Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hip Getaways - Champagne, France

Since New Year's Eve is only a day away...we thought we would feature our favourite thing we drink after water - Champagne!  Hip + Urban Girl, Stephanie Hanchar goes on a Hip Getaway to the motherland of bubbly - Champagne, France. 

France is a country I am in love with!  From the sophisticated fashion to the delicious food and drink, you can never go wrong with a getaway to France. But there is more to this country than just Paris, Cannes and Provence. Earlier this year I decided to break away from the traditional tourist attractions of Paris and spent a weekend in Champagne, home of, you guessed it, every girl’s favourite bubbly treat, champagne!

The province of Champagne is split into five regions, with the two most popular areas being Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne.  We decided to spend one day in Reims and another in Épernay, visiting various Champagne houses in each. Think of it as sophisticated day time pub crawl.

Champagne House #1 - Moët et Chandon 

First stop, Moët et Chandon, home of Dom Perignon.  For €15 per person, you can get a guided tour of the cellars, an explanation of how Moët champagne is made, a peak at the oldest (and most expensive) bottle of Dom Perignon and of course a flute of Moët imperial champagne. It may seem a little expensive but it is the iconic Moët et Chandon.

Champagne House #2 – Vranken Pommery 

Next stop, Vranken Pommery. Definitely more glamorous than Moët, from the estate grounds to the art deco feel of the cellars.  If the beautifully decorated cellars don’t wow you, the champagne bar and the visitor’s boutique will at least leave a lasting impression on your wallet. Not visiting Moët and Pommery would be the equivalent of going to Beverley Hills and not going to Rodeo Drive!

Champagne House My Pick – Le Château Comtesse Lafond 

Once you have the iconic Moët and Pommery under your belt, visit the smaller boutique Champagne Houses as you get more bubbly for your buck. My top pick was Le Château Comtesse Lafond. It is a beautiful, family-run intimate château. For just €7 you get three flutes of champagne, allowing you to sample three of their four house champagnes. If you are anything like me (unfortunately I suffer from expensive taste syndrome) you will fall in love with their vintage bottle. You can buy bottles of champagne on site which is economically friendly since the vintage champagne only goes for €28 per bottle. Most of the boutique houses do not even distribute beyond Europe so stock up!

The only thing you will need to bring with you on this trip is a bottle of water to stay hydrated and dilute the endless glasses of Champagne you will drink. Cheers! -- Stephanie Hanchar

Born and raised in Mississauga, I’m a Chartered Accountant who loves fashion and am grateful that one will fund the other.  I have just returned home to Canada after living in London, England for the past 2.5 years and decided to blog to try something new. 

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