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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Perfect Sunday Day Trip from Paris

Little Champagne Village on the Mt de Reims

Solving "le cafard du dimanche" with a day of Champagne Small Producer Tasting

Oh Sunday's in France. Traffic is light, stores have the "fermée" signs blanketing their doors and the non-stop action packed days which are the usual norm routine of a tourist (you know days where you walk so much you're left with sore aching feet, tight hip flexors and nonstop motivation). Well, these days all of a sudden come to screeching halt as your realize, wait, everything is closed in France on Sundays?! What, oh what to do on such a day? I have an idea about how to solve the French Sunday Blues or the le cafard du dimanche.

It's the perfect day to get out of town for a little day trip. Do you think it's possible that you could find a similar bottle to the Veuve Clicquot you drank last night for 200 euro at Chez L'ami Louis for 25 odd euro in the region it's from?

I think you can and shhhh I know how! All you need to do is hire a chaffeur/ guide and translator to to take you on the 1.5 hr drive out of the standstill of Paris and into the old age beauty of Champagne. Then, as fast as likity split you can be having a Sunday funday filled with lounging in living rooms of small champagne producers while getting a bit tipsy and partaking in the degustation of 5-6 different cuvees, tasting local escargot at a farm, eating some Choucroute at a local Brasserie that won awards for it's microbrew, skipping through a 800 year old breathtaking Cathedral and checking out an old 16th century Chateau for your next visit complete with a tennis court, pool and Grand chef. You can do all of this while tasting at one of 1000's of small producers who most likely sold their liquid gold to the Veuve clicquots of the world who then did some fancy marketing and stuck their pricey price tag on it.

A few Sundays ago that is just what I did with 3 clients of Tasy Side to Life Tours http://www.tastysidetolifetours.com. Picking them up in Paris at 10 am we headed on the road.

In no time and after some great croissants were in their bellies we made it to our first stop. We were Chateau/ hotel viewing in a little town 30 mins from Reims, Courcelles Sur Vesles. My clients wanted to check it out to see if on their next trip they would want to stay the night. We pulled up to the Chateau http://www.chateau-de-courcelles.fr/ on the dirt road that looked to have existed since the Medieval times. We passed the pool, tennis courts and pulled into the parking lot. Immediately we smelled the tantalizing whiff of the kitchen preparing the days meal. We did a quick tour of the rooms, the grounds and talked to the front desk for a little bit. The clients decided to skip the incredible 50 euro grand chef 5 course menu offered here and head into Reims for lunch at a traditional bistro followed by viewing of the Cathedral.

A Beautiful room at Chateau Les Courcelles

After a big traditional Alcase lunch of Choucroute (sauerkraut (aromatic pickled cabbage) served hot with sausage, pork or ham)
washed down with a tasting of the resto's brewed beer (which just won numerous awards) we headed off to the see the Cathedral. It really is a breathtaking site and in my opinion it never gets old. I could tour through it everyday, easily :) After taking in the wonder of the Cathedral we were off to a few tastings.

The 800 year old Cathedral
I'll go through one of the producers we saw during the day. The pictures below are from a small producer Champagne Roger Manceaux. http://www.champagne-roger-manceaux.com/. Each time I choose a producer I make sure he's of top quality. IE that they have won awards or mentioned in the Hachette de Vin.

Champagne Roger Manceaux won awards in the GUIDE HACHETTE DES VINS for 2009 & 2010, was also included in the GUIDE EUVRARD GARNIER 2011 and the GUIDE VINS & TERROIRS AUTHENTIQUES HIVER 2010-2011. So, he's got a good thing going on.

His grapes sit on 13 hectares and his terroir is classified as "Premier Cru". Their champagne is made up of 40 % Pinot noir - 35 % Pinot meunier - 25 % Chardonnay. They produce 49,000 bottles a year and their prices range from 11-25 euro a bottle. Not bad, right? His Champagne is smooth and aromatic with notes of raw fruits. He gave us a great tour of his caves, let us taste Champagne straight from the steel barrels and spent a good hour talking with us (of course his conservation was translated for the clients!).

And the small producer tour begins
Tasting straight from the barrels
Pretty cool shot of the yeast which has yet to be extracted

And the bottle rotating processDetailed description of the "terroir" or land

After our detailed tour and explanation about the Champagne making process now it is time for the tasting

All in all was a great day of tasting and meeting locals from the region and I think quite a change from the normal "le cafard de dimanche"! If you're interested in a trip please email:

Tasty Side To Life Tours

Attn: Sydney Krueger

15 Rue Conservatoire 75009 Paris France

Email: tastysidetolifetours@gmail.com or sydneykrueger@gmail.com

website: www.Tastysidetolifetours.com

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