Today was all about Champagne.
Passed through a bit of cropping country on our way to Epernay where the day really started.
Epernay is in the heart of Champagne country. I had pre-selected a cave to visit - the one the Lonely Planet described as the most over the top! I wasn't disappointed! So we turned up at a goodly time in the morning for a tour of the Mercier Cave
Never happier than when surrounded by bottles and bottles of champagne, so the visit to the actual cave was amazing! From memory there was something like 20km of cave with little alcoves like this full of bottles
Champagne bottles are slowly turned, which used to be done by hand. The bottles were stacked in these wooden racks and slowly over time were hand turned and slowly tipped more upright (photo on left). These days they have giant metal racks that are mechanised to do the job (see photo on right)
So our tour was followed by a tasting of course! We (well that would be I) had chosen the tour with tasting 2 champagnes. We started with a white followed by a Rose. Hmmm so 2 glasses of champers and no breakfast! Fabulous start to the day!
Here is Dave checking out the grapes....
So after a coffee we carried on our drive. Epernay seems to be the place where most of the big champagne houses are based. We found Moet & Chandon, Perrier Jouet & Bollinger for example....I really think I could quite happily live in Epernay!
We drove through miles and miles of rolling land covered in grapevines - ah so many grapes destined for bottles of champagne - makes me happy just thinking about it!
Then we stumbled across a very interesting crop...not what it first looks like - it's hemp
So...that was our tour of France! We ended the night in the outskirts of Paris at Corinne's place - the Sister of our good friend Remy from Noumea. We had a pleasant evening chatting with her and drinking wine.