Champagne Tasting and Tours, Reims
Not a random result, I choose the Hotel Porte Mars for more than one reason, it is located beside Charles De Cazanove Cellar, just the "next door guys". Thank you Google Earth!!
This cellar is more humble and small than Mumm House, of course, it is a local champagne producers, a house founded in 1811 by Charles Gabriel de Cazanove, with an interesting history behind him. Here is te brief description written in their website (who better?):
"The Charles de Cazanove brand, one of the oldest in the region, has learned to combine Tradition, Modernity and Dynamism through two centuries of dedication to Champagne.
In the 16th Century, a glassmaker from the Bigeault family travelled to Venice, the world centre for the glass industry at the time, to add to his skills and experience. On his return he added the name Casanova to his own, i.e. “New House” and gave it the French form “Cazanove”.
The guided visit starts as all the cellars use today, with a brief presentation artistically done on a large flat screen. After that a short ride inside the cellar. But it is not classy or fancy as in other famous brands.
The cave in itself is not showed, but a short walk among huge stainless steel tanks and some other strange machines destined to the process, an explanation and later to the tasting room where a couple of bubbling bottles are waiting for you.
At last, the quality of this champagne was surprisingly good, we tasted a Brut and a Premier Cru, and my preferences biased to the Premier Cru, of course.
Don't expect nothing like "such a great experience!" or something like that, but the final result is that they well deserves a visit.
One reason to go to Reims? Well obviously to taste champagne! Many famous named houses here and a few less well known, which are well worth a visit. A drive out into the surrounding countyside is also a must to see the many vineyards.
The Champagne houses offer tours which are very interesting as they show videos on how champagne is made, give you a history about the company and then a tour through the process of how champagne is made and then a tour through the cellars which are incredible, as they actually go on for miles/kilometers under the city. Tours vary in price as this depends on how many wines you get to sample. Not a bad place to buy a few bottles too as they usually offer a discount if you buy in bulk.
A very good place to try lesser well known brands, as we all know there is no such thing as a bad champagne and you may be pleasantly surprised.
This wonderful museum has 200 vehicles on show, some 160 cars and some 40 motor-cyles and also numerous very special and extraordinary vehicles.
You can also admire some 4,000 miniature cars, enamel plaques and "commercials"....it really is a real joy visiting this place.
The museum is located in an old plant/factory and for those wo are "connoisseurs" / "experts" names like:
Cottin-Desgouttes, Delahaye, Hotchkiss, Panhard and Levasseur, Rosengart, Salmson, Porsche, Jaguar, Lancia etc. will make a visit really A MUST.
In the photo you see a : PEUGEOT 301 from 1932.
A second tip will enhance your desire to do there..........
POMMERY en CHAMPAGNE is one of the many MAISONS DE CHAMPAGNE.
It is a most wonderful experience to visit this CAVES..........and you can do this, there are guided tours daily from 9AM - 11AM and from 2PM - 5PM
On Sunday the hours differ.
Get enough info before setting out......see underneath......
The guided tours are in French, German and ENGLISH, so you won't miss a bit.......
You can also book for these tours at the Tourist Office (Bureau du Tourisme)
Près de la Cathédrale: 2. rue Guillaume de Machault F 51100 Reims
It is an almost undescrabable pleasure to drive through the area called CHAMPAGNE, in France.....
It is near my home country The Netherlands and so easy to reach for us.......numerous holidays start driving through Champagne because we love leaving our quite wet, chilly and windy country to travel south so..........on the way south we pass through CHAMPAGNE and I must say that I know the region quite well.
In every season, whether it is Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter you will feel happy to take in to breath in the beauty and freshness of this rich area of vineyards....where you can see the grapes that once will be the CHAMPAGNE, that treasure, that honored companion of many a special event or day!
The pictures are: a wonderful VAT and....the mysterious stairs leading underground to the caves............it really is thrilling!
AND.............SO NEAR PARIS.......think about that!!!!
Located in the heart of the Champagne producing countryside, Reims has the headquarters of many of the major producers of the fizzy drink. It is in the caves below the city that champagne is stored while it ages, by famous names such as Taittinger, Pommery, and Veuve Cliquot-Ponsardin, to name a few. Most of these caves are located at the southern edge of the city, near la Basilique Saint-Rémi, and are open to visitors for a tour and champagne tasting. Attached are a couple of photos.
I must say the Mumm tour was very good. Much better than the slick tour of Laurent-Perrier.
Mind you, if you go off the beaten path, it's sometimes best to make an appointment with the champagne house, as they are working businesses. If you do rent a car, you could simply take a wine guide (book) or drop in wherever you see a sign 'dégustation'.
Local tourist offices will have special packages. Book locally, it's cheaper than via online agencies.
Reims Tourist Office: http://www.reims-tourism.com/
Tour offer (19.50 euro).
You can also order brochures from this website, by post. Or e-mail them for specific wishes.
The tourist office in Reims is located on the left side of the Cathedral (if you face the main entrance).
Although founded in 1785, Piper-Heidsieck , at 51 bd Henry-Vasnier (March-Nov daily 9-11.45am & 2-5.15pm; Dec-Feb closed Tues & Wed; €6.10), is better known in the New World than the Old, having been the champagne of the American movie industry since first appearing - with Laurel and Hardy - in the 1934 classic Sons of the Desert . The champagne of the Oscars gives a fair whack of sponsorship for film prizes and festivals too, and really the only folk who'll get anything out of the tour - which ends up at a gallery of celebrity snaps - are confirmed film buffs and lovers of tackiness: the antique caves are toured by automatic five-seater car shuttle resembling a ghost train.
