Blowing bubbles in Reims, France

Having a penchant for the champers, I appreciated the tasting session of some of Northern France’s bubbly brought back from my parent’s recent trip to the Alsace. Joining my aunt and uncle, my parents headed towards the joint Champagne capital – Reims  in search of the region’s finest.

reims champagne

The blood coursing through the veins of Reims‘ citizen is well diluted with fizz. Underneath the streets, the well-stocked cellars of the les grandes marques stretch far and deep creating labryinth of bubbly.

At Taittinger, three million bottles slumber in the former wine cellars of a 13th-century church. “It takes a remueur 10 seconds to rotate 60 bottles one eighth of a turn,” our guide explains, as we pass racks of upside-down bottles. Even more lie deeper, 60ft underground in galleries cut out of the chalk by the Romans.- Paul Wade, The Telegraph

The region has applied for it’s fifth unesco world heritage site for Champagne to join the others  – the gothic Notre-Dame, the Basilica of Saint-Remi, the Saint-Remi Museum and the Palais du Tau with its pontifical treasure. In fact Reims has an interesting historical blend between the pious and the pissed…

She points out the city’s emblem, a 13th-century figure known as L’Ange au Sourire. “As a child, I asked why the angel had such a happy smile,” Françoise recalls. “‘Because it’s been drinking champagne,’ was the reply!”

Fittingly, the champers-capital has celebrated the coronation of 33 kings, from Clovis, the barbarian-christian first king of the Franks in 496 to Charles X, the last king in 1825 and most famously, Charles VII after Joan of Arc (who would eventually burn for heresy in Reims) had lead the French army to several important victories in the Hundred Years War.

As my parents attest, Reims now, with its art-deco streets would  make a fitting backdrop for any F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.  After it was flattened by the Germans in 1914, the town was rebuilt in the popular style for the 1930s golden age, primed for Gatsby to Charleston with Champagne coupe in hand.

So to leave you with the paraphrased words of the Monk Dom Perignon…

‘Come quickly, my brothers, for I am drinking the stars!’



  1. October 14, 2013 / 8:40 am

    Jess you have such a gift for writing, I definitely have Reims on my list of places I’d lieke to visit, and it certainly wasn’t before reading this!

    • October 14, 2013 / 8:46 am

      You are too kind! Clearly it’s the creative people I’m hanging around with that are rubbing off! I know Reims is also on my list now – the ‘rents really rated it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.