Some days ago I was thinking which was my favorite experience in 2016, a year full of travel and amazing experiences.
Surprisingly, Reims popped out quickly. Maybe because my foodie side prevailed, although not certain of it (as if I would have to choose my best culinary trip in 2016, Barcelona would be due to the discovery of Vinitus Restaurant).
Anyway, I felt best in Reims and with feelings you don’t mess.
Reims, the champagne capital was a day trip during an extended weekend in Paris for the opening of the UEFA EURO 2016.
I prepared the trip some months in advance – train tickets, reservation to a well renowned Champagne house and lunch at an exquisite restaurant. Train is just 45 minutes with TGV from Paris so makes it a perfect escape from Paris.
We had a tour guide at Ruinart Cellars prepared as soon as we arrived and managed to get there 30 minutes late as no taxi was in the train station to take us to the Ruinart Maison.
Luckily, we were waited and could enjoy our guide that also included tasting of the some of their champagnes at the end of the tour.
We were a group of 8 and we were all wonderfully treated by our host (that explained all there is to know about the region, how to make champagne, the difficulties of the past and much more). Needless to say how amazing the champagne was.
Ruinart House is set on a beautiful domain and one can’t image what lies beneath – the vast cellars are part of the UNESCO world heritage.
After this two hour tour we headed on foot to our next stop – Le Jardin Les Crayeres, where we had one of the best culinary experiences.
I would say everything was perfect. All the dishes cooked to perfection, the best recommendations for wine/champagne pairing, attentive staff and the best view (the restaurant is set on tranquil beautiful domain, where you can enjoy a nice walk after such a pleasant culinary experience). Loved it.
We intended to visit one more champagne house but time was not in our favor so we found a reason to return. Anyway, I am not sure if any other house could have surpassed our experience at Ruinart. There are plenty of champagne houses in Reims to choose from (you can find a list here).
At Ruinart reservation is needed some months in advance and full payment is made at the reservation date. Still, other houses don’t have these strict booking rules.
Some would say Épernay is the best for discovering champagne as the most well know houses are seated here. Still, we choose Reims also for its historic background, Notre-Dame Cathedral where the kings of France were crowned is here. For the rest of the day, we decided to discover the city on foot and end with a nice drink in the main square.
For me, this day was so relaxing and fulfilling that adds to my best moments.