Top of the list of appointment-only houses is the Maison Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin , 1 place des Droits-de-l'Homme (tel 03.26.89.54.41; free). In the early days of capitalism, the widowed Mme Clicquot not only took over her husband's business, but later bequeathed it to her business manager rather than to her children - both radical breaks with tradition. In keeping with this past, the maison is one of the least pompous and its video the best. The caves , with their horror-movie fungi, are old Gallo-Roman quarries. The House of Pommery , 5 place du Général-Gouraud (tel 03.26.61.62.55; €6.10), also has excavated Roman quarries for its cellars; it claims - in a case of good champagne oneupmanship - to have been the first to do so. Other appointment-only maisons are Ruinart , 4 rue des Crayères (tel 03.26.77.51.51; €7.62-18.29, depending on number of tastings), Charles Heidsieck , 4 bd Henry-Vasnier (tel 03.26.84.43.50; €6.10-9.15), and Lanson , 12 bd Lundy (tel 03.26.78.50.50; €4.57).
Finally, to get an overview of the various champagnes available (plus wines from all over France), it's worth visiting La Vino Cave , 43 place Drouet-d'Erlon (Mon 2.30-7.30pm, Tues-Sat 9.30am-1pm & 2.30-7.30pm), where you can also buy all the paraphernalia of the bubbly business, from champagne flutes to snazzy servers.
For the serious business of Reims, head to place des Droits-de-l'Homme and place St-Niçaise, near the Abbaye St-Remi. These are both within striking distance of the majority of the Reims maisons , most of which charge an entrance fee for their tours but include a dégustation and have English guides. Only three can be visited without an appointment: the houses of Mumm, Taittinger and Piper-Heidsieck.
The best of the regular guided tours is Mumm at 34 rue du Champ-de-Mars (March-Oct daily 9-11am & 2-5pm; Nov-Feb Mon-Fri same hours, Sat & Sun afternoons only; tour takes 45min; €3.81). Established in 1827, Mumm is familiar for its red-slashed Cordon Rouge label - its un-French-sounding name is the legacy of its founders, affluent German wine-makers from the Rhine Valley. The tour is fairly informal - you can wander freely about its cellar museum and throw questions at the approachable guides - though you pick up the basics from a pre-tour video. There's not a lot of walking despite 25km of cellars and a reported 35 million bottles of wine; some of the vintage bottles date from 1911. It all ends with a generous glass of either Cordon Rouge, the populist choice; the sweeter Cordon Vert; or their Extra Dry. At Taittinger , 9 place St-Niçaise (Mon-Fri 9.30am-noon & 2-4.30pm, Sat & Sun 9-11am & 2-5pm; Dec-Feb Mon-Fri only; tour takes 1hr; €5.34), there are still more ancient caves , with doodles and carvings added by more recent workers, and statues of St Vincent and St Jean, patron saints respectively of vignerons and cellar hands.
Being the capital of Champagne province, the city of Reims is full with Champagne wineries. Don't miss a tour in one or more of these wineries. Here you can see how Champagne is made, taste some and, of course, buy some.
Try going to more than one tour as they are not the same. Each winery offer something different. Try to find out in advance which tour is the best for you.
You must go the the Veuve Clicqout Ponsardin for their wonderful tour. A fact filled tour in the Gallo-Roman chalk cellars, topped off with a tsating of their Champagne, which is the best in my opinion. Well worth the $ and time. You can visit only by appointment. However we were able to reserve a spot the same day with a walk up. For info on visiting visit the following website. http://www.veuve-clicquot.com/en/visits/index.asp?page=informations
CHAMPAGNE!!!!! Don't we always associate this word with FESTIVITIES, PARTIES, SPECIAL OCASSIONS and HAPPINESS??
REIMS is in the HEART of the region CHAMPAGNE AND YES, THIS IS THE PLACE where the grapes grow and ripen and become the famous CHAMPAGNE we all love so very much.
Each year 150,000 people visit the TAITTLINGER caves in REIMS.
These caves, situated under the during the FRENCH REVOLUTION destroyed Abbey Saint-Nicaise, were dug during the GALLO-ROMAN period and enlarged during the 13th Century by the monks, who kept their CHAMPAGNE there.
The monks owned vineyards and traded in CHAMPAGNE......
Nice to see all these bottles with their "kicks", which we call "ziel". This is the hole at the bottom of the bottle.
There are guided tours through these caves from 1st March - 30th November each day and from November till March only on weekdays.
The guids speak several languages so I would recommend this tour to everyone.......also because you will want to taste some champagne, won't you?
So special to taste it at the place where the grapes grew in cold Spring, hot Summer and colourful Autum, to rest during the icy Winter!
There are 11 champagne houses that you can visit in the vicinity of Reims (info from brochure at the tourist office). Some are by appointment only and others you can show up at the appointed time.
I chose to visit Veuve Clicquot, having just enjoyed their champagne at a recent holiday party. Visits to Veuve Clicquot are by appointment only. I emailed them to get a reservation on an English language tour and received a prompt reply confirming our reservation.
Veuve Clicquot is located at 1, place des Droits de l'Homme, a fair distance from the center of town (around the tourist office and Notre Dame), close enough to St. Remi's to walk. We took a taxi to get there but walked back as we had ample time before our train back to Paris.
See my travelogue for some more pictures and a virtual tour through the cellars.
They also have some art in wine cellar. I don´t know exactly what it means but it was nice to watch and photograph.
But if you click on the picture, you will see that the person on the left side is holding a bottle in the hand, while the other person holds a vine.
And all is decorated with vines and grapes...
When in Reims, don´t forget to visit a champagne house. I did it and we visited the Veuve Cliquot champagne house (I hope I wrote it correct, french speaking VTers please correct me if I am wrong).
It is very interesting to see. I liked this cellar which was made in a chalk hill. That is the reasons why the walls are white.