Bonjour From France ??


When you think of France, what comes to mind? For most people, the response is the country’s famous capital, Paris. When I think of France, I do think of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but the first thing that comes to mind is Champagne. Remember this, comment below and let me know what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of France. (Disclaimer: It is illegal to consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21 in the United States. Never overindulge in anything that is not recommended by your doctor.)

Approximately 17 years ago, Ken and I visited a winery in Napa Valley, California. I was never a wine drinker, and still not a frequent wine drinker, but an intermediate wine connoisseur. We toured the winery Moet & Chandon and we became more aware of how sparkling wine was made and how every wine that sparkles should not be called Champagne. Over the years I have heard people call sparkling wine Champagne, but finally, I was educated and equipped with new information to share with others. Although, even after I corrected them, they continued to call the beverage from elsewhere Champagne. Shugs shoulder.

I knew that one day, I was going to visit the actual area of Champagne and tour the House of Moët & Chandon. What a treat it was. The morning was a cold, but dry. We were thrilled that it was not going to rain because it rained nearly every day since we arrived. We prayed for great weather for this tour. Our private driver picked us up at our hotel at 8 a.m. and drove nearly an hour through the gorgeous highways of France with immaculate views of countryside. There were miles and miles of vineyards where the grapes were being cultivated. The green grass and trees were enticing and calming. The view made us a little impatient because we couldnt wait to walk through the vineyards. Our driver gave us an in-depth narrative and we made several stops before we went to our main destination.

We stopped at the church where Dom Perignon was buried and stood next to his tomb, which was at the front of the first row of the pew and the foot of the altar. In case you are not familiar with who Dom Prignon was, he was a monk and cellar master who pioneered a number of winemaking techniques. He was the first to blend grapes in such a way to improve wine quality. There is so much to learn about this wine pioneer, I would have to do a separate blog post.

Back to the journey leading up to our main destination. We stopped at a few other major landmarks in Champagne region to include the Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims. The details in the architecture were overwhelmingly impressive!! I took advantage of photo opportunities since the oversized stained glass window that graced the front of the cathedral had the most gorgeous royal color as my purple scarf and beret. I couldnt help myself. I have so many photos that I am sure that I will be sharing for the rest of the year on my social media pages.

It was nearly lunchtime and we finally arrived at the House of Moët & Chandon. It was as impressive as I anticipated. We were introduced to our tour guide, Jessica who made us feel like welcomed houseguests. She walked us through the halls where pictures of the Moet men were elegantly displayed. She briefly described each Moet and the role that they played in the business. Jessica led us to the cellar hundreds of thousands of wine bottles were stored. The latest vintage wine bottle for the year 2009 was displayed in a special place. We walked passed a wooded barrel that she described as the gift that Napoleon The First gifted Mr. Moet during a visit. A nice bottle of wine is usually a great gift when we visit a friend, but Napoleon The First wanted to be extraordinary with the barrel!

The Famous Gift from Napoleon The First.

The tour ended with wine tasting and shopping. We learned of the different aromas and pairings. We made our purchases of wines and flutes although we already had some at home, but we couldn’t resist gifting ourselves with a set from Champagne to match our bottles of wine we will take home. We had an incredible time and were famished by the time we left the House of Moët & Chandon. Gratefully, we simply walked across the street to the amazing restaurant, La Cave e Champagne. It had the best Salmon dish Ive ever had. Although it was served as an appetizer, I was satisfied with having it as my entre followed by dessert and more wine.


Our tour guide.

{Dining at La Cave e Champagne}

Ken and I had a blast. We have so much to share with you about our trip to France, but we sincerely cannot do it all in one post. I will share as much as possible in our next post about this trip. Thanks in advance.

Travel Tips:

1. Book in advance to get the most affordable airfare and reputable hotels.

2. Be flexible with your dates as you may be bumped from some flights for higher paying patrons. Bring a pillow, blanket and healthy snacks in case you don’t like the airline foods.

3. If you travel to France, you must include a tour of the Champagne region. You will have a variety of top wine houses to choose from.

4. Save your money to take advantage of the tax free shopping. Save your receipts and opt for cash rather than wait to get the credit on your credit card. It could take a few weeks.

5. Try all the foods and bring a light jacket for Spring. Although it’s really nice weather, it’s not warm at this time.

Look out for our next post on Paris and more useful tips as well. Ooh we have some magnificent pictures and videos for you.

Here is a brief YouTube video of the House of Moet & Chandon retrieved from their website Moët Website

Until the next blog post from France, au revoir.

With courage and grace! Make happiness last.


Maxine Reyes



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