When 86,000 acres produces 200 million bottles of bubbly, you might say you have a popular product. Champagne is all about luxury and celebration, a tradition that started in the 10th century when it became the official drink at the coronation of French King Hugh Capet.
And isn’t it impressive when your drink is so popular and well made they name it after the land? People are often amazed to learn Champagne (more specifically Champagne-Ardenne) is an actual place, not some fancy-sounding, made-up name where you pronounce the “ch” like an “sh” to seem sophisticated.
The bubbly we know today is based on trial-and-error experiments by the monk Dom Perignon and many others. Double fermentation creates those bubbles we love so well. It also makes bottles explode until you know how to make them. Every noticed how heavy a Champagne bottle is? Especially that thick base. You have to trap those bubbles. And the cork is wired on. That’s a lot of containment!
Champagne is beloved and yet it is the result of grapes planted in an almost too-cold climate (by the Romans), that are almost unripe when picked, and which produces a thin example of red wine that can never match Burgundy. What do do with this mess? Let’s let it sit, said the growers a few centuries ago. And lo and behold came the double fermentation. The growers could not get rid of the bubbles…. but the British liked them. And a business was born. It represents what happens when luck meets taste meets grapes.
A very quick train ride, or even a drive, from Paris brings you to the lovely countryside of Champagne-Ardenne. Whether you focus on Reims or Epernay (the world argues over which house is better in each town), we can’t think of a more fun and delicious day trip. Can you?
Visit the Champagne-Ardenne tourist office website for more information.
OUR TOURS FROM PARIS TO CHAMPAGNE
The region is only 45 minutes from Paris via high-speed rail. A day visit to the region is a delicious addition to any Paris vacation. We offer four different ways to visit from Paris.