‘They’ say “truth is stranger than fiction”, I don’t know who ‘they’ are but I want to tell you something, ‘they’ are totally right.
My story here involves all the things that I love: history, design, spectacular food, amazing champagne bottles, luxury mansions, princess style beds, pampering bath tubs, private drivers with shining black Mercedes and… more champagne.
It all happened when I took a flight to Milan to cover yet again the spring summer 2016 fashion week. I received a mail asking me to change my entire plans for my stay in Paris. Instead of covering the whole Paris fashion week I was to take an express train to Reims, to experience what it really is to live the life of a princess.
The signature on the bottom of that mail was from the luxurious yellow label champagne: Veuve Clicquot.
I had to read the mail again before changing my entire plans… Who was I kidding I knew all I needed to know in order to change my plans. After all It was a once in a life time experience, and I would be opening copious amounts of champagne bottles, meaning well:
“Thank you for your invite, I’m coming!”
10 days later..
I arrive at the train station in Paris to take an express train to Reims. 30 minutes after I arrive. I change quickly in to my yellow suede boots, just to make sure my private driver will recognize me by my Veuve Clicquot’s inspired outfit – as I promised he would, and he did. Although the sign he was holding, helped also.
Next stop: Veuve Clicquot tour
״Madam״ said Yosef my driver (when the hel* did I turn from a Mademoiselle to Madam I remember thinking, but that’s an issue for a different post I guess) “we have arrived at centre des visites les crayeres (Veuve Clicquot visitors center) they are waiting for you for a special tour and tasting session, so I’ll escort you to the reception where I will wait for you, then I’ll take you around Reims before dropping you off at the mansion”.
Merci, I said.
The truth was, I didn’t have anything to say. What do I say to someone who’s wearing a fine suit, driving a black shiny Mercedes and who tells me he will take me around the city to then drop me at my destination ‘the beautiful mansion’. Where he then would continue to carry my over weight suitcases? Oh, and offer me champagne while I’m pinching myself in the back seat.
Her name was Camille and she was a charming, exclusive blonde with an allure smile and a great French accent.
She took me all over including a tour around the crayeres which are several hundreds of years old chalk quarry caves where the Veuve Clicquot bottles have been stored for years.
After we toured the crayeres, we returned to the beautiful garden for a tasting session. This is where we both reward ourselves with a delicious, chilled, bubbly glass of Veuve Clicquot. Camille taught me the best way to pour champagne “tilt the glass and pour a small amount down the side, let it sit for a second, and then slowly complete the pour. This preserves the carbon dioxide essential to the bubbles”.
I had such a marvelous time with Camille and was a bit sad to leave when Yosef arrived to pick me up. “Trust me Korin, you will LOVE Hotel Du Marc, It’s like a kingdom” said Camille (Before I spin off on everything I want to share, let me tell you, Camille was right!)
Like he promised, Yosef took me around the town and showed me all the things worth seeing while I continued sipping the rest of the bottle Camille and I popped open earlier.
Yosef stopped the car all of a sudden, almost in the middle of the road and asked me to come with him. He said he thought I would love this place. What I saw was just absolutely breath taking!
There she was ‘Our Lady of Reims’ (Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims) the gothic art masterpiece where the kings of France were crowned.
I took a tour inside (which is a must if you are in the area) and I enjoyed every second of it.
1 hour later, 2 huge wooden doors opened and there it was ‘Hotel du Marc’ – It was love at first site!
I swear that I don’t remember the first few moments between the car stopping and me jumped on my bed, wearing a haute couture kimono which was hung next to it.
In this 5 room mansion, each bedroom is designed with a country and seasonal theme, and my room was dedicated to Japanese springtime.
I asked the butler to take my picture, just to remember it was all real, after all I had to pinched myself a few times to make sure I’m not dreaming!
I was so overwhelmed and grateful that someone else apart from moi, understood that I deserved to be a princess for the weekend, not just a princess, a yellow one! And everybody knows that yellow is the new gold!
At that moment I noticed that the butler was still standing sorting my luggage out in the room, he looked at me and said “You are the only guest here at Hotel Du Marc until we serve dinner so make yourself at home. Dinner will be served from 20:30 and aperitif at 20:15.”
I called my boyfriend (on face time of course), and showed him all around.
The whole place was exuding the perfect amount of tension between tradition and modernity, from the beautiful hallway with large portraits of the Clicquot Ponsardin family through to the romantic staircase.
The ornate chandelier and the stunning art and design.
Hôtel du Marc, which is btw the a hotel in name only, make the yellow brand friends, feel like royalty!
I went back to my room for a quick dip before dinner, but when I saw the size of the bath section which was half the size of my flat in Tel Aviv, with giant windows overlooking the courtyard and BVLGARI products I changed my mind and decided: quick dip is so 2014!
Madame Korin Avraham was the second name printed on the gourmet dinner menu.
a dinner which took 2 hours with course after course, paired with a vary of vintage champagnes, selection of different cheeses, a quite incredible desert and very incredible guests from Brazil which I had the honor of meeting and enjoying the company of through out the evening.
But it was reality, my reality and ‘they’ were right – it was much better!