As we traveled from Paris toward Berlin, we made stops in Epernay and Strasbourg before heading across the boarder. I’ve been to Paris a bunch of times and the Loire once, so I was excited to see more of the country… particularly Champagne! We checked into our funky hotel/hostel before wandering around town in search of – you guessed it – Champagne.

We tend to gravitate towards ultra fancy-pants or dive bars. Really, not much in between is appealing. So, true to form, we ended up eating at Le Bar Parisien, a rough brasserie outside of the Champagne zone. Part of the appeal was the wine list – scores of Champagnes to pair with brasserie-food. Irresistible.

Croque madame for me, croque monsieur pour le monsieur, and a bottle of Tsarine to share. I’d never heard of Tsarine, but the name was loftily pretentious enough to try. Fabulous! An elderly couple sitting next to us chatted happily about their little white dog (sitting patiently under the table), Normandy (where they were from), and French-American relations since 1945.


And so, with the wedding now a week away, we’ve begun to receive some gifts, including a bottle of Moet et Chandon. Moet is from Epernay, so we’ve opted to let that set the tone for our Christmas Eve dinner: croques and Champagne.

Vive la France!

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