The world capital of Champagne

I planned to go to Disneyland on my fourth day in Paris, but then I aborted the plan because Bandi’s high-school English teacher (now call Bandi her nephew) invited us to visit her at Reims, a small town located 150km outside Paris.

Took Thalys to Reims!

Took Thalys to Reims!

Oh how Universe really loves me! The disneyland plan was aborted for something fun, amazing and new for me!

First, experiencing the traditional French life.

Aunty Aini picked us up at the train station and when I met her I liked her at once. She was fun, talkative and laughed a lot. She seemed like really loving her life. She invited us to her house, and she said her parents in law was spending the night there so me and Bandi should follow French tradition to bring one bucket of flowers and one bottle of wine to the house we were visiting to. Bandi had already brought wine but we didn’t have time to buy the flowers from Paris.

So Aunty Aini brought us to her favorite florist and OH MY GOD, I almost fainted because of how beautiful all the flowers all!! It was just like in a French movie when the main character rode a bike and went to a florist. “AHHH!! I WANT TO LIVE HERE!” I screamed hundred times.

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I picked the flowers!

I picked the flowers!

After buying the flowers we went to her house and we must introduced ourselves in French, “Bonjour! Je m’appelle May. Enchanté!” and then I kissed them. The tradition is so lovely. :)

Aunty Aini’s parents in law has zero English so I had fun challenging myself talking to them, while Bandi was smiling as wide as he could. We also met the cutie Domino who liked to sit on my lap.

Here's Domino!

Here’s Domino!

We were served snacks such as pretzels, bread with foie gras and sausages. And it is said to be a tradition to open a bottle of champagne before meal in Reims. Haleluyah for whoever created that tradition!

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Photo 18-10-13 1 13 28 am

So here’s the thing, I haven’t found my favorite alcohol. I mean, everyone has their own favorite alcohol and once they’ve found it, they would have their epiphany. (LOL I was kidding.) Anyway… I can’t drink wine because it tasted funny and I don’t like Beer because it is bitter. I can drink hard liquor like bourbon but I think it’s too strong. So far I only prefer cocktails like Cosmo or Cranberry Vodka, but still it is not that good.

Until I drink THE CHAMPAGNE!!!

Gosh, IT WAS SOOOO DELICIOUS!

Second, the champagne!

I was confused at first, how on earth I never tasted champagne before? (Later I found out that champagne is expensive and so far I only bought wine because they’re cheap)

Aunty Ainy told us that Reims is the capital of Champagne. I didn’t really understand what it meant until I fell deeper in love with champagne and intentionally read more about it.

The chatting compliments the home-cooked meal Aunty Aini has prepared for us!

French people always start the meal with soup!

French people always start the meal with soup!

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

And the European Salad... with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

And the European Salad… with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

A pie which fruit I can't remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I've never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like "kurma"

A pie which fruit I can’t remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I’ve never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like “kurma”

French grapes! Pinot Noir, CHardonnay and one more name I couldn't remember.

French grapes! Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and one more name I couldn’t remember. All I know is they make great wines. :p

Of course, it's espresso o'clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

Of course, it’s espresso o’clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

And the famous French cheeses!!!

And the famous French cheeses!!!

So, after five full course of French meal and two glasses of good champagne (BEST champagne in my life so far!), Aunty Aini brought Bandi and me to Martell cave to have a champagne tour (yaiy!). The guide showed us how to make champagne traditionally and in modern way. We were also brought to the champagne cave to see all the traditional tools of making champagne.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn't work well.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn’t work well.

Yum yum!

The left one was so sweet, middle one is brut, less sugar; the right one is rose champagne. All of them are yummy!

If you’re confused what’s the different between wine and champagne, don’t worry. I was confused too, until I drank them. :p

There are a difference between wine and sparkling wine. Beside the price of course (damn it!), the difference is the sparkle. I was explained by the guide about the fermentation and the sparkle but I was “under influence” so pardon me if I didn’t really get the chemical theory. If you really want to know, go google it.

But for me, the huge difference is this: wine tastes sour and bitter, while sparkling wine tastes sour and sweet and refreshing.

And what is champagne?

Champagne is sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France. Sparkling wine came from this region and they were called Champagne. Later on there are a lot of winery that produced champagne but then they couldn’t call the sparkling wine as champagne anymore because of the law created to protect “real champagne”.

You might find other sparking wine outside France that is called differently like cava (spain) or Sekt (German) but basically they are the same thing, only from different winery. I’ve tried sparkling wines from other region beside Champagne region and they all are delicious. It is just a habit for me to call them all champagne (which is wrong) because the first sparkling wine I tasted was champagne.

Bottom line is… I finally have found my kind of alcohol! Sparkling wine! Now I understand why Bandi could suddenly crave for beer and how he liked to drink beer after a tiring day at work. I never liked alcohol before.

Oh, thankfully I’ve found champagne!

So if you ever wanted to buy me alcohol, please do buy me sparkling wine! I will accept it with so much love.

My love to champagne also takes full responsibility for the great time I had with my two best buds in Bandung last weekend. It was always fun having late night chat, but it was more fun when I was “relaxed”. :)

Anyway… Reims was beautiful. I snapped some photos of the small town when Aunty Aini brought us around. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

And third, a new dream to live in France.

I fell in love with Reims and seriously plan to stay there for two months to do illegal work and learn French language and of course to have the experience to be living in a small town in France. Why Reims? I mean, of all the small town, why Reims? Maybe because I have a relative there and it isn’t touristy and so peaceful. And of course because everyone speaks French and I would love to be fluent in French. Je veux parler Francaise. And of course the champagne *ahem*. Ohh J’aime France!

I hope someday I’m crazy enough to do that, ;)

Cheers,

May, loving France even more.