Our Parisian Vacation, part 15

July 18, 2012

Day 5 in Reims continued at G.H. Mumm & Co., where we took a tour of the famous champagne company.

I’m not going to lie. The tour was intimate, and being fourteen meters below the ground in its cool sanctuary where literally millions of bottles of fermenting grapes sleep, I could not bring myself to snap away with my camera–even with the flash off. We were guided around from chamber to chamber by a young woman with a German accent and carefully lectured on the various procedures for labeling, bottling, tasting, blending, etc. I didn’t want to miss any of it with my senses. Elsewhere during our vacation I enjoyed the opportunity for equal amounts of absorption and digital adoration, but to do that here would have taken away from the more personal experience.

After a tour of the cellars and a champagne tasting (and buying a bottle of the pure pinot Blanc de Noirs), we were dropped off at a nice restaurant, Le Boulingrin. I ordered a champagne apéritif and duck liver paté to start (foie gras de canard). Next Doug had the steak and potatoes au gratin, and I the lamb ribs and vegetables paired with a 1/2 bottle of Domaine des Ouches Bougarel. All of it was très formidable!

Next we headed to a lighthouse in Verzenay. It’s a tiny champagne museum in the middle of vineyards.

And this is why having a nice camera is worthwhile.

Point-and-shoot cameras are convenient. For one, they are lightweight, and so I labored daily over whether or not to leave my big honkin’ Canon at the hotel. But then moments like this would happen where I’d really appreciate having brought it due to its versatility. Having a manual setting means that whether shooting through a grate at the top of the Eiffel Tower, or shooting through the glass of Le Phare de Verzenay (the Lighthouse of Verzenay), I can manually focus my camera beyond the grate and glass and capture an otherwise difficult shot.

Next we visited the modest gravesite of Dom Pérignon, the accidental inventor of the two-hundred-year-old varietal.

Inside the church of Hautvillers.

Joan of Arc

Just outside of the church I bought a bottle of JM Gobillard & Fils’ Blanc de Blancs. We headed back to Paris.

Doug and I stopped at the Monoprix–the local supermarché–and bought a can of foie gras de canard. We lounged at the hotel and had duck liver paté and champagne for dinner. Yum!

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