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  • lejardin_001

    We didn’t just go to Reims for champagne but also some good food. In Reims there is a group of restaurants of Chateau des Crayeres. The main Chateau is a two Michelin starred affair, classic and French. However, they also have a sister restaurant, Brasserie Le Jardin, nestled in the garden of the Chateau through the woods. It’s more down to earth and relaxed in style but the food is still amazing. We had a three-course meal and each tried something different. If I remember everything from a year ago, our first course included gazpacho, tartare and sardines. Our main course included duck fish, and fish. And then of course there was dessert! It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful view! The last picture is of the chateau, which was amazing as well.

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  • Reims-Day-Trip

    Reims, pronounced like “raans” is 45 minutes from Paris by high-speed train or about an hour and a half by car. Last summer Paris, in typical fashion, was having a train strike right at the same time we had made plans to take a day trip to the champagne region. We had already bought train tickets and made reservations to all kinds of fun places so we  were crossing our fingers for days that it would end before our trip but no such luck. The night before we were frantically searching the internet for rental cars. Dusty is amazing and some how navigated through the city of Paris with a rental car, picking Allison and I up at our front door, ready for our trip!

    We spent the day touring champagne houses (Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, Martel), eating a fabulous lunch, and visiting Reims cathedral. Reims is charming and the buildings look aged, but much of the town was destroyed in the World War I, with additional damage taken in World War II.


    First, about the champagne! Only bubbly from this region can be called “champagne.” The rest is ‘sparkling wine.’ Champagne is made from the chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes. The aging and bottling process is very unique and different then how wine is made. I was absolutely amazed! “Riddling” is a process to remove the yeast from the aging champagne. The bottle is placed at a 75 degree angle and must be turned an eighth of a turn each day. This forces the dead yeast into the neck of the bottle to form a plug, which is frozen and popped out through a process called “disgorging.” Here is a general overview of the Champagne tours and caves we visited.

    Mumm: Very informative tour about how champagne is made!
    Veuve Clicquot: Award for best tasting room and great story about the founding woman behind the empire!
    Martel: Best “bang for your buck”!

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    After we made our rounds to the champagne houses and stuffed our bellies at lunch, we went to the Reims Cathedral, which was absolutely magnificent. It’s over 800 years old! This cathedral is a great example of gothic architecture and is historically significant as the “Coronation Cathedral,” where most of the kings of France held their coronation ceremonies.

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    Tips: Ricks Steve’s France Guide does an excellent job of overviewing the region! His book helped with planning our champagne cave tours, touring Reims cathedral and getting around town. After our third tour, I was a bit tired of hearing how champagne was made so think about just going straight to the tasting room if you’re going for more than a day and visiting several different places.

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  • Our last two weeks in Paris were filled with a lot of excitement. One memory that I surely won’t forget doesn’t actually have a picture to go along with the story (and thank goodness it doesn’t). After being in Paris for over five weeks, our big adventure three days before leaving was locking ourselves out of our apartment.  It’s occurrences like this that remind me how great my husband is!

    We woke up on Sunday trying to decide what our plans were for the day.  First stop, the open market because the market is only open until noon and nothing else is open on Sundays. Dusty had mentioned he’d like to work all day because we were celebrating our anniversary the next day by going to a fancy lunch and he’d need to take part of the afternoon off. Annabelle and I had plans of going to the park!

    We walked out the door, shut it and then promptly realized we had no keys. We spent the whole day traveling around Paris getting a spare key from the landlord but only to get home to realize it wasn’t the right key and that there was no spare key. Then having to call a locksmith.

    Seems simple enough but we spent most of the day locked out of our place and there being several moments we weren’t sure if we were even going to get back into our place until Monday. This led to scouring the city for the one grocery store that did stay open on Sundays to get diapers and food for Annabelle just in case. Lessons learned: 1) Don’t forget keys, 2) take provisions for Annabelle even if you’re just going outside really quickly, 3) marry a man that knows how to solve problems!

    And here are just a few of the other things we did our last two weeks in Paris.

    reimsChampagne tasting in Reims.

    chocolateSome of the best chocolate chaud (hot chocolate) and fancy chocolate in Paris!

    week42_004Annabelle at the Arc de Triomphe

    week42_005Inside the Louvre

    week42_006Outside the Louvre

    week43_004Luxembourg Gardens


    septimeLunch at Septime (lobster & egg yolk raviolo, peas, sage, foie gras, almonds)

    dustyDinner Date!

    week43_006Dots & Stripes!

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