Paris is unique, elegant, artistic and rich with history. The city is gorgeous, the food is to die for, the fashion is unreal, and the people are charming. After doing some research though, we discovered that Reims, France, famous for holding some of the most incredible champagne cellars in France, was just a 40 minute train ride away. We quickly decided a day trip to Champagne Country was a must. We were pleasantly surprised to learn the rail service in Europe is very efficient and makes visiting other towns and cities a breeze. The train from Paris to Reims was spotless, the seats reclined, and the view was beautiful!
Our first champagne tour of the day was at G.H. Mumm & Co. Our guide shared her excellent knowledge of the history of this champagne company and of champagne production. She took us down to the cellars and walked us through each phase of the process, which was fascinating! Keep in mind, you descend 10 meters at a time and it gets rather chilly. I made the mistake of not bringing a jacket and definitely wished I had. But the 60 minute tour was so engaging, the time passed quickly and it was well worth the shivering – especially since the tour ended with champagne tastings. I tried the Rose Champagne and my husband, Blake, tasted the Classic G.H. Mumm Champagne. I was pleasantly surprised that in the end I preferred the Classic. It was smooth, light and very refreshing.
Afterward, we strolled through the city of Reims and visited the famous Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims. This architectural wonder is absolutely breathtaking and we were amazed at its impressive size. We spent over an hour admiring the magnificent sculptures, the to die for stained glass and tons of intricate details. It boggles my mind to think about how they were able to construct such a magnificent structure without modern day tools and technology. Before we left, we took a few minutes in a beautiful, quiet area to just sit and pray. And, bonus, admittance is free.
We wrapped up our day with a 40 minute tour at Taittinger. The tour guide was wonderful, knowledgeable and friendly and the caves are impressive. We learned a lot about the history of the vineyard and, I think, we both have a greater appreciation for the process and why champagne is soooooo expensive! Our tour ended with a champagne tasting that was delightful and you have several options to choose from when picking your tastings. We tasted a variety of champagnes, but my favorite was the Classic. Are you noticing a trend??
Overall, it was a lovely day in Reims. Between the two tours, I’d say G.H. Mumm and Co. was the better one … it covered every question you could probably think of and I found it more interesting. But if I had to choose the best champagne, I would have to pick Taittinger. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these tours.
If you ever get to Paris and have a thirst for champagne, I highly recommend a visit to Reims. It’s a perfect little day trip if you love quaint, beautiful towns and, of course, a little bubbly ;)
Keep an eye out for my next post featuring Prague! You won't be disappointed!
Bonjour! I’m back! My husband and I just returned from one of my top travel bucket list trips. We spent just over 2 weeks traveling through Europe and, to say it was the experience of a lifetime is an understatement. It was fantastic! If you haven't been to Europe, go. Every minute of our time spent planning, paid off in a big way – this trip far exceeded our expectations.
I plan on writing a series of posts covering each city that we visited. I will be sure to include where we stayed, ate, adventured and explored, plus some helpful tips along the way! I hope that you will find this useful and entertaining!
Our first stop was Paris, France. Y'all....I LOVE Paris. I visited this city 10 years ago with my mom and my love for Paris has only grown. It is just as magical as I remember and absolutely breathtaking. I could be content just walking around the city all day and admiring all the pretty architecture. It is fascinating, intricate and charming.
We were unbelievably blessed to be able to stay at an apartment right next to the Eiffel Tower. Talk about an extraordinary view and it’s even more beautiful at night. Breathtaking! It lights up every couple of hours in the evening and the twinkling lights create the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening. I suggest grabbing a picnic basket, a bottle of wine and a cozy blanket, find a spot on the lawn and enjoy the amazing sight.
If you are planning on taking the Eiffel Tower tour, be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time and get there early in the morning because the lines are long. The view from the top is out of this world, so even with a wait, it is well worth it!
One of our first stops on Day 1 in Paris was Ladurée, a French luxury bakery. And, oh, what a bakery! The interior is dazzling with gilding galore and beautiful patterned wallpaper. The bakery is most famous for its macaroons… they sell 15,000 macaroons a DAY! Yes, they are that good. You can order lunch, tea, espresso, or just snack on the melt in your mouth macaroons. We ordered espresso and tried a couple of different flavors of macaroons. I didn't take a photo because I was too excited to taste these special treats!
After we got our macaroon fill, we walked around the city exploring major sites such as the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is also known for it's incredible view of the city, and it is gorgeous, but personally I favor the the Eiffel Tower view.
Next, we hopped over to Champs-Élysées, a major shopping area in Paris that you've likely seen in the movies. Every store and restaurant is absolutely beautiful and unique. I highly recommend taking a stroll down Champs-Élysées and, I promise, it will not disappoint and it’s just 1.2 miles from end to end.
For dinner on our first night we went to Cafe Constant. Our waiters were adorable at Cafe Constant and helped us learn necessary French phrases to help make our trip a little easier. The majority of people there, at least who we spoke to, speak or understand English. However, do not assume everyone does. Do your best to greet in French and then ask if they speak English. And always remember to say "please" and "thank you," you'll make friends with the French in no time if you practice simple manners.
Okay, back to Cafe Constant - the food was to die for! We ordered the tart of grilled shrimps served with citronella sauce. This was so creamy and delicious! A perfect, light appetizer. For our entree we ordered the Blonde Aquitaine steak with shallots and homemade mashed potatoes. Another winner! We split both the appetizer and entree, to guarantee we’d be able to squeeze in a sweet treat afterwards. The waiters surprised us with the restaurant's famous homemade profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce. No kidding, it was heavenly. I'm drooling just thinking about how incredible this meal was.
I would recommend making a reservation for just about anywhere you eat dinner in Paris. The restaurants (the good ones at least), are typically small and have limited seating. The great thing about this is that you receive amazing service, as the staff is able to give each customer more attention.
We capped off the night with a relaxed walk down to the Seine River. It's a nice stroll which is perfect after a big meal. We were also able to watch the Eiffel Tower light up as we walked...dreamy!
Stay tuned for my next post on our Europe vacation! I'll be featuring Reims, also known as the Champagne Country of France. Until then...Au Revoir!