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Saturday, January 27, 2024

Literal Champagne Travel (Even On a Beer Budget)

When people celebrate things, like Valentine's Day or weddings or anniversaries or accomplishments, they often do so by popping open a bottle of bubbly. Sometimes it's sparkling wine or prosecco, but we almost always say champagne. By now, you probably know it's not champagne unless it comes from the champagne region in France. If you love a good glass of bubbles, you're not alone. 

By now, you probably know it's not champagne unless it comes from the champagne region in France. Now go take a romantic champagne tour through France

If you want to travel to Champagne, know that the exchange rate is very favorable for Americans heading to France. That means you can save money getting and staying there and then splurge a bit on a tour. 

There are 5 zones in the region and you can hit one or all of them in a trip. If you want to only focus on non-vintage champagne where you won't find most of the tourists, check out the Aube or the Côte de Sézanne zones. If you want to do more than just drink champagne, head to the more touristy parts of the region: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs. The smaller, boutique producers generally do everything on-site, so you can learn about their bottles from start to finish. Here's a little more about where to go and when from Conde Nast. And if you are going to Reims, here are some awesome things to do there.

You can even learn a little more about champagne before you get there. In fact, Fodor's has 10 fun facts for you.

The idea of champagne and the actual bottles first came from Britain, even though we all think it was France. It wasn't until Britain had discovered the predecessor to champagne, sparkling wine, and how to make the bottles much stronger in order to keep them from exploding under the immense pressure created, that the Champagne region learned how to replicate the bubbly drink in their own way.  

Imagine having the chance to try champagne that is almost 120 years old! That's what some lucky souls are going to get to do, now that the bottles have been rescued from a collapsed cellar in the Northern France city of Épernay. Hopefully, they're still drinkable. 

Pair your champagne vacation with a tour of your favorite foods by taking a French journey to explore the country and the origins of those foods like brie and Roquefort cheese. 

If prosecco is more your speed, or you'd rather spend your time in Italy than France (decisions, decisions), the prosecco region is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. AFAR is here to tell you the best vineyards to check out, as well as where to stay and eat. 

There's also the essential guide that can tell you how to get there and around affordably. Also, where to go for the kind of prosecco you like, the benefits of hiring a driver, and other things to do in the region. 

If you want to add on a unique experience and tour, and don't need everything on your trip to be bubble-filled, check out these vineyard tours of the Bordeaux region by way of a British black cab. Wine-Cab sounds so cool to me, and I've not had the opportunity to try them out yet, but we also aren't big drinkers. The rates are pretty reasonable for half-day trips, and it's nice to not have to drive yourself (you have a built-in designated driver) and find your way around or have to navigate public transportation. It's a luxurious little way to experience the region, which gives a bit more of a romantic vibe. 

I hope this helps you plan a wonderful couple's getaway with some of your favorite beverages, while also creating fantastic memories. Tell me some of your top bubbly drinks in the comments.

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