Champagne Region – Epernay and Reims

19 Sep

Ok – I know – I’m so sorry.  I really could not keep up with the posts.  You would think it would be easy to sit down for 30 minutes and upload some pictures and talk about what we ate – but no…..

Since having spoken to some folks, I’m going to begin to include some specific information here – so you can actually use it as a reference for your own trip to these regions.  The most important bit of advice – if you are going to attempt to drive in Europe, in this case, France – the best $100 you’ll spend is the Europe card that goes into your GPS.  BRING YOUR GPS!!!  If you rent one, it’ll cost more than just buying one, and if you do some research and planning, you can pre-program the GPS with all your routes and cities prior to leaving home.  Having taken my own advice, I went to my local Avis rental place in Paris to go pick up our car to begin our driving portion of this journey.  The car rental office actually went pretty well – don’t forget that almost every car in Europe is a stick shift.  I picked up the car and drove back to our hotel in order to load it all up and head out of Paris.  The 20 minutes it took to get out of Paris was worth the price of the GPS data card.  Then, programmed in Epernay to get to the Champagne region – off we go!

Having never been to Champagne – we purchased the usual suspect tour books from Fodors, etc.  I also went online quite a bit to check out reviews to restaurants to help us decide where to eat.  Basically, we will get a 1-time-shot to eat well and if we choose poorly, it’ll be a bad memory for the rest of the trip – and as you’ll see in my future posts, we did in fact make some bad dining choices, which hopefully will server as a warning to you so that you can make better choices.

There are 2 cities in Champagne to choose from – Epernay & Reims.  They are both famous Champagne cities, so we chose to drive to Reims first, then drive to Epernay and spend the night.  Now – to choose where to have lunch in Reims.  Those of you that know me – know that I would much rather go to a classic place than a ‘new’ place.  So naturally we tended to go to institutions to dine.  In Reims, we chose the Brasserie du Boulingrin.  Loosely translated, means the bowling green of a cricket field (I think).

Gotta say, this was one of our favorite lunch places in all of France.  It’s exactly what you think of when you think of Brasserie in France.  The lunch began of course with Champagne – then Donna began with a salad & I chose a terrine of pate along with cornichons.  Great started dishes for a lunch – light, delicious and so French.

We both chose fish for our main course – Donna had a fish that was prepared in a foil pack and I chose the plat du jour – Sardines.  I will almost always choose the plate of the day because again, it’s usually something classic and fresh.  I was very happy with my choice, but Donna’s fish was, wow, just terrific.

For dessert – we chose what we thought would be lame dishes, but the waitress really recommended the ice cream & grapes.  Seems weird right?  There was really just ice cream on top of some grapes, but the ‘juice’ in the bottom of the glass made the dessert a perfect ending to the meal.  I think we both had some house white wine to go with our meals.  I’ll include a picture of the wine carte on the table.

All in all, if you head toward Champagne region and are looking for a great, typical, classic institution to eat at – please check out Brasserie du Boulingrin in Reims.  Enjoy the pictures – more posts will be coming shortly – now that I have time to do this.

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