CHAMPAGNE IN EPERNAY

We rocked up the Epernay in the late afternoon, we desperately needed to fill up on our water and sort ourselves out after our trip home and a couple of days in Paris. I don’t normally like the idea but it was necessary to head to a…dun dun dun… campsite! We stayed outside of Epernay in fact but for under €20 we got showers, toilets, laundry room and even WIFI! We settled in a blended with the local caravaners, awning out and cleaning products at the ready. The van was spotless, the bins emptied and we dined with a view of the basketball court it was not in the least bit romantic but we loved every minute. Can I stress again that this place had wifi?! We woke up so fresh and having showered as many times as humanly possible in just over a 12 hour window we took a short 10 minute drive into the centre. The place was a ghost town, maybe it was because it was so early or maybe it was because people seemed to be carted here on coaches. We tentatively stepped past the gilded gates of Moet in the hopes of booking on for the tour of the cellars and we were in luck! We got a 1:30pm slot so we thought why not see what the place was all about in the meantime. We walked the avenue de champagne up and down and went over to the the De Castllene tower before feeling like is this it? We walked further down the road into what seemed more like a town. The blur of Champagne houses turned into shops, bars and cafes. We slipped into a near by Bolongerie and picked up a freshly filled baguette to line our tummies ready for the bubbles to come. The park seemed so unassuming form outside, in fact we had walked past it twice without realising what was behind the huge decorative gates. Stepping off the street into the lush greenery and abundance of flowers we picked our spot and lazily lunched under the sun. Before we knew it 1pm had swung round and we hopped over the road back into the luxury surroundings of the Moet & Chandon champagne house. Our tour was the Imperial version which included two premium glasses of champagne. There was a cheaper option however I guess it is the downfall of van life. Not knowing where we will be and without restricting ourselves we find it hard to plan in advance and for the likes of this we could have saved ourself some pennies. The tour itself was a well rehearsed luxurious and informative review of the history of the house including the buildings, the family and best of all the 28km run of cellars that hides underneath the Avenue itself. Heading down to the slightly chilly cellars we were in awe of the vast amount of bottles, surely they keep these things as props and they cant be real? Wall to wall bottles and coves that went back further than the eye can see in the dim lights. When asked how many bottles lay down there the tour guide merely answered thats like asking how much is in your bank account. I suppose its true there must be millions of bottles down there and with a minimum of £30 a pop thats some big bucks! At the end of the tour we sipped our glasses of champers chosen and explained by the sommelier, it was so lovely to be able to understand the flavour notes rather than guzzling a glass down for a celebration. I cant wait in future to be taken back to that moment when I next sip a bubbly glass of Moet and recalling the facts and memories. Tipsy from our ventures underground, we headed for our first France Passion experience at a local winery just down the road.

 

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