Archive for September 12th, 2010


September 12, 2010

After a dreadful nights lack of sleep, we both woke late so it was up and straight off to the train to Epernay.  But what do you know?  the train station is just 500metres from the hotel…..why did we have to walk/bus/trudge our way around the place yesterday dragging our suitcases along behind us??  I am sure it is just to make me walk a zillion miles each day!!  anyway, onto the train and zooming off to Epernay.  We arrived in Epernay sans map so it was off to the Information Centre to find out where we should be going.  But what do you know?  it just so happens that there is a complimentary Champagne tasting in the centre so breakfast consisted of four glasses of champagne!!

breakfast epernay Breakfast at Epernay

Across the road is the House of Moet et Chandon so we go and book a tour for later on in the day as we figure it was best we go and have  a bite to eat somewhere to soak up some of the alcohol.  After a lovely brunch of Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame, we again set off to wander the streets.  We came across a side street that looked interesting and just along a little we came across a place offering Champagne degustation tastings.  We made ourselves comfortable and were quickly into some serious tastings.  I might add that the tastings were in fact full glasses!  Along with the Champagne of different varieties and producers, we were also given small shot glasses of a chilled smooth gazpacho and cheese with olives.   What a great way to spend and hour or two.

us and snow All three together

snow lovinfg every minute of it Snow loving every minute

too much for snow Too much for Snow

cellar Too much to choose from in cellar below tasting room

DSCF1760 Colin this one is for you


Soon it was time to head off to Moet for our tour, thank goodness we were heading underground to their cellar as by this time the temperature was well up and we were melting.  Off into the labyrinth of the caves of Moet et Chandon.   The tour was extensive in the 28 kilometres of caves.  No we did not walk it all but enough to see all the various stages. Vary complimentary to the wine tasting we had had earlier.

endless rows

its been a while Been here a while

end of tour End of tour

sizes No Snow you cant have one of each

wine glass chandelier Wine glass chandelier at Moet

On our way back to the station finally solved the problem of the multiple griffens seen on many of the old stone buildings not just churches.  Whilst looking at one on a church at Epernay noted that it had an open mouth.  Then saw that it was connected to the spouting of a roof section.  Voila (as they say locally) the griffens are to carry the water away from the stone to stop water damage.  Used where it is inappropriate, impossible or too early to have downpipes.

DSCF1826 Griffen spout

Also spotted atop a building were these two who had obviously been turned in to stone, rather than salt, for their exploits in Epernay!!

some celebration

Upon return to Reims we visited the Mars Gate erected by the Romans in the third century.  Not in bad condition for being 1800 years old


Oamaru in 60 years Oamaru buildings in 1600+ years

Time for a quiet drink in the main street before heading back to our room to relax for an hour or two before heading out for a bite to eat.  We headed out to dinner at around 8.45pm (a la locals) where Bernice decided to try Fois Gras and Roy indulged in a glass of Absinthe as part of the experience! 

dining out Dining out

We cannot believe how many people are out and about, all the restaurants are full with the sidewalks overflowing with tables.  Families with young children are out eating (with no need for entertainment or special meals a la fast food outlets),  along with young and old,  it is all very civilised with lots of conversation going on and lots of noise. Of course all the outside tables are for the smokers, and it seems as though every second person is a smoker and the place is littered with cigarette butts.  Back to the hotel room for a customary fruit finish for the day two peaches and two nectarines between us, certainly getting our five pieces a day!!