Archive for November 4th, 2020

November 4, 2020

Chateau Thierry and Champagne !!!

Ok this one is another update but with a couple of photos. I admit if it wasn’t for collegues from work I would never be here. This area is considered AOC for Champagne but never even past by here on my own.

What are friends for, right?  I took a ride over to Chateau Thierry with collegues from work, part of a meeting, we did had time to see a wonderful Champagne house that  I like to share with my readers.

I started my journey from Vannes on TGV train passing by Le Mans, and onwards to Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy(Disneyland), there we rented an Avis car to take on the A4 autoroute to Chateau Thierry.  The return was in reverse only this time we passed by Rennes onwards to Vannes.

There ,I stayed overnight in the wonderful Best Western Ile de France, I will stay here again in future trip. It has beautiful views over the Champagne vineyards ,and fully loaded even with a Spa service. webpage:

ch-thierry from hotel ile de france

The highlight of the stayed was a visit to Champagne Pannier, fully open and tastings just for us, after 18H with dinner underneath the cellars amongst the old bottles. We try the whole palate from extra brut to demi sec. A wonderful place, great welcome, nice friendly chat and tour, and delicious Champagne ,to say the same of the great food. The place can welcome visitors in French,English,and German languages and the facilities are magnificent. A recommended place to visit and a find for me, we shall return: webpage:



A bit of history I like

The area is known since  the 5C with the Gaulles then Thierry IV at the 8C, then Counts of Blois and Champagne to arrive at our times.  Jean de la Fontaine the great story teller was born here in 1621.  Here you are in the river Marne country, beautiful and close to where my wife was born.

It takes a turn from the department of the Marne 51 and Seine et Marne 77 to be in the deparment 02 of the Aisne  in the old region of Picardie, now Hauts de France. The town takes the name from the merovigian king Thierry IV who had a castle here so Chateau Thierry is the name of the town today.

Château-Thierry  was of the key points of battles in WWI specially in 1918 between the American forces and the Germans around the bornes of Vauthier, that marked with stones the lines of the battles in WWI.  It again serves for battles in WWII  specially around 1940. The bridge of  Château-Thierry was defended by the men of the Aspirant de Rougé, and the new bridge bears his name. Charles-Armand de Rougé (« vicomte de Rougé»), fell in combat here on June 10, 1940.

The city of Château Thierry and its heritage in French:

Les Portes de la Champagne (the gates to Champagne) tourist office on Château Thierry

J’aime l’Aisne tourist site on the Aisne dept 02 on things to see in English:

Now you know, there is good Champagne here too and very nice welcome. The area is very nice on architecture and history that I criss cross a lot especially north of the department. Hope you enjoy the post !

And remember, happy travels,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

November 4, 2020

It’s that time for Champagne!!!

Ok so is not that you drink Champagne in the holidays , you can drink all year around as we do for special dates. And sometimes not, but,however, therefore, the season ending is their prime time in France as elsewhere.

I have a long history with the area of the Marne, Seine et Marne especially as on my dear late wife Martine side, her and the sisters/brothers started out working in the vineyards to help pay for their schooling and spare cash since early age. Of course, once I met her, the obvious first trip was to Epernay! We came with the maternal grandmother, my parents, and us. Later we came with the boys and to different areas from the big city Reims to smaller towns like Aÿ-Champagne. it’s been an ongoing thing except on some sad years like this one.

We are approaching the end of the year 2020, and all the problems in our world, cheers up be positive, have a glass of Champagne. Célébrations are already happening, and Christmas are ongoing worldwide perhaps this year more so than others. New Year’s is the best time to drink Champagne for many, although for me its any special occasion of the year.

We are all very happy, and what better way then to celebrate with Champagne even if we are less and less around and memories abound.

We all have the story on how it became , thanks to a king Henri IV and a monk Dom Pérignon, and the region is irrigated by the big river Marne; with 3 main grapes, pinot noir, pinot meunier ,and chardonnay. The region is divided into 3 zones, the montagne de Reims in the dept of the Marne, the Vallée de la Marne,covering the department of Aisne (2), Marne (51) and Seine-et-Marne (77); and the Côte des blancs (Marne). It is a protected brand name worldwide. Only those coming from here should be call Champagne.

I like to tell you the main names, to look out for in any part of the world you might be now or to year’s end. The créme de la créme of Champagne.

Charles Heidseick, Reims, Bollinger, Ay,  Billecart-Salmon, Mareuil-sur-Ay ;Ruinart, Reims, Gosset, Ay,  Taittinger, Reims,  Piper-Heidsieck, Reims; Canard-Duchêne, Ludes; Drappier, Urville,  Delamotte, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Lanson, Reims, Veuve Clicquot, Reims, Pommery, Reims, Jacquart, Reims, Bruno Paillard, Reims, Duval-Leroy, Vertus,  Deutz, Ay, Vranken, Reims, Pol Roger, Epernay,  Louis Roederer, Reims, Krug, Reims,Moêt & Chandon, Epernay  , Philipponnat, Mareuil-sur-Ay, Laurent Perrier, Tours-sur-Marne,  Lanson, Reims, G.H. Mumm, Reims, Henriot, Reims, Perrier-Jouêt, Epernay, Joseph Perrier, Châlons-en-Champagne, Nicolas Feuillatte, Choully, Besserat de Bellefon, Epernay,  and GH Martel, Reims.

Above are the names that I have tried over the years, with the town where they are base. Of course, tried others but these make the cut for the best, the webpages are easily found in the internet.

Let me give you a brief description and guidelines to drinking and knowing more about Champagne, briefly.

