Champagne: How to Add More Bubbles to Your Life

© Christy Destremau

© Christy Destremau

Did you know the heart of bubbly France is less than two hours from Paris by train or car? Arrive at the airport in the morning and you could be sipping a glass of Taittinger champagne for lunch along with your lobster salad or brie en croute.

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Reims is the busy center of the champagne region. Here, the top champagne houses have “show rooms” where visitors can learn the history of the champagnerie, tour the caves, and sample a bit of bubbly. (And of course buy a few bottles or cases.) These are some of our favorites.

The surrounding area around Reims is champagne vines and vineyards as far as the eye can see. The local rural hub is Epernay where some of the big houses like Moet & Chandon have tasting houses and tours. But many smaller producers carve out a place as well.

Our favorite champagne adventure, however, is exploring the picturesque champagne route for ourselves. Signs are easy to follow and you can wander this gorgeous, fragrant region at your leisure—with a few champagne tastings along the way. (Try to book in advance.)

There are also several affordable champagne area guides who speak multiple languages. They have a variety of offerings around the area and you can pick and choose depending on your budget. You can tour the caves, walk through the vineyards, see the bottling and riddling processes, see some high end estates or mom-and-pop vineyards, and everything in between. Naturally, you will taste a variety of bubblies as well as champagne-inspired cuisine like champagne sauce or champagne ice cream.

Finally, you may have the opportunity to learn the sabrage, the technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber like our friend Vic here.

Don’t miss this intoxicating region if only for a day, a week, or more. Santé!

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Mouth-Watering Desserts

Tarte Tatin, Loire, France

Tarte Tatin, Loire, France

Dessert-crafting is an art practiced throughout much of the world. And we never turn down the opportunity to sample these delicacies no matter where we land! Herein are some of our favorite treats.

Napoleon, Laguna Beach, USA

Napoleon, Laguna Beach, USA

Honeyed Fruit Compote

Honeyed Fruit Compote

Grand Marnier Soufflé, Honfleur, France

Grand Marnier Soufflé, Honfleur, France

Afternoon Tea, London, England

Afternoon Tea, London, England

Rum Baba, Paris, France

Rum Baba, Paris, France

Champagne ice cream with champagne biscuits and champagne sorbet, Epernay, France

Champagne ice cream with champagne biscuits and champagne sorbet, Epernay, France