The France Trip – Champagne Region

Its a few days after we returned from our lovely holiday in France now and I am totally smitten with France, particularly The Cote D’Or, its produce, wine, people, countryside, hospitality and generosity of spirit.

We stayed for the first couple of days on the edge of the champagne region, the Cote Des Bars in the beautiful medieval city of Troyes the former capital of champagne, the old town is full of half timbered buildings, tiny alleyways and cobbled streets, everywhere you go here you’ll discover traces of history from hundreds of years ago, quaint, quirky and irresistibly charming….

Our accommodation was at a perfectly located guesthouse La Maison M on the canal. The charming and very hospitable Michelle and Bruno have renovated this elegant property with great sympathy and taste, they are very proud of their achievements and after breakfast gave us a guided tour. Michelle is a keen cook and her home made preserves were fabulous, indeed the bread which we had for breakfast was in hindsight by far the best we tasted in all our trip, gorgeous crust with a chewy centre and slight sourdough flavour. Imagine my surprise when she showed us the kitchen and proudly opened her hidden cupboard to disclose the latest Thermomix…its seem that she hasn’t quite got to grips with it yet, I wish she lived nearer we could have had great fun and I could have given her lots of tips, sadly her limited english and my very basic french means we cant share electronically.

Wandering through this romantic town the first evening, we came across lovely little champagne bar. Owned by the vineyard, their champagne was amazing, tiny bubbles and such a lovely way to have a pre dinner aperitif unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember the name or the vineyard. Maybe a return trip would help out!!!

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The Côte des Bar vineyard extends over more than 6500 ha and produces over 20% of the wine with the “champagne” appellation, its a lesser known region but produces wonderful products. The second day we had a trip to the Mondial Vineyard , we learnt something of the history of champagne production and of course the ubiquitous tasting. Cellier aux Moines in Colombe-le-sec was home to monks who made the first Cote des Bars wine. Grape vines were planted in the 17th century by the Cistercian Monks.

We loaded up the boot with a few bottles of our favourite…which contributed to our excess baggage charges upon our return ….

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