Paris with cheerful memories


Paris with cheerful memories

Written by Tiasa Basu Jun 09, 2018
It was a perfect sunny morning when we were picked up by Alexander from our Paris apartment at the foothill of Sacré-Cœur. We drove through picturesque rolling hills and vineyards to the capital of the Champagne country, Reims. There we first stopped at the famous cathedral where all the French kings were crowned. The cathedral was very different with a distinct air of peace and tranquility. There was not much pomp and grandeur or paintings like Paris Notre Dame, but there was something majestic about it.

From there we went on to a tour of the Taittinger caves owned by the Taittinger family who has been at the center of the French champagne world since 1920s. Majority of their supply comes from their 288 hectare vineyard, among the best in the region.

These caves were dug by the Romans around 80 B.C. to mine salt and chalk. Around 1600 AD local winemakers found a new use for these caves: Champagne storage. Since these were the days before artificial refrigeration, the caves provided the chilly temperature, humidity control, and protection from sunlight and vibrations needed for the perfect maturation of this delicate drink. While present-day manufacture of wine and Champagne incorporate more modern cooling and storage methods, many historic—and awe-inspiring—French Champagne caves and wine cellars are still in existence and can be toured by the public. The Taittinger caves, had been declared as World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 2015.

The guide welcomed us to discover the art of Champagne making, at the heart of a unique place that links 4th century chalk mines with the vestiges of a 13th century Abbey. He led us to the underground caves placed at different levels starting from a depth of 18m below the surface of the earth with innumerable number of alleys filled with stacked up champagne at different stages of preparation. He described in detail the process of preparation and the temperature conditions that is required at every stage which is attained here down below the earths surface. One more fact that caught our attention was that unlike general wine, we cannot store champagne for decades, it loses taste and quality with time. One other thing that needs to be mentioned is the Champagne library. There was a locked room inside there where they have a sample of all vintage champagne that Tattinger has ever produced. The tour ended with a champagne tasting session and the champagne we drank was awesome.

Next we headed to the city center and indulged ourselves into authentic French cuisine for lunch. The food was awesome and one of the best I have ever tasted. After lunch, we headed back to Paris with cheerful memories that is to stay with us forever.

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