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Caves and Bubbles: An Introduction to French Champagne

By December 2, 2018March 23rd, 2019One Comment

One of the best places to enjoy champagne? Reims, France!

Instead of taking the same ole wine tour, learn about champagne in the only country where it’s made. Sparkling wine that comes from any other area of the world is not considered “champagne”! Reims is part of the Champagne region in France and holds many champagne Houses.

Learn about the history of exploding bottles, fermentation and the use of corks and cages! The chalk caves during the champagne tours in Reims are fascinating and provide real examples to get everyone thinking about the champagne-making process. Plus, who doesn’t love bubbles?

Courtesy of Flickr/Kjunstorm, Traveling with Kids in France

We love bubbles!

The city of Reims, pronounced more like ‘Rance’ than its letters suggest, is home to much more than ‘les bulles’, but it is the perfect place to start getting an introduction to the region. One centrally located house presents a great tour that includes a description of the winemaking process and a tour of the chalk caves which makes it a great trip for anyone who is a fan of caves and bubbles!

Champagne Lanson boasts some of the oldest, most famous chalk caves used for storing champagne. The House does charge for tours, but it also takes great care to accommodate questions about the grapes, the fermentation, and the bottling. It’s incredible to learn about the process and the history of their esteemed products that date back to 1760! They are very dedicated to continuing tradition and producing wine and champagne the way they always have.

The champagne is housed underground in caves to keep it away from sunlight and warm temperatures that negatively affect the process. Deep, cool and still, the caves provide the perfect storage environment for high-quality champagne.

If you are more interested in the history and learning aspect, most of the tours, including the House of Lanson, offer non-alcoholic juices for those who do not want to participate in the tasting.

Champagne Tours in Reims…

Of course, there are many additional choices to champagne tours of notable companies like Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Pommery, Martell, Taittinger, and others. These champagne tours in Reims tend to attract larger crowds and may not provide as intimate of an experience. Still, when in Reims, it is probably worth your time to visit one of the big names just for the experience!

While the activities and information are geared toward a general audience, the guides at Champagne Lanson are particularly attentive and helpful when answering questions. They provided a very interesting and engaging tour catering to the full group. Whether you’re a champagne expert or just a beginner, this tour provides a worthwhile experience for all.

champagne tours in reims

If you’re looking to further your education after the tour, simple explanations in ‘Uncorked: The Science of Champagne‘, a book by Gérard Liger-Belair, is a great introduction. Reading the book in full and using some of the terrific photos and illustrations as guides, helps provide more understanding of the science behind champagne.

After you had your fill of champagne, Reims is at your feet and ready to be explored. There are big sites like Notre Dame Cathedral as well as numerous cafes, patisseries, and shops which are located in the central shopping district. Here you will find shops, sweets, and tasteful souvenirs.

Reims is an old city known for the cathedral of coronations and its bubbly beverages, and it’s somewhere you should visit on your next trip to France.

K. L. Turner is a freelance writer with roots in Illinois, Colorado, Idaho and Florida’s left coast. She writes with academic authority on all things water and with 3D experience about travel, wine and sailing. Follow her on Twitter @turnerkat

Pure Wander Contributor

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