Paris, Epernay, Beaune trip April 2021

Old May 21st, 2020, 09:12 AM
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You might want to pick up and read a couple of Alice Fiering's books before you get too excited about Epernay.

Such a shame not to visit Lyon.

Obviously no one can answer your question about time to get on a train at this point. It's only been a few days since the main trains have even been running here.
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Old May 21st, 2020, 09:23 AM
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St Cirq can you elaborate? Thx. We are also considering Chartres.

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Old May 21st, 2020, 10:05 AM
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Elaborate on what?

Epernay is a fabrication, the champagne they produce a fiction. I don't begrudge anyone wanting to go there, but to think it's some mecca of viniculture is pure falsity. You can see it even when you drive by the manicured vineyards - they aren't real. Real wine doesn't look like that. Real wine isn't fed yeasts and fermentation chemicals and colorations and isn't stored in barriques and toasty barrels and drip-fed by châteleines. But no matter, it's all in the show and most everyone enjoys a visit there, and no doubt you will too.

As for Lyon, seems you don't have time for it, and that's too bad because you can hardly find a better table in all of France.

I can't imagine a neophyte visit to France not including Chartres. One look at those rose windows and you're hooked for life. Even if Malcolm Miller shows them to you.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 02:35 AM
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Well, the basic wine (the flat stuff) is made in the region, but I doubt much of it is made in the centre of town, if it were the Avenue would be bogged down with tractors. The storage and the methode Champagnoise (the bubble bit) is done in some of the grand houses but most of the places are really for the Marketing and Sales function to operate out of. It is the same in Reims. If you want to see the whole process you need to see the local producers out in the little villages. TI used to have a lovely little book called something along the lines of "producteurs de champagne indépendants" who advise on ease of access, timings etc which lists all the ones who want to sell to you show you around.

I'd not let this put you off, the whole visit to a Grand Champagne House is a great visit but remember, if it is free, there is a reason.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 09:59 AM
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Regarding Champagne house visits...just outside Epernay is Mareuil-sur-Ay and Billecart-Salmon which not only produces wonderful Champagne but conducts a terrific tour and tasting. Not corporate at all. . Another option near Epernay is Gaston Chiquet. Gaston Chiquet a grower/producer in Dizy. Their special club Champagne is a favorite of ours.

If I can recommend what I think is a better large Champagne producer visit, it would be Ruinart (in Reims). The caves there are simply amazing and we love their Champagne. The tour and tasting is far better than Moet et Chandon, in my opinion. A TGV direct to Reims is easy. If you haven't seen the cathedral there, it is well worth it ---majestic and the site of coronations for French kings! We actually took a train from Paris to Reims and then a cab to Mareuil sur Ay (and then a train from Epernay back to Paris).

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Old May 29th, 2020, 07:23 AM
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I agree with Denisea re Billecart Salmon and Ruinart. The Billecart Salmon visit will require a short taxi ride from Epernay but well worth it. We toured Billecart Salmon in the morning, booked lunch at La Crayeres in Reims, then did the Ruinart tour.
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