Living in the vineyards you get used to seeing row upon row of vines stretching into the distance almost as far as one can see. This is wine making country, after all, and you don’t expect to see cows and sheep grazing (well, perhaps some sheep, but that’s a story for another day and another blog).
In fact, you don’t expect to see many animals at all, so imagine my surprise when I saw a camel calmly munching grass by the side of the road in Aÿ. I just had to stop the car and take a picture.
It was weeks before I found out that the circus had been in town and that is where the camel came from, although I never did find out what the camel and one solitary horse were doing on their own near a roundabout.
That was one of the more unusual sights of Champagne but by no means the only one. Take for example this collection of old cars in a barn at the side of the D443 leading to Bar-sur-Seine.
Someone has obviously spent a lot of time and probably quite a bit of money on this although there is no evidence that this is a commericla enterprise – it was just done for the pleasure of it, it would seem.
That’s not the case for M. Fontaine, the distiller.
He operates one of the last remaining mobile distilleries that makes its way from village to village helping vignerons turn some of their surplus grape juice into alcohol or eau-de-vie – at reduced rates of tax as well!
To see these sights and learn all the secrets of champagne you have to get off the beaten track, down alleys and across fields that I discovered during the 17 years I lived and worked there.
If you’re a lover of champagne and want to really get to the heart of the people and the places and, of course, of the wine, then I have two wonderful ways for you to do just that
The Insider’s Guide to Champagne is a 147 e-book written in an easy-to read and entertaining style that will keep you turning the pages. It’s full of facts, anecdotes, quotations and everything else you need to feel that you really understand champagne, can speak about it with confidence and get even more enjoyment out of very bottle.
At just $14.99 it’s a wonderful first step on your journey to discover champagne.
If you’re already something of a champagne aficionado and want to delve even deeper, then you'll love My Champagne Expert, an online course designed just for you.
In 10 modules, each lasting about 1 hour, you’ll discover the sights and sounds, the places and the people that even most visitors to Champagne never get to experience but which make champagne so special.
By the end of the course you’ll have watched over 50 videos, taken 10 quizzes and viewed hundreds of images, maps and charts – you’ll truly be a champagne expert.
I hope you welcome you soon and take you on your very own journey of discovery through Champagne.
All the best