Learning to pronounce Reims like the French and La Maison des Vignes de Verzenay, the perfect B&B.
|Mmm, the smell of freshly baked Madeleines and Nespresso greeted us when we entered the candle lit dining room at our B&B, the Maison des Vignes de Verzenay.|
Reims. If you're an Anglophone, I can almost guarantee that the name of this city is not pronounced the way that you think, which can lead to some misunderstandings when your French-speaking husband asks if you want to go there when your mind is still groggy after a sleepless transatlantic flight. Riding home in the taxi from Charles de Gaulle Airport last Sunday, Stéphane and I had the following conversation:
St: We should go to Reims (pronounced the French way with a very nasalized vowel sound) next weekend.
MK (struggling to keep my eyes open): I don't know. I was looking forward to being at home. Where is it?
St (reading the Wikipedia entry on his iPhone): "Reims played a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the crowning of the kings of France." blah, blah, blah....
MK (closing my eyes to signal disinterest): Yeah, I don't know...
St (undeterred, continues to read): "Some sources regard Reims as the effective capital of the province of Champagne".
MK (starting to perk up): Wait a minute. Do you mean "Reims" (pronounced the English way, like Reemz)?
St: No, I'm talking about Reims (pronounced the French way).
MK: But is it spelled r, e, i, m, s? The place where they make champagne?
MK: (fully awake) Then, of course, I want to go!
A warm welcome at La Maison des Vignes de Verzenay.
With less than a week to find a place to stay, book tours at the major champagne houses and learn a bit about the region, I was thankful that Carolyn had told me about her visit to Verzenay. Using the small village where grapes are grown for many of the big producers as a starting point, I was delighted to find a bed and breakfast with a couple of glowing reviews on Trip Advisor that included statements such as, "It isn’t so much as a B&B stay as a whole experience" and "take up Emmanuel’s offer of a guided tour of the cellars, champagne making equipment and explanation of how the small, family run business operates from growing the grapes to bottling and labelling the champagne". As we really wanted to visit a small champagne producer, La Maison des Vignes de Verzenay seemed like the perfect destination.
And it was!
|After a hard day swilling champagne at Taittinger and Pommery, Stéphane's merman's antics in the heated swimming pool rejuvenated him and provided comedic relief while I lounged under a tree.|
Not only are Catherine and Emmanuel Pithois-Rigaut charming and hospitable hosts, but their comments make it obvious that they're continually searching for ways to improve. With three tastefully decorated guest rooms, an expanded continental breakfast that includes homemade jam, Madeleines and grape juice, private tours of their champagne making facilities and cellar and a lavender scened garden with a heated swimming pool, I can honestly say that I don't see how their B&B could get any better!
Please click here to read my post about our tour of the wine making facilities and cellar with Emmanuel.
Maison des Vignes de Verzenay (Even though the website is only in French, Catherine and Emmanuel speak English.)
4 & 6, rue Veuve Pommery
Tél: 03 26 49 48 63
|Our room, the "Balthazar ". It's named after a large bottle of champagne that equals 16 regular bottles.|
|The bathroom has a tub and a separate shower and toilet.|
|The smallest of the three rooms, the Salmanazar.|
|The living room. A cozy spot to peruse one of the guidebooks lining the bookshelves and plan your next outing.|
|Leaving my spot next to the pool proved to be quite a challenge. The next time that Stéphane asks if I want to go to Reims, I'll have to suggest that we go for 2, 3 or 4 nights!|