The Princesses and French Chocolate

We started the day in Chalons en Champagne, doing a walking tour of the town. Pretty much like every other town we've seen now. We had lunch at a local brasserie, it was okay. Then we headed off to a place north of Reims that had an outdoor go-cart place. It was open, so the men decided to do a round (although at 20 Euros for 12 minutes I thought it was highway robbery, you pay 21 Euros for 3 x 8 minutes in Berlin).

They donned blue jumpsuits and hairnets (!!) and helmets and off they went: WiseKid, WiseMan, and PrincessFather. PrincessMother commented on the testersterone level in the air, and the princesses had an ice cream waiting for the guys to start their motors.

They clapped and squealed each time one of the guys made the rounds. WiseKid lapped his father twice (which put him in a good mood for most of the day), and of course won.

Then we went on back to the chocolate factory. Turns out you can only watch guys stand at machines and make chocolate. Okay. So we got some for dessert. The princesses chose the lambies and snails and doggies. For the adults there were lips, penisses, and breasts. In two sizes and in dark or white chocolate. We passed on that, though, and got truffles and other stuff.

We headed home, dumped the kids with WiseKid, and then headed off down to road to town with the intention of trying a bottle of the local rot-gut. The fancy houses had insisted that their champagne was soooo superior to the tiny houses.

We walked up to Anne-Marie, who was in her garden. She was delighted to have us there, but had no champagne cold, could we come back in an hour? Sure! We continued on to Roger's place. We rang the bell and were about to leave, when we saw a good-looking young man without a shirt run across the lawn with two cold beers in his hand.

In a few moments he appeared - with a shirt - and invited us in. The problem was, he spoke no English and we spoke very, very little French. He opened a bottle, it was quite interesting, very different from what we had been tasting before. We pried out of him that it was a mostly pinot meunier grape that he used. We bought a bottle and left - we couldn't get him to talk. He didn't have a web site, he thought he might have email, but didn't have a card.

As it was too early for Anne-Marie, we went down to the little river to relax (and work off some champagne in the sun). As we got to her place, she was just calling up to the house to tell us that it was cold. Of course, WiseKid had no idea what she wanted. I spoke with him, calmed PrincessMother (who thought the kids had broken something), and we were invited in.

Anne-Marie was charming! It felt like she really liked having us there. She and her two brothers each have their own labels, their dad and granddaddy were wine and then champagne producers. She bubbled over in French and English, and we had a great time. And her champagne was - well - better than Moet, I felt! The second glass had the exact, perfect temperature, and tasted exactly right. So even though we were here by train, we got a six-pack to lug home. I now understand why many people drive to France with empty trunks. The price was about half what you pay in Germany for champagne, and it was Good Stuff!

She offered to drop the bottles off later, so we didn't have to carry them up the hill. So we headed up, and got dinner for the kids, trying a bottle from Anne-Marie's brother, Pierre, that the PrincessParents got while I was getting bread for dinner.

All in all, we had about 7 different champagnes, all different. I could have easily spent another week, trying more. And maybe taking the princesses to the snail museum.

We left early the next morning - I have to get back to university, and they are flying back to the States. It is sad to see them go, we had a wonderful time, even if it was very short. We shall return!

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