What could be better than a day spent in Champagne... drinking champagne!
Planning a day trip to Champagne is something I have always wanted to do during my stays in Paris, but prior to this trip I have always either run out of time or been too busy with work and appointments. Thankfully this time I was able to organise a half work / half holiday situation which was nothing short of spectacular. The experience was made even better when Moët & Chandon offered to host my friends and I on an incredible visit of their champagne cellars and vineyards in Épernay.
Our tour kicked off with an impromptu photo session in the very photogenic courtyard of Moët & Chandon's headquarters on the Avenue de Champagne. You might have noticed I started experimenting with a bit of colour during this trip, and this red dress by Rouje felt like the perfect French countryside attire, so I loved snapping it in their crisp white courtyard space. Following this, our lovely guide, escorted us to the vineyards where those delicious grapes are grown and harvested (by hand!) each year. The fields out here are truly picturesque, and oh so green. Chloe and I had accidentally co-ordinated outfits too, so we had to get some snaps together!
After we had learned quite a bit about the climate, the terroir, and what goes in to creating the grapes for perfect champagne, it was time to head back to their HQ and continue the tour. As we were told more about the history of Moët & Chandon (it's a very interesting story, and there was a lot I didn't know beforehand), we began to venture down towards their cellars. There is a startling 28km of cellar caves, many mined by hand centuries ago, underneath the building which you definitely don't expect from the outside! Countless bottles of champagnes are stored according to year, type, vintage or non-vintage and what part of the cellaring process they are at. Seeing the hand-stacked rows of bottles (sometimes in the hundreds of thousands) is nothing short of amazing, and you really being to understand the patience, perseverance and skill that goes in to producing each and every bottle. This is quality all the way...
After finishing up in the cellar, we headed back upstairs for our tasting. The corridors and rooms of the Moët family's chateau (the very first built on what would become Avenue de Champagne!) are filled with beautiful family portraits and the decor is in keeping with the original style of the residence. It makes for the perfect backdrop to sampling their iconic champagne. Outside the private tasting salon are the house's beautiful private gardens - before tasting, the doors were opened so we could get a peek at the gorgeous greenery and pond outside. You can imagine our surprise when a very friendly duck (and her four ducklings) came running over to us in search of treats - very cute indeed.
Once back inside we were introduced to the house sommelier who was an expert on all things champagne, taking us through the differences between the classic non-vintage Moët Imperial, and a beautifully complex 2008 vintage. It's one of those experiences that you wish would truly never end... but eventually it was time for lunch. We said goodbye to the gorgeous chateau and the friendly team and made our way to a nearby town to try a local favourite that came recommended by our guide.
All in all, such a beautiful day! Thanks so much for having us Moët.
You can book your own tour of the Moët cellars in Épernay here.
Photos by Rohan Peterson, Chloe Hill and I