I was out and about with my dog today, so I took three short videos on the lovely mansion here in Verzy, built by Mme Clicquot in the mid 1800s for entertaining her very important clients from the European aristocracy. It’s still used to today to entertain VIP clients, by invitation only. Take a look at the videos here… Enjoy!
This is a short video about how the grape farmers stop the rot caused by two particular butterflies. They attach small brown plastic pods to the wires which support the vines, inside of which is the sexual hormones of the female butterflies. The emission of the hormones confuses the male butterflies and so they can’t find the eggs to fertilise! I thought that was so clever when it was explained to me by Isabelle Corbeaux of Champagne Pierre Deville and Veronique Lallement of Champagne Lallement, two lovely French ladies who are part of my English class here in Verzy.
You can see what I’m talking about in this video below.
The first ever Vino Passion exhibition dedicated to wine tourism is happening in Epernay on the 20th, 21st and 22nd May and it promises to be a great event.
Unfortunately the website is only in French (big mistake in my view) but nevertheless, the town of Epernay with its wonderful new exhibition hall is rivalling Reims as the centre of wine tourism for the Champagne-Ardennes region.
This exhibition promises food and wine matching, workshops, capsules exchange, guided tours of the vineyards and tastings with small producers, plus other exciting events, inside and outside, to entice the wine and champagne loving tourist with all that France has to offer.
Could be a rival for the Reims Wine Festival in November? Both would be worth visiting in my view if only to experience the atmosphere and ambiance of the French indulging in their favourite pastime – eating and drinking.
With the sun shining today, and the forest looking so gorgeous, I decided to take a stroll with Pepper up to the new Perching Bar which opened today for the 2011 season. The birds were singing and the wind was soft, so I took a short video to show you what you can expect when you come yourself.
The Perching Bar is a concept created by Olivier Couteau, and is built high up in the trees, about 10m off the ground, literally in and around the trees, and the view from the balcony over the plains is stunning.
You can sip a glass of locally produced champagne inside the bar itself or outside on the terrace in the sunshine. I took mine on the terrace today, as the weather was so good!
Since returning to Champagne just over a year ago, I have been surprised at the amount of development that’s been going on in the region. Reims is expanding, growing and bringing itself into the 21st century with style and elegance, and it’s a joy to watch.
First the arrival of the high speed train TGV in 2007, then a new southern bypass around the city, and then lots of new businesses springing up and the opening of IKEA. Next is the official inauguration of the smart new tramway in the city centre on the 16th April.
It’s buzzing, thriving and upbeat. A refreshing change from other recession-hit areas.
Take a look at this great article in the Guardian, then come on down and see for yourself.
Just spent the last couple of days with Jiles’ new team, Nick and Edmond. They’re working on a new project which helps small to medium-sized champagne producers tell their stories and share their passion with the world. More about that when the website’s ready soon.
We did manage to take a break and stroll through the wonderful forest. The weather is starting to brighten up now with clear, blue skies and cold nights. Pepper doesn’t mind what the weather’s like though. He just loves going for walks.
While out walking my dog Pepper yesterday, I met one of my English students, Virginie. She was out walking her dog, Vasco (de Gama) and we talked while the dogs sniffed each other’s behinds as dogs do, and chased around following the smells of the forest. She is the only beginner in our English group, and sometimes struggles to keep up with the class. I try to vary the levels each week so there is always something for everyone. So Virginie persists and comes along every week to learn. She said she found it hard to learn English, and I remembered my first dancing class here in the village not many months ago.
I joined the class because I love dancing but hadn’t indulged in it for many years and so I felt a little out of place. Everyone else seemed younger, and to know the moves, but I didn’t. In the beginning I sometimes came home after class feeling a little despondent, thinking to myself that there was no way I could do this. But I persisted and eventually I managed to follow the rather complicated (in my opinion only) moves.
Learning something new can be difficult at first and we are inclined to give up when we tell ourselves that we’re just not capable, or that we’re too old or too fat, or too thin, or don’t have a good enough memory, etc. etc. We give ourselves excuses not to show up in case we think we look foolish. In reality we’re giving up on ourselves, which is a great shame.
Just off now to rest my twisted ankle!
Greetings from Les Molyneux, your home from home in the heart of Champagne, and welcome to our first ever Newsletter.
Don’t worry we won’t be bombarding you with offers every five minutes, just timely information about what’s going on here in France and there are a couple of things we really think you should know about.
More about that later but first of all, the summer has been lovely with temperatures in the low to mid thirties which has been brilliant for the grapes, although we’ve had a bit too much rain in late August/early September so some of the grapes are rotting on the vines, which is worrying to say the least.
Over the next few weeks there’ll be opportunities to come and pick some grapes, experience the atomosphere of a traditional harvest and meet some of the local champagne makers, as well as taste the juice as it’s pressed. Call us now on 0033 (0) 3 26 48 20 52 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability now. Places are limited.
And now news about two very special weekends coming up this autumn for serious champagne lovers.
First is our Reims Wine Festival weekend – November 12/13/14th where you’ll get to discover some amazing wines from all around France at one of the most spectacular wine fairs I’ve ever seen.
Check out full details here and call us to check availablility. Places are limited and at the time of writing there are only 4 places left, so don’t delay, call today.
Second, is the Habits de Lumiere weekend on December 10th/11th/12th . This is an extra special pre-Christmas treat for you, where you’ll experience the magical atmosphere of Epernay.
The famous Avenue de Champagne lights up the sky with street entertainment, glittering candle-lit champagne houses and a fabulous firework display, just for starters.
Check out the full programme here and then give us a ring to book your places.
We’ll be closing from December 13th until March 1st, so don’t miss these opportunities to round off your year with a well-deserved break. We’re looking forward to welcoming you.
Until next time…
Yvonne & Jiles Halling
Last Sunday, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, so we headed off to the nearby village of Ay, which was more prominent than Epernay back in the days of Henri IV. He favoured many of the champagne houses there, especially Bollinger. So every other year, even numbers only, the residents of Ay hold a festival in his honour. Here are some pictures of the day.
Put it in your diary for 2012, it’s a great day out