On a little more than 30 000 hectares of vineyards in total, it is the most northerly vineyard in France with 60 to 80 days of frost per year. It owes its wealth to its fragmentation, each village constituting a cru, that is to say the product of a terroir and a climate; there are 319 Crus. Some plots of the champagne appellation (20 ha) are found in Seine et Marne towns of Citry, Nanteuil-sur-Marne and Saâcy-sur-Marne.

The geographical area of AOC Champagne is made up of 635 towns, including 319 for the production of grapes, spread over the five departments of Marne (51), Aisne (02), Aube (10) , Seine-et-Marne (77) and Haute-Marne (52). Of the 319 towns in the Champagne production area, only 17 are entitled to the “Grand cru” and 44 to that of ” Premier Cru “ designations.

The types of Champagne are also called not dosed; extra brut, brut; extra sec; sec; semi-sec; doux and raw nature. They are bottled normally in half-bottle, bottle and the magnum. There are other bottles but these are the most common.

Champagne production involves three main professional categories: The winegrowers-owners of almost all of the Champagne vineyard (90%). Being able to develop their vintages only from their single harvest, they are therefore dependent both on their vintage and the vagaries of each harvest. There are currently just over 15,000. In this figure, around 5,000, the harvesters-manipulators, vinify their harvest, themselves or in cooperatives. The others are harvesters, who sell their grapes to traders. The merchants, often called Champagne Houses, are the only ones who have the authorization to buy grapes outside their own harvest, and even to do so only when they do not own any vineyard. And the Cooperatives.

Some general guide as really it is up to one particular taste. The professionals in the business tell us that the extra brut are ideal with oysters (iodine does not go well with sugar), raw fish from Japanese cuisine and all seafood. Non-vintage brut and “Blanc de Blancs” Champagnes are drunk as an aperitif ,and can accompany starters and fish and seafood dishes. Vintage brut and rosé Champagnes can be served with meat and cheese dishes; younger vintages should precede older wines. Sec and demi-sec are perfect to accompany desserts.

L’Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC), based at Reims, groups the Champagne merchants since 1882. Their webpage:

Le Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne (SGV), based at Épernay, groups the winegrowers since 19040 Their webpage:

Le Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) is based at Épernay; its role in particular is to manage the controlled designation of origin of Champagne. Officially created by the law of April 12, 1941. Their webpage:

On July 4, 2015, « Coteaux, maisons et caves de Champagne » or Hillsides, houses and cellars of Champagne were listed as world Heritage of Humanity. Well deserved indeed.

Hope it helps you enjoy the bubbly wherever you are , in good cheers and great company. Drink Champagne in moderation but drink ok …

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

November 4, 2020

Gastronomic Paris, world center of food and wine, yes….!

Ok so here I come with another list, well sorry, excuse me, desolé, perdon shoot me, but Paris is worth more , a lot more.  So much put into a small frame city like not to be found anywhere with less than 106 square km or 41 square miles!

Let me give some culinary delights just getting ready for the season to be merrier at least more than others.  Here is a list of the restaurants people swear to come to Paris, and as always I can only agree. The list is

Pierre Gagnaire, 6, rue Balzac, 8éme.

L’Astrance, 4, rue Beethoven, 16éme.

Alain Passard-L’Arpèrge84, rue de Varenne, 7éme.

La Tour d’Argent15, quai de la Tournelle, 5éme.

Le Chateaubriand129, av. Parmentier, 11éme.

Le Baratin, 3, rue Jouye-Rouve, 20éme .

Le Jules VerneTour Eiffel, IIe étage, Champ-de-Mars, 7éme.

Le Café de Flore, 172, bd Saint-Germain, 6éme.

Le Petit Vendome, 8, rue des Capucines, 2éme.

Le Grand Colbert, 2, rue Vivienne 2éme.

Aux Lyonnais, 32, rue Saint-Marc, 2éme.

Drouant, 16 Place Gaillon, 2éme.

The old Cityvox gave room to the Yelp site is for lovers of Paris,where I used to write reviews on Restaurants in French under an alias…there is a link to it in my blog bottom page.

We can then talk about the 7éme arrondissement de Paris, for all thats where the tour Eiffel is…and more…Some of my favorites places/hangouts over the years there are

Bistro de Paris 33, rue de Lille.

Café de Mars 11, rue Augereau :

Chez Françoise, esplanade des Invalides – Aérogare des Invalides.

 Café de l’Esplanade,52, rue Fabert ,across the Invalides.

Thoumieux 79, rue Saint-Dominique.

La Fontaine de Mars, 129, rue Saint Dominique.

How about a nice  baguette, well its all over, but here in the neighborhood is nice ;Boulangerie Pâtisserie Aux Délices de Mimi  178, rue de Grenelle 7éme.

My favorite because my father likes the rices there, and ,also, many spices  is L’épicerie de Bruno, lots of rices in small metal cans from many parts of the world 30, rue Tiquetonne.

And some nice pralines, and chocos delicious and stores in Paris elsewhere too,  à la Mère de Famille 47, rue Cler, 7éme.

The English group of restaurants Pret à Manger is at La Defense, at the Centre Commerciale Les Quatre Temps, under the Dome at level or niveau 3.  Their first resto in France. The food fresh is taken from the Paris huge food market at Rungis and its done by Franco-Anglo chefs.  Here is their webpage:

The American trend of Brunch is becoming more trendy each week there is new places doing this style of restaurant service, so look for them as good value and great French food to boot.  Les Pipelettes,31 rue Brézin  14éme. webpage:

This brunch thingy is very popular at La Gare restaurant in my beloved Muettes quartier of the 16éme arrondissement as well especially on Sundays! Several posts on the resto in my blog over the years!

And now you have plenty to go around, and enjoy the culinary genious of Me;;;oh noooo Paris. I can eat well but bad cook lol! I can match the wines thus!! hope you enjoy the post and see/tell me if you have tried any ok.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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