The first time I lived in Europe (I know, kick me) was nine years ago, in 2009, to study abroad in the Netherlands. Ask any American college student studying abroad, and we’ll tell you—one of the best parts of it is being able to legally drink. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to the drinking scene; our local bar in Well, Unter den Linden, was where I had my first beer. Yet somehow, by the tail-end of my trip, I was on a road trip to Champagne, France, to sample some of the best bubbly in the world.
While our fellow classmates were crashing coffeeshops in Amsterdam and hookah bars in Berlin, my three friends and I were donning our finest hoodies and hippie jewelry to make the drive. Full of swaggy sophistication, we entered the fine champagne houses of Mercier, Moët & Chandon, and De Castellane for tours and tastings. Just look at these little babies!
As with bourbon, real champagne can only come from the particular Champagne province. We stayed in Épernay, but toured Reims (with one of the most epic cathedrals I’ve ever seen), and the charming medieval town of Troyes as well.