Monday, November 12, 2007

Madame Pommery and the Champagne Factory

My parents, being the food and wine lovers that they are, took me and our family friends to Reims for a visit on my days off between shows two and three. And, yes, for you Rossini fanatics out there, I am aware that I made a viaggio a Reims.

Our first stop in Reims was interestingly enough not the cathedral where 34 sovereigns were crowned from 816 – 1825. Instead (think back to the food and wine lover comment), my parents took us first to the Pommery champagne house for a tour of their caves or cellars. It was an interesting place – the widow Pommery apparently decided to buy 80 Gallo-Roman chalk pits when she inherited the business from her husband to store her champagne while it fermented. Our tour guide took us through some of the quarries all the while explaining the process of making champagne as well as what made Pommery’s champagne so special.

The section of the quarries that is open to the public also doubles as an art exhibition space sometimes, and one such exhibition had just ended with some of the pieces still in the pits. The very first thing we saw as we descended into the ancient pits was this:

I immediately looked around for oompa loompas and prayed that there was no Violet Beauregard in our tour group. Instead, I mostly encountered dusty champagne bottles and our rather quiet tour group. The best part of the tour, of course, was the tasting at the end.

Today, we toured the cathedral where France used to crown it’s Kings – it’s a magnificent place, and I could have easily spent an extra couple of hours there taking pictures. Unfortunately, we had to check out of our hotel, and my camera’s battery died.

It was fun to be a tourist for a couple of days - I am really bad at exploring and being a tourist when I am away singing. I am glad that I had the excuse and opportunity for an excursion. Maybe I'll do more of that here in Lille now that I have time and am armed with a fully charged camera...

Number three is tomorrow evening, and my friend Susie is coming for a visit and to see the show, which I am greatly looking forward to. Time is flying by here – I can’t believe that the first leg of this tour will be done in about a week and half.

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