Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:42 pm Post subject: Next week Epernay then Beaune
I'll be meeting my wife in Amsterdam (she's on business in Amstelveen) Easter Sunday, then driving to Epernay, followed by Vougeot, then Beaune (2 days). Then to Brussels and back to AMS. I know - it's way too much for one week. Any "must sees" along the way? We are food/wine people, love visiting markets, antiques, food, wine, etc.
If there is any place we must see, visit, eat, or drink at along the way - I would appreciate your advice. I know that in my town there are things to do and see that are just not in the tour books.
One last thing, any guesses as to the weather next week?
Joined: 18 Feb 2005 Posts: 4 Location: Peak District, UK
Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:07 pm Post subject:
On a recent business trip to Amsterdam, I found a wonderful, old bar - 'In 't Aepjen'. I visited with a collegue, late in the evening - it is a 16th century inn - first recorded around 1550, and is one of the few original wooden buildings in Amsterdam from that period. It has the most amazing spiral staircase, and is really tiny. atmsopheric and unique. The name translates as 'At the Apes' (I believe) a name that comes from the Dutch sailors drinking sooooo much there when on shore leave that they ended up having to pay with the exotic apes and monkeys they brought back from their travels once their cash had run out
The expression 'at the apes' (or something like this!) is still used in the Netherlands today to denote being completed drunk - and the inn is credited with coining the phrase
I have an address and phone number, but can't give directions as we were wandering when we found it, and I don't know Amsterdam that well. I'm not a beer drinker, but my colleague was very approving of the Dutch brews on offer. Inside it is tiny - all wooden panels and monkey & ape memorabial from different eras.
I should add that it is in the red light district - not something I was aware of until I got back home and looked it up online! But this being Amsterdam, there didn't seem to be any trouble
If you search on line for 'In 't Aepjen' you'll get a number of reviews etc.
Address: 1012 AN Amsterdam, tel.020-626 8401
It's open 15:00 till 01:00 in the week, weekend till 03:00.
Well, it has been quite spring like for the past week or so. Today we have rain but it is still warm. Mind you, I am in Paris, so cannot vouch for what the rest of the country is having. Might be worth your while getting onto a bureau of meteorology website for france and seeing what is in store. I think there is one called meteo. I can view it on cable tv normally, but we are having trouble with it this week (must be sunspots my husband says) so I can't get the web address off it for you.
I would pack for balmy days and cool to cold evenings and nights. Don't forget that even though it seems springlike now, we could still get more snow or a cold snap until May. The locals keep telling me this every time I go out without a jacket on.
Have a wonderful trip! _________________ If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
I think Epernay is in Champagne. If it is, you should go to the Veuve Cliquot champagne chateau. I have not been there yet, but I have been told by friends that it is fabulous. You have a tour and see the caves/cellars and then taste the champagne. I think this champagne is nicer than Moet, but not sure what your taste would prefer. If you really love Moet et Chandon then you could do a tour through that chateau and do a tasting, but I have heard it is not as good as the Veuve Cliquot one. It would be a personal choice kind of decision for you.
Hope this helps. Let me know what you see when you get back home. We are still exploring after moving to France from Australia last year. Any recommendations are interesting to us too. _________________ If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Thank you for your reply. I probably would have gone to Moet, but based on your friend's advice will likely try Veuve Cliquot instead.
Has it warmed up yet? I leave Saturday and am hoping for warm weather.
We are staying in Veogout and Beaune also. Any word on which wineries or caves are best there. We love white and red burgundies. Also, have you heard of any restaurants there that we most definately should visit?
Thanks again for your reply, will let you know on our return, what the highlights were.
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 3:52 pm Post subject: Epernay my home town...
as Epernay is my home town i thaught i could advise you a couple of things...
Veuve Cliquot is not in Epernay but in Reims (about 50 min drives from Epernay) and i never heard anything about it, don't think the castle is accessible to everyone either (to check)...
Moet is good to see (and trust me there champagne is very good it's just very critized by other brands because of it's popularity but i can tell i drunk lots and even the regular brut imperial is good...) you can also have a private visit of the Chateau de Saran if you ring before and introduce yourself as "gastronomic editor"...(it's usualy only for vip but you can try, it could work...and it's amazing...), if not, the regular visit include a tour af the cellars and at the end you can taste 1 to 3 different champagnes depending of you and your budget (you can also have a glass of Dom Perignon but it's a big extra...) it's a nice visit but the caves are not amazing...
Mercier still in Epernay (avenue de champagne like Moet...)is a very good cellar to visit for you visit it in a little train, very entertaining...
Otherwise Ruinart in Reims would be the best to do, the cellars are dig in the chalk it's very deep and beautifull. You can only visit it on appointment but then you have the choice of the champagne you want to taste and it makes the visit very special...(firstname.lastname@example.org is the email to have the appiontment)
i think that Pommery's are very impressive as well but still in reims...and the park pommery is absolutly amazing...
If you have more time you can always hang around the villages and stop by a little producer (you'll see some signs sayin you can visit at there gates...) for a even more interesting visit (if friendly they'll offer you another one!) just make sure they talk english if you don't talk french...
After visiting a cellar, you can go for a nice dinner in a couple of restaurant (la table kobu, la briqueterie, les berceaux, le royal champagne with panoramic view)but those are expensive so it depends of your finances...
here it for all that concern food and drink for everything else i guess you should go the tourism office located avenue de champagne facing of Moet...
well good luck and enjoy... you can contact me if any question...
Thank you for your in depth response. We will be staying in Epernay, and made dinner reservations in advance for Au Bacchus Gourmet, because we didn't know what would be open on Easter Sunday for dinner. Was that a mistake? Do you know of this restaurant?
So Reims is 50 minutes away. I thought it was closer. Thanks for the advice.
As for champagne - I have drunk both Moet and Veuve Cliquot, and enjoyed both. After all what's not to like? I may decide now on Moet or one of the other Epernay houses, just based on location. Maybe the place we are staying Le Clos Raymi can make an introduction/reservation for us. I wonder if they are open Easter Sunday, or Easter Monday. I guess I'll find out when I get there.
Joined: 17 Mar 2005 Posts: 13 Location: Livermore, CA
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:40 am Post subject:
P's response is excellent, definitely visit a big and a small producer if you have half a chance. Reims is 24 km from Epernay, so it is not so bad. My wife and I visited Veuve and enjoyed ourselves on the rather lengthy English tour. Definitely make an appointment unless you are fluent. I put up some pictures if you're curious about what that tour looks like: http://www.nissens.net/walt/vc/
The cathedral in Reims is where the kings of France were coronated, and is supposed to be spectacular.
If you're looking to have a once-in-a-lifetime meal, Reims boasts Les Crayères, a two-star Michelin restaurant. I've never been, but the food and sumptuous dining room are supposed to be stellar. The tasting menu is on the order of 150 euro and reservations are essential.
Joined: 01 Feb 2005 Posts: 7 Location: Chicago, IL
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:13 pm Post subject:
I visited Beaune 3 years ago it's a charming town. Unfortunately, I don't have many details (specific names, addresses) as we wandered the town and found many places by chance. My favorite places were small, intimate, and very cozy.
However, I'd suggest that you take advantage of regional specialties like Boeuf Bourguignon (a perfect antidote to the cool April weather that year) or the mustard (I became an addict after that trip). And if you come across a restaurant that serves Chestnut Mousse as dessert, it's an absolute don't-miss dish!
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