Here we are in February, and baby, it's cold outside! Despite the current wind chill factor, February holds a lot of great potential with romance, celebrations, and getting cozy to binge-watch all the new seasons of our favorite shows.
The City of Love
Valentine's Day is synonymous with romance, and romance is synonymous with Paris, the city of love. In Paris, Valentine's Day is solely for lovers who
can select one of many romantic locations to be together. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most romantic backdrops for marriage proposals and wedding photos. The famous I. M. Pei pyramid at the historic Louvre museum is equally renowned for photos. An intimate walk along the picturesque Seine hand-in-hand with your romantic partner will stay in your memory forever.
Romance is in the Bubbles
Celebrations of romance and love, including Valentine's Day, engagements, and anniversaries have called for a Champagne toast since Veuve Clicquot (Widow Clicquot) founded her champaign House in Reims, France in 1772. It's been enjoyed by kings and celebrities. The bottle chilling in the ice bucket, the pop of the cork, the bubbles flowing upward in a fluted glass all help set the scene for a romantic toast.
Champagne is undoubtedly romantic, and people believe it can increase one's passion. Not only does champagne go well with brie, chocolate, and strawberries, but it pairs splendidly with oysters which some allege to be an aphrodisiac. Madame de Pompadour, the favorite mistress of King Louis XV, is credited with saying, "Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it." James Bond, the master of seduction, impresses beautiful women with a bottle of Bollinger. Sexy Marilyn Monroe was famously photographed with a glass of champagne many times.
You might know you want a romantic evening with your partner, but how do you know which champagne to buy? Numerous champagne houses are known for great wine. The price tag is high, so you should know what you're looking for before heading to the store. There are three varieties:
There are also sweet and dry champagnes. If you don't speak French, this can be a little tricky. Brut champagne is dry and can range from brut nature (bone dry) to brut, the most popular type. Demi-sec and doux are on the sweet end of the scale.
The Champagne region is a thirty-minute train ride from Paris. For a sparkling wine to be called champagne, it must come from the Champagne region and be produced according to the laws that govern its production, from growing the grapes to production and trade. Tours of the caves at the historic champagne houses make for a romantic afternoon. Be sure to get a bottle for later that evening!
The Wines of Burgundy
The grapes used to make champagne are some of the favorite varietals of Americans. Chardonnay and pinot noir are favorite wines for happy hour, dinners at home, and relaxing with a book or watching tv. These are also the two primary grapes from the Burgundy region of France. Wines produced from these grapes run the gamut from table wines to Grand Cru, the best of the best.
The Burgundy region is long and narrow. It's made up of hills and valleys that follow the Soane River. Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes are produced throughout, but each growing area's unique climate and soil affect the grape production and flavors. The wines to the north in Chablis are very different from those produced further south in Beaune or Chassagne Montrachet.
A Side Trip to Lyon
A trip to France is the perfect romantic vacation. Visiting Paris, the Champagne region, and Burgundy in one trip lets you experience each area and its wine. To experience great food, two days in the city of Lyon is the perfect ending to this romantic get-away. The list of restaurants is long, but the famed Paul Bocuse is at the very top. There's also plenty to see in the city if you need to walk off the rich food, including Roman relics. Though, to be honest, you might be working off this trip for a few weeks to come.
Are you dreaming of a wine inspired visit to France? I have the perfect itinerary for you!
Paris, Burgundy & Champagne
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