There are many good reasons to visit Champagne: first, of course, tasting the champagne wines where they come from, the magnificent landscape with the famous vineyards, but also a whopping number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Our goal is for the time being the Royal Champagne, a hotel, which was opened only last year, sparkling new in appealing design and homelike flair, but nevertheless a symbiosis of tradition and modernity, because at this place was once a post office, at the – According to legend – even King Charles X and Napoleon should have taken a rest.
In the shape of a modern amphitheater, the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa sits in the middle of the vineyards, offering a truly fantastic view of the Champagne valley from the terraces and balconies; The already surprisingly warm March sun spoils as well as the view.
The hotel is secluded in the hibernating landscape, a modern retreat accessible by fast TGV from Charles de Gaulle Airport in just 30 minutes.
Those who come to this refuge usually have at least a little interest in champagne wines. In the immediate vicinity, yes visibility is the picturesque village of Hautvillers.
This is known by Dom Pérignon, once a cellar master of the abbey of the same name, which at the end of the 17th century achieved a decisive further development in production, which decisively led to the triumph of champagne as a hard drink of the aristocracy.
If you have something really special to celebrate these days, you can do it with champagne, which, as it were, adds a touch of luxury. This is partly due to the elaborate production, but also to the limitedness, because only from grapes (mostly Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay), which originate from the Champagne, champagne may be produced. The demand is high, the area covers only about 33,000 hectares.
We meet Alberto, the sommelier from Spain, whose enthusiasm for the sparkling drink is easy to notice, in the fines saloon, to the champagne tasting and make the acquaintance of Leclerc Briant – I’m not an expert, only a rare connoisseur. The champagne cellar has (in part) the same owners as our hotel – Mark and Denise Nunnelly from Boston – and relies on biodynamic agriculture; Here, where you love traditions, this is rather rare – only about two percent of the vineyards are biodynamically farmed. With 100,000 bottles, the annual production, a small champagne house compared (Moët, for example, about 70 million bottles), which has its headquarters in nearby Épernay.
This is the capital of champagne, so to speak. There is an Avenue de Champagne 940 meters long and many of the well-known champagne cellars have their headquarters behind the magnificent facades of historic houses along this street. Interesting: the labyrinth of basement areas under the small town, fabulous 120 kilometers, which house millions of bottles. Visits to Leclerc Briant, but also many other producers are possible, as well as tours and tastings.
That everything (or almost everything) revolves around the noble drink, we also notice at dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Royal, when we listened to the many wonderful courses of Jean-Denis Rieubland, one more delicious than the other, a corresponding champagne Accompanied.
Like God in France: Culinary and indulgence are central themes, even listed as an intangible cultural heritage of the French by UNESCO. The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is not just for pampering in a pleasant atmosphere – the spa is another highlight – but also for exploring the immediate surroundings. Reims, with Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint-Remi Abbey and Palais du Tau, are inextricably linked to French history.
In the cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic art with magnificent sculptures – one of the most important among the French cathedrals – the kings were crowned, many of the famous champagne houses have their home in Reims, a visit to the historic city is highly recommended!