Champagne Capital - Reims, France

Large Barrel Pommery Showing America Being Offered Champagne
Large Barrel at Pommery
Showing America Being Offered Champagne

Pat Dunlap Pommery Gate Happy Champagne Heaven Reims France
Pat Happy in Champagne Heaven! 
- Reims, France
French Cafe Night Reims France
French Cafe at Night - Reims, France
Champagne Capital - Reims, France (6/22-23/2011) - More champagne (good for Pat) and more history (good for Wayne).

Reims is located in the north of France famous in French history for its spectacular masterpiece gothic cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where all the kings of France for a 1,000 years from Louis the Pious in 815 to Charles X in 1815 were crowned. The most famous event was the coronation of Charles VII with Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) at his side in 1429.
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims Lit during Reve
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims
Lit during Reve de Couleurs

French School Children Reims France
French School Children - Reims, France

Pat Enjoying French Cafe Reims France
Pat Enjoying a French Cafe - Reims, France
Reims is also the main city of the Champagne Region (click here to see) and home to major producers such as Pommery, Mumm, and Taittinger. We visited the beautiful modern “castle” of Pommery where we toured some of their 11 miles of cellars (caves). Pommery has 20 million bottles getting ready for enjoyment and their champagne was excellent. 

Reims has some tree-lined pedestrian-only streets with charming French cafes pouring out into the street centered on the Sube Fountain with its golden statue of Winged Victory on Pl Drouet d’Erion.

We saw Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris here in Reims and after seeing it we walked out into “the movie set” and had dinner at a French café - way too cool! 

One night we also attended an amazing free special event (Reve de Couleurs) where they had a light show on the front of the famous Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims). The colors coordinated with the detailed facets of the church were astonishing (see the photo).

Most of the old houses in Reims were destroyed during WWI and the city was extensively rebuilt in the 1920's in an Art Deco style.

Champagne is sparkling wine made of pinot noir, pinot meunier, and/or chardonnay grapes. The cellars (caves) carved out of white chalk (this area was under ocean millions of years ago) are essential for making Champagne providing a cool temperature (50 degrees Fahrenheit), high humidity (90%), and darkness. 

People Love the Sound of Champagne Cork Popping!
People Love the Sound 
of Champagne Cork Popping!
Some history of the making of champagne... The making of champagne was discovered somewhat by accident in the 17th century by a monk with a now famous name – Don Perignon. He was making wine for the abby Saint Peter of Hautvillers and one year was very cold and the fermentation stopped yielding just grape juice that would spoil if something was not done. By placing the corked bottles in a warmer but cool place, the second fermentation occurred creating this unique sparking brut (extra dry) wine. 

Automatic Champagne Bottle Riddling
Automatic Champagne Bottle Riddling
The process was improved and additional sugar and wines added at the end to create sweeter Champagne (in order of sweetest: extra-sec, sec, and demi-sec). To remove sediment in Champagne the millions of bottles produced were slowly turned daily by hand. Now a machine turns a large lot of them all at once several times a day for 15 months to three years (see photo).

See more about France's beautiful Champagne Region:

Champagne Route, France

Please see our other 9 travel posts on beautiful France:

Paris, France

Loire Valley, France

Mont Saint Michel & Saint Malo, France

Strasbourg - Alsace, France

Alsace Wine Villages, France

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux Wine Country, Saint Emilion, Paulliac, & Cognac, France

Burgundy & Cote d'Or Wine Country, France

Chablis, Dijon, & Vezelay, France

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  1. Champagne and history - my two favorite things together in one location. I've long wanted to tour the Clicquot cellars here in town after reading the story of the Widow Clicquot. And I didn't realize Midnight in Paris was filmed here. Must visit.

  2. Thanks for Champagne (the wine and the place), and enjoyed your update to my own travels there some time ago. More France, and more wine please!

  3. Looks like THE best place in the world to sip this wonderful drink! Cheers!


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