Townsville Bulletin - - The Goss -

WHERE TO EAT: Cafe du Palais, Reims. An ab­so­lute must, this Art Deco gas­tro­nomic palace has a bold menu to match ( try the Reims ham with boiled pota­toes). Linger and savour the food and cham­pagne. Chateau Les Cray­eres, Reims. The place to splurge, Le Parc is the fine­din­ing restau­rant in this cen­tury-old man­sion, now a Re­lais & Chateaux ho­tel. LEARN MORE: Touris­mecham­pagne-ar­denne. com. Franceguide. com. us.

The town of Eper­nay has been called the cap­i­tal of cham­pagne, and the pala­tial Av­enue de Cham­pagne is lined with el­e­gant man­sions be­long­ing to some of the re­gion’s most im­por­tant houses, in­clud­ing Moet & Chan­don, Perrier Jou­ett and De Castel­lane.

A good in­tro­duc­tion is to hop aboard the lit­tle train that leaves from the tourism of­fice for a cruise past the man­sions be­fore re­turn­ing to the of­fice for – what else? – a tast­ing of the re­gion’s best bub­bly.

The town of Troyes, south of Reims, is not, strictly speak­ing, part of the Cham­pagne Tri­an­gle, but that didn’t stop town plan­ners from lay­ing out the city cen­tre in the shape of a cham­pagne cork, with bound­aries com­posed of tree­lined boule­vards and the River Seine.

There al­ready was a town here when Julius Cae­sar and his Ro­man le­gions came con­quer­ing, and the vis­i­ble lay­ers of his­tory make Troyes a joy for the walker.

In fact your best mem­o­ries of Troyes are likely to be of strolling its pic­turesque streets.

Cham­pagne – the re­gion and the drink – are wor­thy of rev­er­ence.

The re­gion is one of France’s loveli­est. As for the drink, I’ll let Dom Perignon have the last word.

He might not have in­vented cham­pagne, but he gave us the best de­scrip­tion of drink­ing it when he said, ‘‘ I am tast­ing the stars.’’

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