Monday, July 13, 2009

Tiny Bubbles -- Epernay, France July 13, 2009

"Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries." -- René Descartes

Waking up to blue skies, I felt it was a perfect day to head to the French countryside to visit champagne country and take a tour of the Moet and Chandon wineries. We were treated to first class tickets and felt like royalty as we glided along with occasional views of the small farms and towns we passed through. [Note: for all you romantics -- most of the train ride is green trees or shrubbery, walls with graffiti, and industrial parks]. As we got farther away from Paris, the more scenic the ride proved to be. About an hour and fifteen minutes after departure, we were disembarking and on our way into town.

After lunch and a little wandering the town, we took a tour of the Moet & Chandon winery and cellars. Our guide (whose name escaped me) gave us the history of the label in English with his cute French accent. We saw a short film about champagne (which is really a mix of three wines) and then we were off down to the cellars. They are very chilly by nature and perfect for allowing the wine to mature. We were told the entire process -- from harvesting to pressing to fermentation to maturation to how they manage to get the sediment out of the bottles. We even learned what Brut means (less sugar). After the tour was finished, we were given two glasses of champagne -- one white, one rose -- and a very happy group of librarians and would-be librarians were soon back on the train. The rhythmic motion of the train put several of us to sleep, and before we knew it, we were back in Paris!

Because it had been such a relaxing day, I felt fresh enough to wander our neighborhood and watch as Paris prepared to celebrate Bastille Day tomorrow.

Viva La France!

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