Halfway between Strasbourg and Paris is a little area called Champagne. You might have heard of it before? Of course! Many people use the term “champagne” to describe any sparkling wine, but the truth is that you really can only call a sparking wine champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in France!
We hopped on a train and took a quick 2 hour ride over to Reims, the capital of the Champagne region. We picked up our rental car and started our adventure with a cave tour at Veuve Clicquot.
The maze of underground chalk caves is rather impressive, and very daunting! We were constantly reminded to not wander off as we could get lost for days! Each cave (crayère) is named after someone who provided a significant amount of service to Veuve Clicquot. Here in Cave No. 252 we have Jaques Pagnie who spent 41 years working at the House!
After visiting Veuve Clicquot we hopped up the street to Vranken-Pommery. Thankfully it was only a 30 minute tour, because although the history of each House is different, the caves and general processes are the same.
Pommery is located in a rather large castle-looking building with access to the caves right from the tasting room. While Veuve names their crayères after those who worked for the House, Pommery named their caves after the different cities that they began exporting their bottles to over the years!
This sums up how I feel about a few flutes of champagne… and right after this we headed over to the city center of Reims for some much needed lunch!
After lunch we made a quick stops at Taittinger and Moët & Chandon to visit the properties and look around. After a few glasses of champagne earlier in the day we really couldn’t make it though any more tours and tastings without falling asleep!
Of course you by now must recognize my AliKat military jacket! It was perfect for a day of touring the caves as it helped when we went underground and the temperature dropped 20+ degrees! I paired it with my trusty Citizens of Humanity jeans, Sam Edelman flats, Longchamp bag, and Prada sunglasses. My necklace, which you will see more of later, is a souvenir from the European Fantasy Film Festival in Strasbourg!
When packing for my France trip I knew that I wanted to bring items that I could mix and match, but that would also wear and travel well. And most of all, I wanted to “fit in” with the French crowd and not look like a typical tourist. For this I enlisted the help of Jessica from BeFrnch.
BeFrnch is a consulting company in Dallas that will help you with all things French in the areas of style, food, and travel. When I told Jessica I was traveling to France with a small carryon she helped narrow down the list of my must-haves and curated a perfect color palette for me to use. Some of her must-have items included: dark jeans, a black skirt, a satchel bag, ballet flats, a fedora, my favorite sunglasses, and a versatile scarf. Here, in Strasbourg, I’m wearing several of her recommended items:
One of the main accent colors Jessica chose for me was olive green. I packed my AliKat Military Jacket and World Scarf with the intention of building several outfits around them. It was light enough to wear at times during the day, and provided just enough warmth at night while walking around Strasbourg and again several times in Paris. I also wore it while en route to our next destination… Champagne!
On Tuesday morning I woke up to the promise of birds! Les Oiseaux! Specifically parrots and flamingos that were apparently living in a little zoo located somewhere inside a park on the German border. We had breakfast outside of the cathedral, and then started making our way towards the park!
We stumbled upon this little whimsy garden on the outside of the park. Streamers lined the entrance and inside were odd grass creatures, clocks, heart decorations, and more — very Alice in Wonderland!
And then we found them!! An adorable array of parrots and other birds, sadly hidden behind a glass cage, but still so much fun to see! We watched them fly around in and out of these cute hanging bird houses for awhile before we went in search of the flamingos!
Now everyone that knows me knows that a flamingo is my spirit animal! I haven’t seen one in person for quite awhile, so I was thrilled to get to be so close to them. Not as active as the parrots, but I just love watching them and looking at their beautiful color. I wish I could be pink!
As the sun began to set we wandered off in search of more wine and Spätzle! As you might notice, I did a little shopping as well at my 2nd favorite French store, Longchamp! (#1 is City Pharma).
I’m so excited to finally share with you pictures of my trip to France! Doug headed over to Paris for work earlier in September, and I decided to take some time off to visit. When I landed in Paris, Doug picked me up in an Uber car and whisked us off to the Gare de l’Est so we could catch our train to Strasbourg. I’ve always loved the Rhineland black and white timber buildings and couldn’t wait to see them in person. And they certainly didn’t disappoint!
On my first day in Strasbourg it was already late in the afternoon so we just started to wander around the city. Much of the city is just like any other bustling city, except when you start to enter the Petite-France area. This is where you find all the beautiful buildings, the gorgeous window boxes full of red geraniums, German influenced restaurants and shops, and of course, the Rhine River.
We ate dinner at a local restaurant by the river, La Corde à Linge. I wanted to try some local wine and eat traditional Alsacienne food, including the egg noodle dumplings called Spätzle. Best part of our day, according to Doug, was on our walk back to the hotel where we stumbled upon a little alleyway full of tents for the European Fantasy Film Festival of Strasbourg! French comic books and movie posters were for sale by people dressed up as characters from the Game of Thrones – complete with raccoon tails and leather bustiers. While he ogled over the French comic books, I bought some cool Alice in Wonderland themed jewelry that you’ll see later this week!