just a little bit more..... not so glamorous, but with a lot of grace and quiet.

Then off to have some lunch and we had a typical french meal....

Then off to their home in Verziney..... a lovely home, a welcoming room and a wonderful "homely atmosphere"..... - we had a wonderful supper and we tasted the first of a few wonderful Champagnes..... They sang happy birthday to M in french.... if it was me I would have cried.....

The landscape with Canola and the first forest walk and another piece of forrest

The next day we went for a few tastings, including a well known Champagne brand Moet & Chandon and the Moet is amazing, but so is lesser known brands and houses. We were also extemely fortunate to visit a smaller Champagne House, Louis de Sacy, where we tasted a wonderful glass of Champagne, but were also received with grace and kindness by Martiene. Thanks again for your patience.....

Another Champagne house left and some of the 28 km of tunnels where Champagne is kept at Moet&Chandon

The forrest on the left and Moet&Chandon in the middle and another Champagne house on the right.... Rue de Champagne in Epernay - and the tasting trio

We were also very fortunate that one of the smaller Champagne houses, invited us to come and see the process where the sediment is taken from the bottle and alchohol is put into the wine..... - years ago this was a very dangerous process, and people could lose a finger because there is a pressure of around 6 kg inside the bottle, but now it is done with a machine and it seems an easier and safer process..... Celine, one of the owners of Jacques Rousseaux Champagne house, took some time to explain and to let us taste....

Process of taking the sediment out - Celine from Jacques Rousseaux Champagne

We walked a lot and also went for 2 walks in the forest..... the one forest is one of 3 places where a special kind of tree grows, which lets its branches onto the ground and it grows into the ground and then makes new trees.....this phenomenon appears in Germany near

The lighthouse or Phar with a museum about Champagne and the process and the information about the very rare tree which grows here...

The Faux trees and me at the MUMM Champagne Moulin (the gate) at Vezerney

Hanover, in France and in Sweden.... - it grows in such a way that it looks like a little igloo of leaves...... you just want to go and look for the fairies as our friend said...

I cannot believe that we did so much..... now I am back in Paris.... and M in Ibis Hotel at the Airport to get her flight early tomorrow morning to go back home......

I have a few admin things to do and a few things to see and do and then I am ready to go too.... Paris has been kind to me and I have received so much.... - the people I met and kindness I received has been extraordinary!

1 comment:

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