We couchsurfed with Patrick and his family for a weekend. Although it was pretty much just with Patrick since only one of his three sons was home (and he was depressed over a girl so spent most of his time in his room playing guitar and listening to heavy metal), and his wife Pascale was at a craft fair all weekend.
Patrick made great home made bread and treated us to wonderful home cooked meals. He also turned us on to many wonderful French cheeses (other than Brie).
The reason I wanted to visit Champagne in the first place? For the champagne of course! They make sparkling wine all over the world – but they only make champagne in Champagne.
Champagne is a beautiful region – driving along the windy country roads through all the vineyards, stopping to visit the church where Dom Perignon lived (and is now buried), admiring the sweeping views of distant villages among the rows and rows of purple and green – it is simply awesome.
We also visited the Notre Dame in Reims (I told you all the cathedrals in France were named Notre Dame!)
They have lots of champagne houses (obviously!) in Champagne. A visit to one (tour with a glass of champagne at the end) costs 10 Euros. Otherwise, I would have tried to visit every single one of them! We went to Taittinger, where we learned all about how many hectares of grapes they own (a lot!), how they make champagne, how long they age it for and how tasty their bubbly is.
Besides everything to do with champagne, we also visited a photo exhibit called Earth From the Air. We saw this exhibit in Bangkok as well – I recognized many of the photos but there were also some new ones. If this exhibit is ever showing at a city near you, I highly recommend going to see it. Here are a couple of photos of photos that I took. Amazing how real they look.
Next up after Champagne? Beaune! One of my all time favorite places in the entire world! Stay tuned….